For years, I was ruled by fear and rushed to drama. Thanks to recovery, I now have tools which help me lead a happier life. Unfortunately, the pull to political drama is stronger this year than most others. To keep my serenity, I’m pulling out some of my favorite tools:
I'm Going To Use My Voice
Voting is a place where my opinion matters, and federal laws are in place to protect my voice. Other people’s opinion of who I should vote for are NONE of my business. Likewise, my opinion is mine alone and best kept to myself. Sharing opinions on such an emotionally charged subject invites everyone to cross the lines of personal boundaries.
I Can Only Take Care Of Me
Each registered voter has the obligation to research the candidates and make an educated decision, but I cannot make them do that. Nor can I round up all of the registered voters and drive them to the polling places. If they choose to not vote, I should keep my mouth shut. Every person knows what’s best for them. I don’t.
I've Prepared A Speech
Just because they ask who I voted for doesn’t mean I have to answer. This year, I'll have a phrase ready like, “I don’t care to discuss it.” Some people are bullies, so I am prepared to repeat myself verbatim as often as necessary. “I don’t care to discuss it.” Having a young son gives me lots of practice. If repeating doesn't work, I'll say, “You’ve already asked, and I’ve already answered.”
I Can Elect To Not Participate
I’ve also learned to shut down arguments by simply not responding. Arguments are like fires; they need fuel to keep burning. Silence smothers the fire. It’s awkward, but effective.
I Can Move To Another District
Sometimes, I just have to walk away, and the bathroom is my go to spot for restoring serenity since most people understand the built-in boundary of the bathroom. They don’t need to know that I’m actually doing yoga in there or reading one of my Al-anon books. And they almost never ask.
When None Of These Tools Work, I Reach For The Serenity Prayer
It holds the answers to life’s toughest questions:
God, grant me the serenity to accept that these candidates are my choices in this election, the courage to write in a vote if I deem it necessary, and the wisdom to keep my mouth shut about who I voted for.
My fellow Americans, especially those affected by addiction and recovery, just for one day, let’s pretend we have nothing to fear, but fear itself. Our voice is an incredible asset that many of us are learning to find. So to paraphrase John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what can your voice do for your country?
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Pam Carver