Getting Rid of Old Ideas
The topic for today is “Getting Rid of Old Ideas” from Living Sober, pp. 71-72, and follows that Chapter 5 admonition: “Some of us had to get rid of our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.”
The passage makes these points: the ideas that got so deeply embedded in our lives during drinking do not disappear quickly as if by magic the moment we start putting the plug in the jug.
Our days of “Sweet Adeline” may be gone but the malady lingers on; we new find it therapeutic to nip off many old ideas that sprout up again and they do over and over. We try to achieve a feeling of being relaxed, free from the bonds of our thinking and we measure whether a thought is useful against a specific standard.
We can tell ourselves this is what I used to think when drinking; does that kind of thought help me stay sober and is it good enough for me today as I live this new exciting sober lifestyle?
One of my old ideas is that it’s OK to let people criticize and disrespect me, one more manifestation of my too big ego whether inferior or superior. For years now, I have been standing up for myself and refusing to take the victim role or prey to bullying. It is never easy, but I can no longer be content as a doormat.
Setting boundaries is equally difficult. My oldest son always assumed I would do his laundry and also take care of paying for the food he eats while he is my guest. Without asking he stores items in my closets.
Recently, I said to him he can pay for his food, and gradually take home all of the things he stores here for convenience. I do not have space for much other than my own things. It feels awful but it is the right thing for me to do.
How are you doing replacing old ideas with fresh ones, old behavior with new actions? Did you notice that relationships with family and friends have improved since you applied changes?
Are you at first uncomfortable with new behavior, since they feel like stiff new clothes, tighter and smaller and we should be able to relax and wear sloppy, old, torn garments we are used to wearing.. Has it been the best thing eventually to become accustomed to the new clothing/behavior?