Sunday, March 21, 2010

Procrastination - Ohhhh, I'll Do That Later.

Slogging through the tax return the last few days, I'm grateful to have learned in Al-Anon that procrastination only adds to tomorrow, a discomfort I could erase today.

My first sponsor used to say "Put it off, and suffer the tortures of the damned in expectation of how dreadful it will be, or just do the damn thing now, get it over with, and have your freedom, woman!"

I much prefer the latter. I cannot bear to have something hanging over my head waiting to be done - tainting my mood and weighing on my mind. This is very late in the year for me to be doing the taxes - I've usually got them done a week after I get the form in the mail. But this year, I just haven't had the time until now to do them.

I had a wonderful day today - got to play in the garden with good friends, did some volunteer work which made me feel useful and satisfied, and arriving back home, had a choice - work on the taxes, or paint? I decided on the taxes, because the sooner they are finished, the sooner I can relax, and devote some time to pleasurable pursuits.

I know I could pay someone else to do them, but I still have some control freak tendencies left, and this is one of them - I like to do my own taxes.

Earlier this evening, I was standing out on the deck while the dogs wandered the yard. I was admiring the magnolia tree next door which is just beginning to bloom, and feeling a quietly powerful gratitude for my life and all my blessings. Not even the tax return could dim my positive feelings.

I was talking to a woman today about envy - which is a horridly poisonous emotion, in my opinion, because it robs the bearer of the ability to see the good in their life - they see only the lack. I speak from experience - I was envious to my bones when I came into program, because I felt so victimised and martyred - it only made sense that other people's lives were far superior to mine in every way.

I felt I had been given a raw deal in life, right from the start, and there's a great deal of truth to that, but from this vantage point, what of it? Was I willing to let the rest of my life slip past unnoticed, unlived, while I seethed with envy for what others had, and I did not?

I had no concept of how to move past this, and it took years of hard work and my Higher Power's grace, for me to be content with what I was given as my share. I have learned to be appreciative for my blessings.

I've learned to see the green unfurling voluptousness of spring as a delight in which I can revel and rejoice.

I can sit reading, with a small warm dog curled up inside my sweater, her head shoved down one sleeve, snoring gently, her breath tickling my arm, and feel fortunate to be graced with this loving funny dog as a gift each day. 

I've learned to let go of my expectations that others be perfect according to my statutes, and make the effort to try to see life from another point of view.

I still have the odd instance, usually when I'm in HALT, when the martyred victimhood voice will start nattering away at me again, about how if only I was granted a 17 zillion dollar win from the lottery, I could yada yada yada, but the truth of it is, I can only wear one garment at a time, I can only drive one vehicle, I can only live one life. And this is the life I've been granted.

How do I choose to spend my time? Complaining about what I haven't been given, or thanking my Higher Power for all that I have? It seems to me that any time that snarky little voice starts up nowadays, I get a good cosmic slap upside the head along the lines of:  Feeling ripped off?  You could be suffering from this - or this - or this...and I will feel ashamed for my ingratitude. I try not to bash myself too much about it, just accept the lesson thankfully, and put the reminder into practise.


  1. Once again, you have echoed by thoughts. Gratitude was a concept foreign to me before Alanon. It is a foundation now of my mental sobriety. My husband and I like to say,"We have water." An acknowlegment to the Universe that we appreciate the little things. Being without water for a week taught us a powerful lesson. Good stuff today.


  2. Great post. I am much more grateful today than I ever was before getting into Al-Anon. I didn't really know what my shortcomings were and why I was feeling so bad. Now I am grateful for so much. Life is good today.