(my take on the 14th part of 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy)
I find attachment be the hardest concept to understand in this list. It feels to me like some esoteric religious or philosophical teaching that will take me years to understand. I don’t have years to understand. What are we going to do with attachment right now, today?
The things of my life – what are they really worth to me? What am I willing to do to keep them? How much of my own self, if any, would I sacrifice? If I ask these questions this way, I gain some clarity. The answer is not very much.
Don’t get me wrong; I like things. I like my technical toys, the car I drive on road trips to fun places, the closet of clothes I now have the freedom to play in. But I do know they can disappear in a hurry and will disappear sometime. I will be left with the core of me.
With grace I will be living a serene and sober life in the midst of family, friends and community who value me not for things but for Denise. These are the people who call me to pray, to pray for me. Through the worst days of addiction, I felt lost and lonely. Nobody called. Nobody messaged. And in this case I do mean nobody or at least nearly nobody. When the downward spiral stopped and I realized that things are not Denise, the first sign of recovery was the appearance of new and renewed relationships without things and the expectations that go with them.
And it’s not just an attachment to things. I am attached to a mindset, to a way of being which is not always healthy. I’m attached to places of my past which I think I must not lose even when time is change those places beyond recognition, out of my reach, out of my control. I’m attached to relationships of my past which have withered.
Attachment to the wrong things is the hardest of all 15 things to overcome, I think. But the best tools remain – tackle this just for today. Whatever successes and failures happened yesterday are simply gone. Tomorrow is over the edge of the horizon out of my sight. Right now is where and when everything is happening and where I live.