What’s so bad about feeling sorry for yourself? Put more compassionately, what’s so bad about grieving? When we get sober, at some point we may recognize how much of our lives we have wasted away with alcohol or drugs. This realization encompasses a huge loss, so wondering if we are full of self pity is not going to be a useful activity. We need to allow ourselves to grieve fully all that we have lost. Grieving is a huge part of our healing and recovery process, for without it we will carry too many burdens upon ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we have to wait for the grieving to end before we can begin our recovery path.
Self pity doesn’t come with acceptance, but rather anger. We didn’t get what we wanted, like a job, a girlfriend or a boyfriend for which we pined. An attitude of life sucks often accompanies self pity, too. When we don’t try to accept what did or didn’t happen, we can get stuck in self pity. When we have self pity, we aren’t actively trying to understand or remedy the situation through healthy means.
A healthy means of dealing with disappointment is allowing ourselves to have our feelings. It also involves seriously looking at the truth. Was that really the best job for me? Did I try to ignore the red flags I saw in Jim or Jane? Seriously, are there really no other opportunities out there for me?
The Serenity Prayer is a good one to recite when we are faced with disappointment . . . the courage to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Ah wisdom; we have innate wisdom, and we have wisdom gained through experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
With self pity our learning curve in sobriety is viewed like a cliff. Self compassion and self acceptance allows us to progress by circling slowly, incrementally, every which way. Once we recognize the difference between self pity, grief and disappointment we’ll see anger abate and hope return.
Serenity Oaks Wellness Center is a 5-week extensive treatment program to help someone who is struggling from drugs or alcohol. Our 12-Step aspects and holistic therapy combined can show you how to adorn your soul in recovery.
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