A Journey to Denial

I've been absent. I can't count how many days I've been silent here but I know that it's been too long. I feel like a student who's been skipping school. I know that probably seems like a funny statement to make about not blogging, but I have realized recently that this--sharing here on my blog--is part of my recovery. When I grow weary and silent it is the same as picking up the bottle again for the alcoholic, or falling back into another addiction because they've quit the program.

The reality is that recovery isn't about my mom being a hoarder or about how she raised me and what I experienced. My recovery is about how I responded to what happened, and even more so, how I continue to respond to what happened.

My absence has been due, in part, to my journey to the land of Denial. The irony about that statement for me is that I have faced up to the past and its traumas, felt them for the first time, embraced them for what they are--good and bad, and attempted to redesign what I believe "me" to be. The problem is that I was forgetting some really important things. Recovery is about me, about my issues, my problems, my skewed views of things, and my broken habits. It's about me and not about my mom.

The first step in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (and many other recovery programs) is:

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction--that our lives had become unmanageable.

In the past, as I was attempting to adopt the 12 steps to the COH (Child of Hoarders) I had rewritten that to be:

We admitted that we were powerless over our parent's hoarding and behaviors, and that OUR own lives had also become unmanageable.

But just this week I realized the depth of that statement. Our own lives had ALSO become unmanageable. The reality is this simple: First, we must let go of responsibility for our parents, guilt over their problems, and stop trying/wishing they would change. That is absolutely the first step. Until I had truly let go of that component of my life, I couldn't really see the second part for what it is.

Here's a shocker: MY LIFE IS UNMANAGEABLE. No, really, it is. We have a large family--a blended one at that. Much of my everyday life is comprised of things that I have no control over. And while I don't like to think of myself as a control freak, when I get brutally real with myself there are a lot of times when I wish I had way more control than I really do. When things don't go the way I hope, I become irritated or angry.

I know this is human nature. We are at the very root of ourselves self-centered. But when things don't go "my way", I look for reasons to diminish myself or to soothe myself. I believe that this is the place where addiction takes hold. In those moments when something doesn't go the way I want it to, I put myself down (and abuse myself) or try to soothe myself (self-medicating). I have been doing this very well for years.

I am aiming to make my entries each day shorter than they have been in the past. There is much about the addiction issue I want to share, especially in regards to my personal addictions. But for now, I hope that this will get you to thinking about what is keeping you from seeing the part of you that needs changing. Perhaps your parent is a hoarder, or maybe just suffers from another form of addiction or codependency. Is their illness/problem keeping you from taking care of you? How does their illness keep you bound to them? Do you still feel guilt? Do you still want to take charge of their life and problems and try to fix them?

Freedom is out there. We can be free but first we have to identify the chains that hold us down and then work to destroy them. The first chains to go are those that belong to other people. Until we get rid of those we can't work on freeing ourselves from our own chains and shackles.

Tomorrow...thoughts on addiction in my own life.


Cheri said…
Keep pluggin away girl. One of these days your gonna look back and say "I did it." Then you will feel the freedom Christ has already given to you.

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