Last week I implemented the “take it one day at a time” recovery plan. I pulled out the Al-Anon poem “Just for Today” and realized that I can refrain from smoking just for today. And so I didn't smoke that day. Nor the next. Nor the next. And today I am still saying "just for today" I won’t smoke. I’m seeing that it is building strength.
So in this newly acquired strength, I decided yesterday morning that I was going to face another area I've been avoiding – my weight. I hadn't weighed myself for three months, so this was very much a step from avoidance toward acceptance. I thought, “Whatever it is, I will just have to deal with it.” I had a number in my head that I was prepared for, and just prayed it wasn't more than that. So I pulled out the scale and after I got on it, I thought, “Well, great. Now my scale is broken. How am I going to know what I really weigh?” I began conjuring up all sorts of ideas of getting a clear read to see how off my scale was. Then the thought came to me: maybe my scale isn't wrong. Just maybe that is my weight. I began assessing the situation with more thought as to the fit of my clothes and so on. So I decided that I would accept the verdict: I am 12 pounds less than I thought I was! After all, I was still wearing the same clothes I wore when I knew I weighed that. A big weight gain would likely require a different set of clothes. The facts started to mount in favor of the scale being accurate. Hmmm. How often do I ignore the facts while allowing my thoughts to make up their own reality?
Perhaps a little more reflection on this could provide some insight into why I do what I do. Let me provide a better context for my thinking why I had gained 15 pounds. The last few months have not been easy for me - the last round of divorce dealings, the physical limitations from a sore back and neck, along with an overall emotional constipation all combined to produce this sense of stagnancy in my recovery. I complained about it to Debra on more than one occasion. During this time, I returned to smoking, stopped following the eating plan that I have determined as optimal for my health, and battled with love addiction behaviors. Those responses brought feelings of failure and a defeatist mentality. In addition, by my not maintaining an exercise program, I was all too aware of the shift in my body’s tone and overall feeling. Failure was all too familiar and I was feeling fat. In my mind, I was much heavier than evidently I am, not to ignore that I had indeed gained some weight just not 15 pounds, more like 3 since November. This speaks to the extremes we codependents and addicts often go. I had focused all too much on what I wasn't doing for myself while not acknowledging what I actually was doing on behalf of my recovery health. I hadn't given up on myself, and I have had some of the toughest battles since starting recovery.
I can smile at seeing the irony in not believing the scale. There are several gifts in this for me. First up, geez – that’s 12 pounds I don’t have to lose yet again! I don’t have to buy a new scale either. Even more valuable, is that I was prompted to be more honest with myself in a positive manner. I see this pattern of mine to be willing to look at my mistakes, my part in the failure of my marriage, my shortcomings, my weaknesses and strongholds. It is far more difficult for me to affirm my efforts and acknowledge my accomplishments, my strengths, and my assets. This experience is just one of many that illustrate the need to avoid the extremes but rather be comfortable in that middle area we call “the gray”. That is where I find acceptance of my weaknesses and strengths; where they coexist and I’m neither more nor less lovable. I can live with that. It is a nice thought as I set course in some Lane coasting today.
Just for Today
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, “that most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my luck as it comes, and fit myself to it.
Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.
Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won’t find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.
Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.