There are far less things I do now which end up as sizeable regrets. When there is something regrettable, it is usually smaller with lesser pangs of guilt than before. Sometimes it is because I have grown to see my tendencies more clearly and with that knowledge am able to avoid repeating past mistakes. At other times it is a feeling of regretfulness for what I have done in the past that are the road markers keeping me out of the ditches. Wisdom came when I could allow the lessons of what was behind me to be a guide in the present. Instead of seeing old transgressions as only actions to regret and try to forget, I came to see how the past is helpful in lighting the path forward. At first it felt very strange to find gratitude for the bygone errors. However, once thankfulness came not for the deeds, but for the lessons learned, my life became better. It was then hope began to arrive in greater quantity than I had ever previously allowed myself.
One must always maintain one’s connection to the past
and yet ceaselessly pull away from it.
Lust is bewildering. Lust is powerful and intense. It can feel good, even great, but usually only for a relatively short time. By itself lust is only a man’s primal drive for sex and is superficial attraction based on instant chemistry rather than genuine caring or emotion. It’s easy to mistake feelings of strong attraction with love and though my codependent tendencies I have confused it many times. The draw can be incredibly intense with feelings fanned like a wildfire by pop-culture all around us. Advertising more often than not shows lust when love is being talked about. In movies, all over television, in music; everywhere there seems to be an insinuation lust is good. Physical attraction is an important component within love, but the real thing goes deeper. Love is a shared feeling between two people who have a vested interesting in one another’s happiness. Love is a positive giving feeling. Lust is a negative feeling about taking.
True love isn’t expressed
in passionately whispered words,
an intimate kiss or an embrace.
…love is expressed in self-control,
patience, even words left unsaid.
A dead giveaway that I am a codependent is loving people who can’t love me back. Often in my past meeting a woman who was damaged and emotionally impoverished, yet smart, attractive and sexy caused a deeply yearning response. Like a moth to a flame I would be drawn to her and not infrequently ‘fall head over heels’. While thinking I’d found a great love I’d usually just fallen into the pit of my own neediness. My feeling was if I could show her with all my being how much I loved her she would fix me and give me the love I lacked. Getting “fixed” by “fixing” someone is not the path to love. That knowledge has been mine for a good while, but the knowing didn’t stop me from continuing to hit the trip wire of my old conditioning from time to time. The compulsion to “fix” others can make me crazy and has… frequently. Those tendencies still exist but I don’t let them take me over like they used to. The only difference is being in recovery. No one can over come the power of codependence all by them self. The force is too strong. Therapy helped but substantial growth only began when my higher power led me to CoDA (Codependence Anonymous) where I met others much like me. Discovering I was far from alone and not uniquely crazy was a HUGE step forward.
If you can’t get what you want,
you end up doing something else,
just to get some relief…
Just to keep from going crazy.
Because when you’re sad enough,
you look for ways to fill you up.
The fear of being alone is one of the most power emotions I have ever encountered. As the view of myself has cleared somewhat in recent years the realization has come that some romantic relationships, even long-term ones, were not about love but instead about trying to fight off loneliness. That such unions never worked out is testament that having physical contact with someone is NOT a cure for feeling alone. Worse yet was the discovery of being lonesome while living with a partner is pure agony. A deserted and empty feeling while in a relationship is far worse that being miserably alone.
If you marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons,
then no matter how hard you work, it’s never going to work,
because then you have to completely change yourself,
completely change them, completely – by that time, you’re both dead.
Six years ago I went through a painful break up that ended an eight year relationship. Being truly in love with my wife, I was heartbroken when she filed for divorce. Old bad habits of medicating my problems conjured up a compulsion that caused her to push me out of her life. No, it was not drugs or alcohol, but sex for sex sake. That old compulsion I had managed to stave off for quite a few years took me over at a difficult time. There was little to no physical intimacy happening in the marriage, so I went else where. I regret it to this day. Yes, there are factors I can blame like divorced parents who set a horrible example, abused their children emotionally and caused them to feel neglected and without self-worth. That’s all true, but was a good excuse only into early adulthood. That I was still lost in the haze of dysfunction that screwed up my life 50 years later was my fault and not my parents. For the majority of people getting into recovery is because something deeply emotional happens. Change usually takes a jarring catalyst, just as the breakup and divorce was for me. When the pain to stay the same exceeds the pain to change, we change.
Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions
that can change your life forever.
My accumulated history can pull me into the quicksand of my thoughts. At times remembering wrongs done and actions regretted I fell dingy, soiled and permanently stained. It feels then like everyone can see the dirtiness all over me. The weight of such thoughts can drag me down into depression if I am not careful. I cannot undo what I have done and my past can’t be rewritten. There is no benefit to anyone pretending things did not happen as they did. In the muddiness of my thoughts, I can become lost in the darkness if I don’t take care of myself. The best way out of the gloom is to use my errors and mistakes as self-teaching tools. Only in the bright light of full acceptance do the shadows of my past no longer show.
Remember today, for it is the beginning of always.
Today marks the start of a brave new future
filled with all your dreams can hold.
Think truly to the future
and make those dreams come true.
Sometimes it is difficult to accept responsibility for mistakes I have made or wrongs I have done without feeling the need to explain. That’s a reflex action taken with a mostly false sense that an explanation somehow changes what happened. Unless I have been asked to talk about my actions there is no good reason for jumping to rationalize and justify them. In most cases it only makes things worse by reliving the blunder and dragging someone else through it as well. The appropriate words to say are “I’m sorry”; apologize and move on. In all circumstances, feeling misunderstood and the need to make myself abundantly clear usually comes from a weak view of myself; a shortage of self-esteem. Thinking I am what I do as it is perceived by others is not healthy. What matters most is accepting myself as a fallible human being. I am perfectly imperfect and will make mistakes and do wrong things. To see myself otherwise is to expect myself to be something other than human.
If people refuse to look at you in a new light
and they can only see you for what you were,
only see you for the mistakes you’ve made,
if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes,
then they have to go.