It might seem a little stupid, but it took me a very long time to realize that it was okay to be good in my everyday recovery.
Maybe I am alone, but that has never been the case in recovery. Someone always shares a similar experience or feeling. However, I was the type of person who, when asked how I was doing, would almost universally answer “okay” even when things were going friggin’ fantastic.
Perhaps it is a naturally pessimistic or negative disposition, but for longer than it should have been, I always tried to downplay things when they were going well. Oh, I was perfectly vocal and embracing of negative things happening, but when it was positive, not a chance. Call it “survivor’s guilt,” or a desire to retain the victim mentality, but in either event, it was a skin that had to be shed—especially if I was to stay clean and sober.
The whole point of addiction recovery (and as a lifestyle in general) is that we improve the quality of our own lives. When we improve the quality of our own lives, naturally, good things happen. Hopefully, and more often than not, that change leads to good things in the lives of others as well.
However, that was newfound territory. Even though I got sober in my late teens, it had still been so long that I had forgotten that a perfectly acceptable (and more often, preferable) response to the question, “How have you been?” was “I’m doing great—thanks!”
The Seventh Step says that we are to “[humbly] ask Him to remove our shortcomings.” That sounds pretty straightforward, but not so if the word “humbly” is not understood.
Humility is not (necessarily) about being meek, mild, or subservient; it is about being right-sized. While that certainly covers keeping our pride in check, it also means not downplaying the gifts that we received, or the good things that have come our way. After all, God has done a pretty remarkable job cleaning up the messes we made with our lives. It seems the least we can do, other than helping others, is to show that we appreciate the miracles He has bestowed upon us.
Having gratitude and showing gratitude are not the same thing. For us addicts and alcoholics, it is a lot like apologies; after a certain point, they become meaningless. We can say we are grateful all we want, but if our actions do not reflect what we say, well…let’s just say that gratitude is likely to run out in the near future.
Recovery is an active process. It involves participation and effort. We work for it. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in our work, so long as we remember that the results are not ours. They are God’s. But God is happy to let us have them if we do some basic things upfront, and continue to do them.
Everyday Recovery: It’s Okay to Be Good
What are some of your life changes? Let us know in the comments below!