Attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting early this week I was drawn into a reading that the chairperson selected for the evening. I stopped listening to the choice of reading half way through when I was immediately drawn to a section on how, in recovery from addiction or alcohol, we used to fall back on friends, family and loved ones to such a degree that we became irritated, angry, and disappointed when those same people were not always around as we “expected” them to be.
Relationships and Realistic Expectations of Others in Recovery
Now, at one time I took this to mean that those people were selfish, abandoning me at a time when I expected them to be there for me. What I didn’t understand was that I was the selfish person, expecting them to come running whenever I dictated. I didn’t understand that these were people with lives as well. Just because someone couldn’t follow through with a plan we had agreed on, wasn’t there to talk whenever I expected them to or these people decided to spend time with others, I immediately took that as an attack on me. That last word in the sentence, “ME”, was all I knew.
With some time under my belt in recovery I can realize because of meetings, a sponsor and through step work that the world is not all about “me”. The problem was that I relied too much on others for support, to have a good time or whatever the case may have been. These people, no matter how much they love me, function on their own accord and this is not to be taken as a personal attack.
What this reshaping of thought on relationships has done for me is to better understand that the world is a bigger place then how I construct it in my own head. Just because I can’t dictate exactly what people do, think or say doesn’t mean that they aren’t there for me. These are things that are out of my control, things I cannot change or manipulate. I am responsible for myself and the actions that I decide to perform, not what others do. This has allowed me to forge healthier relationships with my mother, father, uncles, and a beautiful girlfriend. While they are there to support me I must understand that when I “expect” them to say or do something that I project in my own head; that is just not a healthy thought.
In any relationship (family, loved ones, etc.) there will be a difference of opinion. In past experiences, this again was skewed to my understanding in the fact that I wanted these people to agree with my “sick” understanding of the world. The truth of the matter is a spouse, mother, father, brother and/or sister will not always see eye to eye and that is ok, that is just a part of life. I can understand this now. I can only hope to see the world every day with patience, tolerance, kindliness and love. At First Step to Freedom, we understand recovery and can help you on your way. Just give us a call today at (888) 415-8810 for information.