Friday, July 4, 2014

Fixing Me, Not You

Water Lily in the Garden of Eden
 (Photo credit: philipbouchard)
On my journey of sobriety, one of the hardest things I had to learn was how to “fix me, not you.” I focused most of my energy on how I could make other people see things my way, so I could feel good about myself. I desperately wanted to fit in, to be accepted, and to be loved. In my mind, the only way to obtain these things was if everyone was happy with me.

There was one person in particular, I’ll call her Renee, who was never happy or satisfied with anything I did. No matter how I acted, how much I gave, how much I bent over backwards, it was never enough. Renee was always angry and dissatisfied with every step I made.

I would waste hours in conversation with Renee trying to convince her to be happy, but nothing worked. I would stay up at night wondering what I needed to say to her so she would be happy, so I could feel happy. I wanted things to be perfect, but perfection never came.

Through time, AA meetings, a supportive sponsor, a wonderful spouse, and supportive family, I started to grow some self-esteem. One day I woke up and realized I had grown a backbone. I was able to go to sleep without obsessing over how to make someone else happy.

I started focusing on myself, and what I needed to do to fix the mistakes I had made, and how to rebuild the trust I had lost. What other people thought and said seemed less important.

If Renee had something mean to say, it was easier to let it slide. It still hurt, but it wasn’t devastating like it used to be. It would sting for a few hours instead of a few months.

I stopped trying to convince her to be happy, and started focusing on how to make myself happy.

A whole new world opened up to me, and although there are days where I feel sad about my strained relationship with Renee, I understand that I cannot fix her. I can only fix what’s going on in my life.

I was fortunate enough to enter into an alcohol treatment center where they taught me new coping skills. I learned about co-dependency, addiction, and how to build a new sober life for myself. If you want to end the pain of addiction, seeking help through a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is a great place to start.

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