Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Would I Want To Encounter Me Today?

OK, I’ll admit it.  I have been known to enjoy the occasional self-inflicted “pity party” where I’m the sole guest.  I don’t want anyone’s help.  I don’t want to be “fixed”, I just want to be left alone to wallow in deep thought of how wronged I’ve been for some truly important reason.  I usually don’t stay at the party long because I begin to feel unwanted which is rather unfortunate considering I’m the only guest.

My exit strategy from this one-person dysfunctional “party” was learned in the rooms of recovery.  When I am getting caught up in what’s wrong with my life, I was taught to go help someone else so I can distance myself from what’s bothering me.  I’ve found this advice to be true time and time again.  By getting involved with something else, I’m sure to find my issues are not as terrible as I had built them up to be.   Even just asking someone how their day is going can provide me with a warm release from whatever is worrying me.

I always considered being of service to someone or something else as an outward gesture.  This is the whole point, right?  Yet just the other day I came to find there is one way looking inward can be equally important to benefiting those around me.

A friend said if she’s having one of those days when she feels as if everything is coming undone at the seams, she asks herself a very simple question.   She considers whether or not she’d want to encounter herself that day.  I almost screamed “That’s brilliant!” but hesitated so as not to freak her out.

I suddenly realized I had a gift to give without anyone knowing they’ve received one.  Every day I can take a moment to “check in” with myself particularly if I notice I’m being rather ornery or short-tempered.  If available, I can even stand in front of a mirror to better understand my face and body language as that can speak far louder than my words.  Gazing at my reflection I can ask myself if I’d want to come in contact with someone acting like me.

Without ruining the fun you’ll have by doing this on your own, it works like a charm.  In an instant I can go from desiring isolation to suddenly excited about catching up with a friend.

Life is way too short to be bogged down with the many trivial hiccups along the way.  I have come way too far in recovery to slip back into secret selfish thinking based solely on what I need and want.   I’m far more peaceful when it isn’t all about me all the time.

Before I got sober and overcame an eating disorder I used to hate looking in the mirror because I didn’t want to see the truth.  Today I look in the mirror because I do.


How about you?  Have you ever found yourself in need of an internal “check in”?   Did it help course correct your day?  I’d love for you to share your experience by leaving a reply comment below.   

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