We are not defined by our mistakes

So I was an addict. But I have always been so much more than that. I am a programmer, a perfectionist, a son, a brother, a father, an avid reader and sometimes writer… but most of all I am a human who learns from his mistakes and moves forward. I am somebody who never gives up.

I think I am beginning to understand my ex’s confusion. She can’t comprehend that I remain in contact with her but refuse to give her money. And no matter what, I will continue to refuse. No matter how hard she manipulates, I will not give in. In the past, she’d wear me down… ask and ask and then ask again no matter how many times I said “No”, and eventually, I’d give in. No more. I don’t believe in “tough love”, but I do believe that giving money to her has never amounted to any good. It certainly hasn’t helped her. So I hope that by remaining in contact, I can show her that I care, but caring doesn’t mean giving in and giving cash. Caring doesn’t mean enabling. Sometimes it means stepping back and letting her know that she needs to get help.

But getting back to my first point, I loathe the phrase “in recovery”. I use the word “Recovery” as a category on this blog because that’s all it is to me… a term that unites us who made the same mistakes (i.e. drugs) and also those of us who have struggled with anxiety and depression. I happen to tick all those boxes, but they do not make me who I am.

This is also one of my issues with recovery culture and NA meetings. What “binds us together” doesn’t necessarily enable us to move forward. We made the same or similar mistakes, and in so doing, many of us probably isolated ourselves too. But what led us there in the first place? Is that not personal? It sure was for me. Going to meetings and indulging in higher power nonsense as well as focusing on my mistakes rather than my reasons for making them would achieve nothing useful for me. It would send me off on a wild goose chase focusing on irrelevant bullshit, which incidentally is what I see in 12 step programs. You go off on a tangent, focusing on nonsense feelgood bullshit and very harmful higher power rubbish while neither ever taking personal responsibility for your mistakes nor focusing on why you made them.

I am so much more than my mistakes and my demons. So are you.

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