One Day at a Time


If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain
or help one fainting Robin unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain
Emily Dickinson

Somewhere along the way I found myself to be a caretaker. Injustices, pain, discrimination, bullying; all these things affected me deeply. I carried it too far. It reached a point where I truly believe I began taking better care of others than I did myself. Was this ego? Codependency? Altruism? Or was this a guiltless way I found to deflect my own problems, pain, injustices and needs?

When I was doing my first 4th Step inventory, I learned something very important. As my sponsor read over one "bad thing" I had done after another she cautioned me to take a broader look at myself. Finally, she made me do my entire inventory over and for every 5th character defect or offense to someone, I was required to write something good about myself. She explained that an inventory is never meant to be focused on just the bad ... but the good also. After all, when a store takes inventory on its products, it counts bent cans of beans as well as the perfect cans of beans and crushed boxes of cereal as well as the perfect ones.

This helped me to see that my life's purpose was not just to help others but also to nurture me when my heart was breaking, to make my own life good and to have a nest for myself that was safe and serene. After working the Steps, I know that I'm not living my life in vain and I still want to help others as much as I possibly can, but not to the detriment of myself ... and certainly not to keep me from looking at my own life and my own problems realistically.

One day at a time...
May I help others who are less fortunate than I find their way. And let me also make my own nest as comfortable as it can be.

~ Mari

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