Seventh is the series
Notes on Recovery
I probably use the word responsible differently than you.
To me it means able to respond. “Respond” as is reply or answer.
I see responsible people as those who can answer a situation, challenge or problem in a healthy way – one that meets their needs, respects their feelings, acknowledges their preferences, promotes their growth, and leaves them more powerful.
I’m guessing responsibility means something else to you.
That may be because I’ve known so many clients who confuse it with following rules, meeting expectations and discharging obligations. These are people who regularly lose themselves. They sacrifice their needs, feelings, preferences and growth to other people, or jobs, or imposed codes of behavior, or impossible standards, or endless To Do lists. They do this less out of love or idealism than self-defense: they’re scared of what will happen if they don’t do it.
I call that irresponsible.
Truly responsible people, as I see it, as the ones who can (a) listen to themselves and (b) act in their own self-interest.
Listen to themselves mean focus inside, pay attention to feelings and the messages their bodies send telling them what their needs are.
Act in self-interest means respecting those emotional and bodily signals instead of ignoring or hiding them.
This sort of responsibility starts with simple stuff: eating when hungry, resting when tired, peeing when your bladder is full. It extends to venting when angry, crying when sad, reaching out to others when lonely or scared.
As I said, simple stuff. But if you suffer from control addiction I bet you don’t do any of it nearly enough.
So that’s what you need to practice in recovery. Call it responsibility, self-love, self-care, or (as I do) healthy selfishness.
“Selfish,” of course, is the dirtiest of words. Most people confuse it with behavior that harms or neglects others.
But who isn’t selfish? Preoccupation with ourselves is built into our nature and neurology. We can’t help that. Our only choice is to admit or deny it. To be honestly selfish, or hide our true motives behind a mask of selflessness.
Thus in the end practicing responsibility means being able, willing and brave enough to take care of yourself.
Because if you don’t, who’s going to?
Next: Practicing intimacy