If you are in the grips of a drug or alcohol addiction, there are many resources available to help. But what if your self-limiting behavior is less obvious? What if it is an addiction to perfectionism, anger, or martyrdom? For addictions conspicuous and covert, Gratitude and Trust by Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson can help.
If you’re wondering, yes, he is the Paul Williams who wrote “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Evergreen,” and “Rainbow Connection,” and he continues to write great music. More importantly, he has been sober since 1990 after decades of heavy drug and alcohol abuse. Tracey Jackson did not have those addictions, but she suffered for years from a variety of self-defeating behaviors. They combined their experiences of recovery into six simple, yet challenging, affirmations that can help us look at ourselves differently so that we can change our lives for the better.
I found the first of these to be the most important, “Something has to change, and it’s probably me.” It’s easy for us to blame other people for our problems and hard to see the ways we may have caused those problems. “Something has to change, and it’s probably me” calls us to take ownership for our situation. We can focus on our own behavior and how we react to the behavior of others. We realize that we are not doomed to be helpless victims, but we can reclaim our power by taking responsibility.
Throughout the book, Williams and Jackson give thorough explanations and practical applications for each affirmation. They include specific chapters on dealing with difficult people (or as they call them, “the nasties”) including those in our own families. They also give advice about what to do about the addicts in our lives. (Sometimes, the only thing we can do is let them go until they are ready to change.) The affirmations and guidance are rooted in the Twelve Steps and other successful recovery programs, so they have an established foundation.
Even without knowing the bonafides, I found the affirmations to be deeply moving and challenging. Change is hard, and it’s easy to slip back into our old habits. Persistent application of the affirmations can help us break through the grip of negative thinking and behavior and help us move in a better direction.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Taking ownership of it and knowing you can do something about it is the second. Gratitude and Trust helps us recognize that we can change and guides us to the next steps in that process.