I WANT TO BELIEVE
my efforts will pay off
PREVIOUS: Dis-comfort & Comfort #3a
POSITIVE DIS-comfort (cont.) It’s understandable that trying out new thoughts & actions will create anxiety in us. That represents breaking internal family rules, breaking away from old familiar PPT, & moving into unknown territory
HEALTHY things that can make us UN-Comfortable:
• leave bad relations (family / mate/ ….
• all forms of intimacy (PMES)
• following through
• tell the truth // say what you mean
• feel all your emotions
• go for your passion
• take a compliment / being praised
• get what you asked for
• things working in your favor
• receive help, encouragement
• stand up for yourself – via the Adult
• set limits, say”no”when called for
• stop taking care of others
• Stop mind-reading. ASK QS! // Stop having to always ‘be right’
• changing jobs / career / get a promotion, commendation
• trying out new things / learning a new skill
• appropriate risking / public speaking / writing for work
• learning / doing something difficult – that you always wanted to try)
• going back to school / graduation / B/day party
• new job/ new home / marriage / baby
• winning or inheriting money / gifts ….
One of the big dis-comforts in Recovery is letting go of trying to control PPT & shift to being in control of oneself.
The intensity of our need to be controlling is in direct proportion to how much anxiety we carry, which is caused by sitting on our backlog of pain instead of getting it out safely. The Q is “Where is your Locus of Control?” ACoAs have been trained to only focus externally on others. So as ‘adult’s till run by the WICs we do not want to be our own motivator – because that would mean giving up the illusion that our family – or someone – will eventually take care of us. (CHART )
BUT – the only way to Heal & Grow is to gradually change from an External (Reactive) to an Internal (Proactive) source of Being. (MORE….)
Useful guidelines: Just as we originally learned the toxic rules, now we need new healthy rules to guide us. The more familiar 3 Cs of Al-anon are about ‘letting go’:
I didn’t cause it / I can’t control it / I can’t change it.
These concepts mainly apply to our dealings with others – their addictions, their damage, their distress. They imply that we mind our own business (“Keep the focus on yourself”) and work on self-care. Following thru on these ideas can be a daily challenge for co-dependents who are used to taking on the responsibility for other people’s needs, self-destructiveness & suffering.
But they can also apply to some things for ourselves:
✱ I did NOT cause my damage (damaged NOT defective). Yes – we have lived out the toxic training, which is inescapable without recovery. We are responsible for changing but not for the source – without blaming ourselves for our imperfections & pain,
✱ I can’t control the process of recovery. Healing our heart & mind is a slow & difficult process, requiring patience & perseverance. Also, we can’t control how others react to changes in us as we heal.
✱ I can’t change the time & opportunities lost to the disease, (If only I had known this before, if only I’d left home sooner, if only… if only….). Recriminations are a waste of time & energy. Mourn the loss & focus on self-esteeming acts today.
Going forward, another 3 Cs can be even more of a challenge:
I can Change / I can Cope / I can Celebrate!
➤”I can change” seems daunting if not impossible to many ACoAs because the WIC is going by a whole life-time of actual experiences, both as children & as adults – acting out our damage. Also, if we are convinced that how we’ve always been is our real personality (see part 1) then there is nothing to change. BUT, what many recovering ACoAs have found is that when we finally find Program, doctors, therapists, ministers, mentors …. who recognize our suffering & offer genuinely helpful solutions, we actually can get relief & have a chance for a better life.
➤ “I can Cope” feels impossible – to the WIC. But this is not true for our Healthy Adult. As children we were put in daily impossible situation & expected to handle everything as if we were already grown up, and demanded that we ‘fix’ the things that were wrong with the adults – which was absolutely impossible. BUT with Recovery today we can indeed cope with many things “that used to baffle us”. ↘
Being willing & able to tolerate the dis-comfort of the Recovery process will lead to achieving at least a fair measure of the PROMISES. These goals & outcomes are the result of sticking to the process of growth through all the frustration, disappointments & hard work.They may seem beyond our reach at the moment, but the 12 Steps offer : “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through: (from the ACoA site)
☆ We will discover our real identities by loving and accepting ourselves.
☆ Our self-esteem will increase as we give ourselves approval on a daily basis.
☆ Fear of authority figures & the need to people-please will leave us.
☆ Our ability to share intimacy will grow inside us.
☆ As we face our abandonment issues, we will be attracted by strengths and become more tolerant of weaknesses.
☆ We will enjoy feeling stable, peaceful, and financially secure.
☆ We will learn how to play and have fun in our lives.
☆ We will choose to love people who can love and be responsible for themselves.
☆ Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set.
☆ Fears of failure and success will leave us, as we intuitively make healthier choices.
☆ With help from our ACA support group, we will slowly release our dysfunctional behaviors.
☆ Gradually, with our Higher Power’s help, we will learn to expect the best and get it.
“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. / We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. / We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. / No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. / That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. / We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. / Self-seeking will slip away. / Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. / Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. / We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. / We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. ”