Friday, October 5, 2012

Life and death

I started writing this on Friday and have come back to it a few times since then. It's likely written more for me than to anyone else. 

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Today has been excruciatingly difficult for me, emotionally. My codependency, this "disease" as some people call it, results in me neglecting myself on every level - physical, emotional, spiritual. On difficult days this is something I'm increasingly aware of. This habit is not healthy and it is very, very, very familiar. Neglecting myself doesn't work for me or anyone, ultimately, and so I am intentionally doing what I can to take care of myself instead. It's a slow-going process.

I sometimes wish there was a way to feel awful, sucky feelings without it sucking so awfully much. I hate feeling awful, sucky feelings. I've tried not to be human and not to have human needs or feelings for a long time.

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On page 207 of "Codependents' Guide To The Twelve Steps" by Melody Beattie, Bill Wilson (the original writer of the steps) is quoted as saying, "...but obviously you can't transmit something you haven't got."

Obviously! And it IS obvious but I forget. I sometimes think I can just parent carefully enough and then my children will end up emotionally mature, somehow. Or that they can be at peace and secure in who they are. Or that they will have good and balanced boundaries and develop healthy patterns of self-care.

Quite simply, I canNOT transmit something I haven't got! There's so much I want to transmit to my children (and to others) and the way I get it is through looking at my own issues and recovering myself. Only after I do that am I really going to be any true help to someone who struggles similarly. I've heard it likened to putting your own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else get theirs secured.

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One of the best parts of recovery, for me, is the process of strengthening my relationship with God. It's been tough going, sometimes. I've had many misconceptions about God and I'm happy to report that God isn't the slightest bit insecure about my misconceptions of him. He just goes on being who He is and I'm slowly beginning to trust Him to be who He is.

I've read the entire Bible at least once, possibly more than once, and certain parts of it hundreds and hundreds of times. (Not so) amazingly, I'm still learning new things!

This year BSF groups are studying Genesis. The second chapter talks about the trees at the center of the garden of evil. Easy. I've known this almost all my life. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then God tells Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if they do, they'll die. I never thought about that tree as being a "tree of death" but that's what it is. Tree of life and tree of death. Eat from this one and do not eat from that one. This one (and the others) are good for you but that one isn't. And God told them ahead of time, before anything happened!

So they meet the serpent and eat the fruit from the tree of death. Turns out they didn't die immediately but their choice to believe the serpent and ignore God's warning resulted in separation from God.

When I read this story as a child, a part of me always thought that God was punishing them or being excessively harsh. Kind of like he jumped up and began throwing curses at them. "You ate from that tree? Well, I'll show YOU. First of all, get out. Now you have to suffer and work harder and eventually you'll die." A lot of space is given to the consequences of Adam and Eve's choice, but he had warned them, beforehand. He knew what was good for them and what wasn't and enjoyed a relationship with them. He told them the truth about that tree of death and then through their choices they experienced the truth about that tree. He loved them; that's why he told them ahead of time what they could trust to be true.

For some reason this was a moderate breakthrough for me.

God tells me the truth, too. He asks me to trust him, too. He does not force his will on me; he invites me to walk in his will because he loves me. The things that happen to me are not punishment for me messing up somehow. Because of Jesus, God is with me all the time because he wants to be and because he loves me.

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I am so glad that the 12-step program is a spiritual one. I'm not sure it could be as successful if it wasn't.

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