Do Unto Others

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately. Sobriety is good. Life issues pop up, some related to sobriety (mostly emotional sobriety) and some not. I was thinking about the “blog-mute” and considered that it may be a sign of growth. I have considered about writing about some things, even thinking I “needed” to and then just moved on. Maybe I am getting better at letting things go…

Having said that, there is a topic I would like to get out. I assure you that I am no sobriety expert, or know-it-all, and mostly I would like to remind the gentle reader that much of the time the person I most want to hear my message is MYSELF.

I have been hearing something quite often in sobriety blogs and forums lately that I am finding disturbing. It’s quite possible that I have some character defect at play here, I will take at look at that. The number one response I am seeing to people who are struggling, either from others or from themselves, is “Do something nice for yourself” ; “Give yourself a reward”, etc. I do understand that sobriety is hard work, that we need to learn to love ourselves, that at the end of the day sometimes we need to just do whatever in order not to drink, but … I have to question this advice. As alcoholics, haven’t we been selfish and self-centered long enough? Is the answer for someone who is struggling really to feed the “I deserve it” mentality that so many of us exhibited full-stop in our drinking days? I don’t think this is the answer, at least not for me.

So, instead of preaching to you about how it should be – which I don’t really know anyway, maybe you would like to join me in a little experiment. Next time we are disturbed, feeling that we need a reward, that we need to do something for ourselves, that we deserve it; at that time let’s do something for somebody else. If the opportunity presents, maybe we don’t even tell them what we did. If you try this, I would be interested to know what helps you more? Perhaps a good deed for another is the ultimate nice thing that we can do for ourselves.


About A Beast Within

Trying to find myself, battling alcoholism, and other personal demons. Sharing the journey. View all posts by A Beast Within

6 responses to “Do Unto Others

  • byebyebeer

    Interesting idea! I’ll take that challenge (and blog about it too, if I can). I used to reward myself a lot more when I was newly sober. I remember looking forward to things like iced coffees and other treats because I needed something to look forward to that wasn’t a drink. In those early days, a lot of us tend to turn to less-than-healthy things for that escape, but they are still better than drinking. Eventually (ideally) we move to a healthier, less selfish way of living because we are more fulfilled and have more of ourselves to give. Just my two cents.

  • themiracleisaroundthecorner

    Your message is the heart and soul of the AA program, and even in my limited sober time I have found it an effective one. “Treating myself” was exactly how I earned my seat in the 12-step recovery program, and now I follow the suggestion given to me… when I am in my head, I help someone else. I will have to check the blogs you read, because I am clearly not reading the same, but I would have to agree with your advice, being of service is the most effective way to cure whatever ails!

  • theredsoxsavedmylife

    I often say in meetings, when speaking, and when working with others: I have what I don’t deserve.” I KNOW what I deserve. And something out there gave me another shot at this. I’ve taken it, humbly and am giving back every day, because this isn’t even mine. What a great post. You rock.

  • sherryd32148

    Great post. And one that really made me stop and think (I love posts like that). Thanks!

    I have to agree with Bye Bye. In the beginning I rewarded myself a lot because I was doing something so positive and so good and so HARD. And I feel like I did deserve it. In fact, I KNOW I deserved it.

    But over time that feeling eased and I just settled into…well…life. I give myself rewards from time to time (a manicure, a massage, a new candle for the house or some fresh flowers) because, as a mom and a wife, I do for other all of the time. Not only for my family but for my community, for people at work and for friends and many times they don’t even know I’ve done something (those are the best by the way). My life is about doing for others and I love it!

    So, in the interest of keeping myself from burning out (or picking up in the beginning), rewarding or treating myself from time to time is not selfish (IMHO)…it is necessary. Just my two cents though!


  • Lynda M O

    Stepping outside ourselves and doing more for others will indeed create feelings of positive synergy as we realize that the world works together or it would all fall apart.

    Your blog inspires me and I thank you for it.

  • Karen T.

    I think it is good advice, but I do want to point something out. As a mother I do a ton of caregiving, and my career is entirely oriented toward helping others. I am also an ACOA first, and so my response is to care for others first. So I need reminders to care for myself. But I do think it needs to be deeper than doing something nice for myself. Today I’m worn out from several weeks of too much on all fronts, and I’m taking care of a sick kid yet again. But I’m working on some core issues as my way of taking care of myself, rather than going to the self-indulgent “I deserve this” kind of thing.

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