Lately one of my clients has struggled mightily in his recovery when he got involved with another addict in early recovery. Staff, his sponsor, and peers warned him that to get involved at this stage in recovery in a relationship would put his sobriety in danger. Sometimes the call of inner forces is hard to ignore.
In this case the inner forces seem to be the hope for wholeness through another. My client suffered much physical abuse as a child and he is always looking for love in the wrong places. When he gets close to another person he becomes like a little boy seeking validation. He wants to feel ok about himself and he hopes the love of another will make him whole.
Wholeness will never come from outside oneself. Feeling ok about who we are will not come from our relationships with others. It seems so enticing the idea that the love of others will make us ok. It does not and too often places so much weight on the relationship that it cannot survive.
This new relationship of my client went from spending their lives together to not talking in about a week and my client went through a mental and emotional rollercoaster. He was so anxious that he ended up going to the hospital because he felt he could not breathe. His thoughts and the attached emotions were so powerful that they can take his breathe away.
When we depend on others to feel ok about ourselves we put ourselves in a very vulnerable place. This is actually an impossible situation because it can never do what we hope it will. It is a set up for failure; so something else is needed.
Arriving at self-approval is only possible by building a relationship with who we are. What that looks like is:
• Getting to know our thoughts and inner dialogue
• Paying attention to and respecting our emotions
• Freeing ourselves from self-condemnation
• Developing a connection with our higher nature/spirit which is free from the dramas of our life.
As we explore these aspects of self we open ourselves to the possibility of self-acceptance despite the imperfections we all have. Finding ourselves sets us free to be who we are.
Peace Letter #50
Dear President Obama,
This is my 50th letter to you in support of the challenges you face as President in these very oppositional times and also the importance of the US moving away from war toward a peaceful intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. I must argue boldly that peace is much smarter than war at every level. War destroys us economically, kills our military personnel, depletes our resources for more essential services, and creates new generations of terrorist who hate America.
War is a no-win situation and peace is a win-win situation. Please head a new direction and focus on peace for the good of the nation.
Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.
Join me and send President Obama emails of support and encourage the end of war and the other dysfunctional ways of government at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact