Catching the Act in the 4th

My family of origin was much like any other family. We had our good parts, crazy parts, parts no one discussed and all the rest. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out my environment, thinking if I could “get to the bottom of things”, that I could make sense of it all and live a happy life. The life I saw the TV people live. The life I assumed my peers lived, because I only saw the outside of their lives, and they only saw the outside of mine.

In a conversation the other evening I was asked if I was afraid growing up in such a chaotic environment. About some things, yes. Some things really did scare me, but they were external; things that I had no control over. Internally, I believe I was more angry and frustrated more than scared, because I felt duped, lied to and insulted by the dysfunctional adults in my life. They assumed that I would just roll with whatever. And the more the craziness ensued, the more resentful I became. I was actually a pretty compliant kid in a lot of ways, but if I were in one of my more petulant moods, I would do something stupid just to show I couldn’t be controlled, and to show those who thought I was under control just how wrong they were.

This pattern, brought out while I wrote my fourth step, was to have some pretty dire consequences for my life.  I decided to get pregnant and married at 18 in an act of rebellion which was actually me, cutting off my nose to spite my face. And during my husband’s uber-relapse, I did a lot of really foolish things to show I was not going to just curl up and let him treat me bad, and that I could give as good (or as bad) as I got. Let’s just say that through working my inventory, this character flaw (along with a number of others) reared it’s ugly little head and continues to be on my codependency watch list.

Now, I can choose to take the higher road, and not allow things to pull me into a cycle of acting out my resentments, and it is a remarkable gift of working my steps. Because without it, I am just one hurt, angry reaction after another to a world that will continue to hurt and disappoint me. These reactions will never make up for the hurt that has occurred and I will never gain anything from it but more misery.

To work a recovery program is to willingly, with all my heart, walk away from resentment and toward a joy-filled life that seeks to honor God, myself and others. I am grateful for the lessons, the testimonies, and the love I have found in joining in with others seeking healing and wholeness from every kind of addiction and dysfunction. I am a lifer in this, and happy to be so.

Much love and hugs. So glad you are here.



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