I don't feel much like picking up on my earlier train of thought...no I'm a bit worn out on it already. I will say though that I am intentionality going through a bit of a change...really a series of small changes in how I approach and live my life (IE: my recovery).
Before, I pretty much focused my daily life on the therapy that I had committed to coming out of my suicide attempt and getting/learning how to stay sober. I focused the last five years primarily on my recovery from alcoholism and addiction...trust me, I needed every single minute of that time to make the changes necessary to continued sobriety and growth. As time has gone on I started to re-focus that recovery not just on staying clean and sober but also how to deal with my emotions and develop a lifestyle that positively encompasses my recovery but is not a slave to it. I wanted to live my life, not feel like I was a permanent"patient" until the end of time...
More and more that lifestyle involved working with and helping others who struggled with their alcoholism and addiction. That still continues to this day and is one of the most rewarding aspects of my life today, it has changed me forever. In living and growing it has just been natural for me to develop a more spiritual connection with my Creator and as a result I had a profound spiritual experience. I became a Follower of Jesus Christ. And that has focused me even more on learning to give even more selflessly then ever before.
Some of my life hasn't really changed so much as it has re-invented itself or I've just incorporated a bit more complexity to my wanting to serve others. I wanted to find a way to live a lifestyle of serving, not just help others in a certain way or certain time....I really see it as a case where at this stage in my life I am a little more capable of doing more now that I have some stability and consistency in my day to day living. Early in my recovery from alcoholism I just was not capable of helping others very much, it was all I could do just to stay clean and sober each day.
I realize I'm struggling a bit here to describe how I've been transformed in this way but that's OK, I have and I didn't have a whole lot to do with it actually: that is where I believe that God comes in. I am now able to focus less on thinking about MY recovery day to day and focus more on serving others. And in the course of doing that work, of serving others, my recovering is being taken care of as a natural off-shoot of this new service-focused lifestyle, again I would attribute that to a "God thing"...
I still do all the same recovery oriented stuff, meeting with other alcoholics/addicts a regular basis, taking stock daily of my behavior and correcting it if I begin to revert to those old behaviors. I share regularly with others my experience strength and hope...all of those things are very important to me personally and in maintaining my continued recovery. I don't see that ever really changing and I'm happy about that because I enjoy living when I'm involved in life that way.
What has changed in me recently is that I have defined my spiritual beliefs more specifically as being a Follower of Christ. I truly aspire to live my life like he did. It is truly an impossible task because let's face it: he was the Son of God and therefore perfect. I'll, of course never come close to perfection but it is something to shoot for: to serve. I really feel an incredible, powerful force pulling me to serve others.
In my recent couple of visits to the nursing home where I am volunteering I was really moved but what I saw there and subsequently learned there as well. They need help in the worst way and it really struck a nerve with me. This confirmed to me that it was indeed what I have been feeling called to do. I was concerned about what I had to offer to them, what could little old me possibly do that would help anyone staying at a nursing home.
I need not have worried...there was an endless supply of opportunity for me to be of service so that really starts tomorrow with a full afternoon there.
So I guess the difference isn't that I'm actually doing more now to help others, it's that I am no longer limiting my scope to helping just addicts and alcoholics....and at first I was really frightened by that prospect. I had been a loner for such a long period of time that I was pretty nervous about inter-acting with folks who weren't addicts. At least with alkies and addicts I was familiar with them and their lifestyle so I felt a bit more comfortable. Now I was going to be working and dealing with "normal" folks, in the "real" world and their problems!? Whoa, that was a totally new ballgame for me and in my mind I wasn't very confident that I could "go there".
Yet I didn't need to worry because it has been happening for a while now and this particular transformation has been taking place gradually, all on it's own (Read: God Thing!). It's exciting and yea, still a bit scary because I am venturing into new territory each and everyday but I feel really empowered to keep plugging along. I can't say that this is how I always expected my recovery life to go but I couldn't be more grateful and pleased so far with the direction we are heading.
That all was rather jumbled in my head so I'm praying that it made at least a minimal bit of sense out here in the blog post world! I am really excited as this new way of serving starts to take shape and I can't wait to see it unfold. I am not under any illusions that it will always be smooth ride. I know there will be bumps along the way but plain and simple we will just stay focused on serving others and keep moving forward...