Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Giving of Yourself to Yourself"

'Giving of ourselves.' It kinda makes me think of myself all wrapped up with a bow. Or maybe something more like 'hi honey, I got you a present!' 'Oh yeah, what?' 'Me! Isn't that thoughtful?' Pardon my sarcasm, but I'm not one of those every day is sunny, let's all let our inner glory shine with joy types of guys. Truth be told, the whole 'buck-up and be cheerful' attitude some people have can get on my nerves. It goes back to my childhood when I learned that I was supposed to always pretend to be happy, whether I was or not. And it has a lot to do, too, with my frustration at this quirk of American society that seems to demand the same, that seems to suggest if we aren't always happy, then there's something wrong with us, that we're defective, or inferior, or *gasp* deviant.

The Program has some fine suggestions on how to deal with feeling down. One of the main staples of how to get out of yourself is to find someone else who needs help. That's a fine idea, and good advice. But it's also one I'm wary of. I was raised in a family where this was the norm, where it was encouraged to such a degree that the self got cancelled out. I learned to help others and ignore myself, so these days I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to working on myself. I know how to reach out, and I am well-practiced in being there for others. The thing I'm not so good at is being there for myself.

I've been battling some depression lately. I know part of it is the stress of being unemployed. I still don't have a resolution for the situation with my unemployment benefits. There's also some stress because of school. These two classes I'm taking right now are really boring. I'd been so much more interested back in spring, but I thought that doing this drug & alcohol counseling certificate would be a good step along the way in terms of career. I hated my psych professor, but I had a much better time because I really like the subject matter. I'm thinking now that it might be more worth my time to just go for plain old psychology classes. We'll see. I'm dealing with relationship issues, too. Not that things are bad, just the plain old stuff of I'm really not so good at being in one. My sponsor tells me this is a quality problem to have.

I've known about my issues when it comes to relationships for a long time. One of my reasons for getting sober was the desire to have healthy romantic relationships. I've done a lot of work on myself in this area, but have finally admitted that I need some professional help. Actually, no, the rigorously honest truth is that I've thought about going back to therapy for awhile; now I've actually taken action towards that. I contacted my old therapist who had helped me so much when I was first getting sober. The program-y thing to do would be to give myself credit for taking the action, and my sponsor gave me props for the willingness to get the help I need, but I'm having trouble seeing it like that. It's more like the desperation that's drawn me to it, the same kind of pain and desperation that led me to stay sober.

It's an unfortunate motif, this whole not truly finding the willingness to change until the pain motivation becomes strong enough. To those of you out there who can change without doing the whole pain thing first, my hat is truly off to you. As for me, I'm going to continue to give myself the credit of being willing to work of myself--regardless of how I came to the willingness to do it--because so many people out there don't do the work at all.

Maybe one day I'll be content; maybe one day I'll look at myself and think, "eh, good enough," but I doubt it. Until then, I'm going to keep on growing, and learning, and changing.

Darn :-)

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