- Jane Revell & Susan Norman
WFS Statement 5 - I am what I think
I have been dealing with a bad back for almost a year now, and while it had seemed better, in the past week there has been a flare up which has left me almost incapacitated. I finally broke down and spent several days confined to the couch with my feet up, and things seemed to be better. So yesterday, I got up and went back to my usual routine. The result was that at the end of the night, I was in as much pain as I had been before.
My DP looked at me sternly and asked if I had put my feet up at all, and I sheepishly replied no. The next question was, "Don't you want to get better?"
"Yes, but ..."
My "but" was that housework needed done, I had work to do on the computer (I have a laptop but sometimes I just think better at my desk), life was piling up while I was taking it easy.
Think about this for a moment; I was willing to sacrifice my health in order to do a couple of loads of laundry, laundry that really didn't "need" to be done. Does this sound familiar? What about you and your recovery? Have you ever chosen to deal with mundane, unnecessary things instead of focusing on your sobriety when it needed to be done?
As women, we are raised to be caretakers. We are taught early about cleaning, cooking, caring for a house and for others. We aren't taught to take care of ourselves. The result is that we can too often fall into a pattern of negating our own needs in favor of tending to others. When faced with the decision between taking time to work on our recovery and keeping our house running the way we think it should, our recovery loses far too often.
If asked whether we want to recover, we answer "Yes, but ...."
So long as we take this attitude, our recovery will be a rocky road. When we use the word "but" we are really saying that we don't think we are worth as much as whatever the "but" is. Our recovery is not as important as cleaning the toilet, or folding the laundry, or making dinner. We are putting others first, and this is a recipe for disaster.
What if, instead, we said "Yes, and ...?" Yes, and I am going to take the time that I need right now instead of at some undefined later date? Would the world come to a flaming end if the family ate soup and sandwiches instead of a full course dinner, especially if you took the extra time to work on your recovery? No, it wouldn't.
It is especially important to replace "yes, but" with "yes, and" when we are talking to ourselves. "Yes, but ..." allows us to make excuses, to justify avoiding the work we must do in order to grow healthier and more at peace. "Yes, and ..." gives us the chance to replace that avoidance with positive movement, by affirming our commitment and immediately presenting a step that we will take towards our goal.
Of course, this will only work if we then DO the "and". This is the key. "Yes, and I will get to it" is a cop-out. The "and" must be immediate. "Yes, and I am going now to meditate." There will be time later to finish the mundane tasks. If we don't make time for ourselves now, we will continue to be unhappy, both now and in the future. We prolong our struggle for no legitimate reason.
I encourage you to look for ways to replace "Yes, but ..." in your words and your thoughts. You are worth far more than any "but". Recognize and embrace your right to happiness, and take the steps now to grow it. Say, "Yes, I want to recover AND I will begin right now."