I watched a man give a talk tonight. It looked like any other talk I would imagine, except with a large, paper pad on an easel, instead of a podium.
He proceeded to ask the crowd, "Who here thinks that they can draw?" After a glance around the room, in his English accent he stated, "I would dare say about one percent of you has raised your hands. What if I told you that you were wrong, and I could prove that all of you can draw?" (snickering)
As the program went on, he had the audience following him one stroke at a time; a circle here, a squiggly line there. By the end of the program, every member had drawn something similar; they been shown that they could indeed draw -- regardless of what they had previously believed.
He then urged the group to examine a negative belief about themselves, and rethink it. He stated that just earlier, most of them thought they could not draw at all, and yet, he proved that they could -- they saw it. He went on to say that any perception of ourselves can be, within reason, changed.
This is a very difficult thing to do in recovery, especially because so many of us have deep rooted beliefs based on false evidence. "They are better than me." "I suck." "I only wish I could do that." "I'll never be able to stop drinking." This "evidence" is often only given to us by ourselves, not by someone else. And to make matters worse, every time we fail, we take that as proof instead of an opportunity to learn and grow.
I don't know about anyone else, but that's a lot of what recovery has been like to me. Changing my perception of what I can and cannot do. Rethinking the old me, changing the old me, proving that I can change my beliefs about me. And slowly, I have been.
I am no longer the jerk a-hole that deserves the misery I put myself through. I no longer think I'm some unlovable prick. I believe that I have the ability to be happy; to find happiness; deserve happiness; to make sound judgements; to hope.
This has not been an easy path. And I still have a LONG way to go, I realize that. But I'm beginning to believe that with patience and persistence, I will get there.
This path is changing my mindset. I am indeed growing. Don't get me wrong, I still want to pound my head into the ground sometimes, even bury myself at some moments; but I'm able to recognize that more easily, little by little.
Gratitude - Day 7 (Saturday)
One) I am grateful to have met the many people in recovery. Off of the top of my head, I can count ten people that I ran into this evening, all of whom I genuinely like, and all that have come from various meetings.
Two) Today, I was able to take care of some business around the house. I didn't get all of it done, but I made great progress. This isn't something I would have even cared to do in my past, I would have simply ignored it, and suffered the consequences. But today, I proved I could make a good choice, and follow through with it. And although some days are much easier than others, I am no longer bound to the old idea that all of my choices are bad, and that I suck because of it.