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“When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing—just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?”
“It may look like I’m doing nothing, but in my head I’m quite busy.”
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
#6 Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
Pausing to think about it for a moment, sobriety is not doing something. Whatever that something is, the not doing of it…whether it be alcohol or another substance, is sobriety. Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. knew that there was much more to life in sobriety. Jean created WFS and our Thirteen Statements of Acceptance so that we could recover and discover. Sobriety leads the way, and Statement #6 aids in developing an expansive New Life.
For a long time, I assumed that being busy meant that I was living fully. Yet that busyness created more anxiety without really going anywhere. It felt cartoonish with my feet in a circular motion while the rest of me stood still. Alcohol became an escape, and I remained stuck, missing out on life. Our WFS Program booklet reminds us, “Although we only get a one-way ticket through life, we speed through our days as if planning to enjoy them at another time. We live as if we have an endless number of tomorrows.”
Statement #6 gives us direction to savor the stillness. Ordinary moments that once felt boring or uneventful are now in fact, filled with contentment. It feels immensely gratifying to close my eyes at night, knowing that I was a participant in the entire day. Feelings of guilt or regret dissipate as I consciously give myself permission to “do nothing” and simply be. These mini-time-outs refresh my mind and spirit, re-energizing and uplifting me to new heights. This week, carve out time to be present, connect and savor the moment.
Hi 4C Women,
I absolutely, positively love Karen’s message about being still, simply be or do nothing without feeling guilty. WOW! That is a different perspective on living the greatness of the ordinary and so much truth in it. I have to say that I thought I had to be overly busy to create greatness and if I wasn’t, the guilt would come and I would try harder. I now realize that sobriety is meant to be joyful and fulfilling, and being busy to fill up the time is not exactly creating a balance that provides those feelings. However, I understand in the beginning that being busy is very helpful. At least it was for me. After all, I was happy to have my junk drawers and closets cleaned out as I have heard from many women over the years feeling the exact same way. It felt like cleansing and release of the energy built up from resisting the desire to drink or use other substances. It helped quiet the loud thoughts in my head by having something physical to do that didn’t require a huge thought process.
Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t lasting fulfillment or contentment of being sober. It was more of a stepping stone to uncovering and discovering what greatness meant to me on an ordinary day in my ordinary life. I was actually grateful for the ordinary rather than the chaos of my drinking days. My initial thoughts were so negative as I tried to understand how to create this ordinary life into one of greatness. I finally realized that ordinary wasn’t so bad. I began to enjoy the moments of peace but never connected it to this Statement in the way that Karen has expressed herein that life can be both ordinary and great together. Rather than separating them, I am going to combine them to know what is important to me in creating an ordinary life of greatness and how to achieve it. In other words, create a balance, freeing me from useless guilt. I encourage those who are working on gaining sobriety by being busy, to just keep doing what works for you now! This is why Karen’s thoughts resonated with me when she spoke about guilt in doing nothing as I was experiencing guilt in doing too much. I needed and was surprised by the awareness that sometimes there is also guilt in doing too much. Again, it’s all about balance and feeling alright with where ever we are at this moment. I slowly understood that I was blocking the awareness needed to create a balance. I still love organizing yet if it becomes a defense to having balance and appreciating both stillness and hard work, I need to acknowledge that. Always remember that recovery is a process that we need to embrace as we learn and grow.
This week try to be conscious of how you practice Statement #6. What are you discovering about yourself? What awareness do you have of how ordinary fits into the greatness of your life? If you discover what you need to add or remove from your day, think about how you can do that. Create a plan that works for you. You deserve greatness in this ordinary life; however, you define it!
Bonded in uncovering and discovering what greatness in the ordinary means specifically to each of you, Dee
Women for Sobriety is asking women who use the New Life Program to take our 2022 Member Survey! This survey is designed to help WFS understand your needs, experiences, and satisfaction with the New Life Program by asking these types of questions:
- About your substance use and its impact(s) on your life
- About your recovery and your use of the New Life Program
We want to assure you that your responses in this survey are completely anonymous, and cannot be traced back to the respondent. No personally identifiable information is captured. Additionally, your responses are combined with those of many others and summarized in a report to further protect your anonymity.