I used to believe that if I just understood why that I could solve all my problems. Understanding why did not fix my problems. Besides there were somethings that obviously I was not meant to understand the why of. Understanding why I was insecure did not stop me from being insecure. Understanding why I could not control my husbands drinking did not stop me from trying to control his drinking. Understanding why I was fearful, needy and lonely did not stop me from being fearful, needy and lonely. You get the drift here.
Understanding why was not the solution. The damage had been done; my self-esteem had taken a serious hit. The damage created a vacuum, a void, inside of me that at times I tried to fill with people, places and things. It didn’t work. I felt inept, inadequate, inferior and alone. How could anyone else like me when I did not even like me? Nothing on the outside could heal the hurt on the inside of me. It could not stop my compulsive behavior to make other people like and except me. It did nothing to make me feel secure in my own skin.
I carried around a lot of baggage when I came into this program. I had contempt and self-pity for myself – anger, resentment and jealously for others. My perception of myself was wrapped up in my problems, in my alcoholic and in other people’s opinions of me. It was a long time before I could believe that other people, places and things did not define me.
Every time I sacrificed my needs for someone else’s wants it peeled another strip away from my self-esteem. Every time I allowed other people to use and take advantage of me it stripped a piece of my self-esteem off. Every time I accepted someone else’s ugly words directed at or towards me I lost another piece. The more of myself I lost, the more vulnerable and susceptible I became to be used and manipulated by other people.
Once I bought into someone else’s hurtful words and actions toward me then I joined the band wagon and began to say ugly things toward myself too. In order to experience healing and restoration in my soul, I had to learn to talk differently to myself. I learned that the private conservations I have with myself determine the direction of my life. In order for me to change it became necessary for me to learn to talk lovingly and kindly to myself. Even though I cannot always control the thoughts that popped into my head, I do control whether or not I am going to keep thinking about them and allowing them to take root in my mind.
Learning how to “live and let live” was not easy for me. There was no quick fix. It took a conscious effort on my part to just be me and allow other people to be whatever they wanted to be. I did not have to make someone else bad or wrong for me to be right. We could be two people with two different opinions. Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life was to not get sucked into explaining and justifying myself to others. I could say no thank you without giving a reason. I could choose something different, I could like something different or want something different and that was okay.
More times than not I have been my own worse enemy. Through denial and berating myself for past mistakes, I made this harder than it had to be. The wisdom of Step 4 helped me uncover the way I disrespected myself. In Step 7 I ask for God’s help to stop the self abuse and in the 8th Step I found myself at the top of my amends list. Forgiving myself in Step 9 allowed me the freedom to live and be happy in ways I never dreamed were possible.