Moving forward means taking action. Letting go is an act in itself. I don’t have the time nor energy to come home from work, cook, tend to the kids, deal with the chaos, and drive across town to attend meetings. But honestly, even if I did have the time, I don’t want to attend meetings and mimic my spouse’s journey in that respect. I am getting started on my journey. The AA pamphlet I stole from my spouse outlines basic remedies for the person I became or may have already been: enabler and codependent. I started building upon what I learned about myself, and if I need more information or don’t understand something, I’ll Google it. I can only change myself, so I need to go inside myself and start building or rebuilding who I want to be.

I reset my foundation and prayed not to let it collapse again. My foundation is universal, spiritual, and built upon love, faith, peace, and hope, which makes a sturdy foundation if maintained. I didn’t maintain it, I compromised it, and it became weak. I love God and others; that’s easy, but loving myself was the problem. I have faith in God but lack faith in myself. I lacked self-esteem and self-worth. I wanted peace but chose to escalate instead of de-escalate. I lost all hope and was hopeless. I was the cause of my crumbling foundation. Change starts from within. I’m determined to firm up my foundation and maintain it. I start learning or relearning to love myself, have faith in myself, keep the peace, and be hopeful. I started using love, faith, peace, and hope as mantras and reminders to do the right thing. I wrote each word on four small poster boards, stacked and tacked them to my bedroom bulletin board, and exchanged them monthly. This month’s word is faith. It’s a healthy, daily reminder everyday, no matter what I’m doing. It helps me think before I speak and allow myself to be guided into doing the right thing, not what I feel like doing.

I go back to childhood basics: common courtesy and the golden rule. It was easy to speak pleasantries when my spouse and I got along, but I didn’t look his way when we fought. I started letting go of the silent treatment. At first, I was nervous, and although it was more professional than pleasant, I began seeking the peace by saying hi & bye–good morning & goodnight to my spouse, even when angry at each other. Sometimes it was reciprocated; sometimes, it wasn’t, and sometimes it produced peace. It was a baby step that got easier. Loving myself means getting healthy. I eat my emotions, so I’m overweight, suffer from arthritis, and have low energy. I take care of everybody but myself. I don’t have the time nor desire to join a gym, but I can walk around the block, listen to the birds, and breathe healthy air. It’s a good start. The more I do the right thing and focus on myself, the more faith and belief I have in myself. It is not easy trying to undo all the harm I inflicted on myself. It’s challenging. I do not want to be this person anymore; it’s my responsibility to doing something about it and take care of myself.  Changes will not happen overnight, but getting started on my journey toward healing has given me something I lacked for many years: hope.