Step One: Changing Focus


For anyone who has walked the 12-Steps, you know it begins with admitting we are powerless over our own, or, our loved one’s addiction, and our lives have become unmanageable.

Some have inserted the words “powerless over other people, places, and things” to help us/them remember the only true power they/we have, is to change our own lives.

Unmanageable.  Webster defines unmanageable as “difficult to control”.  As reason would have it and introspection could only show, I was not managing my life, and with TBI, that is dangerous territory.

Another part of the 12-Step process later on is a fearless and moral inventory.  Soooo, how was I doing with my self-care?  Exercising?  Eating healthy?  Regular sleep schedule?  Daily routines?  Am I at peace?  Feeling contentment?  Not so much.  I cannot control anything that has happened or will happen, I can only control the little bits of life entrusted to me right here, right now.

For my own health, it is best for me to remain quite distant from my family because I know from experience I am not one who can detach and be in close physical proximity.  There are things I still do not know or understand about my upbringing that I will address with a licensed therapist to help me heal.

I control only my behavior, but, I am clearly affected by the behavior of my family members, learning detachment for me, is definitely a process.  So much of my identity was/is tied to what I did or didn’t do, did I earn approval, did I do enough?, etc.

So this is also a slippery slope to not get pulled into the guilt treatments, the constant barrage of how I’m not good enough.  I saw with exacting clarity some of what my Dad is experiencing and I felt compelled to do something.  I had to take a long time to figure out what, if anything, I would do.

When I saw Dad’s face light up when he took my Sister-in-Law’s camera to take a picture that sure got me thinking.  Initially I was going to send him my camera I’ve had for less than a year.  It’s a big deal buying a new camera, my last one I had for over ten years so this one would have to last a long time too.

I thought about it.  A lot.  I was going to, but couldn’t.  The part of me that has begun to heal could not do it and in came a battle of conscience.  Dad would not give us the best, the best was always reserved and guarded, for him.  I could not give to Dad what he was unable to give to us, a very difficult, but also strikingly clear conclusion.

I could not send him my new camera knowing the cost it would be to me and I may never see it again.  I have been falling in love over and over again with Montana sky, taking photos often, as the beauty changes daily!

So, I sent him an older Kodak video camera we found that also takes pictures.  Dad never called to thank me, he did thank me the Sunday when I called him and that was enough.  I don’t want to live with regrets, it was something I could do, and, feel good about.  He was tickled pink!  From what my brother relayed to me, my Dad was pretty emotional about the whole thing.

This became a pretty big emotional drain, thinking through all this stuff, dealing with the past.  I finally came to peace.  In with the camera I handmade a card, the border was black and white in an attempt to draw filmstrip, and wrote, “Lights, Camera, Action!” on the front.  Inside I shared that I saw his eyes light up and that got me thinking that Dad needed a camera, that he wasn’t actually retired, but now the photographer of his “new digs” as he loved to call the place.  I thanked him for sharing his love for photography with us, and that every time I take a photo, I think of him.

This is tough stuff, not just the knowing we’re heading toward his death and I, wanting to remain authentic to my new self, but all that stuff that happened…I am researching therapists and will go with the one who have the ability to walk people through the trauma, and, get successfully to the other side.  I’m here to do the work, go to the places that scare me, and heal.

So for now, I blog when I am inspired, have something worthwhile (and hopefully helpful too) and, go back to Step One…managing my life!  I have to get those basics back into play as my foundation or I have no strength from which to live or give…and don’t we all do better running on a full tank?  🙂

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About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
This entry was posted in Aging, Assisted Living, courage, Decisions, Family, Grief, Healing, Honor, mTBI, Personal Growth, Shame, TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, Vulnerability, Wholeness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Step One: Changing Focus

  1. good for you. My mom was never there for me and now she has Alzheimer’s. while I’m sad for her, it doesnt change our relationship. I do what I can, but I’m not going to have her live with me or spend hours and hours visiting and driving to see her. There’s no relationship there to build on. unfortunate but true.

    • Thanks so much for sharing that, Louise, it really is a tough truth to swallow but indeed, these relationships had a long time to go off course.

      Like my best friend’s Mom said many years ago, “Fractured families don’t work.” So succinctly said.

      I hope you have a lovely weekend. Summer is certainly winding down here, it is getting into the 40’s at night! Eeeeeeek!

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