Envy Will Impede our Recovery
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Envy Will Impede our Recovery
“The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build” - Margaret Thatcher
I have that friend. A person who is totally put together. He stands out as he carries a measurable sense of authority and a powerful presence wherever he goes. He is what I envisioned should have been my destiny, but it was his and not mine. Sharp, powerful, decisive, and influential. He is very handsome and quite accomplished in business and in life. Well-spoken and certainly composed. His clothes hang perfectly on his body, and I am quite an admirer of his style which combines cowboy boots and his suit. Country couture.
My friend is a vice president of a fast growing technology company, and he displays such wisdom and purpose so as to accomplish what he considers critical to his success. He just radiates purpose and the world appears to be his oyster.
We were first introduced over three years ago when my higher power (God is mine, yours may be different) downloaded some information to my mind and heart for his company.
God was telling me four things about my friend's company that I needed to share with them. (I had previously presented to the executive leadership so I had some familiarity with the company.) Why God chose to share this information with me while sitting in contemplation is for Him to declare, but I ventured forward with the message on unknown grounds, and presented my God knowledge for them to consider. I sent them the four-point download in a letter addressed to the CEO, and this VP responded to me with a phone call and a personal visit. They graciously received me, confirmed that the message was pertinent. The VP and I have maintained a friendship since that time.
Recently, my vice president friend was leaving our weekly meeting, and I had one of those fleeting thoughts that seemed to hang over me forever but in reality takes a nano-second. It was that kind of thought that reveals a deeper motivation.
That was supposed to be me.
The picture I held in my brain of him walking out of our meeting looking confident was what I perceived should have been my own supposed purpose. My expected personal destiny was to be exactly what he is—I was envious. Obviously, in comparison to him, I was falling quite short of my own expectations. I was once a business executive but experienced the drama of failure for the most part due to my own destructive behaviors.
I launched an executive consulting company (why I talked to them in the first place), but I didn’t gain the financial traction needed to keep going. He had been a successful consultant, and he is now the VP for this company being sought out for leadership and influence. We have had approximately the same amount of time in our lives to show results for our lifetime of efforts and when comparing myself to him, I pale considerably in contrast to his gains. Bummer! What was I supposed to do with that?
Envy is toxic.
Envy is such a toxic emotion to carry around. Letting it be nurtured and coddling its presence will poison our minds and eventually be destructive to our bodies and minimize any influence we could have for the positive in our jobs, families and communities. People driven by envy carry a large boulder on their shoulders for all to see and touch. Everybody sees or senses it except the person who is being tormented by its consistent moaning.
Are you thinking of anyone now that you recognize this victim spirit suffocating them?
Envy will drive other people away from us when what we really need is to be involved in our community to heal and to participate. Addiction is healed in community. Envy declares “you have what I want or should have had but I don’t.” I become the victim and if this emotion is unchecked, envy will turn to bitterness and poison every well of ours. It will become the perfect excuse to gravitate towards my drug of choice. A certain destiny that will leave me isolated, broken and with little motivation to climb out. I have been there and I don’t want to go back.
Envy is defined as the desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else).
So I contemplated on this thought of mine for a while, and I realized what was trying to take hold of me. I recognized its putrid perfume. It was the old stinking thinking that wanted to overtake me again and render me powerless.
The envious thought was drawing up a comparison of me versus him but in reality it could be me versus anything that I want to possess without the effort to pursuing the “whatever” as something necessary to obtain. We will never win in the comparison game, and it is in this comparison game where envy does its best work. When comparing ourselves to others, we will always end up on the losing end. We will either succumb to playing the victim or be taken in by pride.
Envy never offers a win-win opportunity, it is always a lose-win scenario. Losing in the comparison game has the potential to keep us in the addictive cycle that will yield barrenness rather than an orchard of fruitful results. Envy will keep us small.
It is always a lose-win scenario.
What must we do to accomplish defeating this enemy that I purport wants to suck the life right out of us and render us all pitiful?
How do we war against this troubling enemy? Here are five things that I suggest will move you and me towards the life we can only imagine.
1. Begin being thankful for who we are and what we have been able to overcome. Our daily sobriety is a gift to be thankful for. Expressing gratitude has shown in studies to decrease depression, increase optimism and improve sleep, and having more determination to move forward in our lives.
2. Bless that other person with peace, joy, hope, strength and wisdom. I am not in competition with my friend. I refuse to have a poverty mentality. His success does not reduce my opportunity for experiencing tremendous triumphs in my own life. He has his life and I just need to be the best me. I will consciously remove myself from comparison shopping and celebrate my own strengths and life.
3. Spend quality time deciding what your non-negotiable values as a person and family are. Build a life plan determining what it is you really want to accomplish. Begin to live intentionally rather than be tossed around emotionally like small boat in a storm. I recommend a great book that was just released by Michael Hyatt called Living Forward. This book will help you in developing the plan to enable you to strategize your desired life. It’s a simple read that can bring profound results if used.
4. Spend time every morning reading out loud a list of personal affirmations. I initiated this daily behavior after another good friend of mine told me about his pre-flight checklist. These personal truths are what we need to rehearse before taking off each day. It is true we always return to the significant identity we hold in our minds and soul.
No matter how we were wounded that brought about this need for relief by using drugs, alcohol, etc., we can now intentionally reset our identity to begin representing our best selves. Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Switch on the Brain says it only takes 7-10 minutes a day to rewire our brains. We all have 10 minutes in our day to enable us to live the life that reaps the preferred results.
5. Live reflectively. We have the power to choose our thoughts. We can embrace them or we can throw them out. I threw out my envious thoughts because it is not how I want to live. I am not a victim and nor are you. We have the power to acquire the destiny that is most relevant for each of our lives and the journey starts with having proper thoughts.
Dr. Dave Warner is a coach, mental health peer counselor, author, and speaker. He often writes from his own personal recovery journey. His current book Resilient: My Journey to Wholeheartedness is available at Amazon. He resides in Everett, Washington and is an active leader in the recovery community. To reach out to Dr. Dave you may contact him at c4dgroup.com.