The Need To Control

We can’t control other people.  We can force them, but we can’t control them.  Nor can we control love; to love is to let go.

How often have we pursued another person, determined to “make” them love us…and how often have we been disappointed, or had to use emotional — even physical — force to attempt hanging on to someone who didn’t want to be with us, or to escape the clutches of someone who wanted us too much?

This need to control ourselves, our feelings and other people, to live in a little world of our own making, to want to get our lives exactly right and have them welded shut, is the basis of addiction.  We believe deep down inside that we are unable to get, or unworthy of getting, what we need through our own self-esteem and feelings of wholeness, and yet we crave the love and acceptance that should have been our birthright.

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The “hole inside” can only be filled from inside.  We can’t fill it with alcohol and others drugs, with sex, with food, with busyness, or with the dozens of other ways we may try.  We can only do it by facing our deepest want and desire: to be accepted and loved for ourselves alone.  Getting past the fear of rejection, of lost trust, of compulsion and digging deeply to discover and nurture the child inside that was convinced it was unloved, unwanted, unworthy — a nothing — is the only path that will eventually lead to the sense of wholeness that we desire in our deepest heart.

We do this by developing relationships and the trust we need, seeking out people in our recovery groups who seem trustworthy, and then slowly, slowly learning to give that trust.  The big mistake that many newcomers to recovery make is to mistake style for substance.  The quiet woman in the corner who shares seldom but who always rings a bell with us when she does speak is far more likely to be “that” person than the loudmouth who spouts lines from the Big Book or Basic Text, parroting what he has heard or read. 

We have learned to be careful in bestowing our trust, and need to be careful in our fellowships (after all, we aren’t there because we’re all healthy).  But if we look, and watch, and move cautiously, there are many folks who can and will help us to learn that we, too, can be trusted and loved.

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