My moods are like anyone else’s. They come and go, sometimes without any real reason. The past few days I’ve had a hard time accepting all that addiction and mental illness has taken from me. Essentially all of my 20s have been spent battling addiction or anxiety. I have a tenancy to catastrophize my situation by thinking I’m so much worse off than anyone else or that everyone else is so much happier than I am. I tell myself, “If only I had this…if only I could change that.” But the reality is that happiness begins inside of you and is not dependent on outside circumstances.
The recent, tragic loss of Robin Williams only goes to show us that even many celebrities who “have it all” are still lonely and unhappy. No matter how many times I tried telling myself to snap out of it and stop thinking negatively, nothing ever worked until today. I was reading through Alcoholics Anonymous and read a passage that I’ve probably read a hundred times, but for some reason it struck me today. “Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.” That was the secret I needed. I get the most anxious, the most agitated, and the most unhappy about my life when I stop thinking of others and only focus on me. When I get obsessed with how I’m feeling, what my wants are, and what I deserve out of life, I can only go downhill from there. It is nearly impossible to be grateful when you are only thinking about yourself. As long as I depend on my myself for my satisfaction and happiness, I will constantly be left unfulfilled. If I depend on material things or even people for my happiness, at any time my happiness can be taken away. It is only when I depend on the consistent source of love from God that I can feel comfortable in my own skin and can reach out to others and help improve their lives. This, the Big Book says, is our ultimate purpose and the only way that we will remain sober.
How much of my energy is focused on myself?
How often am I thinking of others and helping them to meet their needs?