In talking about my character flaws, I will refer back to my fourth step as the place that I began to identify certain patterns of behavior that were more or less destructive, even though I didn’t go to jail or rehab for these actions.

The funny thing (and not HA-HA funny, but hmmm, funny) about those of us non-chemical users walking the recovery road, is that we feel compelled to append our discussions about joining a fellowship, as in “well, yes, I do attend 12-step meetings, but not for chemical dependency” like somehow, we are a little less damaged than others. Or the reverse is true. We avoid recovery fellowships, or attend in a sheepish manner, almost apologizing for showing up without a hard-core habit to show for it.

Let me let you in on a little secret. It’s not about the substance, it’s about the dysfunction that causes the use, or acting out. I know some non-using drama addicts that are seriously OFF THE HOOK (I was one!) and when it goes far enough, you end up on some reality show behind bars. I’m only half-kidding here. This is serious business. When we don’t address our pain, and take good care of our emotional, spiritual and mental hygiene, we can wind up right next to the heroin addict in the next cell.

When I was probably about 6 or 7, my mom found out about some gal my dad had on the side at work, and began to hatch a plot to get a hold of acid to throw in this girl’s face. That is some seriously twisted crazy there. Thankfully, she wasn’t motivated enough to carry it out, but she did manage to punch my dad in the stomach one night as he came up the walkway. Again, when we don’t deal with the crazy, it can get way out of hand.

Another dangerous trap in not taking relational dysfunction seriously with a solid recovery program, is slipping into a chemical or substance abuse addiction. It is really easy to just become weary of feeling alone in the midst of the chaos and crazy and justify our feeling of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” My relapse into codependency and subsequent eating disorder was precipitated by a “forget this” attitude (with more colorful language, I can assure you).

When I got into recovery and had completed my steps, I began to write out my journey. I wanted to keep to the path of how I got well, but felt my story lacked the drama and excitement of incarceration, withdrawals and backroom deals. I decided to push past those feelings and write it out regardless, and found many related to the soapy family drama, where the names and the places might be different, but the situations were very similar.

God has a plan for your pain, just like He had a plan for mine. I couldn’t see it at the time, and I won’t lie, I was pretty angry about it all. But I stuck it out, and believed in His providence. It has never failed me, and it won’t fail you.

Much love and big hugs.

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