Lesson 7 gets me started on my moral inventory. This can be a difficult lesson. In fact, this is where many people stop the 12 step program. It is not easy facing your mistakes or even your successes.
One of the questions asked in this lesson is "List the things you have used to block the pain of your past." This was a hard one for me. I have to admit that because I do not drink and do drugs that I took a while to answer this. This narrow-minded thought process is shameful. There are so many ways to block the pain. Alcohol and drugs are just one of the ways. So now the internal struggle began as I tried to discover what I was doing and why.
I am one that tries to please everyone. There is that darn co-dependency again. The pain I felt from all those type D personalities was masked by me trying to gain their approval. I tried to dress to please them and prevent negative comments. I tried to do everything to appease them. I had to realize that I would never do that. My haircut was never going to be just right. The way I disciplined my children was never going to be correct. The way I cooked was never going to be above "OK". I was never going to succeed. I blocked my pain in denial and in striving to be someone I was not.
I once told someone in our small group discussion (I can repeat this since I was the one saying it) that my organization and anal tendencies were not the real me and not my nature. Now those same type D people would say that I was not organized enough, but my immediate family would say that I was on the road to being too anal. Why is that if that is not the real me? Because I spent my life trying to be what others said I had to be. I used to work about 50 hours a week in downtown Milwaukee. My husband was home more than I was and the kids were always beating me home by about an hour. One day a relative stopped by to visit. She asked where the broom was so that she could sweep up a mess that was just made. I answered honestly that I did not know. Where I would place it was never where it could be found when I got home. She looked at me in shock and dismay. It was my responsibility to know where that broom was she informed me. It was my house, right? When I said that with me being gone at work so much, that there was a lot that I did not know. I was informed that that was beside the point. I should always know. That weighed on me for years. I put so much pressure on myself to work full-time and to be in control of a house that I really had no control over. I mentally beat myself daily on how much of a failure I was because I did not have control of my house. This also strained my marriage and my relation with my children. I became an ogre and began to yell a lot. Why weren't things left where I put them? Why couldn't I do it all? I was supposed to. What others did not realize was that I was to work, manage a home, follow behind my children and my husband and still meet other responsibilities as they arose. I began to melt down. I could not do it all so why should I?
I hid my sense of failure in striving harder. This made the number of failures increase and be more obvious. I could not do it anymore. The day this realization hit was painful. I'm learning to be me. I'm learning to look at others and say, "I don't care." I will not live my life to please them. I will live it only to please God. If they don't like it, take it up with Him. I cannot please everyone. I will not try anymore. I will not agree to things just so that they will think better of me. I will not give up my family time to appease others. I will not re-create myself to be what they want. I will be what God wants.
Join Me on a Journey
My church began a 12 step program called Celebrate Recovery. At first I was like so many that thought that this was only for alcoholism and drug addiction. How wrong I was! This program addresses everything you can possibly imagine. It is applicable to every person. We all have something to recover from even it is just plain old pride. Join me in my journey to recover from co-dependency and any thing else I will happen to discover on this journey.