When I stopped numbing and started feeling, I had to reevaluate everything, especially loving myself over making others comfortable. I learned the opposite in childhood to stay safe. It was a coping mechanism as a result of trauma.
The more I used drugs, alcohol, food, work, relationships, caretaking, please pleasing, or whatever else I could get my hands on to numb, the less I would understand my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and know the real, authentic, god essence parts of me.
I had to face the hard fact that trying to outmaneuver and outrun pain and vulnerability is choosing a life defined by great suffering, fatigue, and regret. I had to pay attention to my life, especially the connection between how I felt, thought (beliefs), and acted. The better my observation, the more I was able to choose a way of life (LOVE) that doesn’t demand constant vigilance and preparedness (FEAR).
And the things outside my control I had to face. I had to stop running away from the pain and anxiety. I had to lean in and lock eyes with all that stood in the way of my authenticity. I will do this song and dance for the rest of my life.
Some hard lessons I had to learn:
- Whenever I was an asshole, it showed me where I was afraid and where I needed to take more responsibility.
- Power is not destructive, but abuse of power or using power over others (there are many ways we can abuse our power ) is the opposite of courage; it is a desperate attempt to maintain a fragile ego.
- Subjecting myself to the unhealthy behaviors of others doesn’t make me tough, it was a sign of unhealed trauma and lack of self-worth. It was very humbling to say the least.
- I had to learn to own what is mine and let go of what is not. For example, when I hold someone accountable for hurtful behaviors and they feel shame, that’s not the same as shaming someone. I’m not responsible for how others react to my accountability. I had to let others experience the consequences of their behaviors – just like I had to take full responsibility for my recovery. I had to stop blaming others for how I felt. No one can make us feel we do that to ourselves through our perceptions.
Every day, I try to understand how my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors work together to have a healthy connection with myself and others. But especially when I am NOT paying attention to my emotions, I become disconnected from all things healthy, as I had to do when I was a little boy.
PS- According to the latest research, 24 million of us in North America are in long-term recovery, which is 5 years and more ….. according to the latest research.
We Do Recover Paul Noiles