Early in my recovery, I told a mentor that nothing in my life would come before being a good dad. He replied, without missing a beat, “No. You should put your recovery before everything else.”
I didn’t understand this and was quite annoyed by his response.
Sensing this, he continued, “If you don’t put your recovery above all else, you’re no good to anyone, least of all your daughter. If you want to be a good father, you have to be healthy — physically and emotionally. You’re a terrible, self pitying mess otherwise. So, if you want to put your daughter first, put your recovery ahead of her.”
Even now, years later, when I get stressed, stretched or busy, I make the same mistake. Taking care of myself is the first thing taken off the schedule when it should be the top priority.
I’ve been stressed this week in ways I’ve not for months, the demands on my time and energy incredibly high. Despite slaying dragons and moving mountains all week long, the most important things I did were going to a recovery meeting and seeing my acupuncturist.
During rough patches, the small self will often seek to justify the way we feel by bringing to us excuses for isolation, guilt, fear or frustration — all justifications for self pity and shrinking. How arrogant to believe that the circumstances before us will surely become catastrophic without our involvement, even when we are already operating at an energetic deficit! How selfish to deprive those counting on us of the best version of ourself we can muster!
When we feel that the walls are closing in, the demands of the world are just too much, or there just isn’t enough time in a day, it is absolutely vital that we take time out to foster self love and to acknowledge our worth in the larger picture. We are far more valuable and effective in any circumstance when we are fully present, rested and standing in our worth. We absolutely must remind ourselves that we matter.