Hi ... Auds here, sober and abstinent, one day at a time, by the grace of God, this fellowship and my own effort.
I have heard a lot about people pleasing and relapse. Statements such as I did it for my family, or husband, or my job. I have found that for me to abstain for anyone but me doesn't work.
When I was into my addictions, sugar and alcohol, I was always angry that my family, friends, lovers, etc., had very different perceptions of me than I did of myself.
These people saw the outside of me. Rumpled if not downright dirty. Loud, offensive. obscene on occasion. My sense of humor had deteriorated to meanness.
Silent scorn or outspoken scorn were the product of constant fear and rage.
The Hollywood producers were not beating a path to my door as I lost weight dieting. My personal relationships did not improve with weight loss. The how dare theys were rampant. Why should I care about people who did not care about the real me? If people didn't like me fat why should I like them when I was thin.
My weight was important to my job as I galloped race horses and rode them in races over fences. My employers were surrogate brothers and treated me the same fat or thin. Ergo they were lovable.
It took me a long time to understand that my meal plans and diets were only important to me. Civilians do not spend all day obsessing about what to eat and thinking of real or imagined joy obtained momentarily from trigger foods.
My life was a constant struggle to control my eating, and to control the emotions of those around me. How could I live if so and so did not love me? How could I survive if this or that did not occur?
I stopped believing in God when I perceived that he was filling everyone's Santa Claus list but mine. I believed again on my first night at meetings. There was a girl who had my story and was in recovery. All of a sudden (within days of abstaining for the first time) my mind started to clear and I saw that ABSTINENCE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Without it I have nothing: no self esteem. Without abstinence I take my self esteem from what I perceive is others perception of me.
I have heard lately that our disease is one of perceptions, and for me this is certainly true. I had such rage at most of the people who were close to me for slights I perceived as unfair. Hmmmmm! Unconditional love I demanded, but did I ever give it? Of course not. Was I the same person fat or thin? Of course not. I perceived myself as tolerant, loving and giving, but where was the truth? When angry at myself, I was angry at the world. I saw pity or disgust in the eyes of those around me.
Were these people thinking about me? Probably not! It took me a long time to realize that I was not the center of their universe. That just because two people I knew were talking did not mean that they were talking about me. That just because they glanced my way did not mean that they were thinking the thoughts I attributed to them.
The thoughts that I attributed to others were my thoughts not theirs. I played the he is going to say then I will say game constantly until my perceptions of people were dangerously out of whack.
It has taken some doing to take the judges license (real or imagined) away from those I care most about. It has taken longer to see that I was judging them. Hmmmm. Sometimes I still think unfair thoughts about those who have hurt my feelings. When into my addictions I was a professional victim and now that I have learned that I need to take responsibility for my own actions, I no longer feel the victim. I am learning that hurt feelings are usually anger. "How dare they!" When I act as if my feelings are not hurt just for today, I usually find that no disrespect or hurt was intended. When I act hurt I drive people away. I do not stuff feelings. I choose not to be hurt because it is a serene place for me. Anger and the powerful rush it engenders is not a place that makes my life happy, joyous and free. Anger is a luxury best left to those who can handle it. I cannot. I cannot change anyone but myself.
As I trudge down this road of happy destiny I feel less and less inclined to control people, places and things. My perceptions of myself are getting more and more honest. The Seventh Step prayer asks God to remove those character defects that prevent us from being useful to him. I take this to mean that some of my character defects are useful to him. I need to know that I am not perfect so that I will not judge others who are not perfect. I think that I need to work on me so that I will empathize with others, not judge them. I hope that some of my words will be useful to those who are in my thoughts and prayers each day. If not take what you need and leave the rest.
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