Last night I went to a much needed meeting. I hadn’t been to one since Saturday, and it’s amazing how quickly my thinking turns. There was no impending doom of drinking, but when my thoughts turn more selfish less selfless I know it’s time to get my butt to the rooms.
The best part about the meeting was that someone else got me there. All it took was one text message: Is there a meeting at 5:30. I was promptly and positively informed of the time and location of a group I’d never visited.
There were familiar faces in the room and the chairs formed a circle. I always like when the chairs are in a circle. It feels personal. It also feels like a stereotypical 12-step meeting…like in FightClub. Or 28 Days.
It started with a 5 minute meditation. I used to think meditation was hocus pocus stuff–seriously. It was a firm belief of mine that anyone who practiced meditation was full of “it,” or slightly mad as a March hare. Now, it’s a practice I value, respect, and work on daily.
The lights in the room were turned off and a candle sat in the middle of us on the floor. There’s something undeniably magical about candlelight. Meditation is not something I’ve “mastered,” (if that’s even proper mindfulness terminology) so I keep it real simple; usually breathing in love and breathing out patience. Anyway..the lights turned on the leader read from the 24 Hour book. The gist of the reading was “welcoming difficulties.” At first, I thought, huh? Then I realized that sobriety has completely redefined my idea of difficult, and there are two forms.
1) The ones I bring upon myself — I can take a traffic jam and turn it into a catastrophe. I can launch a diatribe against one person for several no good reasons. It’s not difficult to make a situation even more difficult. It’s actually my nature to take aspects of life and transform them into obstacles…but the program has given me tools to counteract the titanic thoughts. Perspective…that’s the tool I’m thinking of. It allows me to realize that some situations in my head are just not true.
Life on life’s terms, however, is full of uncontrollable adversities. This is difficulty type 2:
The world can be a cankerous cold habitat…and/or completely laden with challenges. I don’t welcome anyone dying. That goes without saying, but I said it anyway. I do, however, welcome difficulties that give me strength, and those difficulties take form in infinite numbers of ways. Yesterday I went in for a follow up on a job I’m thrilled and nervous to start. Holding my own in terms of wages and displaying my knowledge without panicking was difficult! I made it. I made it through friends’ deaths and family illnesses and times where my heart feels like it’s going to drop out the bottom of my chest. I’m not saying that life gets easier, but I read a quote once that said:
“Hope is the key that unlocks the door to discouragement.”
For Difficulties type 1, I need to recognize my own defects. For Difficulties type 2, I need to remember and hold onto the message above.