He wanted my help.
I helped myself.
I listened as my friend poured his heart out -- he was telling me about someone close to him who's an addict. He wanted to help his friend but wasn't sure how.
I listened for a long time and then had an idea. "Let's each go to a few 12-step meetings and then discuss what we learned and what we can do."
Would I go to a 12-step meeting to support my friend? Of COURSE I would!
In my mind, going to support someone who was trying to navigate his own path meant I wasn't really going for myself -- I was going 'for' someone else. It made it easier for me to walk through that doorway and into that room.
Isn't it funny, the stories we tell ourselves?
Alcoholism and addiction have woven through my life since I was a child.
I had my own struggles with alcohol until finally, in 2015, I decided to stop drinking. But I didn't do the 12 steps (or any support group) back then - I just stopped drinking that one day in August.
Fast forward to today. Sober me starts doing the 12 steps thinking that I'll just listen.. you know, to support my friend. Because I'm not really affected, after all... I mean, not that much. Right?
I didn't realize all the stuff that would come up for me while sitting there listening to the members of the group.
Not only did I see myself as I read through the 12 steps, but I saw myself in the co-dependent tendencies I had for so much of my life.
Only in the past several years have I begun shining that spotlight on myself and recognizing/admitting to behavior patterns such as
The co-dependent patterns I had -- for SO long!!
Why did I think it's easier to live life for other people??
I know why.
Because, really - it WAS easier to try and control other people’s behavior, to point out the 'faults' in others, than to look at my own self. Much easier, in fact.
By focusing on others, I didn't have to go to those dark places in myself. I didn't have to put that spotlight on me, to look at what wasn't working in my life when I was focused on other people.
If other people would just listen to me, they could fix themselves, all would be well, and we would live happily ever after.
It was only when I made a huge life change that I started to peek inside myself. I started looking to see what was inside of ME that wasn't working for me, that was slowing me down and making my life difficult. And - there was a lot.
The thing with going to those dark places is, once I shine the light there, the light remains. It remains because I've created an opening, and that light makes it less scary to go there again.
I'm recognizing old patterns and habits much more clearly. I can keep them, I can change them. I can eliminate them. Whatever works best for me now.
You know how people say that life is a journey?
It is. And even more than a journey - it's the trip of a lifetime.
And it takes our lifetime to keep discovering who we are.
Twelve steps is part of my journey.
That first step - walking through the door - that was scary. Unfamiliar.
©Catherine Borowski, 2018
Live a wealthy life.
Catherine Borowski, life coach, knows that life can be messy. Though digging into the mess, beauty emerges in the most unexpectedly brilliant ways.