Something they remind you of over and over again in recovery is whose choices you can control, whose behavior you can actually change, whose character you can actually fix. Turns out that that is a distressingly short list of people. In fact.. just person. In fact, just me.
Now I have a counselor who is diplomatic about my feelings and who makes an effort to accommodate me. When I was fresh out of detox, they paired me with a crusty old hardass with 42 (no exaggeration there) years of sobriety and 0 (no exaggeration there either) tolerance for self pity. Whenever I was too unhappy with anything, or more importantly anyONE, he would tell me it was because I was not working hard enough on me. I couldn’t control Husband, or the kids, or my mom or the checkout girl at Target and the reason why they upset me so much was that I wasn’t focused enough on working on my character defects. Watch, he’d tell me, if I fixed what was wrong with me all of the sudden whatever was wrong with them would be better. It’s like fucking magic. Did I mention that Hardass had a major case of sailor mouth?
He wasn’t completely right. I mean he and the program are absolutely right about who you can control, etc. And the theory about needing to fix your own problems before you fix other’s is also right. In fact it’s Biblical. The whole pick the beam out of your eye before you pick the speck of sawdust out of your brother’s. But what Hardass is only partly right about is the idea that when you work on yourself, whoever you are upset with suddenly gets better like fucking magic.
Sometimes you can really try super duper hard and the other person just stagnates or more often than not gets worse. But even though I know that to be true, I am miserable right now with my lack of ability to change Husband. There is so much about his behavior that is dredging up bad, bad shit from our past and I don’t know how to deal with all the terrible intensity that is attached to our past baggage. And I cannot go get high.
So I went to a meeting that I hadn’t been to in months. I had to do a lot of motivational self talk to get myself out the door. It hurts a lot to do anything these days and at the speed I move there are a billion moments where it seems like giving up is a much better idea than pushing on. But it was so worth it. I am the last person that will say meetings are the only way. In fact, I hardly ever tout them simply because the people who feel that meetings are the only way do SO much touting of said meetings that meetings are promoted ALL that they need to be and more.
It was a balm to my hurting heart tonight though. The support, the therapy of sharing, the therapy of being understood, the hugs, the kind words, even simply people remembering me and being glad I was there. SO I plan to get back into at least this one meeting for a little while.
I gotta say though, as much as it helped me, I was inordinately let down by the fact that absolutely nothing had changed here at home.