I have recognized that my former worldview held a big chunk of 'Victim' in it. As in, the world is so hard, I can't manage it on my own, it asks too much of me, I don't deserve to feel so bad, I do deserve to feel better, in any way I can.
Yesterday I saw two patients back-to-back who really crystallized this for me (all recognizable details changed):
Both were women about 30 years old, with some medical issues but nothing disabling or affecting mobility. As far as I know, neither overuses alcohol or uses drugs.
The first spent the visit telling me why she was unable to take the medication she needed (she had the medication, this wasn't a money issue), how public services really needed to find her a new apartment, and why it was impossible for her to clean her apartment to help with her allergy symptoms. The second updated me on her medication progress, mentioned how challenging it had been to go back to school as an 'older' student, and how she was looking forward to taking her final licensing exam in January, so she could go to work in her chosen field.
I know nothing about their other-than-medical backgrounds, or their life in their families-of-origin. There are undoubtedly complexities and profundities at work here that I know nothing about. Nevertheless, there were deep differences in their approach to life.
I could see myself in both women. Like the second, I'm a do-er. I work hard at my profession, and at home with my family. I choose goals, go for them, and achieve them.
On the other hand, there is a part of me that whined: This is tooooo hard. I neeeeed relief. I caaaaan't do this. And this is the part that said: I deserve a (mental) vacation. Oh, Alcohol, glug, glug, glug. Oh, my, that is better. What world? What demands? Ahhhhhhh. All the way to oblivion.
I'm very clear on which patient I more admire, and which part of me I like more. Early sobriety has been, among other things, realizing: Wait, existing without alcohol isn't really all that bad. There's nothing here I can't handle. Wow, that's not really a big boogey man, after all, it's really quite manageable. And I AM strong, I CAN do this, Look at me!!!
Big, Crazy, Empowering Stuff!!!