So I’ll bet you read the title and thought this would be a Ninth Step kind of post. Or maybe I did my searching and fearless inventory and am taking responsibility for some newly discovered dark thing about me.
No. No. Alas, no.
What I write about is this kind of responsibility one should not take. Taking responsibility for someone else’s shit.
Yes, I’m an alcoholic and addict. But don’t we all have someone in our lives who, too, is an alcoholic or addict? And don’t they do to us what we did to others?
What I’m getting at is when a loved one relapses. I go to that “I should have seen it coming” place. I scrutinize the events and interactions leading up to the other person’s relapse. I put the days after they started using under the microscope. Many “aha” moments are enlarged there. The sleepy, glossy eyes. The fingers in the mouth — this person ALWAYS puts their fingers in the mouth when they’re using. Like a baby who rebels against sleep just as much as he or she wants it.
Somehow the whole feeling “duped” thing is something I’m taking responsibility for. Why am I responsible for being duped? Why isn’t it HIS responsibility for lying? That’s right. It is his responsibility.
And I can’t make him take responsibility for that. I can’t make him stop using. I can’t make him admit to using — been there, done that.
I put myself under that microscope as well. I squint and enlarge and probe. Was I in denial? Or was I giving a heaping, happy, healthy , loving dose of “benefit of the doubt?” Here I am going back to that place…….. I should have seen it coming. Or maybe I did see it coming but didn’t.
So I’ve been doing all of these things. But I’m going to stop. Just for today. Just for today I’m going to sit and be with me and accept that things are the way they are and that I’m powerless. Of course, I’ll have to see what happens when a counter-intuitive train of thought comes clacking and rattling into the station at top speed. I often get into a positive, powerful “just for today frame of mind” and unwittingly hop on these trains when they arrive. I have the power to watch them thunder past me, papers and dust flying in their wakes. I don’t always execute that power.