Like most addicts I have a tendency to become isolated. I protect my own privacy. I prefer to be alone. In fact, I wish I could do everything – all by myself – no help from anyone.
The practice of mindfulness is creating in me an awareness. I am becoming more aware that my propensity toward isolation holds me back in my recovery.
Here’s the reason I spend more time with myself than with other people: I allow others to minimize who I am. In other words, I expect other people to tell me who I am. I need others to tell me I am worthwhile. And when it doesn’t happen, I am deflated and wish to escape into isolation.
I get so pissed off when I am told that I’m not doing enough when all the while I’m convinced I’ve done more than most. I need to hear good things about myself. I need the approval of others. I need to hear that I’m doing a great job – which means, therefore, that I am worthwhile.
But if I had a better sense of my own self worth I wouldn’t need to depend on others to do it for me. So, how am I supposed to raise my own self worth?
By practicing mindfulness I am becoming more aware of my need to give back to others. Instead of looking to other people to help me feel better about myself, I need to offer my help and encouragement to those with whom I rub shoulders everyday.
I am developing an awareness that spending time with others – so I can help, encourage and inspire them – will do more for my own self worth than any thing else. And the wonderful thing about giving back is the fact that I am in control:
- In control of the level of my own self worth
- In control of how I allow others to affect my sense of self
- In control of my need to isolate
- In control of my recovery
Isolation only leads to more obsessive thinking and compulsive acting out. True connection with other people helps me to ‘get out of my head’ and stay in recovery.