Today’s topic is more on the tidbit-side, I suppose. I’ve been thinking lately about how I handle “stuff”. It is my hope and belief that I have gotten better, generally speaking, in dealing with situations that I’m either not happy about or that cause me to feel less at ease. I learned early on the road to recovery from alcoholism in my mid-twenties a tool that has done me well under many circumstances: the ability to act “as if”.
Now, before anyone gets knicker-twisted, I’m not suggesting brushing feelings under the rug, ignoring unpleasant issues that arise, taking crap from folks, or being a doormat for dirty shoes. Acting “as if” is more directed towards those situations that are for the moment creating havoc (requiring acceptance) and also situations that perhaps are good for us, but we don’t like them in the beginning. This is the context I learned the tool in: getting sober was not fun, but it was necessary…for me.
I’d attend twelve-step meetings begrudgingly, commonly saying this in my mind, “Oh, great, nothing like hitting a meeting on a Saturday night, wooohoo, what fun (no exclamation point, but lots of sarcastic emphasis). As the first few months progressed, and I managed to stay sober a day at a time, the chip that resided on my shoulder wasn’t falling off. Then I heard an “old timer” (one of the guru’s with a gazillion years clean) say, “Ya know, sometimes you have to act “as if” you enjoy attending these meetings. Eventually, you may find that not only are you feeling better but you actually do like coming.”
This person was 100 percent correct. I knew I had to change, but I resisted the change at the same time. Once I started acting “as if” I enjoyed people sharing their experience, strength, and hope I started to hear what they had to say. My attitude followed suit…and with that my recovery began to take flight and mean something. Those same meetings that I scoffed at became my refuge filled with people I adored and couldn’t wait to talk to and give a hug to each week.
What started out as acting became my reality, and a change that I initially didn’t believe I could endure, a blessing.
Do you have any situations in your life where acting “as if” might be helpful?
Hope your Tuesday was Teeeeeeeeerrific!