Friday, September 5, 2008

loose the cuffs

I was struck by this mornings reading out of "Courage to Change", the daily reader published by the Al-Anon family group. The writer was speaking on step 7, "Humbly asked Him to remover our short comings" and the expectations they had about not having to feel fear, self-pity, and anger. That caught my interest, I have also struggled with those. Here is some of what was written:

... I have learned that feelings aren't shortcomings. The true nature of my problem was my stubborn refusal to acknowledge feelings, to accept them, and to let them go. I have very little power over what feelings arise, but what I choose to do about them is my responsibility.

Today, I can accept my feelings, share about them with others, recognize that they are feelings, not facts, and then let them go. I'm no longer stuck in as state of seemingly endless rage or self-pity, for when I give myself permission to feel whatever I feel, the feelings pass. My emotions have not been removed; instead, I have been relieved of short-comings that blocked my self-acceptance. (page 249, Courage to Change

My usual way to deal with feelings is to tell myself it's wrong. I should not be full of self-pity, or anger, or especially fear. I try to control these feelings. Evem as I write "control these feelings" I can see the poison in those words. I used to control these feelings with alcohol, with porn. I would control them by numbing them. "Be gone, I don't need you." Sometimes, today, I try to use will power to control feelings only to find out that I am powerless over them.

Many people have told me I should just accept myself, just the way I am. I don't know why I struggle with that. Why I need to listen to that voice in my head telling me I should be different than I am. That voice has been in my head since I was a child. Wanting to be different so I wouldn't have to struggle with life. Wanting to be different so people would like me. Wanting me different, my thoughts flood with reasons why I should be different than I am. I'm feeling frustration, anger, dislike of self, even some hope that if I write all this I will change. There's a lot of feelings around this subject.

I need to come to terms with the idea I will never change. I will always have feelings of both varieties, comfortable and the uncomfortable. Like Popeye loves to say, I am's what I am and that's all that's I am.

There's a little light in my mind illuminating the fact that recovery is not about controlling my feelings, getting a life full of comfort. It shows me I have been chasing that comfort all my life. Recovery is about accepting myself, loving myself, just as I am. Allowing my vision of self to include what others see, not blocking them out. 


Photo Credit: One


AlkySeltzer said...

Hello Distinctive! It has taken me thirty plus years to learn what acceptance IS. Guess it will take another 30+ to "accept" acceptance!

Thank you for the Alanon lesson. And thank God, that my wife Anna, a two-time winner, is IN Alanon! (Sober 23 years, Alanon recovery, 4 years!)


Hi indistinct,

Thanks for welcoming me to the Blog World. I appreciate it.

My recovery was very, very slow. But at the same time, it was just fast enough to keep me coming back for more. I would make progress with several steps forward, then find myself a step back. But the overall pattern has always been one of forward motion and feeling better. So, 23 years later, I feel better and better and I guess I'll just "keep on - keeping on".

Anonymous said...

Learning to be as gentle and compassionate with myself as I am with others is still very elusive. I trust that with time and practice, this will become easier and more comfortable than it currently is. I hope that it's not an unrealistic expectation. :0) Only time and lots of patience will tell.

Anonymous said...

Accepting ourselves is a change for the better, it's hard to see change in ourselves too. You seem to have changed for the better just since I have been reading you. I love that you keep trudging forward!