Okay so I have been slacking the past few days and have not put out any of these posts for the meditation guide so I will pack three of them in today to get caught back up. If anyone is following daily I apologize for getting behind. That being said, we are gonna start with responsibility. This topic makes me think about how some people argue against the disease concept of addiction as a scapegoat for not taking responsibility for a person’s own actions. However, that is not true in the least. The disease concept essentially asserts that when an addict has crossed the line into addiction, the chemical imbalance negative affects the part of the brain responsible for ration decision-making skills. Not once in my entire recovery journey has anyone said that it is not my fault that I became what I became and that I did what I did. Of course I was responsible, I knew that I did those things but my capacity to choose against those actions was hindered by the chemicals I was using to overload the pleasure center of my brain. That being said, responsibility goes deeper than just owning up to mistakes I have made. Responsibility is also the act of taking care of what I need to take care of on a daily basis. I have a responsibility to pay my electric bill, therefore I must go to work to earn money to pay that bill, or any bill for that matter. If I wrong someone, it is my responsibility to own that and try to make amends. My kids need to be fed and watered (just a joke, don’t freak out on me); this means that it is my responsibility to provide for them and meet those needs. Responsibility is the action I take that reinforces the security of myself and anyone who relies on me. : )
Next up is tolerance. Man, this is one of those areas of recovery I struggle with regularly! I have heard many in recovery discuss their own issues with tolerance, usually involving normal people (that is, people who are not alcoholic, drug addict, and/or suffer from a mental illness). For me, it is the exact opposite. I am able to tolerate a normal person much better than I am able to tolerate an alcoholic/addict, especially when the subject matter involves alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. I think the reason for this is that I do not expect a normal person to be able to comprehend the complexities of addiction and the battle inside the head of someone who is an addict/alcoholic or has a mental health issue. It is insanely frustrating talking to someone still using or in early recovery, because most of the time you are dealing with someone who has no clue what is in their best interest, but is so self-absorbed they can’t even see that their way of doing things is the root cause of all of their problems. You tell them “well, my experience says maybe let’s do (add suggestion) instead of (add whatever brilliant idea they just came up with),” to which their reply is “well, I don’t think that is REALLY that important to recovery.” This is the point where my frustration starts dancing with my ego and I forget that I was just as sick and delusional as the person in front of me. Sometimes I catch it before i react and sometimes I don’t, but either way, tolerance is generally not my go-to principle. This is something I have worked hard on, and have gotten better at, but I still need lots of work when it comes to being tolerant.
Next we have trust. This subject is a significant issue with people who are alcoholic/addict. It makes me think of that idea most have heard passed around, that someone who doesn’t trust you, is probably doing things that aren’t trustworthy. A good example is an insanely jealous and controlling partner who is cheating on their partner. Since most of us, when we get started in recovery, aren’t what you might call “trustworthy” we generally have a hard time trusting anyone else. This is a principle that takes time but with effort, can be achieved. Trusting another human being was new territory for me, but finding that trust help me be able to become trustworthy!