I didn't begin this journey of self-discovery on purpose. I wasn't actively seeking to heal, it just happened. I know now it was guided. Looking back, I see how so many things fell into place at the right time, like my introduction to yoga and meditation, which ultimately led me to discovery. For the most part, it has been very organic. Meaning, when I stop seeking and trying to control the process, everything falls into place. I didn't actively seek a twelve step program, but all of the twelve steps have shown up for me repeatedly during this process. Along the way, I have experienced new levels of healing and as I'm sure anyone in recovery can attest to, I have also experienced many setbacks. Discovery is acceptance and understanding. Learning what my levels of healthy and unhealthy are when it comes to my addiction. A codependent person strives for a sense of acceptance primarily through their ability to give to others. The healthy balance is to know the difference between coming from a place of self-serving sacrifice versus true compassion. To someone on the outside they look the same. To the person in recovery it is an internal battle. Within that battle is deep discovery of not just me, but my role in the relationships in my life.
With the acceptance of my addiction, I have also had to come to grips with the other side of the coin. Learning about those that are naturally drawn to me like a moth to a flame. The narcissist. I've written about my experience before and every time I do I question whether or not I should because it makes me feel like a victim. So I write with hesitation. However, every time I write about it, I get loads of feedback from people telling me their stories. It appears to be a struggle with many. My recovery is truly coming to terms with the fact that I play a role in these relationships. Until I accept that I am part of the dance there can be no growth.
Recovery is daily and will continue through the rest of my life. It is about staying true to the progress I've made in uncovering the truth of ME, while also remaining connected to my inner guidance so that I stay at healthy levels of service to others. It is no longer about fear of rejection or hustling for my worth. This will be my daily practice for all my days to come. Knowing this is half the battle. The other half is staying truly connected to my truth and using my intuition to guide me to what is healthy. I've learned so much about what draws me in. I know that I have to be aware of the covert aggression that lives in this world. There is a science behind this attraction and if I'm not on my toes, the forces at work will take over and I won't even know it. That my friends was one of the biggest steps in my recovery. Acceptance that I didn't even know it was happening. Scratch that! Acceptance that I didn't listen to my inner voice and allowed it to happen. Like I said, my recovery is not about calling out others, it's about understanding my role in the dysfunction.
I am not an expert by any stretch of the mind, however, I have done a tremendous amount of self study and I have come to understand what works for me through trial and error. I am going to share some of what I use to guide me, but understand that this is my journey. Your's is completely different. It is important to understand that others can give you advice but you must follow your heart to what resonates with you as you recover. The twelve steps are a great place to start because they are broad and can be applied to so many aspects of our life. Here are some of the things I've compiled through my recovery that relieve me of anxiety and doubt when it comes to healing.
- I am enough because God says so! REPEAT
- How does this feel in my body? When interacting with someone do I feel anxious?
- I recognize my innate goodness and strengths and feel comfortable using them.
- I can't please everyone. Nor do I want to.
- Who am I allowing to speak into my life? If it causes fear, anxiety or depression, I can remove that power with healthy boundaries.
- Write and recite my personal prayer.
- Just because someone appears to be on a spiritual path, they may NOT be the person God wants me to share the intimate details of my life with.
- In recovery, find a "sponsor" who will love you for who you are. Find strength in others when you are weak.
- Commit to recovery. Create a routine that helps you stay consistent.
- PRAY, MEDITATE, JOURNAL and Give Thanks all day, every day!
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Helpful resources :
The Book of Awakening —Mark Nepo
The Wizard of OZ and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love and Family—Eleanor D. Payson, MSW