Sometimes it’s hard, really hard, to avoid dumping your shit on other people.
And, when it comes to Lars, my sweet, caring, and patient boyfriend, I often find that he is the undeserving recipient of my crap.
Because we’re both in recovery, he’s an easy target. He understands what I’m going through, especially with forth step, because he’s been there. And, for that reason, sometimes it’s easy for me to justify unloading my hefty emotional load in his lap. But, as I become more patient with myself in this process of taking a moral inventory, as I start to see my part in so many of the wrongs I’ve done others, it’s become pretty evident that I’m not great at separating where our recovery ends and our relationship begins.
After a few days of wading through forth step, I’m in a zone of discontent. And, Lars is a wonderful source of love, distraction, and relief. And tonight, when Lars invited me out to dinner, I was happy to be free of my fourth step. What I didn’t anticipate was carrying all that baggage that I’d been unpacking all week with me to our dinner.
Instead of being present and enjoying the fact that I was with the one person who really gets me these days, I was still in my head. Feeling the weight of all the relationships that I’d fucked up from childhood to present. I was sullen and sad. Angry and discontent. And, none of those feelings had anything to do with Lars, yet, there he was, at dinner, soaking in my negativity. And, he did so without complaint, because, well, he understands. But, what I realized is, after the several hours it took being with him to “warm up,” that just because he’s willing to tolerate my behavior doesn’t meant he’s deserving of it.
After dinner, when we were back at his apartment smoking cigarettes and watching movies, I finally came around. My head was finally there, with Lars, not back in my apartment, knee-deep in my resentments. And, I could see that my stress, which I had been radiating for the last few hours, had had its effect on Lars. It had tired him out. And, while he wasn’t angry or sullen, he had clearly been worn down. And, so, even though I had finally “arrived,” I had taken Lars to a place he hadn’t been, or wanted to be, when we’d first met up.
I apologized. Because, truly, I don’t want to alienate the one person that truly has the ability to make me feel better. And, I realize that even though it may not have been my intention to drag Lars along for my miserable ride in the land of dark and murky head space, I did anyway.
Working on forth step requires planning. I need to be aware that after I work on it for awhile, I need some time, alone, to let go of all the crap that I’ve been forcing myself to walk through. It’s not Lars’ job to take me back to my normal self. Lars is the thing that makes me happy. My reward. And, to expect him to clear my clutter is unfair and unreasonable. I need to be that happiness for him too, because he deserves it.
So, from here on out, I know that I have to do my “warming up” on my own. Because to be the girlfriend Lars deserves, I need to be the person I am today, not the sad, mess-making fool that I was in the past. It’s because of the work I’ve done so far that I feel deserving of such a good man. And he, in turn, deserves the woman that I am, not the woman I was.