How many times have you heard the saying, “Nothing changes if nothing changes”? How about the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Maybe you’re like me, before I entered recovery, and have never heard these sayings before. Well, you have now so what are your thoughts?
I understood immediately what they meant; I was living it. However, the process of making that change and doing something different took me awhile. Yep, change is a process and sometimes difficult, I get that. The one thing that held me back from making even the smallest of changes was fear. Mostly fear of the unknown. At least I knew what to expect when things stayed the same and there was some sick comfort in that. Unfortunately, the sick comfort became unbearable pain: emotional and physical.
Someone told me that I would begin to make changes when the pain became greater than the fear. It was true. The pain and insanity I lived in eventually became greater than the fear of the unknown. What was the worst that could possibly happen if I made a change? The only answer I could come up with was that nothing would change and I would be right where I was. With that thought in mind, I began my journey of change, and it was terribly hard.
At first, it was a small change. I was decided to go to recovery meetings even if he didn’t want me to. Simple enough, right? Wrong! The first time I went to a meeting, when he refused to, I came home to a horror scene. To punish me, he sliced his arms with a razor blade over a hundred times. A sick manipulation to make me feel guilty and for a brief moment it worked; I did not go the following week. The third week I went without him again, and again, when I came home, I was greeted with the horror of him slicing his stomach with a razor blade.
It was sick and twisted and I was beginning to finally understand what guilt and manipulation really were. This time though, I did not feel guilty; I was angry. How could anyone go to these lengths to make someone else feel guilty about doing something that was good and healthy for themselves? It was beyond my understanding but it did not stop me. I kept going and he eventually stopped trying to stop me.
The change that was harder for me was to get off and stay off the dance floor. Learning how to detach in love was much harder. When he would say or do things to hurt me, I would lash back with a vengeance. I felt I needed to defend myself or be heard. I need to make my point or make him hurt the same way he was hurting me. It was sick. I was told I needed to learn to detach in love and get off the dance floor. Do you know how hard it is to do this? I’m sure you do.
The first step in this behavioral change was to keep my mouth shut. No matter what he said or how much he bullied me, I tried not to engage. At first it was so difficult and many times I failed, but as time went on and I kept practicing, it started to get easier. If I needed to, I would leave the room or even the house, to keep my mouth shut and keep my sanity.
Some people would say that this is being a coward and not standing up for myself, but let me assure you, it is not. It a way to keep me from participating and perpetuating unhealthy behaviors that leave me feeling disgusted, insane and just as pathetic as the other person.
These changes took time, much time and practice, and they were difficult. Some days were easier than others. Some days, I straight up failed. However, I knew in my heart I didn’t deserve the insanity I was living in and that I was the only one who could stop it.
You are in control of your own life and if there is chaos and insanity surrounding it, take a step back and see what YOU need to do to change it. There will be difficult days but don’t give up and don’t give in. Believe in yourself and know that you are worth it!