Monday, 1 February 2010

Progress not Perfection

In recovery circles, they have a saying: the good thing about recovery is that you get your feelings back and the bad thing about recovery is that you get your feelings back. These last few weeks I have to say I've found having my feelings to be tough. Someone I love very much is seriously ill, with a possibility of not coming through it. It's at times like this that I have to remind myself I am powerless over people, places and things.

When I was drinking and using I used to work really hard at fixing people. I wanted to be everything to the people in my life, I think because I wanted to be loved and needed, and making myself indispensible to people seemed a way to make people like me. I had no self esteem, and so I searched for approval in the eyes of others. If someone liked me, good (although even then I'd think, if they really knew me they'd think different). If not, all hell let loose: a confirmation it seemed to me that my worst fear was true, that people could see through me and know I'm a bad person. I clung to people for dear life.

Looking back at how lonely I was, and how desperate for love I was, I feel compassion for myself. And I feel sad. Now, in recovery, I can see myself more clearly. I see the patterns in my life, the character defects I have which have led me to fall into unhelpful behaviours and destructive relationships. Relationship is at the heart of the problem: I tend to have incredibly skewed relationships with everything in my life, from people to money to everyday objects which I can imbue with certain powers beyond the real. So I can start to think certain clothes lucky or unlucky, demand that any man in my life be a white knight and save me, get superstitious about rituals. Ritual was another big thing for me in my using. And the white knight thing...

I still am prone to these ways of thinking. I am an addict, and they are my default position. But I do these days think myself more worthwhile, and not set up others as gods in my life to be raged at and thrown away when they inevitably fail to save me from myself. Only I can save myself, with the help of others. And people won't help if I don't let them in, and tell them I'm hurting and scared. I find it so hard to admit that! But I am trying, nevertheless. At this time of upset and worry, I have mustered up the courage and honesty to reach out to my friends for support. And the grace to know that I can't save him, that I'm not God, that I can only do what I can and look after myself and hand the rest over. It's difficult, and I'm scared and I'm hurting, and I still often feel lonely, but it's progress.

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