This idea was given to me by a member of my home group, during a meeting. I asked him if it was OK to post about it, and he gave me permission.
The Outer Circle (OC) of SAA refers to things that positively affect your fight against addiction. A strong Outer Circle provides relief from our addiction, and equally important, a mechanism for growth and maturity over time.
Jason pointed out that an Outer Circle needs balance as well, and that an imbalance in Outer Circle activities could lead us back to our addictive behaviors. This made me think, and I decided to take a look at the Outer Circle not just as one thing, but as a series of spokes that must be kept in balance.
I have attempted to make an exhaustive list of items that need to be kept in balance as part of a healthy OC. I probably have missed some, and if you can think of anything else, I’d welcome comments. Here is the list I’ve put together as of today.
- Spiritual- Developing a growing relationship with your God or Higher Power through prayer and meditation, giving to others, and practicing gratitude are items that could fall within this category.
- Family- Spending time and being mindful with your spouse, children, and extended family.
- Friends-Spending time with friends who add to the quality of your life.
- Addiction Maintenance-Reading, making calls, attending meetings.
- Educational- Doing things that promote personal and career growth.
- Economic-Doing things that help you to keep you out of financial pressure.
- Physical Needs- Rest, exercise, proper nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle.
- Psychological Needs- Seeing a counselor and/or getting medication.
- Joy Bringing Items- This includes hobbies that are positive, or anything that brings you joy.
It’s easy to see that these are interrelated. Spending time with my wife is a major source of joy for me, as is having a good discussion with a friend. Education can help with economic issues. It’s also easy to see that not balancing these spokes could cause problems down the line. Too much focus on any of these spokes will cause the others to atrophy, and may cause resentment to important people in your life.
Map It Out
My challenge to you is to do the following. Once a week, take a look at the items on this list. Write out how you are going to address each of the spokes, how much time you’re going to spend, and map it out on your calendar. Given the pressures of everyday life, you probably won’t ever be able to perfectly balance these spokes, but it will go a long way to making your life better and keeping your addiction at bay.