Positivity in Recovery - How much is TOO much?

Positivity in Recovery - How much is TOO much?

This week's guest blogger: Edrie S. brings us a fresh take on positivity and her experiences in addiciton recovery. Read on for a compelling perspective:

Can we become TOO positive in recovery?

Not so long ago, I called my sponsor and her first question to me was this:  "Are you suffering?"

Let me set the scene. I had a short but mighty relapse with alcohol that ultimately led to be being 5150'd. Not just 5150's, but I found myself sitting in a geriatric psych ward due to lack of beds in the adult unit. Was I suffering? What was interesting was that my first instinct was to laugh and make light of it. I paused after her question to reflect on my circumstances and answered back, "Yes, I am suffering."

Page 133 of the Big Book tells us: "We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn't do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence." So why not laugh in the face of an event such as I described? 

While it is important that we allow ourselves to experience joy, it is also imperative that we can distinguish between moments of joy and freedom from suffering and situations that are directly caused by dabbling in our addiction.  In recovery we learn to to recognize self-imposed misery versus life on life's terms. Through my relapse I did, in fact, manufacture my own misery. I also witnessed the suffering of others in the unit and prayed to my Higher Power for ways to help ease the misfortunes of my fellows in the ward. 

Helping others, being of service, is what keeps us sober. I was in the hospital for a total of 3 days and in that time I was given the opportunity to hold hands, push wheelchairs and comfort family members while I waited for my time inpatient to expire. What a gift and I'm happy to say that I haven't had a drink since. 

So is it possible to be too positive? I invite others to share their opinion and experience. For me, I believe that as long as I am authentic and living by the guidance of my higher power, I will be able to recognize serenity in the face of suffering (equanimity) as well as freedom from the grip of addiction. For that I give thanks to the program daily.

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