Complaining is a way we discharge our anxiety - and I am really, really good at it. But it is NOT a key component for building a decent life. One common complaint I hear comes from parents who report to me about how often their children complain about their NA or AA meetings. I understand that there is plenty to complain about in almost every area of recovery work. But much of it misses the point.
Where else can someone go who has totally wrecked their life and find a whole room full of people who have wrecked their lives in pretty much the exact same way? Where else are substance use disorder sufferers provided an opportunity to serve? Make coffee. Throw a dollar in a basket. Participate in a meeting. Go on a twelve step call. Go out to eat afterwards with a group of fellow attendees. Give someone a ride. Ask for a ride and be given one without feeling like a burden? Be able to tell the truth about your life and have everyone nod in understanding and agreement?
Mutual aid societies and other organizations can serve as venues for helping others find purpose and meaning in their lives. People who believe they have purpose and meaning in their daily living turn out to be amazingly resilient. This resiliency allows people to experience trauma without being wrecked by it.
Many people who struggle with stress-related diseases, depression, anxiety, substance use disorder and more...are folks who have experienced trauma! In fact, we all experience trauma to one degree or another, don’t we?
Why is it that some of us can be traumatized and recover, even find meaning in it and eventually thrive after it while others cannot? It is not the degree of the trauma, or even the frequency that determines our reaction. It is all about the resiliency.
Want to help people learn how to do hard things? Support the tribes and causes that allow others to find meaning and purpose in their lives. Even when it is hard.