You have your own recovery. You care about your loved one.
Family Recovery is possible - but getting there in the healthiest way possible can be a challenge...
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There is nothing fun or enjoyable about breaking a pattern like codependency. People become accustomed to a dance and when one person fails to participate in the sick dance any longer, other people become angry. That is what happened when I let my father and mother know I was no longer willing to sit by while they speak bitterly to one another.
Thankfully, I had a talk with my therapist two days ago and was prepared for this backlash. In fact, before I hung up the phone with him, he said "Just be prepared. They may react in a poor fashion and take care of yourself." My mom seemed to take my honest expression of my upset fine. My dad, on the other hand, sent me an email that basically made it sound like I betrayed him in the worst fashion possible.
He wanted to make me responsible for my mother's actions. He was irate and indignant that I left the house and said nothing to defend him after he spent three weeks at the hospital serving my mother with love and attention. He told me he won't forgive me. The anger and pain that rose up inside me as I read his words was palpable.
I thought to myself, "Really, Dad??? You won't forgive me for not getting in the middle of you guys shit any longer after I was put in the middle of it since I was a little kid and its cost me my own happiness. You won't forgive me??? That's funny." I didn't say that to him but I wanted to. I also wanted to tell him to go throw his pity party on another block....
One of the most valuable lessons I learned in recovery is that there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, asking for help shows a person's humility, sincerity, commitment and interest in getting better.
Until I went to admitted to myself I had a problem and asked my first sponsor to guide me through the 12 steps, I was trapped in a cycle of seeing my problem, beating myself up internally for my problem and then acting out again due to my shame and guilt over my problem.
Today, no matter what the problem I face ranging from lack of fulfillment to career trajectory to parenting, the first step I make is admitting my powerlessness in tackling the issue if I attempt to do it alone.
I ask for help in a multitude of ways. I ask my husband, my family, my friends, my co-workers, my mentors, my therapist, my sponsor or anyone who may have experience facing and tackling the same issues I face. Asking for help opens my mind and life to the myriad of possibilities available to overcome my issues....
My sponsor told me that my negativity is my addiction personified. In other words, what I believe is wrong in me and the world will be outwardly projected into my life. If I believe I can't get sober, I won't. If I believe I can't succeed, I won't. If I believe the world is against me, it will be.
Conversely, recovery teaches me that the positive beliefs I form will manifest in my life. The emphasis switches from negative projection to positive projection. I believe I can be sober and I am. I believe I can recover from multiple forms of addiction and I did. I believe I can be successful at work and a great mother and I am.
I notice lately that there is an area of my life where I don't feel the peace and joy I want to feel and that is my marriage. In doing my tenth step and talking over my feelings both with a sponsor and a professional (therapist), I learned about the term "introjection." This is when you digest a part of your envirnonment (namely your original caregivers like your parents) whole.
These are some of the beliefs I digested by growing up in my home:...
Step eight of the twelve steps entails making a list of all people I harmed and becoming willing to make amends to them all. When I first entered sobriety, the only people I believed I had harmed were either boyfriends I cheated on, family I stole from or friends I lied to. I thought the only person hurt by my addiction was me.
I knew it was not good for my body to use cocaine, drown in alcohol, smoke cigarettes or purge food. Still, I had little ability to see how my actions harmed the people around me. Even after my first fourth step, I still focused on the more obvious harms like stealing money or missing work.
It was only after several years of doing my inventory on a daily basis, in addition to writing my memoir, that I faced and accepted the subtle ways I harmed my fellows. These harms included my defects of character including dishonesty, envy, manipulation, blaming, shaming, condemning, judging, gossiping, and even withdrawing.
What my friend from college said when I made an amends to her for locking myself in my room when I did cocaine awakened me to the truth about my harms. She said, "Wow, I didnt realize you had that kind of a problem. I alway thought you just didnt want to be around me. I just thought you closed the door so you didnt have to be with me."...
These Four Cornerstones of Family Recovery are a great place to start your journey through the 12 Keys to Sanity for Families of Addicts. They let you know that your loved one’s journey is theirs to take and begin to give you tools to better understand your addicted loved one as well as yourself in relationship to them, along with ways to actually cope with the situation you have landed in.
To sign up for Bev's upcoming four session teleclass NOW go to: http://fourcornerstones.eventbrite.com/
Here is a Brief Overview of each:
To learn more and sign up go to http://fourcornerstones.eventbrite.com/
Read my blog post about this very topic at http://12stepfamily.com/2012/03/18/living-with-an-addict-in-early-sobriety-sit-down-shut-up-and-smile/
I received this letter from a reader last night and wrote the answer on my 12stepfamily.com blog.
There is a cat sitting outside of my condo apartment meowing. She is not my cat. I've never seen her before. I can't and won't call security because if I do, they will take her away and I think she must belong to someone in the building or in one of the buildings here where I live.
I can't take her in because i have a dog, who, thank God, does not seem to be aware of her presence, though her meowing is LOUD.
I tried calling a couple of neighbors to see if they know whose family she is from, but it is very late at night and no one is answering the phone at this hour.
So, for tonight, anyway, I prayed for her to be protected and guided home and let it go.
If she is still there tomorrow, I will go door to door to help her find her home and will consult with other animal lovers in my not-very-animal-loving complex....
Getting into recovery is one of the most purposeful things I have ever done. It took me from a life of denial, enabling, projecting, blame and judgment, into one of inner freedom and service. Yet, even in recovery, I continued to face the question: What is it that I am here to do?
For years I was a teacher and a school principal. Though the work was worthwhile, it didn't feel "on purpose" for me. I had this gnawing feeling there was something more I was supposed to be doing - a different path my life was meant to take.
Once I changed careers, everyone said that of course I would coach teachers and principals, and of course, I usually have a few clients who are teachers and principals. But, I knew right from the start of my coaching career that coaching educators was not my main purpose...
Eventually, I came across a Life Purpose Coach who took me by the hand and helped me find the detailed, specific contribution I came to this planet to make, day in and day out, in my career and in my life. For me, pursuing Life Purpose Coaching was a no brainer. I wanted to know mine. I had a deep yearning to know my True Purpose for being here so I could live out the rest of my days making the difference I was meant to make. So, I pursued the work with all of the energy I had given to the steps the first time my sponsor took me through them, and more.
Finding my purpose made such a huge difference for me. I knew exactly who I came here to serve and continue to learn more and more to this day about how to serve them....