The Way It Used to Be
Thursday night, a bunch of us guys were sitting around talking about how to enjoy one moment at a time. OK, OK, it was my Thursday Night Men’s Meeting and that was the topic. Yes, we were sharing, as it’s called in 12-Step meetings. That’s different than sitting around talking about. For one, each of us gets to say our piece for a few minutes, then we get to shut up and listen. Many years ago, my sponsor taught me not to plan what I was going to say, to simply have a place to start and let the words go where they might. Well, actually, he said turn the rest over to God. I rarely remember to do the latter but I regularly do the former. Sometimes, new insights emerge.
In 12-Step meetings, where people are from families reeling from substance abuse, I often hear the phrase, I only want my life The Way It Used to Be. Maybe it’s a wife or a son or a financial situation they want back as they remember them. I’ve observed that people dealing with a particular issue in their lives, say, alcohol, tend to see that issue as explaining everything that’s wrong in their lives. If only they could solve this one particular problem, they think, everything would be The Way It Used to Be. In reality, life is always changing … for everyone. People change. Situations change. We change. Hopefully most changes are for the better but some aren’t. One way to be enjoy the present is to avoid projecting, that is, trying to figure out what will happen in the future. What I realized as I was sharing Thursday night was that if I want to enjoy one moment at a time, I can’t be looking backward either. I have to accept life … people … situations … myself … as they are in each moment. Because the truth is, it’s never The Way It Used to Be.