February 17

HOPE MONTH: DAY 17: “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Isn’t this the thing we all know as hope? I think so. And I love the part about being quiet and ready. That is the key for me.

I also want to talk about the idea of “disappointment.” Early in my career as a therapist/counselor/writer, I discovered something that I have talked about at great length. That is the idea of maturity/immaturity in addicts. Their “entitlement” as discussed in a book called “King Baby” and the demanding, whining nature of addicts. We work with them in treatment, we see them in meetings and listen to their ongoing saga of “why me?” “poor me” and on and on.

This doesn’t always change. I know people who are 20 or more years into this thing and still stuck in that dynamic. I see it everywhere. And it is the complete lack of maturity of those persons. Their inability to sit still with disappointment and find some purpose in their situation. We all have this mindset, it is the function of the Ego.

Again, I will talk about the ego and how it works. Basically, it has one function. To solve problems. And because it wants to run our lives, it sees ALL of life as a problem.

SO, what happens is this. No matter how things are going, the Ego is going to find the problems with EVERYTHING. It will be unhappy with life, no matter what is going on. That is why addicts and alcoholics are called CHRONIC MALCONTENTS.

We are never satisfied. So, in order to really step into recovery, we need to learn to live with what appears to be disappointment when life doesn’t go our way. And, by the way, it will NEVER go completely our way, because we are NOT running the Universe, thank God.

Recovery is not about whether or not you use drugs or drink. Recovery is all about growing the fuck up and stopping the whining.  About finding what is compensation in the disappointment life offers for your growth and development.

My biggest teaching is this: Recovery and maturity are best seen in how you handle life’s disappointments. So we need to pay attention to our attitudes and behaviors when things are going in ways that we are not crazy about. This is where the rubber truly hits the road. You can talk all the recovery shit you want, but how you handle life is the real test of whether or not you have done the work.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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