I have a daily reprieve from the disease of addiction based on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. This is what I’m told and what I have come to believe. So what does it mean to maintain my spiritual condition? Some of the basic actions are, go to 12 step meetings, talk to other folks in recovery on a daily basis, be involved in a group, and work the steps. These are all actions that are a part of my daily living but there’s one more part of my spiritual condition that sometimes runs away from me and that’s my thinking. The other day I woke up to a dirty house and it was more than I could handle. The plan was to clean it up that day but we are also in the middle of a lot of remodeling which added to my negative thoughts.
Everywhere I looked I saw something I didn’t like with the house. Dog hairs, dirt, pealing pain, all around scumminess in the bathroom… my negativity ruminated and overtook me to the point of devastation. Then my thoughts took me to things about the house that can never be fixed like the small closet, crappy bathroom, and noise from the main street that’s way too close. I was in tears by the time my husband came home and when he asked me what was wrong I probably expressed my feelings of calamity, hopelessness, and the end of the world by saying something like, “the house is dirty.”
Good man that he is he immediately started helping by starting to scrub the old tub, which I had already scrubbed on my hands and knees with little results. With a different product and his manly scrubs he got much better results.
These thoughts of severe devastation and remorse can lead me back to a drink or drug. I know this with certainty so I tired to do something about it. First, I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed for help. What came to me was something I know works. Help others. I had been meaning to gather some clothes together for a friend who has lost weight. This was a simple yet fulfilling task I immediately went about that did give me little glimpses of the warm fuzzies. I thought of another way I could help another person but couldn’t gather up enough oomph to go do it.
I have been rereading one of my favorite books on happiness called Spontaneous Happiness, by Dr Weil. He goes into the importance of healthy eating, exercise, proper use (if you must) of medicine, and positive thinking. The new field of positive psychology has emerged only recently. There are several exercises or interventions suggested. First, the gratitude list which is very popular in recovery circles. I should be grateful that I have a house to live in, that I have the means and ability to make improvements. I am grateful I have a man that helps out. Another extension of this is the Three Good Things intervention where I write down three things that are going well and the reasons why. I’m going to do that right now…
Being positive takes work and is imperative to staying on the path of recovery. How do you stay positive?