No one treated me worse than I (ultimately) treated myself

LaneThis was—is—the hardest of principles for me to grasp. Yet when I, even slightly, welcome this notion, I am somehow nudged to see the situation anew. This is my very least favorite moment of personal growth. In part, I have tried to avoid these moments, but this too has brought me pain. At some moments in this sober life I just want it all to stop. I want someone, something to turn it off. Alas, there is no glass of wine, one could never satisfy my need to not feel.

So why do I feel the need to retaliate when I feel another has hurt me? Why do I feel the need to shut down externally and implode internally? How can it be that another’s words or acts have the ability to cut so deeply?

My understanding of this principle is that within me lays an unresolved, unhealed, or un-matured belief. This is what I get to look at for the pain to dissipate. This, the hardest of lessons, is what I am called to do. Without this willingness to grow I am fated for misery, fated for drinking or both. They seem an unwelcoming option.

So I move onto my self-inquiry. It looks something like this:

  • When have I spoken those (or similar) words to myself?
  • When have I treated myself without integrity?
  • When have my actions harmed me?
  • When have I put my needs last?
  • When have I let my voice remain unheard?
  • What have I done to harm my body, my mind?
  • How have I allowed this pain to attached?
  • How have I accepted its festering within?
  • Why do I not forgive myself?
  • Why do I not forgive another?
  • What must I see to move forward?

It is simple enough to read the questions, but the real challenge, for me, is to actually arrive at an adequate answer. Not an answer to placate my ego, nor a platitude I read on FaceBook, but a true and genuine understanding of a deeper hurt that lives within me.  This, this is what I have the opportunity of finding.

And still I’ve wanted to blame you for my feelings. Because it is the quick fix to my hurt. And yet somehow, that will no longer serve me. I am coming to understand what it means to receive the words, the road narrows.

I want to stay on the road of recovery, regardless of its width, because I always (well, at least eventually) find peace when I look within.

I am willing to look again, and again, and again. Drinking is no longer a viable option.


16 Responses to “No one treated me worse than I (ultimately) treated myself

  • Thanks for this Lisa. That’s really all I can say.

    • Thank you. It’s strange and wonderful how much it means to me to have people that share this healing thinking. It is appreciated, your commenting here on the blog, becasue without you I might have quit long ago. Thank you for trusting my words. I grow too when I write. Much love, me

  • I love this one, Lisa. Love it. Because I am faced with these things and sometimes I can’t get relief or resolution or clarity, as I am either deflecting still or frankly unsure of why I can’t get past it. Blocked, if you will.

    And I was just pondering about this the other day. To be more specific, I was thinking of one guy that I have run into during my sobriety that used to baffle me as to why he caused me resentments galore. This was a former employee of mine who was manipulative, very very defensive about himself, blamed everyone for everything, lazy, corrosive and had a bloated sense of self. Well, needless to say, I didn’t like this chap very much. I dreaded any interaction with him. He battled and needled me and others needlessly. Always looking for an angle, he was.

    Now, at the time, I truly honestly didn’t know what it was about him that bothered me. Well, I knew the externals, but I was going on the idea of “you spot it, you got it”. Meaning that there was some things in myself that I saw in him…and it disturbed me. But here is where ego took over – “You were never *that* bad” , “You weren’t so explosive like him”, “You were a lot nicer”, etc. I was also full of spiritual pride, and felt that I was more in tune with myself and the Creator than he ever could be. I disconnected to make sure I didn’t have to be fearless in my own searching. And it took me time to see that I was exactly all those things that I listed about him. In a different guise, at different intensities, but I was them. And that was the painful part you mentioned there – I had to dig a bit there to get to this conclusion. And I had to get taken down a few pegs, ego wise, to see this.

    I have since released that resentment, and have taken stock of myself, in sobriety as well, and remembered that guy, and thanked the Creator for sending this gent to cross my path.

    I see those questions you ask, and think – awesome. Another tool! A little cut and paste into my brain when I am disturbed, when I want to get deeper. 12-step has a step for this, but this takes it down more…and I am always down with charging into things more.

    Thank you Lisa…this is fantastic.

    Love and light,

    • It always surprises me when I can look back and “thank Creator” for allowing a previous resentment into my life. For us alcoholics this is the hugest of deals. I think sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for the path I’ve journeyed and the place I now stand. I am so opposite the self-centered girl I used to be and still there is so much room to grow. At the writing of this I am struggling with a woman who is bent on destroying me and my (sober) name. It breaks my heart to think someone (who doesn’t really know me) would be so eager on destruction for the sake of destruction. And at this moment of typing I get to look at me and ask, “Lisa when have you been so bent on destruction for the sake of destruction?” There have been so many moments, I am ashamed to admit. All I have learned to do is the inquiry and then the meditation….ask that it be released, or that I be willing to release it. Growth, a spiritual life, is not for wimps. Sober life takes the strongest character of all. Thank you for seeing me where I am at. It is always a pleasure to read your thoughts on the blog. Much love, me

  • Great, thought-provoking post, Lisa!

  • I worry about becoming so detached from my reactions that I don’t try, don’t even want to try, to nurture relationships. I don’t know…where is the balance? HUGS. xx

    • Yes, I understand this question. WHERE IS the balance? For me it is something I seek and find, but then somehow, seem to lose—again. This cycle of growth is more about the trying (the stepping in), regardless of my fear. For me there was a void without the risk. I think I am learning more about not getting attached to the outcome. Which is a very, very, very, hard thing for me. I want to be certain if I am going to invest. 🙂 … For what it’s worth I see you in a good place right now. I haven’t posted much over on your blog, because I was feeling like a comment hog, but this phase you are in will morph into something more beautiful. You are too extraordinary of a woman for it not to. Stay vigilant to your strength. You have much to offer. Hugs back my friend, Lisa

      • Aww, thank you! Great points here. I feel the same, in a way, as the big change that is happening in me is this ability (where it’s coming from, maybe a loony place, a place of “I just don’t give a shit!”) to let it go. To just do enough, not more than enough. To not care about perfecting the outcome–whatever, I can’t control it, all I can control is what I put in and then how I let it go once it’s in there! We are expanding every time we put something in–the stepping in, as you say–no matter what the outcome is of this engagement. It is the movement toward that which “scares” us that is the expanding force… xx

  • Oh Lisa! I have been in this exact place for the last few weeks and I literally, today, I got hit with this light bulb moment – OMG, and I just wrote about it too. Then I come here and it just puts everything into an even clearer light of how I have been treating myself. Why? The second paragraph you wrote were the same things I have been asking myself. And then the next paragraph, the answers! And then the solution. Thank you so much, I think I have realized the second and third paragraphs today but I had no concrete solution. Oh, thank you for the self-inquiry list – I am so grateful! I am going to take a good look at it because I too am willing to look over and over again – drinking is just not an option. Thank you! I wish could just absolutely hug you right now! 🙂

    • Hug received. (And I sure could use it too!) I just came from your blog so I could be up to speed with your comment. It’s interesting that no matter how long I remain sober I still feel these pulls that are all too similar to those I felt in early sobriety (and I’m coming up on 10 years sober) … crazy, I know. The one thing I am certain of …. I stay close to people I can’t bs. You all keep me sober. I see me in you and I think you see you in me. For better or worse we need each other to survive. And I’m good with that. I adore my chosen family of bloggers. I hope I give all of you as much as you give me. Lots and lots of love, Lisa

  • Whew! These are some tough questions. I am using them in some situations present in my life, and, your point is well taken… they are simple to read, but boy oh boy, they are certainly not simple to answer. Some, the answers jump right out at me; others, I want to run screaming from.

    The good news (no make that great news) is that I too am willing to look again, and again, and again. Because drinking is no longer a viable option for me either!

    Thanks for my weekly dose of wisdom, Lisa!

    • You’re so cute. I like that you notice the part about easy to say, but not easy to do. This always messes me up. As a kid I learned to put up a front. Long term sobriety won’t allow this kind of delusional
      arrogance. I hear you. For what it’s worth, I’m working on myself over here too. We can do it. Three cheers for us.
      ps. I have an email to send, but running behind and I will not offer an apology. Love you tons.

  • Lisa, I have been following your blog for awhile now, and have never posted. I learn so much about myself, and my work as a counselor, by reading your posts. Thank you for your encouragement and your wisdom.

    • Well, then I must come over and find your blog and see what you’re about. Thank you for the kind words. And a special thank you for speaking up on the post. I’ve found much peace in breaking away from the stigma of alcoholism. I have learned to live and I hope to encourage others to believe it is possible for them to change too. ok, see you over at your blog. with gratitude, Lisa

  • We all have our list of questions, don’t we? Some are harder to answer then others and I find they change as we move through the nuances of our lives. I think your last question “What do I need to move forward?” is one I need to add to my current list. Thank you for the thought provoking words. You inspire as always and help me to dig deeper.

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