Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Compassion for Me

Yesterday was an interesting day for me. I travel a good deal for my work, and a part of having this kind of job is the occasional unplanned business trip. So, when my phone rang yesterday morning, presenting me with an opportunity, I knew that such an unplanned trip was in order.

Despite my knowledge that it was the smart thing to do, I wrestled with the notion for a good little while. I did not want to go. I did not want to miss out on time with Amanda and Shaun at night. I didn’t want to sleep alone in a hotel room. How strange a feeling.

Just a couple short years ago, I jumped at opportunities to be gone from home. Business travel had become my escape. Time to party. Time to forget about life at home, and the fear I had that my life was crumbling before my eyes.

So, yesterday, explaining my situation to Amanda brought tears to my eyes. Not because I was going to be lonely. They were not tears of sadness. No, these were tears of joy. I cried because I knew in that moment I had changed. My heart had changed.

She caught on quickly to what was happening. I guess she has seen the changes too, because she was quick to agree that staying here in Norman, OK for the night was the logical choice. She explained to Shaun that I was leaving unexpectedly, and that it was ok, because that’s what a good provider has to do sometimes.

My day will start this morning about an hour southwest of here. I could have stayed closer to my destination, but chose not to for one simple reason: meetings. When I travel, if I’m to be alone at night, I insist on staying somewhere where I’ll have access to meetings of Narcotics Anonymous. This practice is not negotiable to me. I know myself, and I know there is no substitute for going to a meeting when I’m lonely.

Lonely? Only one night away from home and you are lonely?

Yes, loneliness affects me even during a one night trip. So I make sure there is a meeting to attend. Not only for I attend, but I try to show up early and help set up. It is just another way to feel connected. Another way to fend off feelings of loneliness and isolation.

It’s amazing to me, how effective meetings can be in easing the pain of being away from home. Last night, for instance, the meeting I attended was very small. Three other addicts and a toddler were there. The other three were good friends. Yet I did not feel like an outsider. I was a part of. We all laughed together, and the hour was over much to soon.

After eating dinner, I had a nice conversation with my sponsor. We were talking about some similar challenges we are facing, and he was able to remind me to keep my focus on what is important. Not to get bogged down in side issues that only make attaining my ultimate goal more challenging. By the time we hung up the phone, my serenity had returned.

My final call of the day was to home. An opportunity to visit with Amanda and Shaun. We had a pleasant visit, just talking. Laughter. Talk about plans for tonight. Even more laughter.

As our conversation wound down, I realized how tired I was. It had been a great day in so many ways. As I recounted my day, before going to sleep, I reflected on all the good things in my life.

I realized the day had been special in another way too. For the first time in years, I had brought my bicycle along with me. I had ridden only a short five miles, but it was a ride nonetheless. Something I love so much, but that I simply never did during my worst times of active addiction.

When I awoke this morning, I was slightly disoriented. At first, I wondered where I was. Then I remembered, and thanked God for another good night’s sleep, and the fresh new day that is ahead.

It is important to show compassion toward others. I try to practice compassion toward others regularly. However, just as important, I need to practice showing myself compassion. Putting love into action.

Yesterday I practiced compassion by acknowledging my emotions, making time for cycling, going to a meeting, talking to people I love, and being responsible in my work. Each of these practices allowed me to make the most of my day. They allowed me to be a recovering addict, rather than one who is barely holding on.

Compassion is on my agenda again today. The ability to show compassion to myself and to others is a part of the new way of life that I have found through NA. It is available to us all, it just takes practice.

Have a remarkable day!

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