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.
Trying to fix is controlling.
Instinctively I want to fix the problems around me. I want to fix them even if they are not my problems, or especially if they are not my problems. Fixing helps me to think of myself as being dependable and responsible.
I heard in support meetings to “mind my own business”, that I was keeping others from learning and growing and that fixing others people’s problems was in fact enabling them in their addictions. These ideas took me awhile to understand because I thought I was supporting, helping and serving others as well as being dependable and responsible. I realize that by solving problems for others I am not allowing them to gain knowledge and growth from working on their own problems.
I still struggle with knowing whether I am supporting, helping and serving or whether I am enabling and keeping someone from growing. But, I know that God is an expert at this. When I turn to Him and ask, I can know whether I need to support others by working with them, lovingly standing by, focusing on my own problems, or doing something else that I had not even thought of.
A crazy life is not peaceful!
Before I came to support meetings I was angry and had lots of fear and anxiety. I was angry at myself and others, so feeling sorry for myself took up a lot of time. My life was crazy and I did not even realize there was a different way to live.
I was thinking that I cannot be happy because of how I was brought up and since I live with and around people with addictions and all the crazy behavior that goes with it (including mine). In support groups I am learning that I cannot change the past and can only control myself and my feelings. I am learning that feeling my feelings is important but it is also important to go through them and then let them go. I am finding lots of extra time as I am able to let go of feeling sorry for myself and let go of my anger with myself and others.
Now I have time to be happy and time to feel gratitude. Having more time means I can be more creative and start new projects. I can get more done in my life. I can even take time to relax which helps me to enjoy more serenity, peace and joy!
I am master over me
In the poem “Invictus” by the William Ernest Henley, he says “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” I really like these lines!
In the first place it reminds me that I do have power and control over my own life. I can control my own feelings, what I am learning, what I do and say, my attitudes, etc.
But, on the hand, I need to remember that I do need God’s help and guidance in my life. Everything goes better when I am seeking to do His will and not my own.
I notice it says “my fate” and “my soul”. This reminds me that I am not the master over anyone else’s life. I need to “mind my own business”. I can restrain myself from giving so much advice and remember God is not just mine; He will help everyone else too. I want the right and the dignity to learn and grow at my own pace and I can give others around me that freedom too.
I am the master of my own fate. I am the captain of my own soul. This is my life!
Control is an illusion – I am powerless.
I am powerless over other people, places, things and many situations. As I have listened to others describe people and situations that they have no control over, I realized that I often try to control and manipulate also.
In the past, I can see times where I have tried to exert control with no effect. I thought that if only I could do or say the “right” things that other people would not be “mad” at me. I have done or said things to try and distract people from talking about or doing things that I did not want them to. By doing and saying or not doing or saying things I have sought to gain acceptance and love from people. I was trying to be what I thought others wanted. This only pushed people away, lowered my self-esteem and made me feel angry and unsatisfied with myself.
As I look at myself I constantly see places where I need to let go. Sometimes I still want other people to change so I can be happy. I even try to control the direction and speed of my own recovery process.
It takes me time to see what and who I am trying to control. As I figure it out, I can take steps to let go and remember that I am powerless over others. I can put the focus back on me – the only thing that I can control.