Q) What do you get when you scratch an alcoholic/addict?
A) A co-dependent.
Q) What do you get when you scratch a co-dependent?
A) A hurt child.
Q) What do you get when scratch a hurt child?
A) Don’t. They’ve been hurt enough.
Let’s face it. Before addiction grabbed you by the throat, you were a big-hearted, caring individual.
Maybe too caring.
Newly sober without the booze or dope to numb you out, a strange thing occurs. Your heart, which has lain dormant for all these years, wakes up. This can be a really overwhelming experience.
So here you are without the booze or dope and you’re spending time together in various 12 step groups, or rehab. Like any family does, we can get on each others nerves. Sometimes because you don’t feel heard, or maybe someone does something to upset you, only without your loose juice, you can’t tell them that.
It used to be when you’d piss me off, I’d tell everyone about it….. well, that is, everyone except you.
Then I’d pour myself six or a dozen, completely satisfied it was all YOUR fault.
Of course this behaviour only works if you want to stay sick.
Recovery says we own our part and let the other person know how we feel without blaming them.
Shit! You mean I gotta tell them to their face! (isn’t it so much easier to talk behind someone’s back than to their face?)
You eventually find the courage to do so and BAM you find yourself feeling responsible for the other persons feelings.
This experience is uncomfortable and like any good addict you’d rather avoid the pain and fall back to what’s comfortable, gossiping, but strangely, it doesn’t fit quite as well as it used too.
So now what?
Continue on in old ways that no longer work for you? ie; Finger pointing, blaming, gossiping and building resentments….
OR you can …
Be honest about your feelings and own your part.
God this recovery business is not for sissies! It takes serious courage to get real.
I see more relapses happen in newly sober people by not being truthful with other newly (or not so newly) sober people or family members.
We tend to shy away from anything uncomfortable. It’s a quick fix with long term consequences. When I’m developing a resentment, what I’m really doing is avoiding an awkward conversation. I don’t like being uncomfortable any more than the next guy. It’s easier to blame you, than take responsibility for me.
But stick around the rooms long enough and you know. You can’t fool yourself any more.
My well being is not dependent on you. It’s dependent on me and the work I’m willing to put into my recovery.
So now what? Any good codependent can tell you. It’s your fault I’m unhappy. If you weren’t such an ass, I’d be just fine.
Playing the victim isn’t the solution either.
Pouting, screaming and temper tantrums, don’t work. (Hurt child business)
Dear Lord! Is there no easy way around this?
Short answer. NO.
The only thing that will get you clean and sober and keep you clean and sober, is honesty.
Try practising with safe people. Tell them how you feel without blaming them.
Don’t minimize or sugar coat it. Be real. It get’s easier. Sort of.
The biggest reward? No resentments or no self-pity.
And your chances of staying clean and sober increase ten fold.
But not only that. By telling your truth you develop self esteem and self worth. When you value yourself, you no longer hurt yourself.
And it continues to build.
Then one day you turn around, looking back to see…. one by one, all those right choices add up.
What used to be overwhelming and scary, is now natural and intuitive.
You’ve morphed into everything you ever dreamed of and more.
You stand in awe of this miracle.
You live the life you always talked about living.
Only this time you feel it.
And you realize, one moment, one choice, one tear, one laugh, one risk, one day, at a time, there are no little moments. There is no getting there. There is only now.
And then it hits you.
You’ve already arrived.
Not matter what is happening, you’re content.
You find in recovery, what you were searching for in drugs and alcohol.
Only it doesn’t come with a hang over.
Then one day you take the hurt child by the hand, leading them away from the past.
The two of you come to a new understanding. Your adult self says to your little self, “I promise, I’ll never hurt you again.”
You look the small child in the eye and you know, this time you won’t. You’ve worked hard. You say what you mean and mean what you say. You pinky swear and let that little person go.
Freedom from the bondage of self.
Freedom from the bondage of co-dependency.
Freedom from the bondage of a hurt child.
Q) So what do you get when you sober up an addict?
A) Serenity, happiness and peace of mind.