I had to giggle as I was reading comments on my blog recently and one reader mis-read my use of the typical AA quote of “Take what you need and leave the rest” as the above – “Take what you need and rest.” The more I read the comment, the more I had an a-ha moment, hence this post.
Lately, I have actually been heeding more to the latter as I tend to finally recognize the self-care that I need and deserve. I’m careful lately – though leading a busy life, I am careful not to get TOO busy. TOO busy leads to lack of quiet time for myself which can sometimes result in less than stellar results as I have learned. I need order in my day. After over 6 weeks, my 5:30 AM gym class is now a habit – one that I need to start off my day. The hour when I get home is what I use for recovery and spiritual reading. I rely on that time to ask my Higher Power to help me stay sober during the day. That time is full of learning and self-discovery. From there, my meeting at 8 AM brings me the necessary fellowship and face to face support. Hearing stories of “those like me” is comforting, encouraging and enlightening.
From there, the real world kicks in. There’s this thing called *work* that must be dealt with and I have to throw myself into the day as a career woman. What I am learning is to continue my self-care during the workday. I am much better about minimizing the stress and anxiety that go hand in hand with the responsibilities of my job. The work will always be there tomorrow, so instead of driving full force into later hours, I’m learning to stop my day at a reasonable hour and pick it back up tomorrow.
Because of my new wakeup time of 5 AM, I’ve figured out that an earlier bedtime is a must. As much as I am into the book I am reading or hoping to see another episode of whatever show I’m dying to see, I shut it down no later than 11 PM, and usually earlier. It’s important that I eliminate caffeine and/or sugar after 8 PM or so – otherwise, my body clock will keep on ticking long after it needs to shut down.
Weekends are a bit of a different animal; I’m able to completely SLEEP IN most Saturdays, and on Sundays, I don’t need to wake up until 7 AM. This helps keep me much more on schedule during the week – who woulda thunk that the old wives’ tale about going to bed/waking up at approximately the same hour each day helps. It really does help. My favorite new word – naps. When I need a nap, if time and circumstances permit, I take one. Sometimes I wonder why I seem to just be SO tired all the time. I haven’t really figured out the “whys” but I have come to realize that all I can do is take care of ME.
I still believe in the adage of taking what you need and leaving the rest. There are many, many positives about the AA program, but also some “unanswered questions.” The positives far outweigh the negatives, and as I come to progress on a day by day basis, I learn more and more about the “steps” and the “program.” It’s important to me to continue to utilize ALL of my tools in addition to my morning AA meeting – this online forum, the 100 day challenge, email buddies, etc. Tonight I am going to a Women’s Only meeting that has come highly recommended. I’m lucky in that I’m meeting a few of the ladies from my morning meeting in the parking lot so that I don’t have to walk in by myself, especially comforting since I have been told it is a small meeting. But I also now have a new motto – “Take what you need and rest.”
Bottom line – be good to yourselves. Talk to yourselves in a positive way, just as you talk to others. Do small things for others because these will help you feel good about yourselves. Reach out to someone who might need your encouragement. Exercise both your physical muscles and your “sober” muscles. And rest when you can.