Friday, September 9, 2011

Such a long way

Sometimes I get discouraged when I think about how far I have yet to go to get to the place of being rid of my defects of character.  In many ways, it seems like three steps forward, two steps back.  Some days it's one step forward, three steps back.  I make mistakes along the way and I pay for those mistakes.  I also (hopefully the first time around) learn from them.  

Sometimes I don't.  Sometimes it takes several times down the same path for me to get the message.  Someone trips one of my triggers - and I'm back into my "don't back me (or anyone I love) into a corner" mode.  The claws and fangs come out just as sharp and dangerous as they were "back in the day."  

And that's when I get discouraged.  I look at the path ahead and it's daunting.  

It appears endless, the road ahead.  At such times, it helps me to stop, to pull over, so to speak, and to look back the way I came to see how far I've come.  How frequently I used to blow up.  How unhappy I was.  How afraid my husband and children were of my temper tantrums, melodramatics, and tear-fests.  How uptight and judgmental, how incredibly narrow-minded I was.  How many deeply held resentments I had.  How they held my life hostage in Victim-land.  How impossible it was (still is) to pull myself out of those obsessive, self-destructive behaviors.  

What helps me most is to concentrate on those behaviors that I keep repeating, lessons I need to learn, re-learn and learn all over gain.  I have stumbled upon a way to keep from getting quite so discouraged as I keep tumbling into the same things.  I look at three things:  duration, intensity, and frequency.

Duration:  My flights of obsession and angst used to take me on emotional rampages that would last weeks, sometimes months.  They don't last so long any more.  Some last minutes; others last hours.  Some last days.  Very few last weeks.  It's not perfect - but it's progress.  

Intensity:  The depths of my rampages used to be such that I would wallow in self-pity, immerse myself in anger, bathe in bitterness.  And in a weird way, I'd enjoy it.  Not so much anymore.  I can't say that I don't do it at all.  But I don't do it as thoroughly or as deeply as I once did - and I don't enjoy it nearly as much.

Frequency:  Not two weeks would go by (in my life before recovery) that I wouldn't have something to complain about, someone to judge (even if it was for judging me!)  It happens occasionally now - but only occasionally.  

Duration, Intensity, Frequency - that's the DIFference between then and now.  

Sure, there is such a long way to go.  But I've come such a long way.

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