Day 129: Valid Appearances

Sometimes we all need a pat on the back.

I know that I’ve been doing well. I can feel the changes within me, and sometimes, even see them outside myself. I’m pretty aware at this point. And, while I’m glad to be able to recognize all the changes I’ve put into place, excited to know that I’ve worked through a lot of my big issues, and that I still have the momentum to keep going, sometimes it’s nice to hear from someone else that you’re doing great.

Maybe it’s that alcoholic ego thing. That need to be validated. That, something or someone outside of yourself, gives you permission to feel good. And, yes, maybe it is a little self seeking, but, getting positive feedback from the people in my life, especially the people who have been a big part of my recovery, is important and motivating for me.

My meetings with my one-on-one counselor in treatment have been particularly rewarding for me recently. He’s given me some really great insights and helped me to recognize things in myself that have been buried, for a long, long time. So, when I met with him this week, and shared that I’ve just been oozing positivity, in part because of his help and guidance, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that he acknowledged my growth. Even though, on some level, I know I’ve grown up a little in the past few weeks and that my recovery has transcended the plateau that I seemed to have been stuck on, hearing it from my counselor really helped me to feel it.

His praise of the work I’ve been doing really hit home. Because, for me, so much of my recovery, like my alcoholism, is in my head. It lives and breathes where only I can see it. I can accept on an intellectual level that I’ve made strides. But, there is always that little voice in my head that tells me that it just isn’t enough. Not good enough. Not perfect. Not what I’d imagined.

Breaking free of that type of thinking is part of my progress. I still feel insufficient, frequently. But, as I grow in the program, I am beginning to learn that my thinking isn’t always right. In fact, most of the time, my brain is trying its hardest to trip me up. So, when I’m in those moments of feeling not-good-enough, I have to recognize that I’m doing the best I can. And, even if it isn’t the impossible perfection that I so often demand of myself, it doesn’t mean that I’m not moving. It’s just that my moving looks a lot different than I expected it to look.

Appearances, are nothing. They mean nothing. Even though I just wrote those words, and I know them to be true, I’m not sure that the reality of that statement will ever truly hit home. I worry about how things look. I worry about appearances in every context. But, I also know that maintaining false appearances is a waste of time and energy. Not only that, but, can be detrimental to my growth, not only in recovery, but, as a functioning human in society.

Recovery. Life. It isn’t about how things look. It’s about how things are. Accepting that is hard. It means making big changes sometimes. And, being validated is an essential puzzle piece that allows me to gain some perspective on how things are actually going, in reality.

So, I’ll take that pat on the back. It reminds me that I’m on the right track, even if my head would have it appear some other way.

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