I was talking with a friend of mine and we were discussing the changes we’ve been through in sobriety and how we’ve learned to actually stop and be honest with ourselves when we fall back into old habits of self criticism and doubt.
I shared that in my drinking days, I was under such a cloud of denial that my automatic ‘go to’ response would be to react to a negative comment or outcome that was out of my control and feel shitty about it for days.
I did the co-dependent dance for a long time, retreating into my own little mode of self deprecation. Internalizing everything and taking on all the unhappiness that came with it. I would chalk up my boyfriend’s distance as a result of not being a good enough girlfriend, not realizing that he was dealing with his own abandonment issues and was never going to connect with me emotionally until he faced them on his own.
Regardless of the situation, I took responsibility for everything. Without question. I would then rationalize my depression as a direct result of my own flawed thinking or behavior. I constantly felt disappointed and as I gave myself permission to lower my own expectations, I willingly took a back seat in my life.
I’ve done a great deal of self reflection over the past few years and as I’ve slowly learned to accept myself, flaws and all, I’ve become more discerning about what I’m actually willing to take on and what others need to own.
I’m more aware of where I stand emotionally and better equipped to navigate my feelings when issues arise. There’s more clarity and I know I have a choice to opt for either self love or self loathing at any given time.
With that said, muscle memory is a powerful thing and at times, accepting accountability without having the urge to bear the weight of the world on my shoulders can still feel like a tall order.
So, regardless of how far I think I’ve come, I know in my heart that the susceptibility to slip back is always there. Making it that much more important to remain aware of the pitfalls and stay true to myself in every moment.
How far have you come on your journey?