If only my loved ones would change…
I came to support groups hoping to learn how to get my loved ones to stop their addictive behaviors and change so I could be happy. I was surprised when the topic was never about my loved ones. The topic was always about me!
I learned that “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it”. When I apply steps and principles to my own life I gain sanity, peace, growth and happiness whether or not my loved ones choose to be free of addictions. I learned to put the focus on myself.
I do not like it when others try to control me or impose their will on me. Why would I expect that I could control anyone else? Why have I tried to impose my will on others? I can control only me and I am responsible for me. I am the only one who can make my life happy, full and beautiful.
I used to wonder why I needed to go to support meetings when my loved ones have the addictions! There was so much to read and do as well as going to the meetings and I did not think I had the time. Then, I realized I was changing.
Support meetings are saving my life – changing my life from anxiety, worry and fear to peace, serenity and acceptance. Each time I read the literature, I think about a burden differently and it is lifted. When I take time to go to a meeting and think about and answer the questions, an attitude changes that makes my life more peaceful and happy. Life is so much easier now than it used to be!
To change and grow takes time.
When I first came to support meetings and saw the healthy happy people around me and saw the value of the steps, I decided that I was going to give my best effort and be healthy and happy too. I did not understand “easy does it”. I was positive that I could get through the steps in a couple months, grow and be a new person.
But, I quickly became exasperated with how long each step took to complete. Frustration came quickly when I easily fell back into old ways when I knew a better way now. This frustration led to a feeling of depression. Then I heard others talk more about being gentle with themselves and about how change takes time.
I know that I developed bad habits and negative ways of dealing with things over my lifetime. I should not expect to change and react in happy healthy ways immediately. As I open my mind to being more flexible, and apply the lessons I am learning to my life, I will change and grow. I will be gentle with myself and everything and everyone around me and remember “easy does it”.
Change is hard.
Change scares me! I had felt for some time that I needed to make some changes is my life, but, I was afraid. The changes that I needed to make involved other people. At least one person would not like these changes. I also knew that the changes would be a better example for those around me, even for my loved ones who would not like my decisions.
I was right about some people not liking my decisions. When I told my loved one what I was going to do they were very angry with me. They stayed angry at me for a long time. What I did not expect was the relief that I immediately felt. I had not realized that I was carrying so much guilt until I felt it lift away from me. The guilt was replaced by a feeling of happiness and peace. This feeling stays with me and helps me to stay firm in my decisions and to deal with the anger of my loved one.
As I follow my Savior and as I heal through the atonement of Jesus Christ, I continually receive guidance in my life. The more I follow this guidance and direction, more light and knowledge come into my life and I am filled with peace and happiness.
I am still working on patience. When I realized that happiness was a choice, not a product of the things that happened to me, I was ready to work the steps and change and be done yesterday! But this attitude brought a new kind of anxiety and stress into my life.
I wanted to heal and get rid of my defects and get on with being happy. But, I often make mistakes and fall back into my old ways of dealing with things and into my old defects. I found that I needed to be patient with myself. When I am anxious and worrying about my lack of progress, I am focusing on the destination rather than on the journey. The future is my focus and not the present. I miss the beauty and the gifts that today has to bring me.
Many positive changes are in my life now that I was not even aware of making. I now realize that I can be happy today, right now. I don’t have to wait to be happy until I reach an unknown destination sometime in the future. When I live in the present, live “one day at a time”, have patience with myself and am aware of all that is around me, my happiness increases. I notice today’s beauty and gifts all around me.