Getting shit off your chest. Just do it.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was seething in my Day:23 post. I didn’t go into detail because a) I was too angry to have any clarity on the situation, and, b) I didn’t know yet that feeling angry about having my boundaries breached was OK.
After a few weeks of dealing with a situation in my rehab group, processing it with my sponsor and my one-on-one counselor at my treatment center, I feel I have a better handle on things. I’ve learned some valuable lessons, and, now, I can deal with the subject without my head threatening spontaneous combustion.
The situation was this: A fellow in my rehab group is clearly having a rough time. And, for that, I have the utmost sympathy. I know myself being thrust head on into recovery, well, this shit is no cake walk. But, this person was affronting my recovery, and, I wasn’t sure how to navigate that space. This person will frequently show up in the group common room at our rehab center, and start conversations that glorify use. To add insult to injury, this person “relapses” every weekend. Which, to me, isn’t really relapse. As my counselor put it, if you use again before a year’s worth of sobriety, it’s just called “return to use.”
This person won’t listen to any of us about utilizing a 12 Step Program. They just wallow in their own misery. Complaining how alone they are. How, they use on the weekend because they’re bored. And, other various reasons that seem like major bullshit cop-outs to me.
I struggled with this person and this situation for the longest time, because, in my mind: It’s not my recovery. Who am I to judge? Why should I have an opinion one way or the other? If this person wants to use at the drop of the hat and refuses to use the many tools that our rehab center and AA offer as means of support, well, there’s nothing I can do about that. It’s not my business. So I thought.
What I realized is that, I found myself truly angry at this person because, there have been weekends where all I fucking wanted was a motherfucking drink. And, I had to fight tooth and nail to keep sober. I had to utilize everything, and I mean everything, at my disposal to not take that first drink. And I didn’t. I made it through. I was and am stronger for that process. But, hearing this person spout off about how they drank at the bar, because of boredom, and without reaching out at all….God, it just made my blood boil.
Finally, I went to the facilitator at my rehab center. I told them that I wasn’t trying to judge this person. That, if they didn’t care about their sobriety, I sure as fuck didn’t. But, that person is taking up a valuable slot in a small and, might I add, fabulous rehab facility. And, the rest of the clients here, while we all struggle, work really hard and truly value our sobriety. And, I just don’t want to be around it. The negativity. The carelessness. The lazy approach to recovery. I’m here to get better, to do what I have to do. And, this person is making work that’s already extremely difficult, even harder.
To my surprise, the facilitators were extremely concerned and helpful. They gave me some tools to use to communicate with this person. And, we held a group today that focused on making clear what is and isn’t appropriate to discuss in group or in the common area while we are hanging out in our down time. I could tell by the look on the client in question’s face that they knew it was them that was being called out, gently.
So, I did it, I spoke my mind. Even if it did take several weeks to find the courage. And, I got what I needed. Tools and back-up. Yet another lesson in recovery that you have to learn from experience to understand.
Ask for help. Guess what? You’ll get it.
And, once again, all is safe in sobriety land…’til the next bump in the road…