My mind was fragmented, scared, scarred and confused when I first started going to meetings. Half the time I had an exaggerated sense of responsibility. Other times I saw myself as a helpless victim. I felt judged by outsiders and inside I had a fear that all of the hurts that had happened to me were somehow my fault. I felt personally responsible for my alcoholic’s unacceptable behavior. I blamed myself for all his problems. Funny thing he blamed me too – so I was sure it must me true….wrong!
As his alcoholism progressively got worse, my self esteem slowly melted away. I was defeated and lost. Eventually my feelings shifted from being responsible and guilty (for what I had no idea) to anger and resentment. Desperately I tried to keep a tight lid on my emotions but I could only stuff them so long and then they would burst out. Many times over something small and insignificant.
There is a well known quote that says pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. My sponsor really encouraged me to feel my feelings and talk them out with her. Denying my feelings only prolonged the pain and forced them to resurface when I least expected. To get beyond the suffering there were some things I had to forgive and others things I had to accept that I was powerless to do anything about. My sponsor constantly reminded me that healing and recovery was a process. Each step that I took toward regaining control of “me” also develop my confidence and self-esteem.
Things happen to us in our life that we have no control over us. Sometimes we make make wrong choices that we would give anything to take back and do another way. Either way, neither of those things define us unless we allow them too. Learning from our experiences is how we grow and change.