At multiple times in my sobriety, I have had issues with spreading myself too thin. I have learned that by doing this, I am doing others and myself a disservice. I have had a desire to do more, be better, and stay open to new opportunities. However, I have found that developing a balance in life is necessary. Sometimes, saying “no” or “not right now” is the best option.
This is not to say that a person in recovery should be unwilling to commit to obligations – quite the opposite. I believe that I should live of life of integrity and be impeccable with my word. In the past when I have overcommitted myself, I struggled to keep my word. I would not be able to do everything that I had guaranteed people I would do. I had to take a step back and re-evaluate the things going on in my life.
It is crucial to prioritize obligations in order to know what new commitments I can take on. Working on time management was really important for me. During the first few years of my sobriety, I was excited to be involved in so many things, and so I continued to take on new tasks without thinking about if I could actually handle them with the focus they required.
Having a lot going on in my life is a good thing. However, having the ability to manage all of those obligations is necessary. When I first got sober, I had a lack of balance in my life. I lived in extremes, either one side of the spectrum or the other. I couldn’t manage or balance my life, and recovery has allowed me to work through this deficiency.
Sometimes, I simply can’t avoid being overcommitted. A couple years ago, I was a full time graduate student, had a full time job, was in a long-distance relationship, and was trying to manage family life, social life, and recovery life. I truly couldn’t give all of those things my undivided attention, but I couldn’t really step back from anything either. I had to stop taking on new things until I had more time. I also had to be honest and open with everyone in my life about what was going on.
Before I commit to a new obligation, I ask myself if I have the time to give it the attention that it requires. Sometimes I have to step away from other commitments to take on necessary, new ones, but I do this with extreme caution. I want to continue to be a man of my word and a part of that is doing what I say I am going to do.