Getting Real with Others
For forty years I lived in isolation. Raised in a large metropolitan area surrounded by thousands, if not millions of people, I learned to exist alone in the world. I had grown to prefer my life that way because I had never known any other way. It was the way of my family. The rule in my family was that weakness, when exposed, would be ridiculed, if not punished. And from this example, I grew up believing I was entitled to my selfishness as long as I kept it veiled behind a veneer of politeness, civility and “christian” respectability. By the time I was an adolescent, I was a master of avoiding my problems and any people or situations that could expose my shortcomings or the loneliness I felt inside. I feared others. I doubted my worth. I had no confidence in my upbringing. I survived and existed. My life was a living hell.
I was 41 years old when I got help from others and began stopping my addictions, which was a big step in the right direction. But, in addition to stopping my destructive way of life, I also needed to learn how to come out of the isolation I had learned as a child, to live in a real world of real people, and have real relationships with them. I’m not sure which felt worse: the painful experience of detoxing from drugs and alcohol or the experience of getting honest about myself with others.
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