September 9

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 9: “If you want to be a slave in life, then continue going around asking others to do for you. They will oblige, but you will find the price is your choices, your freedom, your life itself. They will do for you, and as a result you will be in bondage to them forever, having given your identity away for a paltry price. Then, and only then, you will be a nobody, a slave, because you yourself and nobody else made it so.” ― Terry Goodkind

In the days when I was a little girl, men were believed to “take care” of women. Most of the time, this was not really true, but that is what we were taught.

What really happened, in my experience, was that men worked all day and the women took care of the home, cooking, shopping, sewing, childcare, all the administrative issues with the family, paid the bills (without a computer and in person!), ran all the errands, ironed and laundered all clothing, and kept the whole thing moving well.

A big job. Then, when women were required to work, they did that too! What men got was a lot of taking care of in all the ways that were important, except financially. As someone who has done ALL of it for myself for a lifetime, I can see the benefit of both positions. The truth is this, we never really “take care” of anything, except an infant. And that is by choice.

At any point in time, when we let others “take care” of us, it quickly turns into a hostage situation. When I let others “do” things for me, I am losing the opportunity to do them for myself. I have asked a lot of people to teach me how to do things. And I must say, that I am pretty independent of others for much of what I need.

I don’t see any benefit in having others do things for me. I will pay someone to do something I can no longer do, but I love taking care of myself and my home and my things. It gives me a sense of pleasure to take care of myself and my home.

We raise children in our culture to be dependent on mommy and daddy until they are well past the age where they should be doing things for themselves. Then we send them out into the world with those expectations and they are a menace to society. They are entitled and rude and demanding of others to meet their needs and take care of them.

Addicts are like this quite a lot. Addicts expect the world to take care of them as long as they do one or two of the minor things expected. They may have a job or go to school and think that their home and all other needs (especially emotional needs!) should be met by someone else. They are not good at being responsible for their own lives and their own behavior.

This is the nature of Step 4 and Step 9. We are angry and resentful because others have not met our needs as we see it. Then we create a dynamic where it is appropriate and permissible for us to do terrible things to “get back” at them. It does not matter who did what. It only matters that we stand up and grow up and act like adults.

We take responsibility for our lives; our needs are our responsibility to meet. No one else’s. End of discussion and the end of a great many resentments that we may be carrying around. Woohoo!

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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