Fixing a Broken Record

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

April 10, 2012

I’ve been self-conscious for some time now — in my shares at meetings and with my sponsor — and, at first, I wasn’t sure why. It’s the first time in program I recall not feeling free to express myself to others in fellowship.

I soon realized part of the reason for my insecurity. It became clear to me that, in the last two or three months, the status of my relationship with my ex-wife, with whom I reunited last August, has been entangled and difficult to manage, teetering on the edge of breakup. I had even shared as much — that we’d finally called it quits — a month or so ago with literally everyone in my support and recovery network. After accepting her ending everything some weeks back, she offered a mea culpa, which I initially rejected. Then, I retracted my rejection, and back and forth we’ve gone since.

My ex and I are on the same page about one thing, though: no matter what we do, we don’t want to keep repeating the same cycles we’ve forged together in the past. We’re working on breaking old, old habits and tending to old (and new) wounds. And so, I feel like my insecurity comes from sounding like a broken record the last few months to those with whom I share my most intimate life details. I’ve been reticent sometimes about telling the same battle-worn stories even to my sponsor.

Perhaps some of the insecurity also comes from feeling emotionally unsober. The back-and-forth I’m engaged in with my children’s mother is exhausting and stressful. I’ve relieved some of my unease with acknowledgement and phone calls. And what I’ve acknowledged, when I’ve felt more comfortable sharing this recent cycle of events, is that I’ve been living with a bounty of indecision. I admit that I, too, have had borderline tendencies the likes of which I experience from and recently have accused my ex-wife of exhibiting. I, too, have been capricious, the very things I accuse her of. That revelation to myself was hugely helpful and a relief, actually, because I had no more blame left to dole out. I saw better what was mine and hers and ours; and then, I just let go of any expectations or plans. I’m willing to accept whatever comes next.

If I come to some more clarity about my self-consciousness, I’ll share that at a later date, but for now I can say that despite my recent indecision and confusion, I have discovered, in me, a powerful place of acceptance. I am able to say honestly that I’ll accept whatever decision my ex and I make. We may tamp out or rekindle again our flickering flame; I don’t know. But I have done all I could do in this relationship, while taking responsibility for my part in undermining it in the first place; while it was under repair; while co-parenting and working; and, importantly, while maintaining my sobriety and my spiritual-mindedness. I feel good about that, truly. Any lingering self-consciousness or fear or worry will have to simply provide me with an opportunity for my next surrendering, my next acceptance.

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