It’s the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t usually make formal resolutions, but there are parts of my personality that I’m working on improving. At the Alanon meeting I attend we say the 12 Steps together each time we meet. Step 4 is, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” One of the things I’ve had to work on the hardest in my own recovery as POA is my tendency to worry. I don’t know if it comes from being raised as the child of an alcoholic or not, but as far back as I can remember I’ve had a hard time enjoying the present because I’ve been so busy worrying about the future. I assigned myself the role of “fixer” in my family of origin, little knowing that it was a problem that was beyond my control to fix. I tend to think about the worst-case scenario and then worry that it will happen. I read somewhere that when we imagine bad things happening, our mind doesn’t know that it’s fiction and reacts as if it were really happening. My poor mind, I've put it through a lot. Here is the definition of worry according to Dictionary.com: “to torment oneself or suffer from disturbing thoughts.” The phrase that got me was “torment oneself.” That pretty much says it all. At first I was appalled to learn that I was the one responsible for my anxiety, not the circumstances of my, or anybody else’s life. Nobody is causing my suffering; I’m doing a fine job of that myself. The good news in that is, that if I’m the one causing it, surely I can work on controlling it.
I don’t know what 2013 will bring but I’m going to do my best not to let worries about the future steal my present. I have a long way to go in controlling my worrisome thoughts, but I have to remind myself of the phrase “progress, not perfection.” It took years to build my habit of worrying, and it’s going to take awhile to conquer.
I found the following quote and thought it was appropriate as we enter a new year. I think it’s better that I don’t know what the future will hold, and it sure won’t do any good to fear what that may be.
I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into
the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than a light
and safer than a known way.”
M. Louise Haskins