Tuesday, August 16

Step 1: Honesty

I've been attending an Addiction Recovery Program meeting each week, and the experience has been far more positive than I expected it to be. In hopes that I can encourage any of you who have ever had addictions... I'm going to try to process the steps as we go through them.

Step 1


Key Principle: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

Part of the reading in this step asks to highlight the feelings, conditions - essentially triggers for addictive behaviors. It wasn't all that hard to identify, as I felt angst and edgy.

And, at its core, my trigger is loneliness. Isolation. Aloneness.

And my life is chock full of triggers.

Spending time with my family makes me feel isolated and alone. Spending time around other people does too. Spending time with my ward. Spending time at an addiction recovery program meeting. Seeing people at the gym. Driving in my car. Shopping at the grocery store.

Relationships and connections are omnipresent. Pretty much everywhere I go, I see other people, with people around them. And while I know that their connections may not be perfect, deep inside I still feel like they have more than I do. And that is isolating. It's isolating to have a positive conversation with someone and realize I'm going to forget all about them within a few days. It's isolating to see people surrounded by people they can rely on and to know there are people in my sphere... but I don't feel them. Even seeing cars with multiple people in them makes me feel alone.

Trying to befriend people is even worse. One of my core beliefs is abandonment. I honestly believe, deep inside myself, that every single person I try to befriend will abandon me. Abandon being ghost / disappear / completely stop communicating with me with no response or reason or prior notice. That means that every single moment I think about a potential friendship, I am literally fighting with myself. My mind tries to convince me that I'm not worthwhile as a friend. I'm too weird, too awkward, too messy, too needy, too much in all the wrong places and not good enough in all the right ones. Maybe I'm useful for a minute or two. Maybe I can meet a need or solve a problem or be there for a crisis. But as soon as possible, I believe everyone I try to make into a close friend will jet. And it means that even thinking about new friends, I feel alone.

I get that is messed up and pretty broken. I am probably the one doing more abandoning than anyone else, considering autism and forgetting everything about people and fearfully avoiding social situations. I might be an awesome close friend to the people who get me and understand me, but enroute to getting there I end up almost always waiting for someone else to take the initiative, because of absolute terror... or drive a steamroller through social norms and leave only pain.

Altogether, anytime I stop to think about my life I feel alone. Thankfully I do have God in my life. And if I turn to Him, I can feel connected and ok. I started a note on my phone. I'm calling it "texting God" - not really texting since He doesn't have a number, but a note file where I can write the things I would write if He were my ARP sponsor. My mentor. One of my best friends. A sort of written version of the "keep a prayer in your heart" mentality that can keep me going throughout the day.

What did I write today? Today was good. And rough. I felt alone at work but it was busy and gave me something to do. I felt angst and anxiety after work so I worked out and some of it went away, but some stayed. I felt alone, and then had a good conversation with someone, and then felt even more alone. I messaged my best friend and told him I was grateful for him for not abandoning me. I thought about creating a dating profile. And then shot myself down. I wouldn't date me. Why would anyone else? I told myself if I can meet a handful of personal life goals, then I can create a dating profile. So it'll probably be a few months. Which is ok I guess. Trying to get close to people always wrecks my self esteem, so I should have some time to prepare. Or heal. Or improve and become more resilient. Or something. And as I write I feel angst yet again. I don't know when the gym closes. It closes at midnight. I can just publish this and go workout and then hopefully pass out after.

Other honesty? Addiction is real. Also, the ARP meetings are really really worth it. I'm going to sell that hard. I think everyone should go to one at least once. If you've ever faced an addiction, go with an honest and open mind and engage. Or just go and listen and say nothing at all. Anyone is welcome, nothing is expected.

Step 1


Key Principle: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

To be totally honest, most of my life is unmanageable without God. I just have to remember, over and over, to turn to Him, trust in Him, lean on Him, counsel with Him, talk with Him - have Him be my counselor, my sponsor, my confidante, my friend. And together we'll figure life out and make it work. And be awesome hopefully.

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