Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WHY does it not work when we compare our progress?

Why does it not work when we compare our progress in recovery to those whom we consider to be "strong" ------to those who seemingly can "stick to" what they say-------when we tell ourselves, with great shame, that "oh, we caved in again"?

a.) First of all, this is the internet. We are not face-to-face. We do not know ------AT ALL------ the whole story.

NO ONE tells the whole story on the internet.

When I am counseling clients, I FINALLY hear the whole story----after many sessions, when I CONTINUALLY need to ask, over and over, questions that would bring out WHY the hesitations in speech----- the way the person is wanting me to not-go to a particular subject.

In the first session of counseling, I take a full history......for two hours.

I ask a lot of questions......and really 'hear' what is NOT said.

Just imagine how much is not said on the internet------where people 'present' what they are consciously AND unconsciously choosing to present to "the public'.

b.) When I read postings from people, I can usually tell when a person is presenting their issues with a greatly measured, controlled, tone....... not flowing. This person is often a person who wants to present to us, a certain 'presence' that we will feel is 'in control'.

When new people who are not familiar with that way of presenting, read that person's postings-------- they often see that person as 'strong'.

And the person who is presenting herself or himself as very 'strong'-----often does not even know that he/she is presenting herself that way either! It is such a lifelong way of 'being'.
That person usually feels very scared if they do NOT come-off as 'strong' to others.

But often, none of this is a conscious process.

It is much easier to post from one's true feelings of vulnerability-----one's true issues-------without shame------- when one realizes that those who seem so 'strong' are just as vulnerable as any of us.......that person is just not someone who 'shows' it very much.......because underneath, she is MORE scared to show her vulnerability than scared to not get well. She feels she needs to present herself MORE as strong----- and that need takes precedence over her need to be real and get help.
It is actually harder, then, for her to really get help, than it is for others who can more easily present their real issues.
The sad part is, that she often does not even know that she is presenting herself like this.

None of us can truly heal if we cannot present our authentic selves when it is called for.

Knowing this -----remembering this------can help make it easier to not get into comparing one's progress in recovery to the recovery of others.

b.) Every one has a different situation........... "Maryjane" (not a real name here) might post that she is doing so well in emotionally detaching from her alcoholic.

She might be separated.........certainly easier than it is for someone who is looking her alcoholic in the face every morning, afternoon, and night!

She might be financially secure-------certainly easier for her than it is for you, who might have 5 children and don't know where the milk money is coming from, if you make your alcoholic leave the house.

You might be very religious-------and in a religion that forbids separation or divorce........and that presents serious issues that others might not have.

You might have elderly parents in the home......... be disabled yourself..... have a developmentally disabled child.

You might have an alcoholic who, despite his alcoholism, is a huge part of taking care of you or others, physically.

No-------- PLEASE do not compare "how you detach" from him----- or whether YOU can do ANYTHING in regard to the alcoholism in your home-------to how others do so----------or how others may PRESENT how well they are doing.

They may very well be doing wonderfully!....... BUT that might very well be because their situations may be MUCH easier to cope with, than yours is.

AND--------- we all also are 'coming from' our own histories.

If you were very abused as a child........or if you have your own bipolar disease or clinical depression....... life IS harder for you to cope with someone else's alcoholism.

If your parent was emotionally brutal ------ and if you never received counseling or any help for what you were made to adapt to, as a child------- this is certainly going to compound the problem.......and make it harder for you to even begin to emotionally detach from someone else's alcoholism.

AND your alcoholic just might be nicer than "hers"........or your alcoholic might be a womanizer--------and hers is not-------and you might therefore be understandably more scared to 'put him out of the house' to get his own apartment------for that might be like putting an alcoholic into yet another bar!

No, not a good idea to compare one's own recovery to the recovery of others............... just a waste of time and energy......... love, Toby

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