Trust Yourself, You Will Know How to Live
“As soon as you Trust Yourself, You Will Know How to Live.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
One of the most challenging aspects of recovery, at least for me, is trusting myself. I sometimes find it even more difficult than trusting other people. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever trusted myself. Maybe when I was a small child I did, but that was a while ago now.
However I can say that over my time in sobriety, I have begun to trust myself. I have started to trust that I will make the best decisions I can, and when I make a mistake I will give my full effort to remedy the problem. That’s one of the biggest things for me – reminding myself that this journey of recovery is one of progress not perfection, and all I have to do is keep making the decisions that I believe will take me in the direction that I want to go.
So if you’re new in recovery, or even if you’ve been around a while, remind yourself that each new day is an opportunity to do things differently. Not only that, but each and every moment is an opportunity to change. You can start your day over at any time. Yes, the past happened. There is no denying or changing or running away from that stark fact so many of us drank and drugged over for years. But you can have a clean slate whenever you would like. You are not what happened to you, you are what you have overcome.
And when you have successes, which you undoubtedly will, don’t be afraid to get STOKED about even the littlest things. I try to remember to do this on a daily basis, because I can be really hard on myself. Maybe you have a week or a month of sobriety, or you were rigorously honest when you could have lied, or you showed up to work on time for a few days in a row. Celebrate even the smallest moments and movements, because it’s these “little things” that are your major building blocks to your future life. Everything is a gift and an opportunity, even the people and situations that look like obstacles or setbacks.
The next most important thing to do to gain your self-trust back is to ask for help. ASK FOR HELP! Our fellow recovering people are almost all eager to help, because when they help us they’re solidifying their own sobriety and serenity as well as ours. I often battle with feeling annoying, ashamed or like a burden when I need to ask others for emotional or physical support, but that’s just my ego and my alcoholism trying to keep me separate from others. We are not meant to go this alone. We are meant to lean on each other. I particularly recommend talking to your Sponsor before even speaking to your family. My Sponsor is the first and last person I talk to before making decisions and my life is a lot better for it.
One of my favorite sayings in AA is “To have self esteem, you must do esteem-able things.” So we can’t just rest on our laurels and expect our self-trust to build just by not drinking. We have to go out into the world and actively practice the principles of the 12 Step-Program: honesty, openness and willingness being a great three to start with. Set a time and date to talk with your Sponsor or meet up with a friend, and then show up a few minutes early. Be present and friendly when you’re secretary of a meeting or handing out Big Books. Pick up a friend and then go to a meeting (on time.) It’s just little actions, but they add up to big changes.
I will leave you with this:
“Self trust is the essence of heroism.”