There seems to be a common misconception that when we stop drinking and using, out of nowhere we will become these perfect people.
Alcoholics and addicts (non-alky’s too) have an inner need for perfection.
From time to time in recovery, I hear this thought-process: “I was only bad when I was out there drinking and using!”
Although getting sober and staying sober is a huge accomplishment in itself, just stopping is not enough.
I remember a time when I would do almost anything to “feel” like everyone “looked.” The word sobriety (in my mind) implied I had to appear as if I had it all together. So on any given day, if I was falling short of my idea of perfect, I pretended that everything was okay.
Some of us still suffer from a hopeless state of mind and body, i.e., emotions (emotions are in the body not the head).
One of the biggest issues I struggled with was the shame of not understanding how to deal with emotions in recovery which, in turn, held me hostage to feeling that I needed to be perfect.
Recovery without working the steps means I am operating with the same destructive emotional and mental tools I used when I was in active addiction.
In my experience, the steps are where recovering folks must take action if we want a change in personality. That action consists of facing and actively working on the character defects that “block us from the sunlight of the spirit.”
Lets face it, we will never be perfect, but we can definitely do better and … feel a whole lot better.
Since we are human and to be human means to be fallible, even if we follow everything we are taught in recovery, there will still be times when we will fall short and revert back to our selfish and self-seeking patterns.
Especially in our romantic relationships!
I was oblivious, i.e., selfish, to the feelings and needs of others. My behaviors were bizarre and erratic at times, and I was blind to the impact that I had on others even in sobriety.
The only difference between addiction and sobriety is that today our selfishness doesn’t rule us (as much) anymore, and we have the capacity and ability to change.
If I’m not the problem, there is no solution!
During active addiction we are consumed with selfishness. We have no regard for others and rarely feel remorse for our cruel and selfish behaviors.
After years of hitting jackpots peppered with selfishness in sobriety, I decided to make a change. My unhappiness had reached a boiling point.
My options were clear: overcome selfishness and self-centeredness or die!
For the first time, again after my selfishness took me to into a horrible psychological and emotional tumble, I was brought to my knees, for the first time again, and I surrendered to any Higher Power that would listen.
I did not want to be selfish anymore. I didn’t want to be miserable to be around, I didn’t want to have to constantly think of what to say next or how to get the spotlight, or not get the spotlight and then get upset when people didn’t give it to me.
I got through my steps (again) and I helped others. Although I will never be 100% selfless, I don’t have to be 100% selfish anymore.
If you are struggling in recovery help is available. If I’m not the problem there is no solution!
Love and Blessings,