The importance of trust, and the dis-ease within oneself and within ones relationships when trust is absent has been on my mind for a while. Trust is one of those invisible things that pervades all our relationships, from that with our partner to an interaction with a shop keeper – trust between people is vital, and life without trust is a grim, lonely destructive existence.
Nobody can trust an addict, least of all him- or herself.
I think we have all heard that quote; its so common that I didn’t bother to look for a source. It certainly resonates with me. When I was drinking I couldn’t trust myself – to behave well, to remember what I had said, to be up on time, to be reliable. Whats more, my kids couldn’t trust me either – not to fall asleep drunk, not to forget to make their dinner: They couldn’t RELY on me to be consistent. And consistency is really important for small kids – it gives then security ….And if you think about it , its pretty important for all of us ? Its important to know that if you do or say X you will get a consistent response from your boss, or from the law or from your partner … Inconsistency creates insecurity. And insecurity is not a good place to build solid family or intimate relationships.
When I think about love – and the relationships we have with those we are closest to, it is often said that you cant really love another until you love yourself. I would add that until you can trust yourself – your decisions, your judgement, you cant really TRUST another person either. Until you really know WHO you are, what YOU believe in, what your values are, how can you truly believe that you have made a good choice of partner? And to help a relationship flourish you have to believe in it – to take the rough with the smooth, without wanting to bale out every time the going gets a bit tough.
One of the things I like about being sober is that I am learning to trust myself , possibly for the first time in my adult life; I can rely on ME. I know I will be alert in the morning, I know I won’t do anything embarrassing at the school even this week, I won’t fall over because I’m drunk, I won’t be loud or ‘funny’ at inappropriate moments. I won’t disgrace myself. Increased self trust definitely leads to increased self esteem. If you think about it, you might really like a friend who drinks too much, but trust them ? Not really. Its just one more way that drinking erodes our self esteem by making us people who we are not proud of …making us flaky, we make decisions when drunk or hung over that seem ok at the time, but make us cringe in retrospect – How many times have I woken up and looked in horror at what I ordered on the internet the previous night – too many impulsive buys / things committed to – all as a result of being drunk…
This is a slow process, and I know that this post, like my thinking around this topic is far from ordered and crystal clear, but I think its touching something very important that I need to understand about myself. I touched on the issue of self belief in an earlier post – I think I have failed in previous attempts to stop drinking because I didn’t believe that I could do it – I didn’t TRUST myself enough. Now, like that bird in the picture at the top of this page I am going to trust in the power of my “wings” to keep me sober, not the strength of any tree…..