Suit up, show up, and sweep my side of the street.

In recovery, I have learned that I need to take care of my business, not everybody else's. Before I got into recovery,  anger ripped through me when somebody stood me up or cut me off. I felt let down, defeated, due to other people's shortcomings. In sobriety, I care less about what they do because I have learned that I ultimately cannot control  them.  I may be able to influence them if I have some power over them, but usually the other person's behavior is beyond my control or not worth the effort of my trying to control them. So, I spend less time pointing out their defects (taking their inventory). Rather, I take my own inventory and work on getting rid of my defects. Knowing I am imperfect and still have much to learn, I try my best to suit up (be at my best), show up (be where I am supposed to be in heart and mind), and sweep my side of the street (change my own issues not theirs). It' such a relief trying to do something possible (improving myself) rather than banging my head against the wall and then using to kill the pain of trying to do something impossible (changing them). But how, you are thinking, does one stop being abused by someone else?  Answer: You consult with a counselor about what you can do to change how you handle the relationship, not what the other person can do to change the relationship. Usually what you can do is to stop enabling the other person to abuse you. We enable someone to abuse us when we think we love or need an abusive person - or when we think we can help, save, or fix an abusive person. Interestingly, when we stop enabling, the other person often has a better chance of changing than when we were enabling. 


Every time I am tempted to judge, criticize, change or control someone else, I am going to use that temptation to ask myself what I can change about myself to be at peace. A key question is do I need to admit that I am in a toxic relationship that warrants changing how I participate in the relationship.