What Does Eleanor Roosevelt Have To Do With My Recovery?

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" - Eleanor Roosevelt

This is one of my favorite quotes.  My sister gave me a bookmark, when I was recovering from a house fire and dealing with being newly sober and these were her words of wisdom to share with me.  How eye opening is it to realize the power that we as individuals have over how we react to things.  We do not have power over other people and the things that they do, but we do have power over how we react to the situation and to these people.

I remember distinctly a life lesson from my father when I was a little girl.  He said, “not everyone is going to like you and you are not going to like everyone else, but you cannot let other people influence how you feel, you cannot let them have that power over you.” I didn’t fully understand at the time (I was around 6) but now (at 34) I realize how powerful a lesson this is to learn.  It is not an easy thing to do, ignore or simply put aside harmful things that others say to you.  It is not easy as an addict in recovery to deal with the words that people use.

I use my personal experience, in that my father doesn’t like to believe that I am clean and sober, even though I have been this way since January 17, 2009.  I don’t blame him, nor do I expect him to believe that I am sober. I don’t have the right to insist that he believe me. The only person that has to believe that I am sober is myself.  I am the one that I have to be honest with, I am the face in the mirror that I have to answer to and when I pray to the Power’s That Be, I know that I cannot lie.

By the same token, I cannot let the positive things that people say go to my head either.  I am constantly told how proud people are of my personal successes with recovery.  I smile and say thank you and let them know that I had very little to do with the success, it takes a power much greater then myself to achieve and maintain sobriety.

No one can make you feel inferior and no one can make you feel superior either, the control is within you.  You have the power to decide what will influence you and in what capacity you will be influenced. For me, I just release the outcome.  I make the best possible decision that I can (at least in my diseased mind) and then I release the outcome, knowing that Thy (God’s) will, not mine will be done.  This creates a situation of great discomfort, and that is something that I constantly struggle with, being comfortable with being uncomfortable.  This is a daily prayer and request to the Power’s That Be.

As a woman in recovery, I have power and control over who makes me feel inferior and only I can decide who has permission to make me feel any distinct emotion.  That is something I take very seriously.

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