April 14 – Taking Stock/Gratitude Step Four

It’s nice to be needed. That feeling of being indispensable is what keeps so many of us workaholics going to the point of, and perhaps even past, burnout. We want to be wanted. We like to think that no one could do as good a job as us, no one could ever replace us. We want to be irreplaceable. Surely if anyone ever were to replace us, they would fall short. Such is the thinking of the workaholic perfectionist. This thinking is flawed, however. Not only are we all replaceable when it comes right down to it, but at what expense does our success and achievement come? What is this behavior costing us?

waterfalls during sunset

On today’s topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“There is no quick fix to any addiction, and workaholism, rushaholism, busyaholism, and careaholism are addictions. Part of the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’’ of the addict is to want a quick fix. There is none. Even wanting the quick fix is part of the disease.

The twelve steps work, and it is possible for us to live serene, happy, and productive lives. But recovery takes time. There are many hills and valleys along the way, and if we keep going to meetings, calling our sponsor, and working the program, we find that we do have a connection with a power greater than ourselves, and our lives get better.”

It’s funny, because when I first started therapy and began my journey from a place of anxiety and overwhelm toward wellness, I thought of it as one more task to complete. Let’s get this over with, quickly finish and I’ll cross this off my to-do list and get back to life as normal. The problem, of course, is that my life was not normal. I was in a place in my life where I regularly overcommitted at work and then killed myself trying to get it all done. Add to that the fact that I was trying to maintain a perfect exterior, a perfect home, be the perfect housewife who cooked dinner and was always nice to her husband, the perfect daughter, etc.  and you can see how I began to feel like my life was falling apart. I felt like my nerves were frayed. I had a permanent fake smile plastered on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I experienced moments of happiness too, but true contentment never found me. I was quite dissatisfied with the way I was living. Coming back from that place and learning how to live a healthy normal life takes time and effort. Of course it’s not going to happen overnight.

The more I write this blog and heal, the more I realize how everything in life is a process. Things unfold slowly over time. There’s no way to rush to the finish line, and why would you want to anyway? One of my favorite quotes has always been “Life is a journey, not a destination,” but I have always struggled to fully internalize that quote and live my life by it. Enjoy the path you are taking. Enjoy each day as they come, for the present is the only time in which we truly live, and one day you will look back across the passage of time and see how far you have progressed. Be grateful for every day and the small changes you make, for one day they will add up to you being the person you set out to be. You will find yourself living the life you always envisioned.

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