October 6

DISCIPLINE MONTH: DAY 6: “Showing a lack of self-control is in the same vein granting authority to others: ‘Perhaps I need someone else to control me.” ― Criss Jami

I remember how long it took for me to stop trying to please others and be what I thought they wanted me to be. It was several years into this thing.

Thank God for the “other” programs! There have been many of us addicts who benefit so greatly from the teachings of 12 Steps in all areas of life.

I used to go to every source I could find for “ME.” I did not know how to be okay with myself, so I could never be okay with you.

It was a two-fold dynamic. I would find people I thought were somehow “better” than me. This could be their social standing, their financial wherewithal, their time in recovery, whatever. And don’t even get me started on the male species! Yikes!

So, I would do whatever I thought they wanted me to do, say what I thought they wanted me to say, be what I thought they wanted me to be, wear what I thought they would like…ad infinitum. And then I would be SO helpless in making life choices. I would follow their advice and then resent the hell out of them because their solutions were seldom MY solutions.

Ugh! And I was a master at finding others who would tell me what to do, how to do it, and all the rest. It was such a vicious (TRULY vicious!) cycle of living. I hated them, and I hated me.

This went on into early recovery. I was sent to be a part of the early days at Betty Ford Family Program, because we worked in a treatment program that interfaced with them in the desert a lot. I was astonished! It was so mind-opening.

I began my Alanon career at that time. It was brutal recovery for me. And I got to see the REAL trouble with me. Scratch the surface of my addiction, and there is a huge core of this under the skin…and it goes really deep.

So, this quote talks to me about why I let others make my decisions, author my story, and point out the changes they want me to make for their best personal comfort.

And I understand both sides; like I said, it is a two-fold deal. I love to control others so they will be who I need them to be for my best personal comfort as well. Then I have to hate them for being so malleable and spineless. Yikes! And they become a total burden, because they are completely dependent on me to do anything!

OR…I am the malleable one and so on…it never ends, until I get off the merry-go-round. When I step away, I am free.

And, for me, the discipline is in not getting on the merry-go-round. I have several people in my life whose primary purpose (I think!) is to get me back on there. They do their thing and I don’t bite the bait, one day at a time. I love this discipline thing!

And when I do bite the bait, I have Step 10 to keep me from swimming off with them and getting reeled in any further. I can let go and stop the insanity as quickly as possible. Then tell that person that I was wrong about what I did there. YAY! What a deal!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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