It is not always easy to be thankful for your current circumstances. Trust me when I say that I have had and am dealing with my fair share of unwanted situations. Unfortunately, the outcome of my effort is not up to me. If it was, I would have a very different life than the one I am living, but that does not mean that I cannot find joy even when in a season of discomfort.
It has been said that much of our well being as well as our sobriety hinges on our ability to surrender to the situation at hand… to recognize and accept the things we cannot change – whether it is for a season or for a lifetime… and the courage to change the things we can – also for a season or for a lifetime.
I had a hard time when I returned to my hometown as a sober person. I enjoyed living the coastal life and I enjoyed having ample opportunities for hiking and climbing. The area of the country that I moved to is rather flat with extreme weather swinging from bone-chilling cold to life threatening heat. I admit that I went through a season of complaining. I complained about everything I could until I finally got sick of hearing my own broken record. I decided to heed my own advice and do what had worked for me in other cities I had moved to in the past. I got active in researching and reaching out to groups I could find through online and social media channels to create opportunities for myself. As a result, I have spent the past two months of Saturdays on day-hiking trips to neighboring states. I’ve also expanded into canoe and kayak trips and I have to say that I forgot how much I love paddling down a river! In short, the place I hated so much, doesn’t seem so bad anymore. The reason being that I stopped complaining and started trying to find a solution to my madness. I may not have giant mountains to hike and a beautiful ocean within 30 minutes of my current city, but I have found that day trips aren’t so bad. It’s actually quite nice to get out of town even if for a day for some exploration with other nature/outdoor enthusiasts. And I am continuing to find new groups and opportunities for adventures… It’s like that saying in AA… just show up and the rest will take care of itself…
Another area that was a big problem for me was a lack of a good church home. I visited a church with my mom one Sunday and I’ve been going back ever since. I have had to really trust my Higher Power on this one because from the outside – this church didn’t appear to have anything for me. I just knew that I had an overwhelming sense of peace every time I went to the contemporary service and so I continued to go back. Once again, I had a decision to make… keep going to a church that I don’t know why I am going to or find out if there is a reason I keep getting called back. I again, took action…. I signed up for a Newcomer class, found out about volunteering in the church and found that there are classes and groups for people my age along with subject based classes I am interested in… And again… that just show up thing worked and the rest took care of itself.
I mentioned that I got tired of hearing my own broken record earlier in this post. I had a heart to heart with my Higher Power. I told Him the things that I needed to be happy here like regular opportunities for outdoor adventures, a good church home and good friends and/or a significant other. So far the first two have been checked off! But, they would not have been checked off had I chosen to continue to complain instead of choosing to seek out ways to meet my must-haves for a happy Jessica. I had to do the work. I had to reach out. I had to try new things. I had to put myself out there, be willing to drive a couple of hours to hike with people I didn’t know… I had to show up.
If you’re in a season of complaining right now, I challenge you to sit down, grab some tea or coffee or whatever you enjoy and take some time to think about what you can change about your life right now. Maybe you are like me in that you have to find a way to be happy where you are even though it’s not where you want to be. Make a list of your must-haves and then brainstorm things you can do to try and cultivate more of your must-haves in your life. Regardless of your location, interests or schedule… there is a way to get more of what makes you happy in your life… You just have to be willing to do the work… and to show up….the rest will take care of itself.
Some of you might be asking, ‘”What? No spiel on counting your blessings?” No, because I find that when you leave complaining behind and move into the act of solving your problem – you eventually find your blessings and you tend to start counting them too.