The following article was submitted by an Inspire Alumni. It’s full of the kind of self-awareness and solution-focused thinking that comes through a person's dedication to 12 Step work and living a program of recovery. Wise words from a shining individual. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!
Control Learning to Let it GO
By El Cass
Control learning to let go is something I struggle with and what I hear as a common thread among addicts. Most noteworthy, in my opinion, we like to have control and authority over everything that impacts us.
The reality is that we cannot control everything that impacts us. However, we do have the power to take care of ourselves and eliminate the impact.
Easier said than done, right? Well, not really.
Before recovery, I struggled with this tremendously; to the point that if I didn’t get my way, I’d get mad, lose control completely, and abuse. I didn’t even realize I was doing this and consequently remained stuck in this pattern.
When things don’t go my way, or as planned, it’s as simple as reminding myself that “everything is always working out for me”—I can’t control what others do, but I can control what I do. Therefore, if something that someone does negatively impacts how I feel—I choose to let it go.
That’s where I have control—and it feels liberating and empowering.
Eliminate what doesn’t serve me in a positive manner. I know this may sound selfish, but it really isn’t—remember, everything is always working out for you.
Here’s an example: I have an ex-boyfriend that some of my friends and family seem to continue a relationship with and I don’t like it. He hurt me badly and I cannot understand why people that care about me, decide to engage with someone that hurt me. I still do not understand it, but I can’t control what they do. Yes, it hurts my feelings; yes, it feels like they are not loyal—but does it really matter? What matters?
What is in My Control Here? MYSELF
The reality is: I can voice my opinion to them and tell them that it hurts me; I’d be more comfortable if they disconnected 100%. Maybe I don’t understand (nor do I need to) why exactly any engagement is important. But ultimately, I can’t control what they decide to do.
More importantly and more effectively, I can minimize my engagement with them, conversations about him, surround myself with people that share my stance on the topic, stay in places that serve positive vibes, and therefore, do things that make me happy.
I may still feel betrayed by them, but I’m in control of myself—not them. I guess we can agree to disagree on the topic. Furthermore, I take comfort knowing they love me to death—so c'est la vie.
“Live and let live” Goes Both Ways
I can’t control what decisions they make, so I too, will “live and let live.”
I won’t turn to my DOC or depression to minimize the hurt and say “poor me.” Above all, recovery has taught me that drugs, alcohol and depression make it all hurt more and will make me lose control entirely over the situation and my SELF. As a result, everyone and everything wins except me.
When I consciously step into what I do have control over and keep my focus on that, I win—and, in turn, empower myself and my mental health.
By knowing and owning what I can control, I have grown to have much more control over my mind, my emotions, and my choice to be strong during difficult situations. Remember “everything is always working out for you”?—it is!
My advice in recovery: build better relationships, discover new places, and do new things. These lifestyle changes have contributed to feeling content, at peace, serene in my sobriety, and in control learning to let go.
El Cass is an Alumni of the Inspire Recovery program, celebrating over a year in recovery. He’s a go-getter professional in a fast-paced corporate world, based out of NYC and often traveling for work. Living a strong program of recovery helps El Cass keep his family, friends, work and hobbies his top priorities.
For more information on the topic of learning how to let go of control, check out this article from Psychology Today.