For many years, January 11th-March 25th were emotionally difficult times for me. Fortunately last year and this year, I have been able to look at both dates and the time in between with gratitude. 10 years ago today (Thursday, March 25th, 2010, the door of my cousins' house of addiction, codependency, and intergenerational brokenness closed behind me for the last time after the worst turn of events. However, the physical pain from being hit and shoved around and the knee-jerk emotional pain from being cut down by intoxicated verbal weaponry would compare nothing to the pain I felt the following 8.5 years before I finally got into my own codependency (primarily to the one cousin) and adult children of alcoholics recovery at 19. The poem "They Call it Post-Traumatic" by my professor Rev. Dr. Nadine Rosechild Sullivan says that the word "Post Traumatic” is really a misnomer because we experience “new” trauma each time we relive it. Fortunately, I have learned and know today that “Life is only 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you look at it.” Ernest Holmes, the founder of my faith New Thought-Religious Science/Science of Mind says, “Change your thoughts. Change your life.” My great first counselor and spiritual teacher Vince DiPasquale taught me to think of “trauma as not trauma, but rather a teachable moment” and to think “What can I learn from that person/situation that troubled me at the time?”
Fortunately today, by the Grace of the Divine, my cousins are sober productive members of society, who are in fact contrite for what happened. However, they have an odd way of showing it. I have learned in my codependency recovery to screw my expectations because they are nothing but “premeditated resentments.” Even though it aches my heart (especially because of the events of the past few months if you have been following me on here) that they do not want to make amends the way I would want them to, I know now that is it because it solely their feelings and where they are at on their journey.
In the meantime on my journey, I am reading a book titled “Radical Forgiveness” by Colin Tipping. Even though I have accomplished what Tipping calls “Traditional Forgiveness” (more geared towards the human realm called “The World of Humanity”) it is best that I now try to accomplish “Radical Forgiveness” (more geared towards the spiritual/metaphysical realm called “The World of Divine Truth").
The bottom line is that control of any kind is an illusion. We CANNOT control another person, including in retrospect by trying to analyze why they did what they did and how to fix them (what I drove myself insane doing for years). They were acting out of their own best knowledge out of the unresolved pain in their lives. The best thing/only thing we cannot do is take control of turning our own lives around from the situation by practicing self-care and self-help and looking at what the tough teachable moment taught us. We come into this world by ourselves, and we are going to transition from it by ourselves. We cannot hold onto “victim-consciousness,” which is the idea that a person wronged me and is thus responsible for my life being bad or unhappy.
I have re-listened to spiritual practicioner Brenda Schuck’s motivational talk “Is it Really all G.o.d. (Good Orderly Direction)?" (video featured above) from two Sundays ago at our last in-person celebration service two Sundays ago. The answer to that question is a big YES! Everything in our lives is in Divine Right Order (love that term). The Universe is our back and is willing to have fun if we are willing to dance with it. Everything in my life both good and bad happened FOR me, not to me. Gratitude is the best anti-depressant in the world. Just a disclaimer: I am not claiming that neither myself, life, or recovery is perfect. My life is just easier than it used to be
Bria Riley is a published author, recovering codependent and adult child of an alcoholic, who is active in several recovery programs. She knows the turmoil and heartbreak of growing up in an addiction-stricken family and wants to help others who have also been affected by addiction through her writing.