I'm sure you're wondering what lobsters have to do with addictions. Absolutely, nothing! But I'll tell you how it plays out in my life. First, I'll start with a story explaining what a lobster promise is. The woman I live with is very socially conscious. She volunteers, recycles, joins causes, rescues animals – you get the picture. She really tries to make a difference in the world and she does. She is a great person who I admire. One day she asked me not to eat lobster because they are alive when they boil them (She's got a big heart!). I sighed because lobster is one of my favorite foods, but I promised her that I would never eat another lobster again. I admit that seeing those little guys before they are boiled in a pot makes me sad, but it's still a hard promise to keep. Each time I go into my favorite seafood restaurant, I immediately want to order Lobster. It seems silly, but this is what we call "A Lobster Promise". It is the most sacred of promises in our household!
Having said that, I want to talk about promises we make to ourselves and others while we are active or recoveringalcoholics. I don't know about you, but I've made a thousand promises to people that I haven't kept. Especially, in the past I've made promises to myself and others that I would stop drinking and smoking. I would say "I promise this time I'll stop". Each time I mindlessly promised someone I would do it, I would always go back on my word. It eroded people's trust in me. After a while, people stop listening. Promising myself that "I'll do better next time" or "I'll never take another drink again" also puts so much pressure on me that it becomes overwhelming. When I can't keep that promise, it erodes my self-esteem. If we don't take things day by day and moment by moment, we put undue pressure on ourselves. If we don't keep our word, how dependable are we? How can others put trust in us? How can we have true confidence in ourselves? How can we have deep, lasting relationships with others?
The only promise I can make to myself and others is that I will do my best to make decisions that serve me and others well. Actions speak louder than words. I've found that making amends means taking the right actions. Not speaking the right words. When people start to see that you are moving forward on a path of honesty and self-growth, you will gain the respect of people who care about you. I try to be very careful when I speak and think before I act. People are watching. It's important they see you are making real, lasting changes so that you can cultivate true, lasting relationships built on honesty and trust. This is something I work on daily. I'm not perfect, but giving up on myself is not an option.