Happy New Year to our Recovery Community!
Today’s post is going to be about how recovery is changing my whole approach to New Year’s Resolutions.
The old me loved New Year’s Resolutions. I would review the past year, start planning my next picture album, tabulate all the final numbers on our annual budget, and then dive in headfirst to a spreadsheet of new goals: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social, Family, Financial…the more categories, the better. Give me another checklist to throw myself into.
Then my husband disclosed his excruciating truth and my entire life, my house of checklists, collapsed. For the past 3 years, I have had very few goals. Maybe “Try to stay married.” If that one doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world.
This New Year’s, for the first time since disclosure, I have felt a tugging that I have tried to deny. The tugging to make some goals.
No no! Goals are the old me. The controlling, achieving, striving me. The bad me. The me that my husband left. Stay as far away from that me as possible.
No no. My only goal is to not make any goals. One Day At A Time. That’s all for me.
But, yesterday, I finally realized that there was a battle going on inside of me. I finally realized that maybe I needed to surrender my white-knuckle grip on NOT being the old me. Maybe there was something inside of me that was ready to make a goal again.
Maybe there is still a part of me that needs to say out loud that not everything about the old me is bad. Maybe in stubbornly refusing to set a goal, I am actually letting fear run the show.
Maybe there is a place in my recovery from trauma, checklists, and control, for some well-placed New Year’s Resolutions.
So how to approach the blank slate of a New Year without losing the wisdom and presence of living One Day At a Time?
How to make goals for the future without forgetting that my identity and worth have absolutely nothing to do with achievements or checklists?
One approach that appeals to me is from Brene Brown. She shares:
At the close of every year I ask myself four questions:
1. What do I want more of in my life?
2. How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?
3. What will make me feel more alive? More brave?
4. At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?
Brene always seems to be able to get right to the heart of what really matters.
This year, as I struggle to reconcile my recovery with my desire to set some goals for the New Year, I want to approach this task as recovery is teaching me to approach every task: with an attitude of openness and a willing heart.
As I attempt to feel in my heart what the right markers are for my 2017 roadmap, I am filled with this truth: that whatever “goals” I come up with must be secondary to my first, my most important goal for this day, this year, this life. To submit my will to His. Every moment.
“God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.” -Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd Step Prayer
What is recovery teaching me that changes my view on the New Year? That His ideas are better than mine. That if I stay open to His hand in my life, and learn to accept gifts in unexpected packages, I will find everything that I really need.
That it’s okay for me to set some goals if I am also willing to let them go.
What are your thoughts on setting goals and living in recovery?
How do you approach the New Year?
This year, I hope that I can make choices that will build a life that is filled with more clarity, more peace, more love, more connection, and less fear. I have no doubt that these gifts will come if I keep working it. Because It Works.
About the Author
Becky is a mother of 5 little rascals and a wife of 15 years. She has always enjoyed learning, growing, and making progress. She is now learning, growing, and making progress in ways that would have made no sense to her 3 years ago. She is grateful that she is not in charge, and is excited that she is becoming something entirely different than what she had previously aspired to. While her life completely changed after her husband’s disclosure 3 years ago, recovery with SAL has been saving her life one day at a time for the past 2 years. She is grateful for one more day to learn and grow and experience this crazy life with a community of beautiful women who understand.