A full day of rest. That’s what my new sponsor in 12 Step recovery asked me to begin doing immediately on a weekly basis. Of course, I had to qualify what that meant, because my brain is so geared towards constantly having to be doing something.
There really isn’t ever a day in my life where I simply relax and kick back, or referred better in today’s modern terms as set aside for, “Netflix and Chill.” I really struggle simply being still. Instead, I’m typically driven to a life of doing. Whether it is a volunteer opportunity, yard work, some other recovery work, cleaning, helping people over the phone, writing for this blog, or something else, I keep myself quite busy and rarely do I ever take a full day to do nothing except pamper myself. While I may take a few hours here and there for that in any given day, the idea of taking a full day to pamper myself has always felt like such a selfish action.
Sadly, I know where this behavior began and I also know where this behavior grew even worse as well. It began with parents reinforcing anti-lazy messages, along with the notion that I can always do more and try harder. Later in life, once I truly found myself on the path of 12 Step recovery, I felt like I needed to prove to God I wasn’t going to be selfish anymore given all the years I had focused on my addictions and meeting only my needs, wants, and desires. So, I began pushing myself to my limits and sometimes even beyond them on many days where things like sitting back and spending a day napping, watching tv, eating some food, playing games, and ultimately focusing on just me felt wrong. Wrong because my brain would tell me that I should be out there helping another or at least at the very minimum doing something around the house that needs to get done. By consistently living this way, my batteries often get depleted, never fully having a chance to recharge.
I don’t know where it was said that Sunday should be a day of rest, was it Biblically? I can’t remember. But truly, every single week, I have avoided taking even one of those for myself to rest. I don’t think God wants me to be this way, draining myself like I have, feeling so very worn-out, especially with my ongoing health issues that exacerbate my exhaustion. It’s ironic because 12 Step recovery often touts a message that when you’re not feeling great about yourself, you should be out there helping another suffering soul, yet what I’m realizing now is that if I keep avoiding taking care of me in the process of doing that, I’ll have no energy to help those suffering souls.
So, I’ve decided I’m going to start taking Sundays for myself for the unforeseeable future. Unless there’s some emergency I need to attend to, I’m going to begin pampering myself on each Sunday. That means no volunteer work, no meetings, no pushing myself, no having to do anything, other than relax. Because, ultimately, I need it, and really, I deserve a full day of rest, as do we all.
While that may seem selfish to my brain that got programmed to believe that so erroneously long ago, I realize to counter-program that, I need to start taking those Sundays for myself as a reminder for three things. One, it’s important to have time to recharge my batteries. Two, it’s important that for as much as I take care of helping others, it’s important to take care of helping me too. And lastly, three, that remaining still and doing nothing is often the very moment when our Higher Power finally gets a chance to get a person’s attention like me, who’s always busily doing instead of simply being.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson