As much as I really wanted to enjoy my righteous rightness (and I am 89.5% right) I also felt the undeniable familiarity of this fight. That’s one of the downsides of longer recovery—you can’t hide from yourself so well anymore—knowing that you own part of it takes the fun out of fighting in a flash.
So what was I going to do? How could I walk through a conflict that was hard and where I really did have hurt feelings?
I used some recovery tools. I sent email to my sponsor; called another sober woman and I also went to my bookshelf. I always go to books. I came to recovery by the grace of Robin Norwood’s books, so for me bibliotherapy is real.
I started with our Big Book. Step 3, yep, and surrender—yuck --but also yep. I added some Alice Miller—definitely—I have those issues for sure. But “how”—how could I move past hurt feelings? How could I shift the energy from fantasies of revenge to using this situation for growth?
I landed on the book called How Can I Forgive You? By Janis Abrahms Spring and I got relief. Spring writes about really hard stuff like overcoming infidelity and parental betrayal so I knew I could lean into her wisdom for this fuss we were having. Here’s what I read:
“Your freedom lies not in protesting the unfairness of the violation or in getting the offender to care. Your freedom –perhaps your only freedom—is in deciding how to survive and transcend the injury. Don’t underestimate this freedom: it’s enormous. With it comes the power to decide how you’re going to live the rest of your life. As you take the task of healing into your own hands, you empower yourself and have peace.”
Bingo! It was peace that I really wanted…not to let my husband off he hook necessarily but to get me off my own hook and out of my spinning head. It’s that wonderful paradox of AA and Alanon—being selfish enough to take the focus off of being right and take back your own good life.
The rest of her book is even more wonderful and you can apply her Ten Principles of Acceptance to home and work. Check it out: “How Can I Forgive You” by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.