Ah, nothing I love more than water and sunshine. Hanging out with family in the water in the sun and I am in a happy space. Last night, cleaning up for bed, I found out that there can be too much of a good thing as I felt the effects of too much sun and too little sunscreen.

The night was a bit rough, and today I am well-covered to protect my irritated and red skin from further damage. And it’s not like I don’t know better. I could have applied more sunscreen throughout the day, but I rationalized to myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that it didn’t feel that hot, and besides, I want a little color anyway, right?

So today, I get to pay the bill for my rationalizations and denial. Recovery teaches us that we have the freedom to do as we choose, but we are not free from the consequences of our choices. Our bodies and minds will inevitably present to us a bill to pay. And pay it we must. Some of the bills are smaller than others, like mine. This burn will fade in a couple days and will be a distant memory within a few weeks.

Other choices we make will have life-long effects. On our health, our relationships and our emotional, mental and spiritual condition. If these choices are for momentary pleasure and fun, but in the end, will leave negative effects, then I’d better be prepared for the wake of pain it will leave. If the choice is for momentary annoyance or pain in favor of long-term gain, then I am practicing self-discipline.

That is not to say that all our life is a denial of fun. Because if that were the case, no one would go for this recovery-thing. But we are more discerning in how we define fun, or pleasure. Fun is redefined.  It can now be in an evening spent reading a favorite book with a good cup of hot tea, or going to a party with other friends that practice or respect recovery and socializing with folks in a safe and sober way.  Pleasures can be found in enjoyment of personal care time, versus an activity that would involve our addiction or compulsive behavior. It’s all about finding the replacement behavior that builds us up, and doesn’t leave wreckage as we go. Honestly, I have enough of that, I don’t need to make more.

Thankfully, if we do stumble a bit, God is there to pick us up, and we can dust off, make amends, decide to do things a little (or a lot) differently next time, in my case more sunscreen, higher SPFs…lol. And move forward. This last bit is crucial. Move forward. Do not get stuck in a stumble. Just accept it, make your amends and keep going. You are precious, loved and worth it.

Have a lovely day my good friends.