I have had a lot going on and I haven’t posted in almost two weeks. Even though I haven’t posted life was still happening. Good stuff and challenging stuff too. In a couple of situations I have had to reevaluate the circumstances in some of that challenging stuff.
When I came into recovery I was looking for answers. I am one of those persons that needed or wanted an answer for everything. For some reason I had it in my mind, that if I just understood why, then I would be able to fix the problem. Then I found out that some things were not my responsibility to fix. I found out that somethings are not fixable and somethings cannot be reversed. There really are times in life when “all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” So then what?
I had to learn how to live with the consequences of decisions that I made, or decisions that someone else made in which I had no control. Stop right here! I want to say that learning how to live with the consequences of other people’s behavior does not mean that I have to accept unacceptable in my life, and it does not mean that I do not have choices about what I am going to do about their behavior.
One of things I learned early on is the importance of understanding my part in the situation. There is a darn good reason I need to do this, most important of all, if I don’t learn from it I will repeat it. Every provocation challenges me to look at my part in the circumstances in which I find myself. How did I get here in the first place? Many times, not all the time, but many times, there were red flags of warning all over the place, and I ignored them because I wanted what I wanted. Many times I had unrealistic expectations. There were other times I was too broken to see the forest for the trees. I was so focused on certain details that I failed to look at the total picture.
Progressing through the 12 Steps has helped me see my own strengths and weaknesses. Yes, I did say strengths. The first time I did a 5th Step, my sponsor helped me to realize that I was not all bad and I was not all good and perfect either. I had character defects and I had strengths. My sponsor told me that the focus of my recovery journey was learning to live comfortable in my own skin, and to be at peace with myself regardless of what was going on around me in my life. I could not even imagine such a thing.
I had this internal struggle in my head, a rigid dichotomy, between believing that everything was my fault and that I did not deserve any better, and being arrogant and angry because I believed that I was right and everyone just needed to get on board and do what I wanted them to do. Many times I acted confident and strong on the outside and on the inside I was afraid that I was not even average.
Looking at my part, and being honest with myself, is one thing that has been drilled into me from the beginning of my recovery journey. Recovery is built on self-honesty. The big book of AA says that the only people that do not get better using these steps are the people who cannot be honest with themselves. I know I am in trouble, and that I am deceiving myself, when I say things like, I know what I did was wrong, but I only did this because they did that. As soon as those words come out of my mouth I know that I am trying to excuse my own behavior.
To this very day I still examine my part in a situation. I still seek other people’s advice, my sponsor, or someone I trust, not to tell me what I want to hear but what I need to hear because this is how I grow. I can’t grow, change and heal by lying to myself.