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

Acceptance and Remodeling

I’m once again sitting in the lobby of my hotel writing this morning. After a little coffee entered my system I noticed a change in here.

This hotel has recently undergone a complete renovation. Guest rooms have been completely updated with new everything. Same with the lobby, where new flooring and furnishings have helped make this older hotel feel young again.

I had not really noticed, but the one thing that hadn’t been updated is the woodwork. The entire lobby is finished in beautiful woodwork. Yes, it’s beautiful, but also dated, giving the otherwise modern decor a distinct 90’s look.

So, in an apparent effort to update the woodwork’s look, a stain has been applied to a small area of the woodwork. I can tell from what has been done thus far that the change is going to be a very labor-intensive project. It will be hard work, but necessary if the hotel wants to survive.

The work of attracting business travelers requires a never ending effort to make guests feel at home. As a seasoned business traveler, I can well attest to to the fact that we are a group of people who are both spoiled and self-sacrificing at the same time. Willing to spend many nights a year away from home, family, and friends; yet expecting hotels to make us feel pampered.

So, hotels are in a constant scramble to attract our business, and the seemingly never ending stream of money from our expense accounts. Competition is fierce. Updates are inevitable.

Sure, the hotel owners could go the cheap route. They could avoid changes and modernization. They could allow the hotel property to go downhill, and eventually lose its brand. Over time, it would fall apart, rates would fall, and value would be lost.

Over the past couple of years, my life has been under renovation like this hotel. Stopping my use of drugs was only the beginning. It was like evicting an unruly hotel guest, making a modest improvement, but it was only the beginning. That “unruly guest” in my life was the obvious thing wrong with me.

By stopping my use of drugs I took care of the most glaring issue in my life. However, I needed to take a much closer look at my “hotel,” my life. The twelve steps allowed the renovations to begin in earnest. Some character defects in my life have been obvious. Like lumpy mattresses or frayed carpet in a hotel guest room, these defects obviously require my attention.

Others, though, are more subtle. Like all this woodwork in the hotel lobby, some of the changes I need in my life are not immediately apparent. Take my defect of people-pleasing for example. On the outside, this defect can present itself as an appealing, even positive personality trait. Yet left unchecked, people-pleasing begins to affect all areas of decision-making in my life. Motives become jaded, leading me down the path that leads to manipulating people. Leading to addict behavior.

So, in recovery, my life requires close scrutiny. I must look closely at all such defects. It is that ongoing scrutiny that gives my recovery power. The power to change me from the inside out.

Like a hotel, one round of updates will never be enough. Vigilance will be required to make these updates in my life effective. As I continue working the steps, I will likely uncover other areas of my life that require updating. I’ll discover “woodwork” in my life that looks just fine, but is holding me back. Keeping me in the past. Stunting my growth.

By the time I come back to this hotel, all of this woodwork will most likely be changed. I may not even notice the change. I certainly won’t see all the hard work that went into the changes.

Not long after this renovation is complete, there will be more updates at this hotel. They will never cease.

The same holds true for me. When one round of steps is completed, I will begin my next round. Then another, and another. The process will never end.

Just as renovations are just a part of the hotel business, steps are part of the recovery process. When I consider the changes the steps have made thus far, I am happy to make the ongoing investment in myself. That investment is leading me to a new way of life. A life that is not only free from the influence of drugs, but one that is guided by spiritual principles.

Have a remarkable day!


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