This entire year has been challenging for me, and I often feel like I've lost my serenity. It's easy to criticize myself for not setting boundaries or doing the work, but that's not what happened. The short story is: I'm learning how to walk around on earth with people who aren't in recovery. Running away to a deserted island might indeed keep my serenity in tact, but it isn't practical. Plus, my husband and son won't go with me. I checked. Instead, I'm using these tricks to get my serenity back.
1. Work With A Sponsor
I am very smart - book smart. I lack street smarts, and that's what I'm learning in recovery. My sponsor is my lifeline, and I wouldn't make it without her. She helps me reframe negative outlooks, communicate without hostility, and think of alternative solutions. I talk with my sponsor weekly, I'm finally comfortable enough to trust her a little more.
2. Spill Your Secrets
I often tidy up my mess before I talk to my sponsor. I look for slogans to support my actions or talk about what I've learned to help me with my crisis de jour. Basically, I try to be like a self-cleaning oven. This week, however, I journaled everything that was bothering me and sent it to her. I didn't check for typos or consistency. Sentence fragments, misspellings, and feelings of all things were there out in the open for her to see.
This turned out being a great tool. She took some time to look over my list and make sense of things I couldn't. She had notes and suggestions, and she helped me make an action plan.
3. Sort Your Problems Into Hula Hoops
My sponsor is very kind and wise. She often reminds me of tools I've heard in the rooms, but this week's tool was brand new for me. It is so profound that I have to share it with you. She told me to imagine three hula hoops:
I can imagine standing in the blue hula hoop. I only have that much space to fit everything I need to have serenity for the day, and some examples include:
- Eating healthy foods
- Taking time to read and journal
- Keeping my house clean (because it really drives me crazy)
The pink hula hoop represents problems that are easy to weed out. I struggle with control issues and being over-responsible, so I regularly have to see if what I am worried about is really any of my business. Ergo, many of the things in my journal were really not my problems.
Finally, she told me to put other problems into a third hoop, the green hula hoop. This hoop is filled with things I find deeply troubling but cannot change. This actually gave me some peace because it allows for time to grieve over some of the things I find unacceptable.
Before I start each day, I can sort things I'm anxious about into my hoops. At the end of each day, I'll review how I did, and next week, I'll share my progress with her. Sometimes the simple, tangible tools work best, especially when we are really struggling. Being a concrete thinking creative type, I'm heading out to the dollar store to buy a new hula hoop and some sidewalk chalk. Writing this out on my drive way will really help "cement" this process for me. :)
Will this solve all of my problems? No. It isn't meant to. It's simply a way to clear my mind of things I have no control over. It eliminates mental clutter of sorts which makes room for serenity.