Focusing on My Recovery is Self-Care, Not Narcissism
February 20, 2012
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
If that quote isn’t the definition of staying present and maintaining diligence in recovery, I don’t know what is. It’s good for me to hear these days, as I know my addiction will try to tickle my fancy like it did today. I’m trying to stay focused on my recovery now that I’m no longer with my partner. Now that I’m single, there will be a tendency for the devil on my shoulder to tempt me to take a little taste of the addiction; to dabble in the murky water between sobriety and full-blown acting out. My ego will want to preoccupy me with the possibility of dating right away. It’s as if the demise of my relationship should somehow give me more breathing room to screw up and spiral down. The leash is a little longer, right?
Wrong. That’s nonsense; that’s stinking thinking; that’s the addiction talking. And my addiction is as verbose as my artful, writerly brain is. Now that I’m single, I’m going to focus on the fact that this recovery is for me, especially when I’m triggered. It’s not for some future ideal partner or fantasy date. Today, for example, I was tempted, tickled, by a conversation with an attractive coworker who also happened to be perusing a website at work that was fine for her, but dangerous for me. I refocused after the double-barreled trigger of a good-looking woman perusing good-looking images. You’d think it’d be a minefield for me, and it might have been. But I remembered: this is my life, my recovery, my spiritually-minded raison d’être.
I said it last week, I’ll say it again. This recovery, this healthy lifestyle, is for me and my heart, mind, body and soul. In my addiction I could become a raging narcissist, wrapped into a tight coil of isolation and standoffishness and defensiveness. In my recovery, I focus on how to be a better me, and that’s not narcissism. That’s self-care and self-love. It’s the opposite of the self-abuse and self-loathing I bathed in, in active addiction.
So, I am going to work really hard on staying present. When I hit bottom over three years ago, I had that zeal of the recently converted and got my ass to as many meetings as possible. I talked to as many addicts in fellowship as possible, reached out for a sponsor, and stayed in touch with him as much as possible. Now that I am no longer partnered with someone, I will remind myself of that zeal, because I will be of no use to anyone else on this planet — not my kids, not my ex-wife, not my friends, not myself — if I don’t work this program for my own sanity and salvation.