In early recovery, we want relief from our messy situations—right now! But rather than focusing on those situations, we need to do the necessary footwork to heal ourselves. Think of it as filling up your “Sanity Bank.” As you fill up the bank, it yields miracles both inside and around you.
Five kinds of footwork help you make deposits into your Sanity Bank:
- Attending meetings: Go early, stay late, make sober friends (no romance!).
- Working the 12 steps with a sponsor: Meet regularly to work on recovery.
- Reading A.A. and other literature, e.g., Hazelden.
- Praying and meditating daily: Quiet time, read, pray, meditate.
- Service: Help with group tasks, talk to newcomers, sponsor others.
This list shows the difference between a healthy and a sick and life. Surely we want the former.
-Clean, Sober & Clear versus Drugs/Alcohol, Sex & Worry
-Honest, Open & Willing vs. Denial
-Trust God’s Care vs. EGO = Ease God Out
-Turn it Over to Higher Power vs. “ISM” = ”I Shall Manage”
-Love (Trust God/Power) vs. Fear (Victim Mentality)
-Helping Others (no strings) vs. Self-Centered
-Higher Power provides all I need.” vs. ”I must have more of . . .”
But why are we accumulating these “sane” riches? For the day when we need them. When we are down in the dumps, we can make a withdrawal from our Sanity Bank. We may receive comfort from a friend or ask our Higher Power for a different perspective.
Our Sanity Bank often surprises us with unsolicited gifts, similar to interest payments or dividends. We might receive an unexpected answer to a prayer, a positive change in a challenging situation, or money right out of the blue.
Like any system, the Sanity Bank can get out of kilter. Especially during the good times, it’s easy to become complacent. Life is going so well that we “forget” to do our footwork. At such times, our bank’s riches are getting dangerously low, often without our own awareness. Perhaps we:
- Revert to old ways of “looking for love in all the wrong places:” TV binging, excessive partying, seductive games, overeating, or workaholism.
- Stop meeting with healthy others and start hanging out with negative friends.
- Become self-centered and grouchy with our loved ones.
Then, when the shit hits the fan, there’s little sanity left to draw upon. As stinkin’ thinkin’ creeps in, we see troubling events as catastrophic, worry about the future, and indulge our anger about the past.
Fortunately, when you reach this state, you can refill your Sanity Bank through a crash-course of footwork. Go to extra meetings, call your sponsor, give a ride to a newcomer, or memorize a new prayer. Here’s one of my favorite meditations. May it bless your sanity!
May I be at peace; May my heart remain open; May I awaken to the light of my own true nature; May I be healed; May I be a source of healing to all others.
Gigi Langer, PhD has more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery. She is a sought-after speaker on professional and personal growth. Gigi has co-authored five other books and is an award-winning writer. Her latest book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, will be released in March 2018.