A bunch of years ago I heard the then sheriff of Hinds County Mississippi comment something like “Whether you are a corporate executive or a prisoner doing long time, each person has 24 hours in their day and will make decisions about how to use that time.”
I attended recovery meetings for a while with a fellow who always commented that he considered each day he stayed sober as one day closer to his next drunk. He was a very unhappy man.
Folks such as Anne Frank are often used as examples of finding meaning and happiness under the most adverse of circumstances. With the recent publication of her unabridged diary that contain the less perfect side of the young woman, I find her even more human. Ultimately, I see in folks such as Anne Frank, not from the perspective of perfection, but having a desire to live in a glass that is half full and not half empty world.
In recovery, I also have a choice. I can either focus on the things I do not practice today, such as drinking or feeding my eating disorder, or I can focus on the freedom that comes when living in recovery. I can focus on the problem or the solution. I can tell you about what is wrong in my life or have an attitude of gratitude for the positive.
I have come to believe that when I choose to focus on the negative, it is most often because the problem can be a comfortable place to dwell. If I complain about not having the time to do x, y, and z, that can be too easy as I am not challenged to seek solutions to a hectic and over-scheduled life.
But I am also coming to see that the longer I stay in recovery, the less comfortable, living in those problems becomes. That is, the negative, the playing victim, resentments cease to be the “easier, softer way” of living. Or as one of the AA Promises relates “our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.”
To me, that change is a cause for celebration and one of the true benefits of recovery.