What Areas of My Life Am I Powerless?

I won’t lie. I’ve been drifting away from recovery over the past few days.  In fact, I received a phone call from my sponsor on Saturday asking me if everything was okay (Remind me sometime to divulge my thoughts on the concept of “I’m okay”). I’m still sober, but okay? I expressed to him that I feel like I’ve gone brain dead and I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I am now three weeks (22 days, in fact) away from my last beer or if I’m feeling anxious over the shut-down orders in my state. I am just not sure how I felt. But I also have not done two tasks he asked me to do, and as I indicated one of those tasks in my last post, I’m feeling a little disappointed in myself. I haven’t done either task and I’m feeling ashamed of myself – regardless of the fact I once said I am done feeling shame. Well, I’ve decided I can keep feeling bad about it, or I can do something about it, so here it is…the other thing my sponsor asked me to do: List the things that I feel powerless over or the things that make me feel powerless, etc.  But I’ll be honest – it makes me feel like a control freak or like a wuss that can’t stand up for himself.

Powerless List:

  • My wife. I can’t even begin to discuss all of the ways I feel powerlessness in my marriage. There are so, so, so many. But ultimately, I know, deep down that my primary problem is that I focus on how my behavior, thoughts, and feelings make her feel bad or good. I find myself doing things that keep her happy and not what is best for me. I find myself trying to predict how she’ll react to something I do. For example, doing Zoom AA meetings at home, makes me feel like I have no privacy. And it makes me feel like she’d walk in at any moment and that she has a right to know anything I may or may not discuss. This, of course, is only a small example. There is so much here, I don’t even know how to divulge everything (Although, I am on the verge of starting a series on my marriage in my S.A.R.D.). One of the biggest impacts in this situation too, is that I always question myself, second guess myself and don’t understand if I’m right or wrong in a lot of situations.
  • Employers/Employment. As many of you already know, considering I’ve had blogs previous to this one, I have struggled with lay-offs and financial problems, beginning slightly over 5 years ago. Within my mind, I felt like a lot of the problems I experienced were preventable by me – i.e. I must have been a horrible employee if I got laid off. I believe I have finally come to the realization that I can only do so much. I can present myself in the best light possible and still not have any power over what someone else, who does have power, can say or do concerning my employment. Five years ago, I got laid off during one of the biggest down turns in the oil & gas industry in history.  It hit so many people so incredibly hard and I took it extremely personally.
  • Relationship with my children. I don’t typically discuss my children online, namely because I spend a lot of time talking about deep personal issues within myself and I have never wanted anything I do or say online to impact my kids in any negative way. But the one detail I’ll offer is that 2 of my 3 children are adults (and the last one isn’t far away) and there is now little I can say or do that could impact their behavior, ultimately, because they are becoming responsible for their own decisions in life. I often find myself frustrated when they make mistakes or do things in a way I wouldn’t have done something, for the simple fact that I don;t want them to have to struggle in life the way I have struggled. Nothing terrifies me more with my children then if they were to lose respect for me.
  • My sexuality. I’ve discussed my misgivings with my sexuality ad nausea. Truthfully, I used to think that sexuality is a combination of nurture versus nature. But I also believe that behaviors can be controlled. Maybe the feelings one has cannot, but the decisions made based on those can be controlled. Being married and choosing to be monogamous, has put the power of decision in my hands, but I struggle with my own sexual identity and how life would be if I were to be out in some way. Would it even matter at this point in my life?
  • Politics. Yeah….I know, completely asinine to think I have any iota of power over politics, but it has certainly been a trigger a time or many. I’ve listed it anyways.
  • Etc. There are probably more I’m missing at the moment, but the above are the ones I think of on a whim.

Even as I write this list, I’m beginning to see a little bit of a pattern, and it comes from the explanations I put in each item, but it is quite obvious that there is so much I have no power, but my decisions, the things I can choose to form a reaction, are within my power. I’m just not sure how to get there…

Today is my 22nd day without drinking and I will not drink today.

10 thoughts on “What Areas of My Life Am I Powerless?

  1. Offhand, I’d say that feeling powerless or, really, not totally in control of your environment is pretty normal, hence the saying that we would be better served to “control” the things we can control and don’t worry about the things we can’t do anything about. Control over our lives is an illusion and more so when, in fact and in truth, our lives are constantly affected by external factors – other people and people who’s agenda – their version of controlling their lives – is incompatible with our own. A lot of people hate that others have power over them and go out of their way to prevent this… and find that it’s pretty impossible because there are few things in one’s life that isn’t influenced in some way by someone or something else – even when we do our best to be proactive as possible.

    Otherwise, we’re habitually reactive; a wife becomes unhappy and we are, in fact, expected and demanded to set aside our own happiness in favor of hers and when we can’t, well, ain’t we some kind of fucked up, soulless bastard? Working? No power for you in this because there’s little you can do about what an employer is trying to control. Politics? Forget about it; not much we can do here, either other than to vote and hope our vote makes a difference.

    Children? Once they approach adulthood, our job is done – kinda. We have, in fact, had little in the way of control since part of our job as parents is to guide them toward developing their own personalities and setting goals so they can be successful adults… which often is only our idea and not necessarily theirs in every case. But we know this because we were once where they are and we understand that once they reach a certain point in their lives, whatever control we thought we had over them just goes away.

    Sexuality? That’s probably the one thing you do have control over but is also influenced externally. You decide to do… or do not and based upon your ability or inability. If ya didn’t think or know it would make your wife very unhappy – and get other people looking at you strangely – to let Stephanie lose to have fun, you’d do it. But you feel a lack of control here because you know there will be issues, powerless to do anything about it.

    In this, you feel even more powerless because you’ve tended to beat yourself up about it. We can argue nurture versus nature until the cows come home or otherwise debate why you are the way you are when there’s power in just accepting that this is how you are; you like being this way even if you rarely get a chance to and nothing no one can say against this really means a whole lot… unless you allow yourself to be influenced this way.

    And many bisexuals do allow this. You give up that which makes you feel good about yourself in favor of what other people think or what you think they’re gonna think.

    Overall, does it suck that you feel powerless? I know it does because I used to feel that way… until I finally realized how much of a waste of time it is to worry about something I have little or no control over. There are things in my life I know are influenced by external things; some of them I can’t do anything about, some of them I’ve decided that I’m gonna do it regardless of what anyone else thinks because I fully believe in Rule #1: Take care of your own ass first and more so when it’s been proven that if you can’t take care of yourself, you will be unable to take care of anyone or anything else.

    The thing is once you wrest back control of that which you can control, you’re gonna invariably piss someone off and it might sound cold-blooded and callous but you can’t really give a fuck about them being pissed because you need to have a measure of control over yourself in order to do anything else you need to do. This never means to totally disregard or ignore any responsibilities you have but it’s about priorities and setting them in a way where you don’t wind up giving yourself the shaft because you’re too busy trying to cater to everyone and everything else.

    The biggest mistake anyone can make is trying to make everyone happy because you wind up making yourself totally miserable in the process. And you, sir, sound pretty miserable. In every instance of this, you have to ask yourself, “What about what I want and need… and who’s supposed to see to it that I get it so I won’t feel so powerless and helpless?” The answer is if you don’t do it, no one else will.

    Wife? At the point where she’s being more of the problem than a solution, you get rid of her and no matter what price you have to pay. Politics? Don’t know what to tell you about that one. Kids? They’re grown or about to be and the best you can do is keep an eye on them and be ready to advise or assist if called upon. Employment? You serve at an employer’s will and chances are they’re more concerned about their bottom line that they are about you having a job and taking care of yourself and family.

    Sexuality? Be who you need to be… and do what you gotta do. Stop overthinking it. To hell with being “out” – that’s a social headache that’s not worth the headaches it’s gonna cause – you’re out to those who have a need to know and anyone else can go piss up a rope.

    And in any of this, please – please – stop being your own worst enemy.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Someone has to do it. The good thing about this writing of yours is that you are aware of the areas of your life that are giving you a lot of grief but in lieu of putting you over my knee and tanning your hide, a slap upside the head will have to suffice. Then again, I’m probably not telling you anything that you don’t already know so my next question is why aren’t you doing anything about it?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I second all of kdaddy23’s response. No one can walk on you unless you lie down first. Sounds like you are re-evaluating your life choices. You don’t have to remain powerless. Taking back your power gradually, in steps, with the assistance of your sponsor will aid in the recovery of so, so many issues in your life. Stop feeling guilty for being who you are. You are perfect being you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jae, you are one of my oldest friends here on WP and I so appreciate your comments and encouragement. Truthfully, I don’t feel nearly as negative as I used to and now that I am (again) putting a 24 hr. periods together in sobriety, I am releasing some of these problems. This post, as bad as it may seem, was rather cathartic.

      Liked by 1 person

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