By: Mike Murphy, Manager of Alumni Services

Being a person in recovery that also happens to work in treatment affords me the opportunity to experience a wide array of thoughts and emotions. But I have to say out of all of them, humility must be my favorite. Not only because I am usually able to laugh at myself over it, but because often I can learn something from it. Or reinforce something I already know and should probably be doing a better job at. And this most recently came to play during a quiet group at Olympus Recovery.

It started like so many of my groups at Olympus Recovery. After spending some time sharing my story with the clients, I went on to tell them what they could come to expect from myself and The Alumni Department. Everything was moving along just as planned. Now came the time to see if anyone had any questions. And I figured I would get the same old same old. Nothing out of the ordinary, perhaps even a zinger from someone feeling like they got a little razzle dazzle in them that day. And for the most part, it was par for the course. Until the last person raised their hand. She had been quiet and in the corner the whole time. If I’m being honest, I thought she might have been asleep a couple of times. Well, she was not asleep. I think she was plotting on how to completely ambush my smooth sailing exit of a group.

“So… You’ve told us about you and what your department does. BUT, what do you do for yourself? Like, what do you do that keeps you sober and mentally well? Because after all, if you can’t even take care of yourself, you’re no good to us.”
Well played.

The truth of the matter is, for something I preach to clients about on a week in and week out basis, I can suck at. Which is dangerous territory considering there is a pretty high relapse rate for people working in treatment. It’s really easy to work a program through others and forget about your own. And a few months ago, I started to notice just this. My meeting attendance had slipped, service work was all but nothing, and self-care was laughable. It’s not the first time, and probably won’t be the last time.

Each time this has happened it amazes me at how little thought I must put into what the problem is. “Why is this happening? What am I doing wrong?” When all I need to do is ask, “what am I NOT doing?” And every time it’s been the same. I have stopped doing what has worked and what has gotten me this far.

That weekend I decided to start going back to the 7am meeting at “The Easy Does It” in Lake Worth. I had been going for a little bit and always enjoyed it. But admittedly, I had gotten lazy and decided laying in bed was more fulfilling. After the meeting, I would go straight to Publix and do my food shopping. There is something oddly zen about a Publix that early in the morning. A meeting and Publix. It may not sound like much, but it is. I also got myself back into the habit of reading every day. Specifically in the morning. The book I picked up is titled, “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday. I have attached a YouTube clip to this month’s newsletter for you to get a feel for it. That little bit of reading and contemplation each morning has proven to be hugely beneficial. And like a lot of other things in recovery, once I got those back in my routine, other better habits followed suit.

Why do we stop doing what works for us? Is it complacency? Laziness? A belief that we have found a better, easier way? I’m sure the answer to this varies from person to person. But one thing remains. We need to remain aware of when things start going backwards. And start getting back to the basics of what got us to where we not only wanted to be but NEEDED to be. Because at the end of the day, if we cannot even take care of ourselves, how can we expect to be of any help to others? Which as all my fellow 12 steppers know, is a big part of what we do.

Seriously, though. Go try grocery shopping right when the store opens. It’s the closest thing you can come to an edible library.