Emotional Sobriety Excerpts About Learning to Love Ourselves

Because there re hundreds of bloggers writing about his/her recovery, I do a weekly post about an aspect of recovery which includes excerpts from some good posts. Today’s topic is learning to love yourself in recovery.

1. From the Maven (stay-at-home-mayhem.blogspot.com): How to be as High on Yourself as I am: a Self-Esteem Primer:

“We have one life to live. One. (Unless you believe in reincarnation. But then you might be born a toad or or a mushroom or something, so that doesn’t really count anyway.) Do you really want to waste it feeling like shit all the time? What purpose is that serving? And believe me: It is serving some kind of purpose, so you need to figure out what that is.”

“Are you keeping yourself down because you’re afraid of taking any steps to fix it? Is it comfortable doing what you’re doing, even if it’s not pleasant? Do you get some kind of attention from it? (AKA, having other people feed your ego by saying “Don’t say that about yourself! It’s not true!” That’s not self-esteem, and it’s not going to make you feel better about yourself. Like a junkie, you’ll always be looking for the next compliment fix. Been there, done that.) Are you afraid of succeeding? Are you afraid of becoming ridiculously arrogant if you’re not meek and mild all the time?”

“News flash: Being ridiculously arrogant is my job, not yours. You can’t have it, so you’ll have to settle for feeling confident. I know that sucks, but that’s how it’s gonna go down.”

“Anyway, figure out what’s keeping you down. If it’s fear, work through it. If it’s depression, open up and talk to someone. If it’s traumatic childhood issues, watch a few episodes of Hoarders and realize that pretty much everyone has traumatic childhood issues, but we need to work on letting them go and live for today, or face a lifetime of garbage collection and dead, buried cats.”

2.  From Guinevere writing at Guinevere Gets Sober:  “On Resentment, Codependency, and Recovery from Addiction”:

“I can see clearly, from my vantage point inside my resentment, the difference between resentment and anger. Anger can be OK, it can tell us when something dangerous or threatening has happened, it can motivate us to positive action, it can be energizing and productive and protective. Resentment is just sickness. It’s just picking a scab. It’s putrefying.”

I”t’s also exhausting to stay angry about something that’s over. It takes a lot of energy.”

“A psychologist told me recently (I may have mentioned this before; forgive me if I have; it’s something I’ve been thinking about) that children are sort of genetically programmed to keep the family together. I can remember now how many times I did this for my mother. She’d have a fight with my father (clarification: she’d fight with my father; my father would just drink and listen to her fighting) and come back to me crying, complaining about what an insensitive bastard he was, etc. ad nauseam,and I’d listen and calm her down and commiserate and encourage her that things would be OK.”

“Then I’d go to my room and absolutely fall apart. I didn’t know what was happening to me, of course. (I also wasn’t fully cognizant that she talked about me behind my back, too, in the same way she talked about my father) What I thought I knew was that I hated my father and loved my mother. After she died and all her crazy behavior stopped, I came to learn that my father was a very gentle man who hardly ever roused himself to anger—it was my mother who incited him to hit us.”

“Anyhow. All that is water that’s now downstream. It’s OVER.”

3.  From  TAAAF writing at Through an Al-Anon Filter: “Allowing Ourselves to Experience Pain”:

“By the time I came into Al-Anon, I was pretty much living on the front porch of myself. The entire rest of my house of self, was stuffed to the ceilings: old moldering crap mixed with relatively untouched newer items, all mixed together in one giant seething mass. I tried not to go in there, if I could possibly avoid it.”

“In Al-Anon, I learned that if I wanted real recovery, I was going to have to do an inventory, Step 4, and sort through that massive hoard of feelings, thoughts, beliefs, unmet dreams and desires, expectations, disappointments, resentments, and unfelt, stuffed pain.”
I was terrified that the pain would destroy me completely if I were to feel it – how was I to maintain mental stability while doing such a task?

“By working with my sponsor and my program friends, by asking my Higher Power for help, and by taking it one small step at a time. I don’t have to deal with the entire past today. I can deal with today only. One day. How am I feeling right now? Why am I having this feeling? Is it because of an unmet expectation, or is it the result of an unkind choice made by another person?”

Photo credit.

Letting Go Means Accepting What Is

“Surrender means, by definition, giving up attachment to results. When we have an attachment to results, we tend to have a hard time giving up control.”     Marianne Williamson

The following is a post I wrote 4 years ago at the beginning of my grieving about my divorce. Today I know it is the best thing that could have happened to me. I have not begun to date but I am getting ready to do that. I decided to use this time to get in touch with why I expect so little from those supposedly close to me. I found out I learned that at the age of 5 to go to the back of the line emotionally in that traumatic home I grew up in. My mother and dad and I became best friends after many years of recovery. God is good and He works miracles.

“From my divorce, I have learned that emotional pain comes from holding on to the outcomes that I project. How will it all end? I have no idea. But I am beginning to do my mourning. As well as mourning the end of the marriage, I am mourning the part of me that will never be–the part I was with him. That may be a good thing–time will tell.”

“My sadness comes and goes and I’m learning to allow it to be. No one ever died from feelings. I am also learning that I have been punishing myself for years by choosing people who withhold approval. Long ago, I guess I learned to not expect much. This a common choice when you grow up in a violent dysfunctional home. I knew I didn’t have a high desire for things. I’m sure a lot of oldest children growing up in homes with continual financial problems make the same choice. But I didn’t know I had made the same choice for my emotional health–or lack of health.”

“Now, I am studying Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix (the 20th anniversary edition). The main lesson I’m  learning so far is understanding my subconscious partnership. The book is for couples so I hope one day to share it with someone I care about. In the meantime, I have work to do on knowing what I need and how to learn to ask for it.”

Some other posts about letting go:

From tammycounsels: “To follow God in the adventure He has chosen for me is going to challenge many things. Mostly letting go of control, fear and safety.”

From Mike Robbins writing in the Huffington Press:

“Worry is always a sign that there are some deeper feelings and issues for us to address. It’s often a good reminder for us to get more real, take better care of ourselves, and pay attention.”

“Below is a list (read this list in his post) of some things we can do when we get worried (which many of us are these days, especially given the state of the economy and the world, among other things.”

I like the following guidance about letting by dearbubbie:

“First, thank you for letting us try to help you. Did you know that those who actually SEEK help are the first to recover. I’m going to start by saying TAKE ONE SAD THOUGHT at a time. If any of us took ALL our problems and tackled them all at once – it would seem too big to manage. I’m looking forward to comments from our Bubbies to advise you on the problems they think they can help you handle. In the meantime, hang in. . help is on its way!”

I also loved this guidance from Henri Junttila:

“If you’re waiting for something to happen, stop. There are no perfect circumstances. You will never be ready. I am not saying you have to do everything all at once. If you’re working in a job you hate and you love coffee, you can work during the day and start writing, video blogging or even podcasting about coffee on your free time.”

“You are the one who are responsible for how you react, how you feel, what you do and how your life looks. It’s easy to hide from that fact, which is exactly what most people do, but you are different. I can feel it.”

“It’s time.”

“Let go and reclaim your life.”

“You deserve it.”

Photo credit.