Road Rage on Recovery Road
As I “haul ass down the road to recovery,” as our friend Mark so quaintly put it,
I find myself often overwhelmed with obstacles. Apparently everybody is on the way to—or away from—recovery to something.
Like we ourselves, our goals, objectives, driving methods, and the baggage we carry are all so divergent, and sometimes diametrically opposed if not “in the way.”
We can cramp each others' styles as we're all crammed together. Trouble converging together on the same highway system is a given; collisions seem almost inevitable.
No wonder there's so much road rage within & between us drivers on Recovery Road! No wonder there are so many fender benders & fatal crashes!
I'm a male survivor of Complex PTSD, incest, rape, multiple abuses, addictions, allergies, & ailments physical & psychological, OCD, severe depression and chronic pain. When I'm heading down the highway to healing the best I can, and I see people whining on with their problems that seem petty to me, I can very easily get a case of road rage. I mean, I'm entitled to whine down the highway, arent'I? :rolleyes:
Those “normal” people are cutting me off or riding my bumper becuz they didn't have time to use the phone at home instead of the one in their car? Becuz they had a spat with their spouse before leaving for work? Becuz their minds' occupied worrying about how they're gonna pay their taxes on their new yacht?
Well, I suffered thru a childhood of multiple & ongoing overt & covert incest by my mother & by others she dragged into the party; it wears me out as I'm traveling. I've struggled with alcohol, drugs, porn, & more crap that weighs me down on the way. “I've had a rough life, I've had a rough day, if you value your life, get the hell out of my way!”
When I feel that way the rage has taken over, and when I drive that way I increase the odds that I, not to mention some others, might not make it to their destination alive, or will get there more slowly & maybe less healthy.
Becuz now I've added myself to the mass of roadsters who are bent out of shape and bent on getting where they're going as fast as they can even if it means bending someone else on the way!
But that's not recovery! If I'm not already off Recovery Road, I'm certainly sliding off—into greater dangers, trees of trouble to smash into, ditches of despair to get stuck in. Or state troopers to get ticketed by, or ambulances to ride to the hospital in. Talk about getting slowed down & set back. Talk about off the road from my recovery goals.
So as I'm driving down this highway to health, I have to remind myself of a few things.
First, each person's goals, objectives, travel methods, etc., our “vehicles,” are so unique. Yet they form a wall around each of us, making us relatively unreadable as well as impersonal. So I have to be careful not to objectify people becuz they have different objectives or whatever. They are human beings, made unique & with rights & dignity in the image of God. I should treat them with respect accordingly, as I want to be treated.
I must remember that some people have not had my problems; so they're not as well-equipped as I am to deal with travel troubles. Furthermore, they are not obstacles to be removed, nor foes to fight. They're not all out to get me; they've got their own troubles. Even if their troubles seem lesser than my own.
Second, how do I know for sure a given travelers' troubles aren't just as great or greater than mine, to the degree such things can be measured?
He might be on the phone receiving a call his kid just died. She might have nearly rear-ended me then almost clipped me passing becuz she is distracted as she tries to escape an abusive husband who's on her tail. That one there might be that husband; he's really got problems.
Besides, I've got to remember that my past problems may have been greater than theirs, but are my present problems? Or am I still living in my abusive past?
Third, am I getting up the road any faster, any closer to recovery, when I do things that hinder & may cause a hazard to others as I'm traveling? Of course not; I'm even slower & may come to a crashing halt.
Am I working the objectives & working toward the goals of my own recovery? No way; I'm not in control, becuz the voices & the pains of my past are back at the wheel.
If I can be unhurried, pace myself, be alert, think & feel with common sense & compassion, then I have a much better chance of making it and of enjoying the trip. And so does everybody else. And for me, that's part of what recovery is all about—helping others make it too.
So as I journey up Recovery Road, I'm going to try to see not vehicles with baggage but human beings with troubles in their travels, and treat them with respect—even if it means slowing down & backing off. I'm going to make an effort to never to assume someone's present problems (if not past) are lesser than my own, and show them compassion; after all, we all know what happens when we ass-u-me! Finally, I'm going to work at taking my time, taking it easy on others, & enjoying life's journey. After all, isn't that my destination?