Old Dogs, Old Tricks

I had an unexpected experience this weekend.  One that I literally had to take several steps away from my life and examine myself.  I had to re-center my thoughts and feelings.  I had to redirect my emotions to more positive tones.  I fell hard.  I’ve been slipping and sliding for a few weeks.  I’ve felt it, but wanted to believe that it wasn’t really a big deal.  I could just breathe and calm myself then all would be right in my world again.

Nope.  I fell really, really hard.  Reality hit me with a big, wooden baseball bat.  The kind they used to use in the olden days when baseball players were real baseball players and used real bats made of hard wood.  BOOM!  POW!  Right in the kisser.  Don’t you just hate when that happens?  I mean, seriously?  You are going along thinking that you’ve got things figured out and then your past sneaks up behind you to remind you that there are some things that you have not really dealt with.  Sure, you’ve dealt with many things and learned how to forgive some people who needed it, or maybe even to forgive yourself for things that you didn’t think you could ever forgive yourself for – BUT, not ‘all’ things.  There are some pesky little demons that haven’t come over to party in a while and they show up.  First, a couple stop in unannounced and only stay for a couple of days, then a few more show up and not only do they stay, they’ve rented a house next to yours!  What do you do?

I did what all of us in recovery do…told myself it was nothing, but a minor setback.  Everything would be ok if I just followed the things that I’ve learned that help me move past the hurt and anger.  Then it hits – what if it’s not the same old story?  What if it’s not the same old song and dance?  What if this hell that I’ve been trying to ‘work through’ isn’t because of what someone has done to me, but something I’ve done. Yeah, let that one settle in.  Not so much fun when you have to look in the mirror and see that the demon that’s set up household is you.

The words that are echoing in my head are these:  “Stop.  I don’t want to hear this anymore.  You have too many issues for me to listen to this anymore.  You need to talk to someone about this not me.”  Hard words to hear.  True words.  Still, hard to hear.

New territory for me.  I can’t blame someone for having feelings that are valid and true! Can’t even be hurt or mad.  I know it won’t help me to internalize the hurt and beat myself up because that won’t help me face what I’ve done.  In another life, I could use this as a manipulation tool to try to control my environment, but I don’t live in an environment that I have to manipulate.  If I was a smaller person, I would wail and moan that my feelings were hurt and I was owed an apology, but I know that I caused this, so I hurt my own feelings and I have to figure out how to stop doing what I was doing.  Comparing.  That’s what I was doing.  I was comparing my ‘before’ lives to my now life.  Not so much in a way of every detail, but too many details of ‘before’ and way too many times.

My demons have come home to roost once again.  I will meditate.  I will re-focus.  I will step back and find my way.  Old dogs can learn new tricks, sometimes though, we have to unlearn the old ones to make way for the new ones.  There are better ways to show my appreciation for my life than to make comparisons with old stories.  Just show the appreciation and don’t compare it to anything.  I’ve got a ways to go to unlearn some very old tricks…but I can do it.  Old dogs can learn new tricks.

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