How do we measure progress in recovery or simple growth as a person? I am not sure how to quantify this progress, yet I have discovered observable indicators that I see on a frequent basis that tell me that life is changing, progressing, and that I am growing.
I woke this morning to find my car having been ransacked last night. I lost a bag full of work-related papers, a pair of prescription sunglasses, and a ring I had bought my daughter for her birthday I had left in the glove box and was going to give her tomorrow. All told, probably $700 worth of belongings.
My reaction? Smirk, and a quietly verbalized “niiiicee”, as I stood there in the driveway looking at the open door of my car with remaining contents of my glove box on the passenger seat and floor. I smirked further at the thought of the thieves trying to wear the sunglasses. They are prescription lenses… they will not have any fun with them.
The telling part was my initial reactions did not include rage. Nor did they include feelings of deep loss for these items. I sit here disappointed at the inconvenience and forthcoming expenditures. But that is it. I am not furious. I am not panicking. In fact, I am blogging over it. Thats it. In days and weeks to come, I will replace the items and move on. Even though I paying for all of these things is not something I can easily do at the drop of a hat. But so what. I have lost things in the past and I will lose things in the future. So did millions of others throughout history.
Some of my barometers of progress include:
- Road rage: Am I getting any better at how I behave in traffic? Can I apply the principles of recovery such as acceptance, tolerance, and surrender to the behaviours of others in traffic? My answer is yes. More than ever.
- Relationships: This is the big one. As far as I am concerned, recovery expresses itself the greatest in how our relationships are going. Any one relationship can have trouble. The more important question is, are our relationships in general improving? Do we have more positive interactions in our lives? Do we connect with stronger and better people more frequently? Do we have people who can speak honestly with love into our lives? Do we have any less flare-ups with people than we used to?
- Handling change: How do we handle change and crisis now? Is it any better. Do we “lose it” as often? Feel the victim? Go into a rage? Sulk? Whine? Gossip? Self-pity?
Recovery is not something we do “in the rooms” or while we are working steps. Recovery is how everyday life changes and improves.
So I hope someone out there is enjoying my prescription sunglasses. And I hope they get a good buck at the pawn shop for the ring. Summer is a ways off and I can easily replace the glasses by then. My daughter is in my life and tells me she loves me every time I see her. The ring can be replaced too.
Today is a beautiful day. The final round of the Masters Tournament starts soon. I will see my kids tonight. I love my wife, and I am healthy.