It’s true: beating ourselves up for being human just makes it harder. A lot harder.
It’s not my fault that I default to thinking I should’ve done something differently than I did. It’s not my fault that I default to thinking I am wrong, or unworthy, or out of place. It’s not my fault that I second guess myself, think I misread my own cues and go back to undoing and redoing everything I’ve already done that day.
It starts with what I had temporarily forgotten about when I went to bed: Mike. Is he doing what he’s supposed to be doing? Is he OK? Should I text his friend and be passive aggressive and manipulative in my intention? He slept ‘til 12 and that triggers my insides like no other. It reminds me of Matt and how non-committal he was and would always slip back down and not only through the cracks, but out of them. It reminds me of a time when I had no control and was utterly powerless and wait! I still am.
Only now I have years of experience that God did for me and continues to do for me. I have years of experience that no matter what happens, I land on my feet and not only do I land on my feet, but I prevail and soar. I go through serious pain and anguish and shame, but I always come out on top – eventually.
So, instead of cementing myself to a story that isn’t even true anymore, why not focus on the one person I can control, me? Do I do what I’m supposed to do, and what I know works for me, every day? Yes, I do. Why? Because I fell off for a while and didn’t and know intimately how that feels. I am decades ahead on the experience curve and know what works for me and what doesn’t. My default into recovery is solid – because I have time on my side.
Some will argue that time doesn’t really matter, and I argue wholeheartedly that it fucking does. While time does not equate to quality or spiritual wellness, it does equate to more opportunities to practice what works and to practice what doesn’t. Time equates to building a stronger foundation so that when your ass starts to fall off, you can catch it before it’s off to the side and out of sight. Time equates to undoing old behaviors or relearning new ones. Time equates to more evidence piled in our favor, that everything really will be OK no matter how dim it looks right now.
Sigh. I am OK. I have everything that I need. I chose another person in recovery – I wasn’t forced. And while I was tentative for years about ever pursuing romance within the walls of 12 steps again, I know in my heart that it works for me. It’s such a sacred connection and unspoken truth shared between two people. We can talk about God without having to explain that we’re not devout. We can talk about disease without having to explain that we’re not insane. We can talk about needing a meeting, we can go to the meeting, and we can openly and compassionately encourage one another when it’s time to be of service.
The flip side is that I have experience watching people shrink away. I have experience watching people suffer and hurt and die. I have experience watching people stop doing the very things that made them well, and not being able to do a damn thing about it. I have experience that compels me to roll out of bed onto my knees in the morning, but the same experience that took me 10 years to do that.
Virtual living has taken its toll on me. I miss my friends. I miss our circle. I miss totally turning off and sinking in and listening – no phone, no screen, no distractions aside from someone’s agitated leg twitching up and down.
And because it’s taken its toll, my disease is wild and feral and all over the place. One moment it’s you, and the next it’s me. One moment it’s my body, and the next it’s yours. One moment it’s work, and the next it’s my future garage and kitchen. I wake up and start breathing deeply because I forgot what made my heart crank out of my chest.
I did. Nobody else. Nothing happened. I am doing it to myself.
My life is fucking good. I live in a beautiful area right on the trails – I don’t ever have to go anywhere if I choose not to. I have a flexible work schedule that allows for all the rest of my life and surrounds me with supportive peers and people I genuinely like working for and with. I have a budding, stable relationship I only ever envisioned in dreams and didn’t think would happen for me. My body is a machine and the better I treat her, the better she responds.
And that’s not what my disease likes. It doesn’t like when I’m OK. It doesn’t like when I’m content. It doesn’t like when reality is counter what it has told me is true for my entire life. It doesn’t like when I don’t lean on it for help anymore, and instead lean into my recovery. It doesn’t like that I really can handle a lot of food and not miss a beat. It doesn’t like that I really can be a part of a healthy relationship and take lumps and bumps in stride. It doesn’t like that I can, and do, have a flexible job, and make a lot of money, and be at home and take breaks and do things I enjoy.
In fact, my disease is furious. Yesterday it was the food I asked for but didn’t automatically get. The day before it was my sex life. The day before that it was my lack of kitchen and garage. Today was my high heart rate (can you imagine how that might happen to someone like me?) and then my imperfect pull-ups I never video anyway.
Sigh. Wack-a-mole is always indicative of bullshit. Wack-a-mole is always indicative of diseased thinking and an old, old story. A worn-out story. A story that doesn’t work anymore.