I felt an incredible sense of sadness last night and found myself asking God to show me the lessons he had for me. I'm thankful that this request for "the lesson" is becoming a more automatic response. Rather than wallowing in the self-pity, I go to the lessons. I believe I was sent here on earth to learn, that we all were.
The source of my sadness was an incident that occurred on an online forum which I have participated in since early recovery. There is a person there, I'll call him GF, who is filled with wisdom, a constant presence, always sharing all sorts of good stuff with the group. Despite his sarcastic tone and occassional gruffness, he's adored by many. Well yesterday this "godfather" of the forum, posted a very tasteless and potentially triggering joke to the list. Many people were offended, but those of us who've been around for a while were truly shocked. Then when he apologized and said he'd been dealing with some mental health issues -- the weakness of this man, who (like me) tries desparately to portray an air of confidence, strength and recovery, just caused me to feel so sad and such a sense of hopelessness that I began to cry. I reached out to my support and also to God and asked, what's going on inside me? What's the lesson here?
The response (inside me) seemed to be that we are all human and I can find reason to put others above me and below me -- in order to feed my ego and my diseased need to continue that feeling of being less than. God's truth is we are all capable of fallacy and weakness, just as we are capable of wisdom, leadership and greatness. No matter how we "act" -- we are all human, we all need prayers, support, humility. On a simpler note, the incident reminded me that I often times put expectations and "assign magical qualities to others" without even realizing it. I have given GF some of those magical qualities just because other people look up to him. This was a good reminder to examine my relationships and attitudes for this very thing, protecting myself and others from future harm. I'm so good at making "gods" out of other people while ignoring the still, quiet voice inside me.
One of my friends reminded me: "I think as addicts online we can hide things that are going on inside of us. It's easy to come across as all healthy, all-knowing and shit but the truth is we are all just addicts. GF is no different. In my opinion, addiction IS a mental illness, so I think we are all nuts. Some of us just hide it better than others." That is ME in a nutshell. When I share with anyone that I had to go into treatment for depression they are stunned. I am able to hide behind this computer and be the queen of all knowledge. Like GF, I want to appear all knowing. But I'm just as terrified and fucked up as the next guy. Why do I try so hard to show only the positives? I grew up believing and being reminded with the straps of a switch or the slash of the tongue that weakness was not allowed, that it was despicable. In response, I learned to hide my weakness and beg for attention and acceptance with my positives.
1 week ago