Trapped in a Trance

 The notion of character defects that need be removed in Steps 6 and 7 and in popular books such as Drop the Rock“…A big part of Twelve Step recovery is learning to recognize and let go of the character defects, shortcomings and attitudes that would otherwise sink us…” present a conundrum for me.

I often am trapped by the lure of dropping my own rocksPart of the conundrum is that I’ve never considered myself defective. I’ve long recognized that I have habits and behaviors that are maladaptive and that can cause me and those around me harm.

The problem is that most of those now maladaptive characteristics were once useful, sometimes even essential. So to ‘let go’ of them or ‘have them removed’ seems risky, because they served me well in once-upon-a-time, and I might need them again. Depending on the situation, my dogged determination and persistence can help me through hard and difficult times. It can also look a lot like sheer obstinance and refusal to stop fighting when there simply is no possibility – I tend to be idealistic.

I’ve clung to mutually toxic and unhealthy relationships far too long and far too many times in life, refusing to give up. My sense of loyalty is a trait that I take pride in and it is a trait that I continue to learn to apply. For me, the key is awareness – is this helpful or is this harmful today?

Trapped in a Trance

Times I feel trapped in a trance
The trance of wanting to let go
But tenaciously holding on
Desperately clinging to things I no longer need
Because once they served me well
When times were so very very hard
Now they are just obstacles in my way


About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.  

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