Folks in recovery circles may recognize the saying “Be a worker among workers, a person among people”. It comes up often, as those who are new to recovery are gaining skills to return to a ‘normal’ life or in many cases learning how to live a normal life for the first time. Learning how to be part of the crowd instead of standing on the sidelines judging or longing for acceptance. Natural leaders will be challenged to take a ‘back seat’ and let others make the rules or set the standards. Some of those who are ‘march to the beat of my own drum’ kind of people will have a lot of growth in experiencing humility and gaining perspective on how their actions can sometimes be disruptive. For those who choose to pursue a recovery lifestyle it can be a daunting task to acknowledge that part of what makes them unique is also what makes them a liability to themselves. Notice I said part of, but not all that makes them unique. Making decisions based on an inner need to ‘take the path less traveled’ can be helpful in the right circumstances. Many incredible and useful inventions, materials, saving the planet, and ways of living have come about from risk taking. The challenge for those who seek to be ‘a person among people’ is suddenly having awareness that the risk taking only exacerbates the problems. They have to learn some new ways of thinking about themselves and the world around them or they get left behind and dissolve back into their disease. So, the question becomes “How?”. How in the world do you tell a part of yourself that longs for recognition or wants followers to lead or is certain that conformity is for lemmings that you are in fact better off by resigning from the debate team? That you are just meant to play a minor role on life’s stage and may not be in every scene? Well, you tell yourself that slowly and give yourself permission to be human. You practice patience with yourself and others. You allow yourself to struggle and gather a team of supporting people who can relate, who become your tribe and your cheering squad. You become a part of another’s team and shout hooray when they achieve milestones. You let yourself fail and allow them to carry you onto the next challenge. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard is this, “If you try to change your way of thinking and acting over night you will most definitely fail. It took you years of practice to think and act the way you do, so give yourself a break if you go back to old habits that hurt your life. Give yourself permission to start again in a moment or even in the morning. Remind yourself that you are learning a new way of living”. So, if you are new to this life of recovery and struggle with letting others take the lead or working along side them without directing things, then consider this… would you ask a six year old to change a car tire and then get mad at them if they failed? Not likely.
Acceptance of our new way of living takes time. Changing our way of thinking and behaving and believing takes time. This is not a race and we are not in competition with each other. Let’s gather a team and get better together.
Anonymous Virtual Meetings (locations in and around Sacramento County, CA)
Alcoholics Anonymous: https://aasacramento.org/meetings/?tsml-day=any
Narcotics Anonymous: http://sacramentona.org/online-meetings/
Co-Dependents Anonymous: https://coda.org/find-a-meeting/online-meetings/
Overeaters Anonymous: https://oavirtualregion.org/virtualmeetings/findameeting/
Gamblers Anonymous: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/locations