A little reminder to myself about working (using) step one is the three c’s
I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.
The three c’s can be used in so many different situations. The tools I receive from Al-Anon are not just to be used in my relationships with my addict – but for me to use as tools in my everyday life. It is hard sometimes to admit that i have changed so much that i act and re-act without thinking. I don’t just take it personally when my addict does something but also if someone at work might say something or even a stranger and i will take the comment personally. They are usually not taking to me or about me, but my ego is so hurt that i believe everything is about me!
I was able to start making conscious changes by working may way through the questions at the end of each chapter in the Paths to Recovery. I want to share some of my favorite “ahah” questions with you.
- Do I accept that I cannot control another person’s drinking? Another person’s behavior?
Well, I have realized the drinking and taking drugs is certainly out of my control. If he runs around and has casual sex without my knowledge is also out of my control. I can obsess about it and act like an obsessed maniac or let it go. I feel better if i let it go. I have to sometimes meditate to get my crazy thoughts out of my head. I have written letters about a problem and burnt them. And i was given a great idea about a” give it to God” box. A little shoe box i wrapped in nice paper, cut a slit in the top, and i write down my problems or decisions i need help with etc. and put them in this box. I leave it to God and every once in a while i check back to see if and how God helped me out. Pretty amazing how things can be taken care of and sorted out even WITHOUT obsessing!
Others behavior? If the kids don’t exactly mop the way i feel is best – i try not to go after them and do it again making them feel worthless. (someone did this to me and i felt like why clean then?) I tell my kids they did a great job! ( and the BUT IF YOU DID IT THIS WAY; MY WAY; it would have been a little better, comments to myself) And what about when the co-worker doesn’t do the job as well as i do? (or think i do) Well now a day’s if they don’t ASK i don’t comment. If it’s a problem the boss will probably take care of bringing it up!
- How have I tried to change others in my life and what were the consequences?
I do not give advice anymore. I give an example of my own experience and let them take the message they want from it. I wanted people to be like me. So i led with “example”and then i used to explain why my way was best. I was often disappointed in others or frustrated that they didn’t listen. Besides i liked when they needed my help, my advice. But i was always mad they did not follow my advice. Come to think of it i wonder if they asked or i was just quick to offer solutions to their problem with my all-knowing powers. Hmm, all-knowing when it comes to others but myself?
- In what situations do I feel shame and embarrassed?
- In what situations do i feel excessively responsibility for others?
- Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?
- Do I say “yes” when i want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
- How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Do I continually anticipate problems? Do i feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
All of the above questions are intertwined for me. I feel shame and embarrassed when i don’t have control over situations. When someone close to me does something I would never do, I am embarrassed and I feel they are a reflection of me. I take other people’s problems home with me. I want to solve their marriage problems, save them from heartbreak, protect them and be their hero. When I am busy with others lives I don’t have to look at and live mine! I know that when I start thinking about a choice someone should make its a warning signal for me! I have to stop right there. It is not my problem and I cannot solve it! I can support, listen and love but that’s it.
When I was at my lowest i actually quit showering and washing my hair. I did not change my clothes on a regular basis. I figured no one cared or noticed. I had no more pride and didn’t care about how I looked. I didn’t go to the dentist or doctor for anything. Would not take my medicine or put a smidge of make-up on. ( I had worked as a model and studied ballet for 15 years so my looks and health had been very important to me.) My kids had to be perfectly dressed however. The right shoes and clothes, clean clean clean.
When I got over the “i am disgusting” and “please feel sorry for me” phase I fell naturally into the say “yes” all the time phase. I had to be involved in everything. There was no other good Parent Representatives for the class. There was no other mom to chaperone and be fun and playful at the extra curricular activities. There were no others to do the extra paperwork i had to take home with me and do at night. There were no other volunteers to sell at the charity booth. And on and on, I found out there were no others because everyone assumed i would do it because I always did. Or i did it again after them (better) and showed them they were wasting their time! I essentially gave myself a lot of extra responsibility to be “the hero” and would not allow anyone else to be” a hero” too. I was selfish and pretended I just wanted to be a “anonymous hero”. When I actually loved and needed the praise from everyone but was killing myself with the stress.
Enough of that. Now I say no. Now I allow someone else to volunteer. I still get a racing heartbeat and flushed when they call for volunteers but i just sit there and allow someone else the honor of giving of themselves. I focus on what I need to get done first. But sometimes I still wish i could bury myself in others business!
I lived many years waiting “for the other shoe to drop”. At first so many shoes were dropping I couldn’t keep up! But even in the calm times I couldn’t relax. I waisted the calm time waiting, worrying or creating the next problem so the shoe could just drop already! Chaos was comfortable because it kept me busy. When I was not busy, then I had to think and look and my sadness. Now I read a book, write, or can even “do nothing” a short time instead of waiting for the “shoe”! It IS more fun!
They were right – all those” healthy” people 🙂
- Stuck In The Middle With You (ask.metafilter.com)
- Spotlight: Interview with a woman sex addict (psychologytoday.com)
- Control isn’t power (part 2) (monkeytraps.wordpress.com)
- Carole Bennett, MA: Are You in Denial About Your Denial? (huffingtonpost.com)
- What Do You Do When Hubby’s on the Junk? (seattleweekly.com)