A few recent events have brought me back to this space, to write about how I’m feeling and how I’m trying to live. I’ve had some thoughts swirling in my brain lately, after we made a big move back to the United States, spent two months in transition, and Pete acted out again after a really wonderful six months of sobriety. I’m feeling compassion for him, transitions are so hard, losing his support system and dealing with the stresses of his work life, while trying to get our family settled, is bound to take its toll. But I’m also feeling disappointed, frustrated and anxious about it all.
It’s much easier to live in emotional and mental health when Pete is doing the same. When we both take care of our stuff our relationship thrives, and it is so fulfilling. But when one of us starts to lose our grip, it’s hard for the other one to hold steady. And this morning something clicked in my brain. To my friend[s] who have tried to explain this to me and I wasn’t understanding, I apologize, because I think I’m catching on.
I thought that recovering from co-dependency meant that my happiness would not be dependent on other people’s behavior. Today, that seems like an impossible, and even not desirable goal. When I’m emotionally connected to someone I love, there are going to be things they say or do that cause me to feel sadness. Sadness is not happiness. I used to believe that detachment meant, severing the emotional connection so that I DIDN’T feel sad when they said or did hurtful things.
The word serenity, that I hear so often in recovery, is all of the sudden much more meaningful to me. It’s not my happiness I need to protect, I’ve mentioned before that I don’t personally believe happiness should be the object of my existence. I understand how beneficial other feelings can be to my human experience. It’s my serenity I want to protect. My peace. My contentment. My ability to not go to my crazy place during the midst of my sadness, disappointment, hurt and even fear.
So what was working for me during the last six months? Well for starters Pete’s sobriety and his serenity were working for me. (Tongue and cheek, insert squinty-eye-emoji.) But my number one tool for feeling my own peace is acceptance. And I could probably write an entire post just about acceptance, and my evolution from hating that word to embracing it. I’m trying each day to get present in my reality, and then make the most of it.
While I sit in this sadness, and accept the hurt that inevitably comes from being emotionally connected to people, I’m hoping I can stay connected to God, practice gratitude and keep some serenity.