“Stick with the Winners”
Prior to uncovering the layers of obsessive thinking and behaving that defined my life, I wasn’t aware I had this uncanny ability to “hear” words differently than what was actually said. Somewhere between my ears and my brain a converter of sorts would take words spoken to me and turn them into something entirely different.
Such was the case in early recovery when people kept telling me to stick with the winners and look for the people who have what I want. Initially I took in those suggestions as meaning I should hang around people who appeared to be winning at life based upon the material things they had and I wanted. Further, I should connect with people I observed to be perfectly put together; those who had a good job, nice car, great shoes, happy family, etc. In other words, my idea of a “winner” was based solely on how they appeared from the outside.
When it comes to overcoming an addiction, I was sorely mistaken by my interpretation of the initial sage advice.
Before I raised my hand to recovery, the people I considered “winners” were those who lived the type of lifestyle supporting my addictions. I wanted to hang out with people who wouldn’t harass me for the way I was living my life. As a matter of fact, if I came to find they actually didn’t partner with me on my unhealthy lifestyle, I’d push them away. As far as I was concerned, how I was living was the way to go. In my mind, as long as I was in control, I was a winner at the game of life.
But life isn’t a game, it’s a gift. I was incapable of recognizing I wasn’t winning at anything other than destroying that gift.
Once truly engaged in recovery, I finally understood what those early suggestions meant. I focused my attention toward the people who had a similar history to mine and now seemed quite at peace with themselves. From my perspective, they were “winners” because when I spent time with them I felt hope. I came to believe their practical experience would help me shift away from a life of chaos into a life of peaceful contentment. No one promised me a problem-free life, just a pathway to handle life more calmly.
Clearly they had the directions for what I wanted and I took it.
By way of osmosis, gradually and perhaps somewhat unconsciously, I began to process their manner of living. I thank God for them every day because they helped me stay focused and on the right track. I know today if I ever feel off-balance I can look to them for support and encouragement.
In your day today, think about who the “winners” are around you. What do they do or say you might consider incorporating into your life?
Whoever they might be … stick with them. Ask questions and then ask more. Recovery is an individual discovery but can be enhanced by those who’ve walked it successfully before you.