Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Taking Steps

I'm doing a step five with my sponsor tomorrow. I don't really feel ready for it -- my step four is pretty half-assed. I'm trying to keep up with the step workshop I'm in. There's 15 or 20 guys in the workshop, and only 3 or 4 of us are "rookies," doing the steps for the first time. So I always feel behind: less than, different from, not as good as, etc! My sponsor wholeheartedly supports the workshop, and isn't particularly worried about me doing all the steps "right." I can always start again from the beginning as soon as I'm done. I'm starting to get suspicious that you never "finish" doing the steps...

I found an apartment today. I'm dropping off the deposit and application tomorrow, so unless someone grabbed it late this afternoon it should be a done deal. It's a big emotional step -- letting go of the house, and moving on.

I still haven't talked to my wife to let her know I'm staying where I am and not moving to LA. Still chicken. My sponsor's been out of town for a few days, so I want to talk to him about all the stuff that's been banging around my head, and how to handle the conversation with my wife and the ways it may go, without creating too much new wreckage.

Sunday was a tough day for me. I was getting a lot of relapse signals. I did some reading in Living Sober and Staying Sober, and found a lot of insight in both. I was particularly struck by the discussions of relationships, family recovery and codependency, which led me to Love is a Choice, which focuses specifically on codependency.

I recognized before the importance of my relationship with my wife, and I've had a vague idea that I have codependency issues of my own. What's clearer to me now is how strong my own codependency is specifically in my relationship with my wife, and the potential threat this particular codependency is to maintaining my sobriety. It was the likeliest culprit in my relapse a couple months ago.

At some point, if I am to maintain longterm sobriety, I will have to delve into my overall codependency issues. Right now, to establish a stable early recovery, I need to at least bandage the codependent attitude and behavior I have with my wife. In terms my favorite oldtimers would comprehend, I have to avoid trying to work her program (especially since she doesn't have one), clean up my side of the street, then let go and let God. I can't control outcomes, and I can't control her. If I try to, I'm risking relapse, and I don't ever want to go there again.


At 3/15/2005 10:29:00 PM, Blogger doughgirl said...


I agree with your sponsor...Theres no right or wrong way, but only to the best of our ability.
Step one is the only step that we must take 100%....the rest we must only be willing. You are correct that the steps are a lifelong thing...A way of Life A.W.O.L..
Progress not perfection and you are certainly progressing and continually trying to do the next right thing...
Rule 62..Dont take yourself so damn serious :)

At 3/15/2005 11:05:00 PM, Blogger Bob R. said...

Steps are at the best of our ability at the time...earnest and thurough....that's all. You are amazing with your step and study work. That first apartment away from the family is a big one. Experience tells me there may be a difference between codependency issues and internal honesty. I had some issues in early sobriety with romantasizing the relationship with my wife. If you do a balance sheet on it -- you know, the plus and cons thing -- you might get a pretty quick picture...but then again...more will be revealed. It was and still is for me. Great stuff, sir. You are a miracle!!

At 3/16/2005 02:41:00 PM, Blogger smussyolay said...

congrats on 2 months, phil! yay!

At 3/16/2005 05:06:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

Thanks, DG and Bob, wise counsel, as always! I just got home from my step 5 meeting with my sponsor, I'll probably reflect on it in a post in the next day or so.

Thanks, Joc, I was tempted to find a meeting that gives tokens for 60 days so I could lecture newcomers with all my wisdom. But since I had almost twice that long when I relapsed, perhaps newcomers may be better served by my silent gratitude! :) I truly am grateful to be sober today, and grateful that today happens to be a day following a decent string of sober days.


At 3/17/2005 06:37:00 PM, Blogger dAAve said...


You're right where you should be after 2 months. Don't be ashamed or try to compare yourself to others. We all take different paths to get to the same place.

You are TOTALLY RIGHT in saying we never finish the steps. As soon as I am finished working the steps, I'll be right back in a bar, then soon after that, I will stop blogging because I shall be a dead human being.


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