I felt pretty terrible this weekend – a stomach bug. A sleepless night, at the end of which I lost the fight and thew up my dinner; then ate breakfast and lost that, too; then gave up and ate nothing else (with the OK from another qualified Greysheeter, of course) for the rest of the day. I was really sick like a dog, barely able to move, stomach cramps and nausea. Maybe that condition had something to do with the way my thoughts went, which is what I want to share on.
I wondered what I would leave behind if I were to die tomorrow. What impact have I had on other people? How has my being there made someone else’s life better? I thought, what a sad life if all people can say of me after I die is, “She worked really hard on herself.” That whole thing of self-improvement… this thought brought it into perspective.
Sometimes I lose sight of why I am trying to improve myself. I am a very self-centred person. If I keep getting better and better… to what end am I working on that? The issue is my usefulness to others. If I’m addicted and using, then I’m also using and abusing people. THAT is the issue. When I quit abusing food and got abstinent, I didn’t automatically quit using and abusing people. I have to learn now how to relate to other people, how to respect them as individuals, how to see them as “people” and not “things” to get my way. This means learning how not to manipulate.
I’m nowhere near where I want to be with that. I still struggle with my relationships, but if I think about it rationally – there are lots of ways that I now, because I am abstinent, serve other people and make their lives better. I help in church where I can; I volunteer at the local Nightshelter; my job is in a charity that helps thousands of people, and I have a part in enabling that to happen. My life is not just about me.
I can really get into a guilt mode about my self-centredness, but to keep it in perspective: I am a work in progress, and while I admit that I am nowhere near as giving or loving as I would like to be, I have come an awfully long way from where I was. The foundation of this path is my abstinence.