I haven’t been feeling very free lately. This week has been a struggle of falling back into my old patterns of workaholism and anxiety. I have slowly stopped eating as well and haven’t been getting enough sleep over the past few days, waking each night from comically bizarre yet nerve-rackingly stressful dreams. At work, I feel constricted by endless meetings that keep me from the growing list of projects for which I am responsible and feel buried beneath. I also feel pressured by the demands of caring for myself—finding time to cook and eat healthfully, to relax and enjoy leisure time, and to not feel rushed. Somehow it seems there are never enough hours in the day. I honestly don’t understand how people with children do it. Yes, freedom is something I feel very little of this week.
On the topic of freedom, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Freedom begins within. Addictions are the antithesis of freedom. By definition, addictions are anything that have control of our lives and are progressive and fatal. Being addicted to doing too much is no different from being addicted to alcohol or drugs. We are hooked, and we can die from these workaholic behaviors.
Freedom from addictions is an important first step toward personal freedom. In Twelve-Step circles we often hear that ‘These addictive diseases are the only fatal diseases for which recovery is guaranteed if we do our work.’ When we are addicted, we have lost our minds and hearts to the disease. As we start to work a recovery program, we begin to have a new appreciation of the word freedom.
My recovery work affects others, whether I know it or not. Freedom is a possible dream.”
Of course, recovery is not perfect. It is easy to fall back into old patterns and routines. My workaholism and anxiety have had control of my life and well-being (or lack thereof) for so long that of course it is going to be difficult to move past them. There will be setbacks or even just times when it is harder than others. The important thing is that I stay mindful, diligent, and keep working toward establishing that freedom from my disease. I will overcome. People will always try to push me to do more and give more. I must stay strong and remember the reason why I am doing this: It is for myself, because I am worth it. Life is meant to be enjoyed. When I look back on the past month and a half since I started my journey of healing, I see how much good it has brought to my life. True change that happens deep in your heart and soul takes place slowly over time with a dedication to consistency. I will get there one day. The important thing is that I keep going.