A while back, I sat through a talk that in part intrigued me, called me out and insulted me. The speaker basically said that those of us in recovery and that have been in crazy relationships have broken pickers.
Simply put, something is broken about how we find those we choose to spend our time with. Mates, friends, those we surround ourselves with can have a huge influence on us. That’s why we go to meetings, have accountability partners and sponsors. We need good influences, so that when the urge to scoop up some needy person* into our lives who isn’t good for us or our recovery arises, our circle can speak into the situation. They can ask us to take a second look. What is my motivation? Am I feeling upset about something in my life and I need a distraction such as a chaotic, pre-recovery person to take up all my available time, energy and resources so that I have an excuse to not deal with my own life?
(* I am not talking about the work we do in sponsoring someone new to recovery, or participating in helping someone as part of our recovery process. What I am referring to here is the dreaded 13th step, or let me love you clean/well/into recovery, or other crazy talk.)
I have been beyond guilty in this area. My boundaries were nil, and I fed on dysfunctional drama to draw my attention away from my own character defects. I was always armed with convenient excuses as to why I wasn’t to blame for the wreckage of my life, because of all the wreckage around me, as an adult, I had allowed.
It is said “what you allow, is what will continue.” Too true. But I had no training or support in how to discern healthy boundaries and healthy people from toxic. So, I continued to gravitate to what I was familiar with. Until recovery took a huge flashlight and shined it around my life, and like cockroaches, the toxic scattered. My recovery peeps helped bridge the gap between that which I had to leave behind and what I now needed to embrace. Some come with you on the journey. Some choose not to.
Now, I am okay with letting people go if they need to. I would be lying if I said there aren’t days I miss people who are gone. But those are fewer and fewer. Instead I am grateful for that which I do have. I may indeed have a broken picker, but if I am including my circle of recovery in my choices, I can benefit from their input. The choice remains my own, but I lose nothing and gain the world with wise loving counsel.
Wishing you a lovely evening, my friends.