Let me preface this post by saying I am not doing the twelve steps. I do attend NA meetings from time to time, and I do see a lot of merit in what they teach. I also have issues with the program, or more specifically many people in the program. My main conundrum has to do with methadone. Now, no where in the literature does it say that one is not sober if perscribed methadone (or suboxone for that matter), it doesn’t really mention methadone at all. There are many, somewhat patronizing, members who say that you can not count any time on methadone (even if during that time is is ingurgitated with a prescription) as sober or clean time. By that account I have zero days sober. I feel like whatever helps you to stay sober is fine, as long as it is legal. My methadone is 100% legal.
I also have a problem with people who sermonize the literature the way some people push religion. No one is going to become abstinent until they are ready. Pushing NA on them is not going to help.
I am not doing a moral inventory because I am on whatever step number it is. I am participating in this art of self reflection because I feel that everyone should every so often. I do wonder though, can we ever really see ourselves as others do? Do others really see the true nature of or being? Think about it, if you asked a room full of people to describe you, you would get a multitude of answers. Some themes, traits, would be repeated by most people. Some people would say something that would be in total contradiction to what someone else said. Who gave the right answer.
People often tend be on either side of the extreme. Their self-esteem is too high, or it is too low. We either think that nothing we do is wrong, that we are never at fault, or we think that we are the worst person in the world, and that everything ww do is wrong. I fall in the latter category. Everything is my fault. If someone fucks me over, I usually think that I deserve it. It took me over ten years to admit that being raped was not my fault. The guy actually called me from jail, where he was doing time on two – yes TWO – unrelated sexual assaults, and told me that he wanted me to know that he was sorry, that I didn’t deserve what he did, that it was not my fault. This actually helped my healing process a lot. It helped me to forgive him a little. That helped me to forgive myself which in turn help the late night flashback to slow down. I wake up screaming in the middle of the night far less than I used to.
That little seed of forgiveness has helped my recovery immensely. I can no longer use my rape as a reason, an excuse to stay on drugs. Ok, so I got off dope almost two years ago. now it is time to work on myself. The first step to fixing a problem, is to identify what the problem is. I have to force myself to find my strengths and my weaknesses. It is time to take a long hard look inside myself and do a moral inventory.
I am a Taurus. As such, one of the first words that people use to describe me is stubborn, bull-headed. This is good and bad. I don’t give, or back down on things that I believe in. I am trying to be slightly better about this. It is an admirable quality to stand up for what one believes in, but you have to be willing to listen to other people’s opinions. I am trying really hard to do this. For example, don’t worry – this blog will never become political – this is just for example, I am extremely liberal. Always have been. I believe in welfare, food stamps, section eight housing, rehabs instead of jail – the works. I am willing to now listen, I mean really listen, to a conservative view point. No one has been able to change my mind yet, but I listen.
I am shy. I got better at this after my years of waiting tables and bar tending. I can start conversations with strangers on a superficial level. My love, obsession really, of sports is usually my lead in. I have told many times that I could be a reporter on Sportscenter (which happens to be one of my favorite programs on TV). If you like football, we can talk for hours. Ironically, it was jail that forced me to learn to come out of my shell a little. Being in Baltimore City’s Central Booking and Intake Center will do that. I call that place hell on Earth. You are in a “single” cell with no less that 15 people. I kid you not, it is so crowded in there that once everyone is situated, no one can move without causing everyone to have to move. it takes about 24 hours (which is the maximum, legally allowed length of time) before you see the commissioner. If you get PR’d, or releases on you personal recognizance, you then wait in a cell for your property where they can re-run your name for warrants for two more hours. If you are given a bail. You wait in a cell for everyone that went upstairs to see the commissioner, then you go back down to the holding cells where you came from. Only this time you are put in one of the cells at the end of the line, where you wait to go upstairs to general population. After a few more hours, you taken up there and you can finally call your loved ones and try to get them to pay your bail. Even after your bail has been paid to the jail, it takes six to eight hours to actually be released. Being so dope sick, in such close quarters, forces you to talk to people. Trust me. Being the only white girl in the cell, and also refusing to talk to anyone is not going to make you any friends. I learned to make friends fast. In fact, I was so sick in the cells, that my new found friends would bang on the doors shouting, “Yo, you gotta get this chick to the nurse. She looks like she is going to die!” This skill helped me when I was locked up with four warrants, no of which I was being held without bail. I learned to find out what I had in common with people so that we could relate. This helped me as a bartender.
Problem is, I have learned to talk to people, but is mostly on a superficial level. I have been hurt by so many people that I was close to. Aside from my husband, who is also my best friend, I let no one in. I push people away. I catch myself doing it, but am not yet strong enough to stop doing said offense. As a result, I am lonely. I have very few real friends. I just can Not get close to people. This is one of my main faults.
I am vey protective over my family. Too protective almost. I can forgive something that you do to me, but not to my family. I require absolute loyalty. If you fuck me over, I may forgive you, but we will never be friends again. I am far too willing to cut people out of my life.
In that vein, I hold grudges for far too long. I never forget anything. I am still mad at someone close for critiquing my parenting skills, calling me “white trash”. I try really, extremely hard at being a good parent. I am not perfect, but my kids are my life. I would do anything for them. I need to learn to let go of a grudge. I need more people around me, more of a support system. I am never going to have that if I keep pushing people away.
Probably my other main character defect is that I am so afraid of failure that I don’t even attempt a lot of things. Deep down I know that you can’t do anything if you don’t try, but still here I am.
I was able to overcome my fear of admitting to the world that I am an addict by starting this blog. Next is trying some more things. I have been studying makeup books and how-to videos on YouTube. I am going to try to get a job at MAC or Sephora and get certified through them. Then I can try to be a makeup artist. I was also thinking about maybe selling MaryKay. That could be good experience. A nice way to get my “foot in the door”.
I am a work in progress for sure. I need to work on seeing some of my strengths. I can proudly say that I am a good listener, that I am compassionate. In fact, I have been toying around with the idea of being a substance abuse councilor. I think that I would have a lot to offer others.
I don’t know if anyone can do a totally accurate moral inventory of themselves, but I will continue to try to accurately judge myself. Hopefully this has inspired you to look at yourself and determine what attributes make you the wonderful, unique person that you are, and what traits you could work on.
I want to add a footnote, an update of sorts. Today I got into a political argument on Facebook. This person reminded me of something that I have gotten mugh better at: the need to have the last word. The person that I was debating with was a man. I tend to notice (no offense, because I know that all men are not like this) that this is a major problem amoung men. I don’t know if this has to do with their testosterone or their need to prove that they have the biggest balls (metaphorically of course) or what. I say my piece and leave it be. If the person keeps prodding me, eventually I will say something, but I no longer need to get in the last word.