Let Go and Lent
Last weekend we took a quick trip to Arizona to see my dad and stepmom. The guys golfed and the girls shopped and took in the sun. We had a short, but very fun getaway. The scenery there is absolutely amazing and it was so good to see them! A quick reprieve from Michigan weather, but we did come home to a gorgeous day!
The landscape here in Michigan isn’t anything like AZ, but shocker; I wore the same thing here I had worn in Arizona the day before on my run! A tank top. Who would’ve thought!?
Side note: in my travels last month, I had a monkey cross the road in front of me in Nevis and this past trip, a bobcat. I am not lying. I screamed and about peed myself I was so shocked. I was busy looking out for rattlesnakes but a bobcat?! My only animal encounter here in the Mitten was a skunk or possibly part of one that was somewhere under the hood of my jeep for a week. I never looked, I didn’t really want to know. Believe me, the way our garage smelled - it was there.
Okay, moving on to this week's topic...
My friend gave me a book right before we left that her church was doing leading up to Lent. I got a late start so I just started at the beginning.
The book is called, "Perfectly Yourself - Discovering God’s Dream for You" by Matthew Kelly.
What got me was the tag line on the back, "Don’t give up chocolate for Lent this year." Since I’d already failed horribly in that department, I was more than happy to read a book instead.
I’ve only just started reading, and this is the first thing I wrote down: “How do we bridge the gap between the desire to change and actually creating real and sustainable change in our life?”
I kept going back to that question again and again. Real, sustainable, change.
I thought about how long I'd had the desire to quit drinking. When in all actuality, I didn't have the desire to quit. I just wanted to have a life that included alcohol and drinking wasn’t a problem. So the desire wasn’t really to quit drinking.
The desire was to have a normal relationship with alcohol.
One where I knew when to quit, didn’t blackout, and there weren’t any lies or deceit when I did partake. When I could easily stop at one or two drinks instead of the whole bottle. I would wake up feeling fantastic and not obsessing all day about when my next drink would happen. You know, normal.
Going back to this quote, there would be no sustainable change in my life because I did not have the desire to change the real problem: drinking itself. Stopping altogether would be the only thing that would create lasting and sustainable change.
But the same rules don’t apply to everything. I've kicked myself over and over again when I am weak about something or fail at an attempt to change something. Whether it is abstaining from sweets, skipping a class, shortening my run (cuz I hate it), or not accomplishing enough when it comes to my writing on a given day. I know we all get mad at ourselves for setbacks and failures, but I take it to the extreme because of this theory I carry around inside me.
The parameters I set for myself are black and white and there is no gray area in between.
Sherry’s Theory: You quit drinking, you overcame an addiction and that means you should be able to do anything you set your mind to. Anything. If I fail, I haven’t dug deep enough and therefore I am weak.
Guess how not true that is. In quitting an addiction, there is no room for complacency - which the dictionary defines as, “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievement.”
The minute you become complacent in your recovery, you are entering a danger zone.
If I become complacent in my work, diet, exercise, whatever, nobody gets hurt. No one, but me. My inner critic is screaming at me, “You are so freaking weak, what the heck is wrong with you?! Where is the self discipline you had when you quit drinking?"
It brings me back to the question again, "What am I doing to bridge the gap between the desire to change and the action to do it?"
I'm taking a long, hard look at what my true desires are. What do I really want to accomplish? Not just today in the short term, but in the long term.
I had coffee with a friend today who asked if I recalled telling her to examine what she really wants and to make a list. Then look at what she has to do to take the action to achieve it. I laughed and said, “You know I have to take my own advice, don’t I?!”
This book is making me look at things in a different light. I like that it aligns with the season of Lent.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Hmmm...self examination and reflection.
I do not want to stunt my growth in any way. Quitting drinking for me is not just a one and done deal. There’s more to recovery here, but I am trying to be a little kinder to myself in the process.
I am pretty sure you will hear more from me about this book as I work through it.
I’m hanging out with Otto today and it is so nasty out. A mix of rain, snow, and wind. I guess I will have to be disciplined and snuggle with this little guy today.
I got this.
Peace on your Weekend,