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.
I am changing my behavior.
I used to feel the tension rising in my home and I would pretend it wasn’t happening. I thought that this time something different would occur but always the same things would happen.
In support groups I learned that it is crazy to do the same old things and expect a different result. If I practice the same behavior over and over and expect a different outcome I am the insane one. Ignoring behavior, worrying, being anxious or fearful never helped. I learned that I cannot control anyone else but I can change my own behavior, my own attitude, and my own thoughts. I can be happy and learning and growing no matter what is going on around me.
When I feel tension growing in my home I can choose to do something new instead of ignoring it or getting fearful, anxious or worried. I can make plans with a friend or go for a walk. I can go get a message or work on a new hobby.
When I do things differently my loved one’s behavior may or may not change. But when I take care of me and am creative I feel better, my self-esteem rises and that makes all the difference!
Learning how to use the atonement
Before I started going to support groups I was feeling hopeless and that my life was unmanageable. I felt despair and far from God. I did not know how to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ to my situation and really did not know that I should be using it. My constant companions were fear and anxiety. I felt alone and that no one knew or felt what I was going through. Satan had me firmly in his grasp and I did not even know it.
The very first support meeting I went to, I just sat and listened and cried all the way through it. Everything everyone said, I could relate to. What people were feeling, I felt. I had finally found a place where I felt I belonged and people who knew what I was going through. There were even people who were going through worse things than I and they were happy! And growing! And were laughing with others and at themselves! I was amazed and wanted what they had.
Support meetings have taught me how to apply the atonement to me, to my life. The atonement has given me hope and taught me how to trust in God. My loved ones have not changed, but I have changed and that has made all the difference!
When I look back at what I was and how I felt and compare that to myself now, I am so thankful for the atonement and for support meetings, and for every person who attends, because they teach me and help me keep my balance. I have found that when I don’t come to meetings, I tend to slip back into old ways and patterns and hopelessness returns. The atonement and the people that come to support meetings are my life line that keep hope and trust in God at the front and center of my life.
Being a victim is a choice!
I didn’t begin to find peace and hope and healing until I discovered that I could choose not to be a victim. I thought that if I was going through hard things that I could not be happy. I did not know that I could choose peace and hope and healing through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I was miserable, angry and hopeless.
Support groups have taught me how to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ to myself. I have learned that being a victim is a choice. I have learned that I can be happy and confident no matter what is going on around me.
I am so thankful to know that God cares about me as well as my loved ones who suffer from addiction. I’m so thankful to know that I don’t have to suffer just because my loved ones might have an addiction. “I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. I can’t cure it.” But, Jesus Christ can help my loved ones if they turn to Him. I can put my loved ones in God’s hands. I can work on my own healing and turn to God myself. He will help me know what I can do. Today I choose peace, hope and healing.
I am the problem?!
I know my life is unmanageable. I know I need help. But, do I have problems and addictions of my own? I know that I am not perfect, but I thought that I was basically OK. Other people in my life are the problem, right?
I listen and learn in support groups that the many coping skills and habits I have developed and learned are keeping me from happiness, from living a peaceful and serene life. I have many weaknesses that I need to overcome. As I come to see this, I try very unsuccessfully to eradicate these weaknesses from my life and become unhappy when I am quite unsuccessful.
When I found that I could not, by myself, get rid of my weaknesses, I was miserable. Then, I remembered that God can help me, through his son Jesus Christ, if I ask for his help. This became my greatest desire, and gave me hope. While watching other people in my support groups, I learned that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, I can be happy no matter what is going on around me. I learned that I don’t have to be a victim and that I can create healthy boundaries. I learned about the 12 steps and 12 Principles from 2 different but similar programs that have changed my life.