Finding Acceptance Isn’t Always So Easy, Especially When It Comes To Family…

Even if acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today, as I learned long ago on my spiritual path of recovery from addiction, sometimes it’s a really hard thing to do, as has been the case in my relationship with my brother-in-law.

A few months from now, his twin boys will be graduating from high school. It’s an event I promised myself and them I’d be there to support many years ago and yet, sadly, it looks as if I won’t be able to attend it now, simply because my brother-in-law continues to have major issues with me that he seems to struggle immensely letting go of. Whether those issues are resentments, fears, or something else altogether, I really don’t know. I have speculated for a long time that it could be related to my sexuality and his Christian beliefs, failure to let go of his negative memories of my former addict behaviors that I’m no longer exhibiting and haven’t for many years, jealousy over the close relationship I have with my sister and my nephews since he has little to none with his own, or his constant comparison of me to my deceased mother, a person he never much liked and always made pretty well known.

Regardless of whatever his reasons, he doesn’t generally welcome me with open arms. Last summer was probably the most extreme example of this during a 50th birthday surprise he was planning for my sister. He had booked a flight for me to come without asking my schedule and availability, and when I changed the flight to accommodate my own travel concerns, covering the cost difference myself, with no expectations on him or any of his family to change any of their set plans, he cancelled my flight in anger and told me I wasn’t welcomed to attend. After rebooking the flight and paying for it in entirety myself, he chose to spoil the surprise with my sister, which led to her in tears asking me not to come because it would be too stressful. And even when I was allowed to come several months later as a consolation with a promise by him that he’d keep his distance and let my family make whatever plans they wanted with me, that got broken as soon as his plane landed from a business trip two days into my visit.

It was after that when I began to wonder if maybe I needed to ultimately work on acceptance surrounding all this. Because I’ve tried to prove myself a good person to him more times than I can count, only to repeatedly have him see the few mistakes I make rather than any of the good I do. Which is most likely why when I inquired about coming to my nephew’s graduation about a week ago, that I was told the conversation surrounding it created a terrible amount of drama for them all, leaving my nephews with the attitude that they didn’t want me to come if it was only going to make their Dad that upset.

Because of this, after much praying and pondering the Alcoholics Anonymous acceptance prayer, I told my sister it was time for me to finally let go of trying to visit her family, because my presence there is only causing them more harm than good these days, which is the last thing I want for any of them. And in all honestly, it’s also not healthy for me anyway to be a guest anywhere I’m not being fully welcomed.

While I’m sad about all this, deep down I know my sister and nephews love me incredibly, and in a different world, one where my brother-in-law is able to unconditionally embrace and love me for me, I’m sure I’d be attending my nephews’ upcoming graduation and a lot more family events. But until that world becomes a reality, until either my brother-in-law is able to let go of his issues with me or my sister and nephews choose to take a stand for me, I know all I can do is accept that the best decision for now is the one where I let go of my repeated attempts to spend time with them and to let God handle the rest…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Are You A Rescuer?

Are you the type of person who keeps trying to fix a friend or loved one’s problems only to find yourself getting totally frustrated when they don’t do the work to fix themselves and instead, continue to repeat the same behaviors?

My hand is definitely raised quite high right now because I’m so very guilty of this. I have spent an incredible amount of energy attempting to rescue those who keep drowning by their own actions, often pulling myself in way too close to the point where they end up trying to drown me along with them. And each and every time I get that close to those going around and around in circles in their lives, I often become the recipient of their guilt trips and shame, which habitually causes me to become angry and frustrated. I began this behavior as a kid with my alcoholic mother and I’m tired of it. It’s time to let this rescuing behavior go and it’s time to let those people go who aren’t willing to help themselves.

Today alone I received three very long voicemails in a short period of time from a guy who was extremely angry and extremely desperate to get from Ohio to Michigan because he believed the legalized marijuana there would help his PTSD and chronic relapses with alcohol and other drug addictions. I had already presented the solution to him a number of times prior, by suggesting the 12 Steps, in patient treatment, and seeking a closer relationship to a Higher Power, but he wasn’t having any of it. Because of this, I decided the healthiest solution for me was to not return any of his calls, as I know it wouldn’t have done any good and only would have caused me to expel energy I don’t want to expel anymore.

It’s time to take care of myself and stop taking responsibility for all those like this who are broken, but aren’t willing to do the work to fix themselves. As I know that no matter how many times I try to fix them, I’ll keep getting burned and be constantly reminded of all my repeated failures to rescue my mother.

My ultimate realization now is that I’m not the cause of anyone’s constant relapses into alcohol or drugs or any other addiction for that matter. It’s also not my responsibility to correct another’s financial problems, relationship issues, health troubles, or any other repeated difficulty they are having. What I can do is pray for them to become truly willing to help themselves.

I’m so ready to take my life back from all the years I gave away to my mother and those like her, who only have ever known how to take and take and take and take, which sadly, I was one of them for periods of my life as well. Thankfully though, I’ve worked hard to change this, but now it’s time to work on the other side of the coin, to not keep giving myself away through rescuing.

It’s time to become a stable, healthy, individual who has boundaries and keeps to them, who helps to lead others to the water, but doesn’t try to force them to drink it. Because the only one who can drink that water, who can fix themselves, who can change themselves, is the person they see in the mirror every day. It’s not my problem and never was to make them see otherwise, or to take ownership of any of their drama either.

It’s time to finally free myself from this burden in 2020. I’m done playing the rescuer. Sink or swim, that’s up to them, but when they finally do become ready to do the work, I know God will give me the strength and guidance to help, as then it will be healthy and productive for both them and me…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

A Quick Reflection Back Over The Past Decade And A Prayerful Look Ahead To The Next One…

The first day of another new year and a new decade as well. I’m honestly having a hard time believing the 2010’s are now actually over. It was a rough decade for me overall on so many levels, and one I hope and pray isn’t repeated in the 2020’s.

2010 began with me in January of that year losing my business, most of my finances, a connection to someone I loved deeply who I thought was meant to be in my life forever, and a few months later, my health. Over the next 15 months, I’d succumb to sex and love addiction behaviors and a number of other addictions as well, and would ultimately try to end my life at the end of that period. Between 2012 and 2014, I worked hard to make it back from that, get healthier, and along the way, met my current partner who I eventually moved to Toledo to be with. Those three years would prove to be the best part of this entire past decade for me. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the years that have passed since then. As ever since, I’ve struggled to cope and live with my health issues, my partner has had heavy difficulties connecting with me on non-sexual intimate levels, especially in the mental and emotional department, and up until just recently, I’ve felt so very alone in this mid-west city, having made no real deep friendships, no matter how hard I’ve tried. This past year alone I’ve lost three people to tragic deaths, each of whom I felt very close to in my heart. And with the recent sudden loss of the only thing I felt demonstrated true unconditional love in my life, that being my cat Smokey, 2019 has been the most challenging of it all. That being said, I do have gratitude for the two new friends I’ve made in recent months, Mike and Rob, who I plan on writing more about in my next Grateful Heart Monday. I also have gratitude for my partner remaining by my side through thick and thin, and for God having provided me ample food, water, and shelter through it all.

As I leave 2019 behind, I have no resolutions made or planned for 2020 and beyond. Actual statistics have proven that only 25 percent of resolutions made ever achieve even partial success, and only 8% of them ever get fully completed. In light of that, I’m leaving it all up to God now to fully guide me where my life heads from here on out, because frankly, I’m not sure what direction to head in any longer. The last thing I want is to randomly head in any direction that only will end in more pain and dead-ends, something I most certainly have experienced before and don’t have the energy to deal with anymore.

Nevertheless, I pray that 2020 and beyond will be filled with abundant peace and joy for me on a daily basis, as they are two things that have eluded me for the majority of the past five years, more so than not.

So, as I begin this first day of 2020, I’m hopeful things will improve, grateful for what I still have, faithful that God is still with me somehow on this crazy journey of life, and in all truthfulness, fearful for what my future may bring…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson