July 20, 2011
If I try really hard, I could probably take everything said to me on any given day and twist it into some sort of attack or personal innuendo. Me and my Aries-ego like to believe that the center of the universe was created on a beautiful April morning in 1976 when I arrived in my human form.
Every conversation, every status update, email, whispered word, or text message must have something to do with either me, my fate or some way that I have failed again. At least that’s how I felt before I started the recovery process.
I was so paranoid and consumed with the fear of the control others had over me, I literally became a nervous wreck and wound up on medication — several kinds, actually, to knock the edge off of my rapidly-escalating anxiety disorder. I felt my future, no matter how hard I worked, would ultimately be decided by someone in a position of authority, and I would have to accept it graciously. I felt people were plotting my undoing and if I let my guard down for one second, I was going to be bamboozled and be left with “Game Over” stamped across my forehead. I had spent so much time playing the mental chess game against alcoholism, I began to play it in every facet of my life. I became unreasonable at work, with my friends and family, and my children; I was enraged and miserable. Therefore, the entire world had to pay.
I heard a sentence that started me on the path to recovery. “Depression is rage turned inward.” I felt I had been slapped. I was doing this to myself? But, it was supposed to be all his fault (the alcoholic)! This planted a seed that eventually got me into these rooms. A few years later, I decided to leave my alcoholic husband; I knew I had to get help if I had any chance of having a normal (read sane) life. In September of 2008, I started my recovery journey in Al-Anon.
I learned to work the program and to apply the Al-Anon principles toward my alcoholic and don my recovery robe as I entered a meeting, but I struggled with applying it in my daily life and in new relationships. Before I realized what was happening, I was in a new relationship with new problems and working them as the same old Tami. I was surprised at how easy it was to slide right back into old patterns and drop my recovery tools at the curb. When tough times hit, immediately I went headfirst into fear of others controlling my life, paranoia, anger, and resentment. I was nearing the blame game when my Higher Power reminded me of something my grandmother used to say, “Look both ways.”
This was another major slap in the face. Once again, I had positioned myself on a pedestal, perfectly packaged in paranoia and sealed with fear. I had been unwilling to look at my part in the issues at hand. But, when I was finally able to step back and look at myself, I could see many areas with opportunities for improvement and lots of room for growth. I am grateful I can focus on one or two areas at once and know that I’m making progress and respect that while many opportunities are present, not all require immediate attention or need to be in focus.