Moving forward from the 4th & 5th Steps

I have spent most of my adult life analyzing myself. The fourth, fifth and tenth steps, in my recovery program, at times, has been a double edged sword for me. I analyzed things to death. My sponsor used to say to me to stop analyzing and start utilizing.

Step 4 says that we make a “searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” My first attempts were full of self-loathing, self-pity and self-justification. In other words, I wrote out my inventory the way I thought about myself and my life, and I colored everything with my own negative attitude. I did not know how to do it any other way. I went into this process looking for the good guys and the bad guys. Somebody needed to be held accountable and somebody need to undo my hurt and make me feel better about myself and my life.

I thank God for the 5th Step – “Admit to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, “ and I thank God for my sponsor. I know now why that fifth step is so critical after writing a fourth step. But, what is even more critical is the person that you share that inventory with. With the patient help of my sponsor I was able to strip off the veneer and write the honest facts without the embellishments.

My sponsor guided me to look at the facts. It was not easy being honest with myself. I could justify and rationalize everything that I said, and everything that I did, to the point where it made sense and seemed right to me. But that superficial honesty was a recipe for failure. It was only when I could face being honest with myself that real growth began to happen. I was very good at being the bad unloveable person, or the victim. It has taken me years to be objective about the hurts in my life. True, there were some people who hurt me on purpose, other times, the person never intended to hurt me at all. There were even some people did not even know they hurt me.

Examining the hurt was one thing, moving on from it was another whole ball game. You see, for years I had nursed and fed some of those hurts and kept them alive without realizing what I was doing. I had wallowed in self-pity or self-loathing for so long I did not know how to let them go. I allowed those hurts from my past to sabotage many opportunities for happiness in my life. I drug those hurts from my past around like a ball and chain and allowed them to distort how I felt about myself.

I used to put myself first by demanding that other people meet my needs and when they failed me it confirmed the insecurities I had about myself. One of the hardest things I have ever done was to put myself first in a healthy way. I had to shout down the negative voices in my head and decide for myself my own worthiness. Regardless of what someone else did or did not do, I am the person defines myself worth. People and circumstances may never be what I want them to be, or what I think they should be, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy anyway. I am the only person that can live my life.

I am a work in progress. This is the first time in my life that I have many charming delightful friends. In other words, it is the first time in my life that I have healthy relationships. When I look at my friendships today I can see progress. This has been a long and difficult process for me, because I have struggled with accepting friendship from “normal people.” I don’t feel the need to suck up or kiss up to them, the only thing I have to do is just be me and being me is good enough.

Time did not heal my wounds

The ingeniousness of the 12 Steps is mind blowing to me. Life is complicated. There is no way that I could have ever been able to navigate through the fragmented pieces of my life and come out whole without the help of the 12 Steps and my recovery programs. The 12 Steps are in a specific order for a specific reason – maximum results. I am not saying that there are not other alternatives to find healing and recovery because there are. But since this is my blog I am just sharing what worked for me.

I kept waiting for something or someone to saved me so that I would feel whole. But as long as I waited nothing changed. There is a saying that time heals our wounds and I am here to tell you, in my case, that was a lie. As long as I walked around wounded and miserable I stayed wounded and miserable. My resentments grew and I was hurt and angry. All of these emotions became distorted over time because I nursed and fed my hurts. My negative feelings grew to epic proportions.

The poison from those negative feelings spread over into how I felt about myself and how I looked at life. Trust was out the window. No way could I ever trust anyone to say or do what they told me they were going to do. And when they did follow through, I kept looking for an ulterior motive. I could never trust the real me to anyone so I “dressed the part” of how I wanted others to see me or how I thought they wanted to see me. But no matter who I pretended to be on the outside on the inside I was still fighting my demons of insecurity and self-doubt on the inside.

Over time ignoring or pretending that I was not hurt, pretending that I was not disappointed, pretending that I was not angry and resentful did not make the pain or the vandalism to my self-confidence and self-esteem go away. Time did not heal my wounds because I was only masking the hurts and disappointments in my life. And because my wounds were not healing I would either shut down and not allow anyone to get close to me, or I would gravitate towards the same type of unhealthy people. You see, I had done nothing to change me over time.

My sponsor helped me to see that healing the brokenness inside me was the only way that I was going to stop the depressing loneliness and the revolving door of unhealthy relationships. In order for me to do that, it was necessary for me to write down, in black and white, a fearless moral inventory of my relationships and events in my life; in other words a 4th Step – a fearless moral inventory. Even then I struggled with understanding where I was going wrong. I could not be objective. I felt raw when it was completed.

Thank God the steps did not stop at the 4th Step. It was in the 5th Step, “Admitting to God, to myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs,” that it all started to make sense. “Admitting to God” – If I had not taken the 3rd Step of turning my will and my life over to the care of God I would have been afraid of the 5th Step. You see, before I took that 3rd Step I saw God as a punishing God just waiting to catch me in a wrong. I could not take that third step until I knew that I could trust that God only wanted the best for me. I knew that God was not out to harm me or to make me feel bad. I knew that He would not use my hurts to make feel bad; but, He would use my hurts to help me rise above them.

When I chose my sponsor I chose her through the eyes of the 3rd Step. I looked for someone that had the peace and serenity that I wanted. I trusted this woman to be God’s voice to help me evaluate my inventory objectively – almost clinically. It was through this process that I begin to understand the source of my wounds, how they happened and how they affected me. Talking it over with my sponsor was like taking the scab off and flushing out the poison so that real healing could begin. But understanding the wounds, understanding how and why I thought and felt the things that I did was not enough. I had to progress through the remaining steps to find that peace I was looking for. Like I said the 12 Steps are in a specific order for a reason. Each step prepared me for the next step.

Unhealthy relationships are always one sided

Some hurts in life just hurt more than others. For me, some of my deepest hurts involved people that I trusted. Some times it was nothing more than a mistake. Other times it was thoughtlessness. It was a lot easier for me to forgive and move on when that happened. But the times when it involved deliberate action of betrayal, I felt wounded to the center of my being, and I just could not let it go. At that time I believed that the only way that that hurt could go away would be for the wrong to be made right, and for the person that had hurt me to apologize and be remorseful. I really believed that I needed their apology in order for me to get better.

When I found myself caught with hurts like that, it was usually because of erroneous and flawed expectations that I had placed on a relationship. The first flawed expectation was because I expected fairness from someone that did not play fair. I had placed myself in a position of vulnerability with a person that I should not have trusted in the first place. So I had to ask myself, whose fault is that? How do I find these people and why do I set myself up over and over again to be hurt with people who are dubious to start with? Why am I so needy that I will ignore all of the red flags warning be to proceed with caution with a person?

It took a 4th and 5th Step for be to begin to have insight into why I seemed to gravitate towards the same type of broken people over and over again. Until I could see my part in the situation I could not even begin to understand what I needed to do to help myself to be more discriminating in my personal relationships. I had wounds that need to be healed and problems to be resolved, in myself, in order for me to take off the blinders toward other peoples’s character defects.

Wishing and hoping and dreaming will not turn a frog into a prince. It will not turn a witch into a fairy god mother. Through my 4th and 5th Steps I could see how all of the warning signs were there and yet I still proceeded without caution. I saw what I wanted to believe and not what was real. My desperate need to be liked and accepted blinded me to the dangers that right in front of me. Those unhealthy relationships were always one sided. They were definitely give and take relationships; I gave, they took.

Because of my insecurities I felt privileged to be their friend or anyone else’s friend for that matter. I assumed they cared about me the way I cared about them but nothing could have been further from the truth. My gut and my heart tried to tell me otherwise and I ignored all of the warning signs. I was always afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and being discarded.

Recovery has taught me to search for the truth in everything and in everyone. It has taught me how to recognize the manipulators, users and abusers in my life. It taught me how to recognize character and integrity in my relationships. But one of the most interesting things I learned was to recognize when I was dishonest with myself. Anytime I tried to be something that I was not so that someone would accept me I was being dishonest. The self-honesty this program requires has helped me to have the wisdom to know the difference (more often than not) of who I could not trust with the real me.

We do not live in a perfect world. Even the Garden of Eden had a snake in it to shake things up. Thanks to my 12 Step programs my life, and how I live it, has changed dramatically for the better over the years. That does not mean that my life is perfect; it does mean that I get what I want when I want it; it does not mean that I never make a mistake or I never get stinking thinking anymore. It does not mean that I am never disappointed, or that I don’t get my feelings hurt or that I never have a bad day. What it means is that now I more realistic about my day to day life. When I have a bad day or a bad experience or when that snake in the garden tries to mess with me I am now better equipped to deal with my problems and to recognize a snake when I see it.

How I stumbled over a simple two letter word

No is a very simple word. It only has two letters. So why in the heck was it so difficult to apply in my little ole codependent life. Looking back I cannot believe the things I did trying keep the peace, or trying to control or manipulate someone else’s actions, or trying to be all things to all people so that they would like or accept me, or so they would do what I thought they should do. I over extended myself, I sacrifice myself, my dreams and my needs to be accepted or to make someone else happy.

What the heck was wrong with me that I had such little respect for myself that I could not just say no? Why did I believe that everyone else’s life on the planet was more important and more valuable than mine? My life was coping and surviving. Walking on egg shells and making the best of a bad situation. I did whatever it took even though I didn’t want to do it, or even sometimes when it was repulsive to me to do. But it was also more than that; It was self effacing; Self punishing.

Why did I allow others to take advantage of me that way? Why did I do that to myself? Why could I not just say no? Fear that’s why. Fear of being rejected. Fear of losing something I had or fear of not getting something I wanted. What amazes me is how willing I was to sacrifice my needs for someone else’s wants. Rather than embracing my wants, needs and my feelings, I tried to squash them and quite them. They were choking me. I was looking for someone else to be responsible for my happiness and to fix my problems. I was looking to someone else for self-esteem and value.

The blinders started coming off after I got into my recovery programs. In recovery the focus is on me and that focus is so intense that I could no longer look back at past hurts as an excuse for how demeaning I lived my life. By holding my life up to the light so that the 12 Steps could shine through it, I began to see my part in this debasement. I could see where I had given up. I could see how I blamed my faults and character defects on hurts from my past.

Usually, during a crisis, I was so focused on what was going on with all the other players in my real life drama that I neglected my own needs. But with the help of my program, I was now taking back ownership of my life. Through the 4th and 5th Steps I began to acknowledge the effects of the past, learn from it, and then move on from it. It took time for me to learn to take care of myself first; especially during difficult circumstances. But for the first time I began to realize that if I did not do it for myself no one else was going to do it for me.

As I began to grow and change I received a lot of resistance from the users and manipulations in my life. They did not like the new me that was evolving. If I was going to make it, I had to stand up for me and that was not always easy. It was like driving with one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. There was a lot of stop start attempts along the way. But it was also that resistance that helped to make me stronger. By having to fight my natural tendency to role over and allow other people to run my life it became necessary for me to make conscious choices to do right by my me. In the end I made the decision that if one of us was going to be miserable it was not going to be me.

Separating feelings and the truth

My emotions and feelings were all over the place. Most of them ended in stinking thinking in the form of anger, resentment, fear, regret, guilt and judgement and sorrow. Different situations provoked different feelings at different times. The strange thing is, at one time or the other, I have felt all of those things over one incident or circumstance in my life. How is this so?

Such a mess it was trying to untangle and straighten out what was fact and what was emotions and feelings. You see, through this program, I came to realize that there had been so many times I had an immediate emotional reaction to something but the emotion was not congruent with the reality. The reason it was not is because I was carrying around a lot of emotional baggage. Hurts from my past were haunting and sabotaging my life.

Past hurts and disappoints had destroyed my ability to trust and my self-confidence. They had distorted my expectations and they had placed a huge burden on everyone in my life, and anyone that I met, to prove themselves to me and they did not even know it.

I cannot even count the number of times I have assumed the wrong thing. I cannot count the times that I have embarrassed myself jumping to the wrong conclusion. And, every time I did that I was always left with more guilt and more emotional baggage. It was a vicious cycle of disappointment that I could not stop because my emotions seemed to be an automatic response that I could not control.

I know you probably are tired of me writing about the 4th, 5th and 10th Steps, but hey, this is how it worked for me. My 4th Step was my first go at untangling truth from fiction in my emotions. I had this amazing sponsor that question and challenged me to look at my past objectively, and she helped me to see how I had used a lot of those emotions to protect myself at one time or the other. She also helped me to see that they were no longer a coping tool and that they had transitioned into a character defect that was interfering with my ability to enjoy my life.

My past was my past. I could not rewrite history. Therefore it was up to me to use my past to help me write the future that I wanted. I used my past to help me understand how I got this way and what I needed to do to change. Instead of painting everything in my everyday life with the hurts from my past, I learned a lot of wisdom to know the difference of what I could and could not change. My past taught me that if I did not set the boundaries in my life that someone else would.

By taking a daily inventory (10th Step) and promptly making amends when I was wrong, it helped me to not be so quick on the trigger judging everything and everyone in my life. This step helped me to prevent a build up of unhealthy emotions. By facing my reality each day I eliminated a lot of wrong assumptions. This step helped me to stay on target and not get myself out in the weeds. It helped me to focus on me and my responsibilities and helped me to mind my own business. This step helped me live One Day At A Time.

I was my own worse enemy

Often times I was my own worse enemy. It was beyond my ability to trust and therefore I rejected people and opportunities in my life to avoid being rejected. Like a thief in the night every hurt and disappointment, every unloving and unjust experience I lived created a lack of trust in me that made it impossible for me to have normal happy relationships.

I never trusted anyone with the real me; therefore I could never be transparent with my real feelings. There was no one out there that I trusted to love and accept the real me. I did not even like me so how could I trust anyone else too? How in the world was it going to be possible for me to do a 4 Step inventory, (a narrative of my life’s hurts and mistakes) and then actually share that with another human being. So for a long time I avoided going beyond the 3rd Step.

Interestingly enough my sponsor never pushed me to do these steps. But, what she did do was teach me trust. She broke down every wall and barrier I had by showing me unconditional love and friendship. She would invite me to go to lunch and I was suspicious. Why was she inviting me? I was such a porcupine that no one did that. I was always the one that initiated things. When I was at my lowest ebb she showed up at my door one morning for coffee and gently encouraged me to get dressed, put my makeup on and comb my hair and she did this day after day until that routine became a habit in my life.

She sponsored a lot of people over the years and to my knowledge she did not do the morning routine with anyone else. I ask her why; Why me? She said she did not know why either, she just knew that I was going down for that last time and that that was what I needed at the time was somebody to care. I was blow away. She never told me what to do and she would not make decisions for me. She listened to my pain and ask me questions that made me look at what was going on in my life objectively. This process taught me how to make decisions in my life. Her unselfish unconditional acceptance of me was mind blowing.

When I talked to her about doing a 4th Step inventory she talked to me about the benefits of the 4th Step. She told me that I could overcome the hurts and mistakes of my past or that I could allow those hurts and mistakes to overcome me. The purpose of the 4th Step was not about blame or pain, it was about understanding the root of my deepest wounds so that I would know what to do to allow them to heal. Some things were going to require my forgiveness; some were going to require me to accept and move on; some were going to require me to acknowledge my character defects and to also recognize my good qualities as well. I took both of these steps because I trusted this woman.

I do realize that my relationship with her was unique. She went over and beyond the responsibilities of a sponsor. I have not done that with anyone I have ever sponsored, but I have shared the experience, strength, hope and knowledge that she shared with me.

We talked about our unusual relationship before she died. Neither one of understood why she did what she did. Both of us are convinced it was a God thing. Thank you God!!

Finding Serenity

One of the definitions of postmortem is, “an analysis or discussion of an event after it has occurred in order to determine why.” Sounds like a 4th, 5th or 10th Step to me.

When a wound festers it becomes septic. Hurts in our lives cannot be buried; they don’t just go away. Well, let me put it this way, they don’t in my life. I find that every time I deny, ignore or pretend that something did not happen, or that it did not bother me when it did, that it only resurfaces in another way in my life. I either have walls of protection around my heart that does not allow anyone in; or it makes me bitter and sometimes sarcastic. Sometimes I have had this deep aching sadness that I did not understand and could not explain. And every single time my self-esteem took a hit.

Last night I was talking to a friend on the phone and she told me that she was not strong like me, that she could not let go of the hurt as easily as I could. I told her I did not know what she was talking about because I couldn’t do it either. I explained to her that when I have been hurt or disillusioned I have to work through it to find some kind of peace over the situation. Finding peace did not mean that I could undo the wrong, or that I agreed with, or even liked what happened, or that I got the result I wanted in the end. Every single time it was a process. Some hurts take longer than others for me to get to a place where I can be at peace with what happened.

I hate pain. I hate feeling miserable. I hate being sad. I hate sitting on a pity pot. It is the postmortem of the problem that helps me find my way from pain to peace. It is turning it over to God and asking him to change my heart about the problem. It is asking God to help me understand the lesson I need to learn in this situation. I either learn from it or repeat it.
I have reached the point in my life where I where I am willing to do what ever I need to do to keep from repeating the same mistake over and over again.

No, I am not strong, but I am determined. You see, it is not like I sit down and analyze everything, have a light bulb moment and then put it behind me and move on. It has never ever happened like that for me. All along the way I have had to make decisions about accepting the pain or getting up and trying again, as many times as it takes, until the pain goes away. It is talking it out with someone I trust to be honest with me that will call me on it when I am wrong and that will support me when I am right.

Stinking thinking can get out of control pretty quick if I do not reign it in from the onset. What ifs and should haves, I can’t afford and keep my sanity. I just can’t go there. I have had to forgive some people that did not deserve forgiving because I needed to be free of the pain they caused.

The whole purpose of the postmortem is to change me. It is to help me let go of resentments, it is helping me to not take personal the ugliness of others, it is about helping t=me to understand what I can and cannot change, it is learning where to establish heathy boundaries, it is believing in myself when no one else does, and it is focusing on what I have to be grateful for instead of what I don’t have. It is all of this and so much more.

No, I am not strong, but I am determined to live a happy life and I am determined to get back up as many times as I have to until I find peace over a problem.

Sometimes forgiveness does not come easy

There were some people I just did not want to forgive. I did not trust them. I did not want to be buddy buddy with them. In fact I did not want them in my life at all. They were totally unconcerned with how they had hurt me. They were completely unrepentant. In away, my unforgiveness was how I kept them at arms length. It was my shield. It was also the way I was punishing them. Or so I thought anyway. But the joke was on me, because they couldn’t care less if I forgave them or not.  The problem with how I felt is that I allowed that hurt, and how if effected me, to bleed over into distrust in my other relationships. Relationships that could be meaningful to me if I could just let go of past hurts. Those past hurts destroyed my self-confidence and my self-esteem.

It was in my 4th and 5th steps where I searched for solutions. For those of you who don’t know the 4th Step is when we “Make a fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” My Sponsor (my mentor) helped me in the 5th Step to look at my life clinically. She helped me to see it 360, from all sides, without explanations and justifications. It was all about the facts. This is what they did, this is what I did, this was my part in the situation, and this is how it effected me.  Talking out this inventory with my Sponsor helped me to understand how I had been hurt and how those wounds had changed the way I felt about myself and how I lived my life. She also helped me to understand that without forgiveness I was giving power to the people who had hurt me to keep on hurting me even if they never did any else to me at all.

My sponsor helped me to understand that the hurts from childhood were because I was being raised by people who were hurt and broken themselves. Their distorted view of life, their opinions, their views, and their words were not facts. They were only passing on to me their on hurts and inadequacies. I was now at a cross road. I could carry their cross into my future or I could choose to define my own self-worth, and create my own opinions of the person I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life.  Or I could be a victim.

My Sponsor helped to examine my adult relationship hurts the same way. As a child I wasn’t given options and choices, but as an adult I walked right into some of my hurtful situations with my eyes “wide shut.” There were red flags of warning everywhere. For me to be honest with myself it was important for me to recognize how in some situations I had actually contributed to the hurt. This realization helped me to see that I was as angry with myself as the person who had hurt me.

So here I was at the end of my 5th Step. I had all of this knowledge about my life that explained so much to me about why I thought and felt the way I did, but nothing had changed because knowing “why” in itself was not enough. Now it was time for me to roll up my sleeves and start becoming the person God had intended me to be all along. This transformation was no quick fix. Recovery does not happen over night – it is a process. I am still growing and changing to this day.

I read somewhere that the “same sun that melts the ice also hardens the clay.” I was the sun in my life. I could continue to harden my heart and close myself off wonderful from opportunities in my life or I could melt my heart and learn to forgive. I started this article by saying there were some people that I did not want to forgive. It was hard to let go of past hurts but I knew there would be not peace in my life and I could not heal if I didn’t forgive. I prayed to God everyday to take the hurt and anger out of my heart and help me to forgive. And then one day I just noticed that it was all gone. I could not do it in my own power. It took a power great than me to help me to forgive. It took God’s help.

Thank God the steps did not stop at the 5th step

Life happens. I use to wonder why some people seem to have a charmed life and some people seem to never get a break. It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s not fair. After many years of attending recovery meetings, and from the emails I receive from people who read my blogs, I know that there are a lot of hurting people out there. I have also learned that my perception of someone else’s life is not always accurate either. People help us to see what they want us to see about their life.

For a long time I was ashamed of my childhood, I was ashamed of what went on behind closed doors in my marriage, so I deceived a lot of people by pretending my life was wonderful and happy. The problem was, for a long time, I deceived myself as well. I made excuses for every hurt and disappointment I had or I completely ignored them as if they did not happen or they were not there. It was a copying mechanism, a survival tool, to get through another day.

The problem was that just because I denied or ignored it, it did not mean that it did not effect me. Every hurt, every disappointment, ever fearful experience, every desperate struggle shaped my perspective of life and how to live it. In the end, it was not so important anymore to understand why, as it was important to know what was I going to do about it.

If I did not want history to repeat itself then I had to change the direction of my life. I was the only one that could do it and it was not going to be easy. These 12 Steps were part of my rebirthing process. Looking back I can see that my recovery journey, my rebirth, was a labor of love. That’s right love. I had to learn to love myself enough to stand up on my own two feet and require good in my life. I had to learn how to love and believe that I am worth more than the life I had been living. It was not easy and, like every labor and delivery, it hurt like crazy through the rebirthing process but the rewards of my new life were more than worth it.

The painful part was facing my past. My past was painful enough without reliving it, but in order for me to move forward I had to face the hurts, disappointments, fears and the demons of my past one last time. My 4th and 5th step inventory helped me to understand a lot about myself and the other people in my life too. I could see how the people of power, influence and trust had failed me as a child. I could see how those hurts and disappoints had distorted my view of myself and of life in general. I could even see their brokenness which helped me to forgive them later on. But what was really reveling was that I could see how I participated and contributed to my own struggles in life.

Thank God the steps did not stop at the 5th step because without the rest of the steps to help free me from the past I would still be a slave to my past. Understanding is not enough. The next phase of my rebirth was learning how to forgive and be forgiven, learning how to have realistic expectations of myself and others, and learning how to be a friend to myself. Trusting my recovery program and these steps was sailing through uncharted waters for me, but the waters were not uncharted. Others before me had made this journey and had learned how to be happy and be at peace with who they are. With God’s help and with the help people who have done this before me I knew that freedom was my future. Just surviving was not enough anymore.

My “over reactions” caused Me as must distress as the things that my alcoholic did to provoke me

My “over reactions” caused me as must distress as the things that my alcoholic did to provoke me. Every time I lost control ,and over reacted, it left me feeling ashamed and angry with myself. Every time I over reacted my alcoholic came off smelling like a rose and I ended up apologizing. And every time I would promised my self that I was never going to do it again. But I did – over and over again. My sponsor told me that every time I over reacted I gave him control over me.

It definitely took some 4th, 5th and 10th step work to help me figure out why and what I was over reacting too. What nerve, what hurt in me was the trigger point. By dissecting the circumstances, I was able to see a pattern. Many times it was when I was fed up and insisted on “discussing” something at the wrong time. Sometimes I instigated the situation because I was so worked up over his behavior that I said things that did not have to be said. Sometimes it was an old wound that had never healed.

My sponsor ask me what did I hope to achieve by talking about the same thing over and over again with an alcoholic. True or not – talking about it again wasn’t going to change the situation. True or not – after putting my two cents in, I was not going to be free of it once and for all. How many times had I brought this same subject up in the past – how many more times was I going to bring it up in the future? What did I hope to accomplish? What was my motive – was it to punish, hurt, or embarrass or gain control. How many more times was I going to beat that dead horse and push myself out of control trying control what I was powerless over.

The Serenity Prayer says courage to change the things I can. I was the only who could change my behavior. Regardless of how inappropriate his behavior was, it did not mean that my behavior had to be or should be. Identifying the trigger points was helpful. It helped me see how I took things personal. Just because my alcoholic said something that did not make it a fact. It helped me see how I was being manipulated so that my alcoholic could get me off his back. It helped me define my self-worth and not put it into the hands of a broken person.

But understanding me was not enough. I had to make some changes. It was up to me to take control of me and my emotions. I did not need to hurt myself because of his boorish behavior. I had to learn to forgive him and Let Go and Let God help me in order to be free. I learned that I could not change this character defect in my own power. My past behavior proved that I couldn’t do it on my own. I had to ask for Gods help and it became easier over time to be in control of me.