I'll never forget my rock bottom. It was an hour long phone call. I sobbed, literally sobbed, gasping for breath. She was callous to my pain. She was cruel and selfish. I vowed: NEVER again will I allow myself to be used like this. The very next week, I went to my first meeting. Here's how that rock bottom still propels me to move forward into recovery.
How Did I End Up There?
The path that led me to accept abuse and manipulation was as long and tangled as everyone else's. All I really need to know is:
Alcoholism is a family disease that affects generations even if your loved one is no longer drinking.
Alcoholism seeped into every aspect of my family of origin. Fears, manipulation, and power struggles oozed down every corner of our house. Unfortunately, these behaviors are invisible. I had no idea I was carrying them with me to every job and relationship.
Recovery Is Like A Slow-Motion Explosion
At that first meeting, there was a table filled with handouts. I grabbed these sheets and hid them in my purse, too embarrassed to admit I needed help with:
- Codependency For Women
- Common Characteristics Among Adult Children Of Family Dysfunction
- Depression - Problem And Solution
- Freedom From Anger For Women
Confirming that my childhood family dysfunction actually caused my adult relationship problems was an explosion of knowledge, but turning my life-long habits around was like turning a cruise ship on a dime. It just didn't happen in one day. I've been in recovery for codependency for three years now. I'm still amazed by the quick bursts of knowledge followed by the lag time my brain needs to implement the change.
Grateful For The Change
When I recall my rock bottom and that cruel and abusive phone call, and I'm actually grateful. I'm not thankful for her but for how I responded by changing. Since that horrible day, I:
- Moved to Florida, something I always wanted to do.
- Started writing, which was my life-long dream job.
- Paid off all of my credit cards and bought a house.
These dreams seemed impossible because I was believing the lies of addiction and family dysfunction. Recovery gives me the courage to live the life I want. I'm not a slave to anyone else's ideas of what my life should look like. Nor am I alone. I have a Higher Power I can trust and friends in recovery who love me, character flaws and all.
Ongoing Lessons And Tools
I'm still learning. I still struggle with setting boundaries and saying "NO." How I expect others to behave still sneaks up on me and casts a net of resentment around me. Some days, I completely lose my serenity and feel like I haven't made any progress at all. On those days, that horrible phone call sneers in my face and I fight back harder. I will never again beg anyone for anything. I dig deep into my recovery tool box to find the right tool to fix the problem. My favorite tools include:
- Nothing changes if nothing changes, and I can only change me.
- Expectations are predetermined resentments.
- The C's of addiction: I didn't cause it. I can't cure it, and I can't control it.
- Other people's opinions of me are none of my business.
- Just because he's mad or sad doesn't mean I'm bad.
- Just for today...
- I'm not responsible for anyone else's feelings.
Looking back at my rock bottom is surreal. I vividly remember the pain but I no longer feel it. Instead, I'm incredibly grateful that my life is forever changed.