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Keep Recovery a Priority

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I wrote a song once that said: “I am stuck in the middle of the hard part of my story.” I was 27, and I thought it was a clever lyric for a challenging time. Eleven years later, I see that difficulties back then pale in comparison to what’s happening now. Due to a series of stressful events, I am finding myself anxious one moment and filled with grief the next. Where’s the rainbow here? I have no idea, but what I do know is I’m not making it worse by eating over it, starving myself, or harming my body with excess exercise.

My life is ridiculously big right now—I’m studying full-time and volunteering evenings and weekends. Even so, I keep recovery a priority. Why? Because without recovery, I’d be sharing only resentment with my community. Years of working the Steps, using the Tools, and studying the Traditions have helped tremendously in recent months:

Thanks to Steps One, Two, and Three, I can ask for guidance, take action, and then surrender to my HP.

To reduce stress, I use the telephone Tool while taking regular walks. During my calls, I often talk about what my next right action will be.

My weekly meeting keeps me connected to my fellows. I raise my hand and share about what’s happening in my life. Allowing myself to be seen and known in a group is scary, but rewarding. The friends I’ve made in the rooms are some of my closest companions.

Literature provides inspiration during dark moments. Today, I was feeling anxious and read a few stories from Lifeline. The shares of others lifted my spirits and reminded me I’m not alone.

Practicing Tradition Seven in meetings has taught me how to set healthy boundaries and stick to them. A friend mentioned today that “it’s refreshing to see someone take an active role in government while also allowing time for self-care.”

That was not me before program. I used to be the pudgy chick who did everything with a smile while resenting anyone less active and gorging over it in secret. Now when I feel a burnout coming, I set appropriate boundaries and let things happen as they were meant to happen without my intervention. The best part is that others really do take action when I stop controlling every little detail. Sometimes, Higher Power surprises me with an even better outcome. Shocker, I know!

Lastly, Step Eleven saves me time and again. Whether it’s seated meditation or a quickly whispered “HP, help me,” doing prayer and meditation connects me to something bigger. Sometimes, I just take three deep breaths, or I recite the Third Step Prayer. However Step Eleven happens, it helps me feel safe, and I’m much more useful to others when I feel peace.

On that note, I commit to you that I will say the Serenity Prayer after sending this article. May you all be gifted with serenity today, and find much peace on your path.

— Elizabeth B., Santa Ana, California USA

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