“What are you doing New Year’s - New Year’s Eve?”
This song was recently playing in a store and served as a reminder that the new year is upon us. 2013 is here and with it comes new and exciting possibilities. More often than not, along with the making of these plans, comes a myriad of feelings which seem to be more prevalent this time of year rather than other times. Anxiety, depression, loneliness and the list goes on.
Further complications arise with the making of the often-dreaded New Year’s Resolutions—those expectations of things that will be different in the coming year. For me, expectations are a dirty word that add a layer to the difficulties of every day life and most certainly complicate things if you’re in recovery from some type of addiction.
A key approach to managing the new year with success is to see the world from a different perspective, one without expectations. Expectations imply something that may or may not happen in the future—I will find the perfect partner, I will get that dream job, I will lose weight, I will be accepted by my family for being LGBT. However, if you’re in recovery, a key thought process is to live in the moment; be right here right now.
Things are just as they are supposed to be in this very moment however comfortable or uncomfortable. Expectations do not allow us to experience that deep sense of just being. We end up somewhere down the proverbial road. That can often seem unmanageable when trying to make it “just for today” without giving into those addictions that hopefully has sent us into the process of recovery.
Now this isn’t to say it’s not important for us to have goals. Having a road map for what you want to achieve in life is great. It gives us something to shoot for.
If you want that perfect job, the perfect partner, a healthy body, then believe it to be so without wishing for absolute perfection. It just does not exist. Where goals can help us to manage anxiety or depression by giving us a true focus, they can also fuel those very thought processes we are trying to manage and further spiral us down the rabbit hole. Don’t confuse expectations with goals. If we expect something to be a certain way and it doesn’t turn out that way, it’s often too difficult to handle and herein returns our addictions. If we learn to recognize when we’re in that place of expecting something and shift our thought processes to just today, life becomes much more manageable and we set ourselves up for good things happening down the road.
If you find yourself dealing with feelings/emotions that you can’t make sense out of, utilize your support system as a barometer of how you’re viewing things—your sponsor, your support group, your partner, your family, the LGBT community. Give them permission to let you know when you’re operating from an expectations framework and remember: we truly only have today. So, how do you want to define it and if you open yourself up to what the universe has for you, you just may get all those fantastic goals you’ve been shooting for.