It Isn’t The Load That Weighs Us Down; It’s The Way We Carry It

In the movie “Wild” the main character, Cheryl Strayed hikes over 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail; an extremely challenging endeavor. In the beginning of the story she can barely lift her backpack. It is stuffed with many unnecessary items. As a result she suffers much exhaustion in the early days of her hike. Along her journey she learns about eliminating items from the backpack and how to pack it correctly.
When you think about it, a backpack is a good metaphor for the challenges we face in life. It’s impossible for us not to have lots of items to fill that pack. A good life strategy is to realize that we don’t need to carry those challenges along the entire journey. When we learn how to let go of things that have happened in the past, our pack gets much lighter. It also allows us the room to properly deal with new challenges when they arise. When we are loading our backpack there is also a science as to where we place the items based on need, importance and weight. The same holds true with how we deal with life’s demands. Priorities must be put into place to help us in our decision making.
Cheryl Strayed the protagonist in “Wild” learned how to pack on the trail. We get our life packing training in the rooms of AA, NA and OA.

Personal Reflection: Am I carrying my life backpack in the most efficient way?

First Things First

Go into any AA or NA or OA (or any fellowship for that matter) room in the world and you will see a series of small signs hanging on the wall. Invariably, one of them will say, “first things first”. Learning how to prioritize was a skill that many of us lacked prior to entering the program. Instead, we often practiced another aphorism from the program known as “self will run riot”. With some time we have come to understand what needs to be put first in our lives. More than anything else, we need to maintain our sobriety. We cannot pickup a drink or our drug of choice and hope to hold onto all of the changes we have made since entering the program. To that end, our choices need to revolve around taking actions which deepen our commitment to our sobriety. A good yardstick is to ask ourselves the question, “does this action strengthen or weaken my program? Many of us have found that certain acts have a positive affect. These include making meetings, doing service and strengthening our bond with our Higher Power. Over time, we also realized that “first things first” applied to our emotional sobriety as well.

Personal Reflection: Did you put first things first today?