Recently a friend referred to me as a pioneer. I had to pause and ponder such an accusation.
Pioneer? Me? Really?
I forced myself to look beyond the stereotypical view of a pioneer. Remove the bonnet. Put in indoor plumbing. Replace a covered wagon with a Suburban. And sure enough, perhaps she’s right.
Maybe I am a pioneer.
We moved to a foreign and somewhat harsh environment. And we are learning new ways.
For example, I cooked a pork shoulder in the crock pot and couldn’t bring myself to throw away the stock left behind. Saving two cups of left over pork stock is new to me. But perhaps even more shocking than saving it, is having a pretty good idea how to actually use it for consumption later this week. Trips to town are usually once a week and they are an event. Pa drives, we sing songs, and we buy what we need for the week.
But the biggest adjustment is the swing from achieving to surviving.
I have been struggling. Each morning I wake up and think of all that still needs to be accomplished before we can feel settled and immediately my body reacts. My heart starts beating faster. It becomes difficult to take a deep breath. I want to crawl back into bed and hide.
Instead, I swing my feet into my slippers. Did I mention how cold it is? And I recite my new mantra.
“One day at a time.”
Wait a second. Um, isn’t that one of the slogans for AA? If such a saying is one of the pillars of recovery, and I repeat this saying to myself ad noseum throughout the day, does this mean I am in recovery?
This pioneer woman had to stop and think.
If I am in recovery, what am I recovering from?
It was as if a little voice inside shouted back at me, “Well, Miss Rebecca. I’m so glad you finally asked.”
I sat down and braced myself for what was to come.
“Yes, you are in recovery.” Sassed the imperious voice. “You are recovering from an addiction.”
An addiction? An addiction to what?
My brain rattled a bit. The verdict hit me square between the eyes.
So here is my confession.
“Hi. My name is Rebecca. I’m a pioneer. And I’m addicted to accomplishment.”
And not just normal accomplishment. I’m talking the extreme over-achieving sort. Writing a novel in five months. Trying to remodel an entire house in four weeks. Is there such a thing as type A, extra bold and italicized?
I’ve known this about myself for quite awhile. I’ve never seen it as an addiction. But when one is faced with the task of survival, achievement takes a back seat. Or maybe even gets drug behind. The once mundane tasks of life have grown monstrously. If I ruin dinner, the closest In-n-Out is 45 minutes away. Painting trim turns nightmarish when it takes three coats to cover the pea green paint. I want to see more accomplishment. But there’s not time for that in the midst of survival.
I’ve thought about hiding under a rock, or more apt a tumbleweed, until we pass from pioneers to settlers. But there’s no telling how long that will take. And it won’t happen until all the green trim is painted.
I’ve heard that recognizing you have a problem is the first step toward recovery.
So, here’s to first steps!
What’s your name and what are you addicted too?