We who have to deal with alcoholism in a friend or relative are truly lucky. Even in this day and age of forward thinking there are many many who are unaware that life has three components; physical and emotional and spiritual. What we have been through to get here has most likely taken us through depths of fear, sadness and exasperation. But we are the lucky one’s who have learned that these three things make up our lives and life itself. Attributed to CS Lewis the quote ” You don’t have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. ” ultimately explains what we learn here. For those that haven’t been in the program for very long, give it time…
This is where those who have worked in the program a long time can be of great help. Listen to them we can learn something from everyone about who we are or…who we are not. Knowing ourselves is part of our journey.
Through the years we come across things that help us get through our day to day living. Reminders such as “The 3 C’s” help. “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it” is the most familiar to me. I recently heard it restated as “The 4 C’s.” ‘I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it , I can’t cure it but, I can care for myself.’
As we first learn to care for ourselves and take care of these three aspects of our lives, to treat ourselves in a way that at first might seem selfish and extravagant, it feels odd. But it won’t always feel that way.
Taking the inventory of how we are doing on these three levels can in many ways facilitate us taking better care of our whole selves.
Caring for ourselves doesn’t mean we are selfish. Over time we begin to realize that the damage done from years of living with an active alcoholic or addict or even someone suffering with mental health struggles can tempt us to believe that “they” must come first. Gradually we learn that we can not care for anyone else if we don’t properly care for ourselves first. That means taking care of all three aspects of who we are as souls with a body. Working this program does that. It allows us to see with different vision a vision separate from the disease that has wrecked havoc on our lives and many lives before us.
In the beginning it can be a struggle to even get out of bed, or care for ourselves or our health, our physical being. Dragging our butts out of the house to a meeting once a week to aid in our mental well being seems daunting and in some cases even impossible, the root of the disease has gone so deep that we think we are betraying those we care for by giving ourselves an hour or two in a week to care for our mental well being. And then there is the spiritual aspect. Those of us struggling with physical and mental care can’t even fathom spending 15 minutes alone with ourselves let alone and invisible Higher Power.
Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery and other 12-step based programs give us tools to address all three little by little in just the right mixture.
As we begin to traverse the holiday season know that you are not alone. There are many kindred spirits that are but a phone call, a web page or a text message away. Utilize your sponsors, utilize your meetings – online or in your community.
As always, “Keep coming back!”