Sunday, February 15, 2009

Practicing honesty

Wow, the miracles just keep coming. I just shared with my sponsor with complete honesty about some uncomfortable feelings I am facing. Dishonesty is an isidious tool of my addiction that has permeated every corner of my life. To have the opportunity and the willingness to practice transparency and honesty feels really amazing.

I've been feeling triggered lately and the triggers just keep coming. I know I am in an emotional/spiritual place where I have historically been prone to act out. The difference in today and the days and years of the past is I shared my feelings with someone. Previously, I would have fought the triggers with all my might, considering myself bad for having them, until eventually I would give in to acting out. Then I would have "failed to mention" my slip, felt shame around it, and yet secretly "empowered" that I could "get away with it." All of this would cut me off from my source of healing, my Higher Power and my true self. I am incredibly grateful today to have been given -- and trust me it was a gift, not something of my own making -- the willingness to share so openly with my sponsor.

Just a bit about where I am: Last week it seemed that one small trigger turned into another and then another and another. I shared those triggers with my sponsor, as well as my therapist, as they came up, and sought their source to the best of my ability. In usual form, my husband was the scapegoat, getting most of the blame for why I was feeling triggered. He wasn't paying enough attention to me, he was spending too much time at work, I was feeling lonely. This is that old tried and true strategy of putting the blame on him for my problems. As a result, I've been really needy with him and spent much of yesterday acting like a child who needed attention. Trying to manipulate him to be more romantic on Valentine's Day in all sorts of ways that would make me sick if I saw someone else doing them. This morning he got up and went to work and indicated he'd have to go back this afternoon. It just feels like we have no "us" time and I've put myself in a situation where he is too much of my source of entertainment, companionship, etc. By doing this, I know that I am in a state of depletion. Also, I'm doing a lot for him and feeling as if I'm not getting the same in return.

I think even deeper than all this with him is I am continuing to struggle with perfectionism. I am making these to do lists each day with full intention of getting through a lot of stuff. Some days I do, and some days I don't. I allowed myself the room when I said I would make the lists each day that I didn't have to accomplish everything, that they were just a guide for doing the next right thing. Still, I can feel that I am beating myself up for not being perfect.

For comic relief, I'll share one way perfectionism recently caused insanity in my life. In order to make my life more manageable and to have a focus for doing the next right thing, I make to do lists each day. On Friday and if I'm not mistaken maybe even on Thursday of this week ... I spent so much time and energy trying to figure out what was the "right" thing to do first, that I ended up feeling deflated at the end of the day because I had accomplished so little. What I needed to do was just do something, but I was too worried that I wasn't doing the perfect thing. Egads.

I'm grateful I have the slogans and a set of 6th Step Affirmations of SLAA to get me through one day at a time. And I'm grateful I have a sponsor and a fellowship that I can get honest with, so that my feelings and my triggers are "right-sized" and I'm far less apt to act out, and more apt to continue to grow in all my relationships.


vicariousrising said...

I started keeping to do lists early in sobriety. The were in a sidebar on my computer so they were always staring at me while I worked. They started to be a source of feelings of failure and laziness. When I talked to my sponsor about how I felt I wasn't getting anything done, she told me to scrap the to do list. I did, and it made a huge difference.

MargauxMeade said...

Rae, I'm reading a great book right now that I highly recommend. It's called "Why Good People Do Bad Things" by James Hollis (a Jungian analyst). Without writing out a whole synopsis, the basic premise is that all of us human beings have a "Shadow" side to us, as well as a "good" side. Hollis says that the true definition of a good person is not whether or not they make mistakes or have urges to do "bad" things (because ALL people do this), but whether that person is willing to look honestly at him or herself and try every day to be more and more conscious. The good news is: You do that all the time. Keep being kind to yourself--you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Very honest writing... Thank you for sharing Rae.

MargauxMeade said...

Rae, you're right--I did a little research and there ARE two books on the same topic with the same title. Weird. Anyway, I haven't read the one by the female writer you mentioned (I'll have to check that out), but the one by the guy, James Hollis, is also really, really good.