I like that I am doing life without the goal of trying to please others. The people pleasing behavior is one of those things that children of alcoholics know how to do. It never worked, and I would always be filled with resentment when my "good" deeds would go unnoticed or be glossed over.
I guess that it's not unusual to want to be liked or to please the people that we love or who are important to us. But it seems that alcoholism has a way of warping how much pleasing I did. Being ill at ease with who I was from the time I can remember, I would try hard to fit in. But I never could quite achieve a feeling of oneness with others. Sure, there were moments of having a sense of belonging. But overall, there was a feeling of not being a part of.
I hear these words said in so many meetings--"I didn't fit in", "I felt different", "I didn't belong". And these are said by alcoholics and Al-Anons. I recently heard that those who grow up around alcoholism don't have a data base to learn how to "do life" like other children do. For many, growing up around alcoholism is filled with anxiety and tension. The child doesn't learn to be a child because the moments of being carefree are short lived. Not knowing what is going to happen next takes away the ability to relax.
I can remember times in my adult life where I did not feel fully present. Those are familiar feelings from the past in which I was just going through the motions of pretending to be a child, pretending to like what was going on, pretending to feel comfortable, pretending to do life.
I understand this quote from Dr. Jan Woititz because it is what I have often felt:
"It is hard for adult children of alcoholics to believe that they can be accepted because of who they are and that the acceptance does not have to be earned. Feeling different and somewhat isolated is part of your makeup."
Getting comfortable in my own skin is part of recovery. I know that I have come a long way because I am not striving to fit in with every situation, and I'm not judging myself harshly for it.
I now like to do things for others without expecting anything in return. I now know that my friendship and love is enough. I don't have to give gifts all the time or take people places or do any of the other things that I would do whether I really wanted to or not. I can do what feels okay to me, without strings attached.
Doing life now is about ease, not strife. It's about being authentic and not pretending, not worrying about what others think, not looking for others to fill the hole or patch me up. I've found my childhood as an adult.