Day 232: Walk A Mile In Someone Else’s Shoes

So much of my recovery has been me learning to fly on my own.

I’ve spent a goodly portion of my life, hanging on, tagging along, and relying on others. And, it gives me a lot of pleasure to know that I’m doing so well now, on my own. I still depend on people in my life for quite a few things, but, in those situations I know that I am making an honest effort to “make good” on my own, and slowly but surely I’m getting there.

One thing that’s been tough to negotiate in the program is when you’re falling back into old, bad habits, and, when you’re just being yourself. There are things about us, at our core, that despite our best efforts may never be perfect. And, that’s OK. I know everything is OK, in theory, as long as I’m sober and trying. But, sometimes in my attempts to be as perfect in the program as possible, I overcompensate.

My recent independence is one way in which I’ve learned to be free and happy. I don’t need to be codependent with my parents or boyfriend to be happy. I’ve learned I can have close relationships with people, relationships I can rely on, but, don’t desperately need to survive. It’s important to want to be around people, not to need it. It’s like that infamous saying, ‘If you love someone, let them go, and if they love you, they will return to you.’ It’s trust. Trust that the love I get from my folks and from my partner will still be there for me when I return, if I should go off on my own. And, vice versa.

It’s been really important for me to establish and root that independence deep in the Earth below me. And, I feel like I’ve been hugely successful. So successful, in fact, that I sometimes miss the point. Which is, I need to know how to be alone and be happy being alone, but, that doesn’t mean that I should force myself to be alone just to prove a point.

Lars was completely booked this weekend working with his band. And, since he couldn’t really fit me in for any amount of real, quality time, I told him it wasn’t necessary to spend any time together at all. I really wanted to emphasize that I could be alone, that my time is valuable, that I’m valuable. I wanted to make all these “points” by not spending the two hours that he’d have available to me at the end of his day. So, when he texted me in the middle of the afternoon today, saying that he was sick as a dog, I immediately sat in judgement. He was using illness as an excuse to get me to come over and spend the time with him, the same time that I was hoping to use against him, to make my stand, my declaration of independence.

I sat and thought on it. I thought on it hard. And, after some contemplation, it dawned on me what a complete asshole I was being. There was an appropriate time to take a stand for independence: 1776. Tonight however, did not fit the bill.

I have a hazy memory of my mother explaining the concept of “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” when I was a kid. How if you understood what that person was going though, maybe you’d think of things in a different way.

Tonight, after attempting to stay strong and stay home alone, without Lars, I decided I needed to go be with him. I took a walk in his shoes. And, I know that when I’m sick with a cold and I feel like death himself, I absolutely hate being alone. I like being babied and cared for, and, call it codependency Batman, but, I wasn’t going to let him suffer alone.

Sometimes doing unto others as you’d have done unto you, even if it means giving up a little independence, is the right thing to do.

So, I cradled Lars’ sniffling head in my arms as he proceeded to pass out and snore while we watched movies. And, it felt so, so good. I realized that you don’t have to be alone to make a stand, in fact, sometimes you need reinforcements. Lars was a man down tonight. And, where I come from, when a man’s down, you get in the trenches and you drag him out…even if he does snore like a buzz saw.


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