When we were still drinking and drugging, we had all sorts of problems:
* Drunk driving.
* Losing jobs.
* Spending nights in jail.
* Damaging relationships.
And so on. Those are serious problems, no doubt about it. And those kinds of problems are some of the motivating factors that drove us to get sober in the first place. So when we finally make the leap to sobriety, and start living an honest life in recovery, it can be quite a shock to realize that there are still a number of problems in our lives.
We still have problems in recovery
I’ve still got problems today, but they are of a very different nature then what I used to be dealing with:
* Homework projects for school.
* What to do with my refund check.
* A hectic day at work.
See the difference? Pretty obvious stuff! So why is it that we get so wrapped up in our problems–even in recovery–to the point that we are driving ourselves absolutely nuts? Now that we are clean and sober, shouldn’t we be able to deal with this stuff a bit better? And aren’t these problems trivial compared to our old set of problems when we were still drinking and drugging?
For starters, there is a theory that we are preprogrammed to have a certain amount of negativity in our lives. Not the external things that are happening around us, mind you, but the internal way in which we perceive these things. Along with this is the idea that some of us might generate a bit of drama in our lives, even if there is no real drama occurring, simply because our minds are so used to the drama and chaos. In other words, we always have problems, even when we really don’t, simply because our attitude (our addiction?) demands them.
Be grateful for your new set of problems
That’s the whole key right there, in a nutshell: be grateful for your problems. That is–by far–the most potent way to deal with your “problems.” Gratitude is the most powerful prescription for dealing with whatever life throws at you in recovery. Being grateful is almost like a magic trick. You must learn this tool if you’re going to make it in recovery and be happy with your life.
There are always going to be problems. And for some addicts, even if their life is entirely peaches and cream, they will create problems….or invent them in their mind anyway. So the goal is not to eliminate problems. Instead, you must shift your attitude.
Change your mindset to: problems = challenges
This is basic stuff. The glass is half full. When life gives you lemons….you get the idea. What’s critical here is that you must not underestimate the power of gratitude.
And remember: Be aware that you might be generating drama just for the sake of drama. Don’t you want peace in your life? Picture the guru who is meditating amidst a storm of confusion. He attains peace in spite of the external chaos.
Action items – what you can do
1) Shift your attitude. “Problems” become challenges; opportunities.
2) Cultivate gratitude. Remember where you came from, and the problems you left behind when you got clean and sober.
Need a primer on gratitude? Try starting right here.