When I first showed up in recovery, it was obvious my life had become completely unmanageable. After using drugs and alcohol to cope, avoid pain and bypass the lessons I was too afraid to face for so long, I saw – finally and clearly – that regardless of all the reasons or excuses for why I had ended up in that exact place, ultimately it was going to be up to me to take responsibility for myself if I wanted to escape the pain.

And so began my journey in recovery and learning the skill of taking responsibility.

What’s become apparent over the years is that when there’s a discrepancy between where I am and where I want to be, the first thing I need to do is take ownership and examine whether or not I’m taking responsibility for where I’m at. Truth be told it’s usually a pretty uncomfortable thing to do.  

But there is hope! When I view the world through the lens of responsibility, it provides me with an opportunity to be a powerful co-creator in my life and circumstances. It opens me up to the possibility of a limitless future in creating the life of my dreams.

Good news, right? So, how do I do it?

WATCH FOR THE SIGNS

Often, emotional discomfort is the cost of me not taking responsibility. Resentment, blame or seeing myself as a victim are good indicators. Making someone outside of myself responsible for the cause of my problems is the clearest sign that I’m not taking responsibility.

{Let me share an example from my life: My road to recovery started in a Twelve Step fellowship. After many years, I found there were things about it that no longer resonated with me. But I kept going because  . . . fear. I was getting resentful and judgmental and miserable. Eventually, I started to dip my toes into other recovery and healing modalities, and wouldn’t you know it, my world opened up. I found a renewed sense of enthusiasm for life AND recovery. I didn’t wait for someone to give me permission, I merely took my power back and did what I needed to do for me.}

When I move into the space of taking responsibility, I start to accept that although I may not have consciously created all of the circumstances that brought me here (wherever “here” is) I begin to see that I did play a role in shaping the situation as it is. This isn’t about judging, shaming or beating myself up. With compassion, I can begin to see that my beliefs, decisions, actions or excuses played a part in bringing me to this very moment.

THE GIFT OF CHOICE

Here’s where the magic happens! 

I have the ability to change the trajectory of my life at any given moment through the gift of choice. Now, it’s important to note (and I cannot emphasize this enough) that all of our choices impact our future. There’s no such thing as choices that matter or choices that don’t.

I do my best to stay conscious of every choice I make (some days it’s easier than others). I take note of how making a choice affects my mood or how it makes me feel about myself. For example: do I feel happy and calm about this decision or do I feel stressed and uncomfortable? What am I trying to avoid? Am I staying in integrity with myself? Am I doing what I said I was going to do?

Staying aware of my decisions and/or excuses and recognizing whether it’s about love and self-care or fear and insecurity are a pretty good gauge of whether I’m living in alignment with the intention I have set for my life and moving towards the possibilities of the future. Or not.

CULTIVATING FAITH

Taking responsibility and being conscious of my choices is great – but just as important is cultivating faith. I experience a tremendous amount of peace when I’m firm in the belief that everything is happening “for” me and not “tome.  I come to trust that every situation is an opportunity for me to learn. When I believe that everyone who crosses my path has something to teach me then my heart is open to what I need to learn. And that’s not to say it never stings, but when I remember it’s happening for me, I’m better equipped to step out of the fear in order to make space for the answers! 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Sometimes taking responsibility for ourselves involves risk. But often that risk opens us up to a world of possibilities that otherwise may not have been revealed to us if we had stayed in the fear of what we thought would keep us safe.

When we trust the process and behave in a manner that supports the vision we have for our lives, the Universe will always provide.

And then some.