What’s the next step…

I’ve had a lot of questions lately about the “next step.” First and foremost, you are a strong person to take the initiative to know your worth and not chase after a man or woman who clearly does not love you.  Divorce is awful, but nothing can take a toll on your well-being like a relationship with no boundaries. In my opinion, these are a MUST for your survival.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so I will share the ones I created for myself.  I want to be very clear that I did not make all of these in the beginning and found myself accepting the same treatment and sacrificing of “non-negotiables.”  In order to not end up in the same type of relationship, you MUST have boundaries and you MUST stick with them.

  1. Respect – this goes both ways.  You must show respect and require it in return.
  2. Honesty – another one that goes both ways… being honest with yourself will allow you to be completely honest with others.  Honesty builds a foundation of trust and loyalty that is a huge part of any relationship.
  3. No addictive behaviors – these weren’t always easy for me to spot, but it’s overly obvious when you make it a non-negotiable. Mine require no drugs at all and no alcoholism.
  4. Adoration – you deserve someone who adores you and it will show.  You should not have to ask for this.
  5. Faith – a non-believer lives a life with no consequences and sometimes no conscience.  This is very dangerous. You can lead someone to God, but when they are raised with no faith, they have to be willing to believe and accept accountability.
  6. Understanding and patience – our girls come first.  Their lives have changed drastically in the past 2 years, any additional changes will be gradual and discussed with them.
  7. Leadership – These qualities are something I didn’t always want.  I understand now that me and the girls need guidance and someone to show us how a man should lead their family.

As I said, every circumstance is different.  Depending on your past and your personality, your “non-negotiables” are up to you.  These are huge for me and may seem not that necessary for your well-being.  I did find that once you put boundaries in place and decide you will be picky and not settle for less, your strength and determination grow and your self-worth emerges.  Loving yourself is very important and can become more prominent when your standards are set and your self-respect is elevated.

If you’re wondering what your next step is, make a list of boundaries/expectations and write it down.  Put it somewhere you will see it daily!  Make sure you don’t bend on any of these because they are yours and important to you!  There are books that are helpful, therepy can be helpful and surround yourself with friends who care about you and your growth.  You will be amazed at your strength and relish in the behaviors around you making you a better version of you!

Grace…

Definition of grace. 1a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctificationb : a virtue coming from Godc : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance.

Grace – it’s simply undeserved favor shown to others.  They don’t have to do anything or be anything to receive it and most importantly, they don’t always reciprocate.  But the gift you receive from showing others grace is most rewarding.

When you’re in a relationship with an addict/alcoholic, you are living a life of grace and it’s the wanting reciprocal behavior that leads to disappointment day in and day out.  There are times when you realize it and you decide enough is enough and you deserve more, but then a promise is made or a small gesture is done leading you to believe changes are coming.  I cannot describe the excitement this brings, the feeling that all you worked for is finally going to pay off – your relationship is finally going to be 2-sided and then, even bigger disappointment when there is no follow through.  

Remember grace daily and know that it doesn’t mean you have to live with the disappointment, but you have to rise above it.  Addiction/alcoholism is usually a family trait, so more often than not, you are dealing with multiple disappointments from multiple family members.  Change your thoughts and actions and stop trying to change theirs.  

Some people will never change.  Some people will never understand or appreciate grace, but you have the power to make sure your behavior cannot be viewed as anything but favor.  You will fail at times – nobody is perfect, but thoughts of grace and remembering what it means “undeserved favor” will get you through.  It is a gift.  Have you shown Grace today??