My great motivator in life is to be understood and to understand. You are just a riddle I can't solve, and that is why you frustrate me sometimes. I've done all the readings. I've gone to AA, I've gone to Al-Anon, I've gone to mental health support groups. I've read blogs, and boards, and articles, and scientific journals. I feel like I have failed you. I want to let you copy off my test so very badly, but I know that wouldn't make you any smarter or wiser. Yes, I do want to tell you what to do; teach you lessons before you learn them the hard way; control you for my own sake. But I also do those things because I want to spare you from pain, which I know is wrong. I don't want you to fall. I don't want your confidence to be shattered. You make your decisions and sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail. It's like watching you walk on a tightrope every day. It isn't because I think I know better than you (at least not all the time). It's mainly because I know how it feels when you're so deep into something that you can't see beyond the weeds and I love you so much I don't want you to suffer or flail. But I also know that I can't tell you the secret you are looking to find. You have to figure it out on your own because it's yours, and yours alone. That is my struggle.
You recently told me that you wish I could see myself the way you see me. Well, I wish you could see yourself the way I see you, too. You're funny, and smart, caring, and dorky in an endearing way. You want to help people and you are a good coach. You take great care of our house and dogs, and you're an awesome cook. The best thing is, you are all these things, independent of what anyone else says or does. The most perplexing thing to me, is that the only person who doesn't like you, is you. You do things to purposefully get people to dislike you, so that you can justify and excuse the terrible way you feel about yourself. You have said that I am a strong person, but you are a stronger person than anyone else I know.
You don't need my validation. You don't need to impress me, or make sure I am happy, or worry about what I will think. You need to worry about yourself. I think you are afraid to really dive into that. I think it's probably painful to talk about why you hate yourself, feel worthless, and feel like an underachiever under the bright, fluorescent lights of sobriety. I think you are afraid of who you are sober, because what if you discover that you are not who you have always thought you have been. What if you realize you don't want to live in Chicago? What if you realize you don't like being in sales? What if you realize you don't want to have a professional job? What if you want to go back to school? What if you don't want to be married? What if you don't think we should be married. These are scary thoughts and propositions. But I worry about you, because to me, the scariest thing is to think that you might live the rest of your life refusing to confront these issues because you already have a set idea of what you think everyone else wants and needs you to be.
Your process is your process and it's your right to have that journey. I know that you will get there in time. But don't be afraid. We've gotten this far.
Want to read Jeff's side of the story? http://www.lifeimpaired.com/1/post/2014/01/hey-you.html