Just a Thought


thoughtsFor much of my life I have overachieved thinking that success in the material world would finally quiet that inner-voice telling me I’m a fraud and not good enough. During my recovery from alcoholism and addiction I have worked hard to remove the character defects that block me from my higher power. I have made great strides in accepting the consequences of my past destructive behaviors and using them as an asset to help others. I pay attention to myself. When these character defects again begin to affect my spiritual balance I have simple but effective spiritual tools from the program of Alcoholics Anonymous to help right the ship.

But ego and self-centeredness do not go quietly into the night. The same thoughts and doubts I had about myself  are now emerging as thoughts and doubts about my recovery. I find intrusive thoughts about my self-worth and my value to others invading my day. These thoughts are a persistent announcement that I’m not working an honest program or I’m not thoroughly following the path described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. A lost job or a failed relationship can be used as a bludgeon by my doubts to hammer home these faulty beliefs. My ego tries to portray these events as further proof that the doubts I’ve long held about myself and my recovery are true.

How do I protect myself from the poison I create in my mind?  Straining desperately to achieve preconceived spiritual ideals will only lead to disappointment and falling short and more ammunition for my ego driven self. What I’ve discovered through the hard experience of previous battles is that acceptance is the answer. By accepting myself as I am I have a solid foundation from which to build protection against these destructive thoughts. The 7th Step prayer helps me stay centered with my higher power. Knowing I am accepted by God allows me to accept myself.

Like a peacock spreading its feathers to appear bigger and more powerful than it really is these ego generated thoughts only appear to be strong and convincing. However, they are only thoughts and I long ago learned not to believe everything I think. If I choose I can recognize them when they appear but allow them to pass by without attaching myself to them. They do not define who I am. I do not have to give them the power to drive my actions.

As much as I may care for others I also have to accept that they will not always feel the same. Rejection is difficult for everyone. I can’t allow disappointments in my relationships with others to be the fuel that fires destructive thoughts about my self-worth. The thoughts of others are no more powerful than my own thoughts. Acceptance by God, acceptance by myself and allowing thoughts to pass without assigning them more power than they deserve are the tools I use to weather the storms of everyday life.

 

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