Monday, October 21, 2013

Step 1, Part 2

Tonight, with my sponsor, I explored Step 1.  She recommended I write out the ways alcohol/ alcoholics have impacted my life.
-I have trouble with true conversation. I do not listen to hear, I listen out of a need to have a better answer or the correct/ wanted answer.  I practiced active conversation with true listening with her (she was unaware, to my knowledge) and it was infinitely more helpful.
-I am often more concerned with having the correct emotion than feeling the emotion that is there.  I believe this stems from having to know when it was safe to show emotion.  If my mother was having a bad day or my father was drinking the wrong booze, it was safest to vanish and pretend you aren't there.
- As a flipside of that token, I have issues with showing or feeling emotion.  Any rage or sadness seems exponentially multiplied and like it should be bitten back. Any happiness or positive emotion seems exponentially smaller.
-I have a driving need to be "good" and perfect.  This probably stems from a childhood of having to be "good" so I wouldn't set off Mom and maybe Dad wouldn't drink.  Obviously, that's an untrue assumption, Mom would have had her issues and Dad would have drank no matter how "good" and perfect I was.
-I am on a constant hunt for approval and feel like I can never be good enough, for reasons listed above.
- I have issues with criticism, as they are taken to mean disapproval and maybe the person will abandon me. Criticism, even constructive criticism, provokes inexplicable rage, hatred, and a need to justify not just what is being criticized, but my entire existence.
- I have trouble recognizing and accepting my accomplishments.  I don't know how alcohol caused this one. I saw it in action earlier this evening.  Mentor pointed out how far I've come, even before the Twelve Steps, and how much I've done to better myself.  I automatically thanked her for the compliment and started looking for a way to give someone else the credit.  I think she knew what I was doing, because she pressed on, making sure I had to take at least some of the credit for what I've done.
- I can care for others easily enough, but caring for myself in the way I care for them is difficult to impossible. As a child, I was too busy making sure everyone else stayed on an even keel to worry too much about myself.
- I find it difficult to cry.  Tears are a sign of weakness and vulnerability, signs you don't show when they can push someone towards suicide or cause someone to "give you a reason to cry."
- I cannot relax when things are going calmly and smoothly.  When things are calm, it's the calm before the storm.  When things are calm, it's because you haven't figured out who's angry or sad and who to hide from.  I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it hasn't failed me yet.
- I still feel responsible for others, far beyond what is necessary or healthy.  I was responsible as a child for keeping my sisters safe from Mom and Dad and Mom and Dad safe from the 3 of us.  It was a delicate dance.
- I have a nasty tendency to pull away from everyone and everything if something is wrong.  I need to be alone with my thoughts.  Growing up, I could only trust me with my emotions, with my problems. Trusting someone else meant they could be thrown in my face as a flaw in the next war.
- I have very little trust and plenty of anger towards authority figures.  That fear and distrust of authority figures kept me from applying to the Air Force Academy.  Why should I trust an authority figure?  They'll turn on me anyways, just like my first authority figures did.
- I cannot trust my own emotions. Hell, half the time, I don't even know what emotion I'm feeling, or if I should show it, so I tuck it down to examine later, then I never examine it.  A childhood of never being sure if my emotion would drive Mom away or cause Dad to turn into a raging beast was kind enough to do that to me.
- I take on far too much responsibility, because I can't trust others.
- I fear showing emotion would cause those I love to run away and abandon me or make them "give me a reason to cry."
- I self sabotage, unknowingly.  Paralysis by analysis and procrastination are two very old friends.  You can't fuck it up if you don't start it. This has led my career to go down the toilet.
- Anxiety, panic, and I are old friends.  Anything unknown, anything different, anything wrong can send me into paroxysms of anxiousness, worry, and flat out panic.  I have driven myself into asthma attacks through worry.
- I tend to try to blend in to the crowd, knowingly or not, as a chameleon reflex.  If you aren't noticed, you cannot be acted upon or cause problems.
- I hide my emotions, but not well if it is a negative emotion.  Most negative emotions, like what  assume are grief, jealousy, pain, and such, show up as one of three extremes: abject red rage, dingy white numbness, or black depression.
-I don't feel like things are calm unless there is a crisis.  In a crisis, I can put down everything and go to fix it. Fixing a  crisis feels natural and right, calm  causes fear and confusion.

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