May 6 2015

Paul Williams

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Addictions, Kindness, Life, Living Fully, The Right Stuff

AFTERCARE

AFTERCARE

 

Last Sunday I woke up really early after an extended trip, stepped on the scale and found my nibble was showing.  I’d picked up a few extra pounds and I could feel it.  Not good.  Not life threatening but a lapse in my food discipline just a hair past acceptable.

When Tracey and I began working on the book I had applied the affirmations to my food issues. I was thrilled with the results. I dropped almost 30 pounds and had kept them off. I had created new habits that served me well.

I continued on my merry way, paid attention to what was on my plate and continued to exercise. After achieving my goal I continue to care. Aftercare. It was more emotional than just discipline. It was me caring for my health … caring for my body.

What happened? All those “Just a bite or two couldn’t hurt” moments had added up.  Something needed to change …  again …  and it was I.

I laced up my running shoes. It was barely light out and the usual cast of characters weren’t up yet.  Turning a corner I was surprised to see a young woman on her knees in the walkway.  She was facing one of the many benches that dot the mini parks along the bay. I thought she’d fallen, but I was wrong.  She was surrounded by cleaning supplies and was working on the bench.  It bore a memorial plaque, a remembrance of a husband and wife.  The bench a gift from the dearly departed who loved the neighborhood I suppose.

I won’t share their names or the content of the plaque.  That would feel invasive. I was however touched by the loving service performed by the woman before me.  A daughter perhaps. So caring.  And again, I thought of the phrase “after care’.

It’s a word with a specific meaning for me.  Leaving rehab twenty-five years ago I committed to a series of sessions with my counselor at “New Beginnings”, the in patient facility where I began my sober life. Now, the saintly cleaning lady had me thinking about other uses for the term.

How important is aftercare in our daily lives? Regular suggested servicing keeps our cars running. Annual physicals, trips to the dentist for the joy of getting our teeth cleaned, so many things we pay attention to that make life better.

What about relationships? As the years roll-on and the pressures of day-to-day living mount up, are we continuing to be appropriately attentive to the ones we love.

Watching the woman honoring the memory of people she loved I wondered if she’d been that attentive to them in life. I think she was. And as I reflect on her actions I decided it was time for me to do a little mini inventory. To take a look at my behavior and search for areas in my life where I might improve. Where in the ebb and flow of a busy life might I be more caring?

I sign my email with the phrase “blessings and thanks”, tell people that I love them all the time and mean it. But do I deliver the kind of caring actions that are the true evidence of the love?

Which Family member, friend, partner or business relationship was getting lip service and not the real thing?  Going forward, one day at a time, it is my hearts intention to concentrate on the “after care” of those around me who deserve my best. It’s that special sauce of kindness in action as well as word that keeps me living happy, joyous and guilt free ingratitude interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Williams

Paul Williams is a singer, songwriter, actor, recovery advocate and has been a fixture on the American cultural scene since the seventies. His book Gratitude and Trust is now available.