In the world of recovery from alcoholism and addiction we learn early on one of the contributing sources to our troubles is our unresolved expectations of ourselves and of others. In fact, there is a story of one of our early founders describing his serenity directly proportionate to his expectations. More less, the higher your expectations are, the less serenity you have. The lower your expectations the more serenity you have. This really does assist those of us in early recovery because we beat ourselves up emotionally so much due to our past behaviors, and choices. We are also riddled with resentment of others. We have to put things in a perspective which actually helps lay our ego to rest.
What happens however after we have recovered from the alcoholism and addiction. When we have taken on a spiritual way of life? Or what happens to those who are not suffering from addiction recovery? What do we do about expectation at that point? Isn’t there a healthy expectation which we can than create and rely on to better ourselves? Perhaps this is where goal setting takes place.
Goal setting always sounds like a logical thing to do. I believe the majority of working folks – the 9 to 5’ers don’t partake in goal setting. I think those of use who are in this cycle (I’m currently trying to break out) are subconsciously chosen victims of mundane routine. Yep! We have become so accustomed to working and sleeping we have forgotten how to create a new goal or shall we say expectation of ourselves to better ourselves to the next level. So often, we set expectations which are what every one else sets. Diet, exercise, etc. However, how often do we set expectation of ourselves for our emotions? I must convey my significant growth in any area of my life has always had the foundation of first, getting my emotions in check, and two creating a new expectation of myself regarding my thinking about the subject. Here’s an example of my most recent adventure with taking myself off the hook of expectation for a long long time.
For me, becoming a sober person in all entirety – which means no alcohol or drugs. It could be argued I’m not totally sober because I take in caffeine. But I haven’t seen caffeine wreck a home, take away kids, or compromise my morals, therefore I’m good with it. I believe I have been blessed with an intuitive ability (most times) to determine what a good sense of expectation is concerning career and passion. My first real job in collections I gave myself 2 years to get promoted to supervisor – it happened in 6 months. My second real job (where I worked when I got sober) I said I didn’t even want to be promoted, I had no desire to manage people again. I again was promoted in 6 months (my ego couldn’t say no perhaps) then I decided to focus on recovery of alcoholism. I made a decision to not stress about the job, the money, etc. I had better things to be concerned with, such as putting my life back together, raising my children, and saving a marriage that had been drug through the mud. So I would show up at work, do a good job and go home. I still gave effort, I still performed in fact I was there top producer for years. But I chose to lay down the expectation that I could ever do anything else. I wasn’t up for going back to school – I figured I was too old, and it cost a lot of money, and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do even into my late twenties. I didn’t have a desire to do much more than what I was doing. Then, life changed on life’s terms. I was 6 years sober, and that marriage wasn’t doing so hot. I knew I had to do some more spiritual work so I dove into the sobriety and spiritual solution for myself. After a year of devoting my energies to self discovery in a desperate attempt to save my marriage not only for him and me but for my girls I realized it wasn’t going to work. I had to get a divorce. I was devastated. I am grateful for the work I had done however because it allowed me to walk away with dignity. It also provided me something I had been missing for years, which was a belief in myself – that I was worthy of all things. Even taking my children through a divorce. I cannot express enough how valuable this lesson in self worth was. It changed my perspective on several things. What I noticed was a renewed desire to try for new things. At that point, I wouldn’t necessarily call it passion searching, but I would describe it as the initial step in throwing away the “no expectation of career” I had so comfortably become accustomed to.
The first thing I tried was flipping houses. I was inspired one morning watching an info-commercial and bought into it. I have no regrets, I spent thousands. I did flip a house, made no money but got one hell of an education in real estate. Something nice to have in my back pocket. Because of the work I had done on the spiritual side of things, I had also begun to coach women in sobriety. In the room of recovery we call this “sponsoring”. The over-achiever in me started out with 4 women in one month, then it grew to over 10. I currently sponsor 12 women. This might not sound like a lot, however I have been doing that while raising 3 daughters, and working a full time job. What I am getting to is my ambition or my “purpose” was now growing in the service of others. No money being made on this, simply giving back what has been given to me. A valuable lesson taught in the rooms of AA. Something to this day I am forever grateful for. I cannot express the education I have received in the psychology of others, and life with this service. So for recap – I got divorced, got motivated to flip houses – that didn’t transpire to much, and all while sponsoring several women in recovery. SOOOOO, where was the day job at? It was being maintained.
Life is funny sometimes. It’s the knock down, drag out moments which tend to wake us the hell up. For me, creating a path of passion and purpose came as result of just this. The company I got sober at, I was still at 14 years later – still am. I had an opportunity to be part owner. The opportunity came through a series of events, however I will tell you my instigation of this possibility was significant because I had the thought “why don’t I buy the company?” while on break with a good friend one day. She and I both are very ambitious and if anyone knows us would say we have bigger balls than most men. Just sayin what they would say! So we agree – “yeah” lets put in for our interest with the owner. Who we had found out through a series of events was wanting to sell. He agreed! But we had to purchase with the other owner. The three of us would make the deal. Months and months went by, we negotiated, we got the contract drawn up, I inquired with an atty friend of mine, I spoke to my AA sponsor. We were doing this thing. Finally, the week we are to close, the primary owner pulls us into a meeting and tells us he has changed his mind! To this day I am grateful for my sobriety which forced me to gain spirituality, because even at most devastating times I have a faith in something bigger than me. I’m grateful for my first thoughts after he said those word “Gods timing not mine”. This is when the next large journey of my life began.