Jul 05: How We Respond

How We Respond

“What happens to us is not as important as how we respond.”

July 1st, I reached 10 years in sobriety. On one hand, it seems impossible. and yet on the other I have felt every day go by. I’m very proud of myself for maintaining sobriety through the worst years of my health. I have died 3 times and come back by the grace of God.

Looking back on the last 10 years, I started thinking about how it truly did matter how I responded to the trials and joys in my life, not what those trials or joys were. Externally, there is very little I can control. Internally, it is up to me. When I flew off the handle or dove off an emotional cliff, I always suffered the consequences. When I calmed myself within or sought the support of my God, AA group, husband, mother, or friends, I enjoyed the very act of living. Did I learn how to respond best quickly? Of course not. I stumbled. I crawled. I strolled. I ran.

And through it all, I learned how to use my support system and my toolbox.

I experienced the errors of focusing on what happened, and I have basked in the wisdom of changing how I responded to what happened. I still don’t have it correct every time. I find I disappoint myself greatest when I fail. It stinks to know the right way to do something, and yet you don’t do it. And even worse that you don’t know why you didn’t do it.

Why don’t I have it down pat yet? Because I’m not perfect … never will be. But I promise you one thing: I recognize when I’m doing it wrong, and I correct it. That usually includes a lot of asking forgiveness and mending fences. God makes me practice things I haven’t mastered. Proper response is just one of them. I’m grateful for the practice because that’s when I learn the most about myself, others, and life itself. I appreciate the trenches because they make me capable of enjoying the mountains.

Have you gotten better at responding in the best way?