Yesterday, I wrote about how the character defects that I had dragged along with me from childhood and into my marriage set me up for failing at the very thing that I wanted: a loving relationship. I was clueless about what to do, even though I knew that what I had been doing wasn't working.
So I dug myself deeper and deeper into a mire of self-pity and self-disgust. Instead of drawing people to me, I would isolate from others because I felt so unworthy. I would agonize over confrontations when they would occur. I saw myself as a victim of the bad behavior of others. As a consequence I was attracted to other victims in relationships. I failed to take care of myself, instead focusing on others so that I would not look at my own responsibility to myself. I confused love with pity. And when I realized that I was making mistakes in relationships or being ill treated, I allowed it to continue because I didn't think that I deserved any better. I was that out of touch with who I was and feared abandonment so much that I was willing to accept the behavior of sick people who were incapable of being there for me. This isn't a pretty picture. I essentially took on many of the characteristics of the alcoholic, even though I didn't pick up a drink.
My solution came from forgiveness and acceptance that I learned in Al-Anon. And step by step, I have learned to be good to myself, to build self-esteem, to express what I want, to understand and be willing to let go of my defects, to take action rather than to react, to enjoy living and loving, to believe that there is a solution other than the one that I kept using over and over, and that the spiritual solution is real.
I also don't let regrets for what might have been paralyze the present, for my experiences have shaped my assets as well as my defects of character. I have learned to take responsibility for acknowledging my talents, to build my self-esteem and to repair any damage done to myself and others. I am learning to take care of myself, mind my own business, and get on with living a life of gratitude.
Happiness is a choice-- I can choose to be happy or I can choose to let my fear take hold and be miserable. Being content is not an accidental mood created when someone else does what I want. I just need to keep the focus on what is within my power to change and what is up to my HP. I think that way I'll be able to achieve the peace of mind and healthy relationships that eluded me for so long before recovery. There have been many difficult times in the past. But with the help of God, my family and my friends, I can survive the next twenty-four hours.
"Wherever we may be in our search for healthy relationships, we have to begin where we are today. It may be painful to think how much better our relationships could have—or should have—been. There’s no point in criticizing ourselves when we did the best we could with what we had. We can gain peace of mind by putting aside what we could or should have done and by accepting who and where we are right now." from Discovering Choices.