Is there anything that chocolate can't fix? Maybe, but it sure helps.
Admittedly, I've been a little off my game lately, and that is for a multitude of reasons. Let me tell you about one of them.
Hi, my name is Doris.
I'm a co-dependent.
(Duh, aren't most of us?)
You see, if you go back a ways in my blog, or if you are familiar with another blog of mine that I usually keep private, you'll find out that I am the mother of a child who is mentally ill and who is addicted to prescription (and illegal) drugs and alcohol. For more years than I care to recall, I've been trying to fix what's "wrong" with her and with two other addicts in my life (none of whom currently live with me, but all have in the past).
Last night I saw a man on Deal or No Deal who was the guy in the neighborhood who took in all the strays, all the kids who had crappy home lives, etc. He was the town hero. His wife was nuts about him but thought he was nuts most of the time. I couldn't be that guy, you see, because I'm a fixer. I try to people-please to the point at which I lose me. That's where it really gets problematic.
I realize where it comes from. I'm doing all of that digging in a 12-step program at church right now. Undoubtedly, this is the best thing I've ever done for myself, but it is also stirring up a lot of muck and mire from my past. It's painful. And the worst part is that life goes on around me while I'm dealing with all of this. No one I've met, myself included, has just one problem. We have many areas of our lives that need work. Not surprisingly, many of us are at mid-life. Many of us are starting with the co-dependency issues and then plan to deal with other issues from there.
Life has indeed taken a turn lately. There is "The Program". There is "The Election". And there is "Grad School".
After all of my time working toward, applying to, and getting into an MFA program in Creative Writing (and then finding one that would let me do the whole thing from home), I have decided that my calling is really elsewhere. This isn't to say that I'm giving up writing. I don't think I could give up writing if I wanted to! It is the way I process my world.
My calling, however, since my mother died 2.5 years ago, has been toward grief counseling. During her death, I amazed myself by how well I handled it. Of course I grieved afterward; in fact her death precipitated many changes in my life. Looking back, it seems as though I'm not even the same person now that I was then. I have grown so much. I have matured. I have listened to that voice inside me.
I am in touch with myself in a way I've never been. So naturally it seemed that it was the right time to attack my co-dependency, to find a way to stop killing myself over things that I cannot control. I cannot control my daughter's behavior, but what I can do is to protect myself and the rest of my nest. I cannot control my brother's behavior, but I can control whether or not I let him in my house. I don't hate either of them. No, indeed, I love them! I love them so much that I wanted to wave my magic wand and make their lives all better! But only they can do that.
Did I need to confess this here tonight? No. But I'm hoping that if there are any others out there who are struggling with similar issues, you'll find that you are not alone. It isn't an easy road, but it is so worth it! Friday night I got my "3-month chip," meaning that I got a shiny green medallion in front of an auditorium full of people and got to tell them what I'm recovering from and how I'm doing it. I am so doggone proud of that little medallion! That represents three months of self-examination, fellowship with other women in a similar situation, and learning new ways to handle old problems. I wish I could say that it also represented three months of not falling for her stunts, but it doesn't. As John Mayer says, "I'm in repair. I'm not together, but I'm getting there..." (see video below...it's a great song)
So if I seem a little snarky or off my game, if I seem like something's bothering me? It probably is. I've gotten a little sensitive this last week or so as I go into Step 4. Add to that mid-life hormonal changes, "The Election," and general stuff.
I'm getting there. Stay with me. I think we're going to learn something. And when I get into that Thanatology program (the study of death, dying, and grief)? You're going to see that there is a diamond in this lump of coal.
Peace - D