Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Relationship Bootcamp – February 18, 2020

I isolated, never knowing how to deal with people in a healthy way. I was never shown or taught how. All I knew was how to communicate and deal with people in a manipulative, passive-aggressive way. Being on my own since the age of 14 it became a survival tool that I honed in order to get by. If I told people what they wanted to hear, worked hard and was honest and trustworthy, it would secure me a place in this world and help me gain friends and allies.

But how can I be trustworthy if I’m manipulating people into a relationship? I expected other people to be what I wanted in my mind and to fit into a certain compartment in order to fulfill my needs. I thought this was a clever talent and a great survival tool but in the end, it wasn’t fair to them or to myself and was often met with disastrous results.

In working the Steps I can now see this so clearly. The 12 Steps are like a relationship bootcamp. I need others in order to become a better person. I also need other people to mirror back my defects of character or core issues to help bring them to the surface so I can examine them closely. To do this can and will be very painful, but if I am brave and allow myself to feel this and if I truly want to become whole then I will trust in my Higher Power to guide me through this fear and pain and allow people to be my teachers.

I always take it personally when my intentions are good and somebody gets upset at me. I immediately switch into the victim role and I only see my part in it and this is faulty thinking.

I now see how if I can put my feelings aside long enough to really get to know the person and their history, it is possible to see why my actions may have harmed them and this can save me and them a lot of unnecessary pain.

I feel that we all come with baggage. Some have carry-on baggage, some have luggage, some just an overnight bag, but we all have baggage. I now realize that by taking a break, taking a breath and stepping back before overreacting, by giving myself time to meditate about what the other person has gone through in their past—or even just their day—that I can be more forgiving and drop my victimized perception of the situation.

It’s amazing that these Steps were created the way they were. I like to think of it like an exhaust pipe blowing hard relationship lessons in my face at a rapid rate. It’s a catch-22 because I need people or I will remain stagnant in my own filth. When I think my way is the only way, I will never grow, or be free.

By allowing myself to be vulnerable, open and understanding and not isolating, while all the while trusting my Higher Power to help me work through these relationships and not just eliminate the relationship entirely from my life, I will become a whole human being and a trusted friend to others. This is the beauty of the 12 Steps. These steps are like a hardcore Relationship Bootcamp. I am finding the way out of the boondocks with the help of others and my Higher Power.

Pamela W. – December 5th, 2019

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