Powerlessness Sucks The Big One
Powerlessness: Merriam-Webster defines it as “.. having no power: unable to do something or to stop something.” That sounds about right, although my personal definition might be more along the lines of “The suckiest thing ever.”
I am a control freak by nature. It’s one of the many defects of my character. I thank years of abuse and trauma along with a ridiculous amount of therapy and “coping skills” for that. I enjoy the illusion of control very much even though I am fully aware that it is just that; an illusion.
It has been many years since I have struggled with the question of whether God is or is not. I believe that He is, and even when I struggle with His will, I have a clear understanding that if I choose to fight it, I will not win. Do I still try? You bet your ass I do. The greatest definition of insanity I have ever heard is “doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” I am often quite insane. It comforts me to know that crazy people don’t know they’re crazy because I’m beyond aware.
The events of this month have pounded into me just how powerless I am. I had major surgery and was then admitted to the hospital a week later due to an infection from the procedure. I sat in a hospital bed for five days thinking about myself. I thought of all the things I would rather be doing, that I should be doing. I missed my children and started feeling sad.
“If you want to be miserable, think about yourself, about what you want, what you like, what respect people ought to pay you and what people think of you.” — Charles Kingsley
Since I’ve been home I’ve been feeling sore and ill periodically and have not yet fully recovered. My youngest, obviously confused by my sudden disappearance and forced weaning because of it, does not want much to do with me. My husband is no doubt struggling with his own powerlessness and is frustrated at the situation. I am of course taking these things personally, allowing them to cloud my judgment, and using them to kick my own ass.
Why can’t I be better already? My doctor just reminded me that even if we didn’t consider the infection, I’m still only three weeks post op. As soon as she said it, my thought was, “That’s no excuse.” If it were anyone else I’d be siding with compassion, understanding, and support. Because it’s me, I’m judging. WTF?
After the work I’ve done on myself, there have been many times where I have known something to be true on an intellectual level, but struggled to connect my heart to the idea. This is one of those times. I know that I’m only human, but my expectations of myself don’t match up. Then I start feeling guilty for thinking about myself. There are so many people with more pressing issues. How dare I focus so much attention on my luxury problems? .
During my first few years of sobriety I unconsciously created some sort of sobriety chart in my mind to measure how much further in life I “should” be than I actually was based on how long I’d been sober. I got sober when I was 22 and apparently thought this would help me catch up on the years I squandered drinking. The knowledge that this chart does not exist helps a little, but I do find myself referring to it every so often as proof that I’m not where I “should” be. Finding balance between the ability to cut myself some slack and falling into a pit of depression because I suck is something I still struggle with thirteen years sober. There is no “should” in sobriety.
I know that God has a plan for me and I have committed to showing up for it. I don’t have to understand the plan, or like it. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust. I know this. I don’t have the power I need to recover from anything without Him. I get that. I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard “It’ll happen in God’s time.” I think I hate that phrase right now. Perhaps God forgot to turn the clocks back or something.I have all these exciting plans ahead and now they’re all on hold. I suppose the most important question is whether or not I trust God to take care of everything and everyone.
That being said, I still think powerlessness sucks the big one.
Julie Maida has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000. She is fiercely determined to advocate for and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.