I’m so unhappy… but I’m afraid to leave!

f91048a53184c44be394b9614c18a8a1I stayed in a miserable relationship for years with someone who I never loved or quite honestly ever liked. I stayed for the kids… I stayed for the security… I stayed because things were going to get better… I stayed out of fear of the unknown. I hated my life and was paralyzed to change any of it.

People who are unhappy with themselves and afraid of being alone are alone even if they are married. Due to their fear of being alone they make poor decisions and most of the time decisions are made from a feeling of desperation. Childhood abuse or chaotic family situations can cause a child grief and self-loathing. This does not go away. They choose a partner that represents how they feel about themselves. Part of the reason parenting is so important is because you are giving your child not only a loving environment to grow up in, but also, you are helping form their relationships as an adult for years to come.

Love is such a powerfully painful emotion, never more so than when one partner has fallen out of love but is afraid to leave because they don’t want to be alone. Due to their fear and lost connection with their spouse they reach for another person to comfort them. This threesome usually leads to the demise of the couple’s marriage, and the children involved carry that legacy on. People who tell me they no longer love their spouse but have found a friend or perfect partner in someone else are people who don’t love themselves.

In truth, the person who is married but seeking another for comfort and connection doesn’t love anyone. They are correct when they say they no longer love their spouse; they may never have loved their spouse. You cannot love someone when you don’t like yourself because you attract someone who loves you at the level you are at. What is difficult for them to see is when you are unhappy and attract a new friend or lover, when you are at perhaps your lowest level of self-esteem. This is not a good time to be choosing partners and very rarely do you make a wise choice. When you love someone, you want to protect them, and therefore, you would never put them in the middle of a triangle that you constructed. The only person protected in the triangle is you, and that will only be a short time because the chances are high that both your spouse and lover will leave you once they find out what happened.

I know from personal experience and years of counseling that if you’re staying with someone because you’re afraid of being alone… stop. You already are, which is why you are seeking comfort with another person who does not have your best interest at heart. The reason I can say this with confidence is because it is clear that you don’t know or love yourself. You are making unwise decisions due to your fear of being alone and facing your pain. You most likely will not have a healthy marriage or relationship until you become clear of what you are running from. What frightens you so much about being alone? Relationships never work for you… isn’t it time to realize the problem might not be with your partner. You keep bringing your suitcase filled with dirty laundry to the next “perfect person”… they don’t want it and they can’t wash it for you.

If your spouse is abusive, then you must leave. That includes emotional, sexual or physical abuse. If they are not abusive, then you should go to them, and tell them you are unhappy with your life. Tell them you need to work on you, and the stronger you become the more the marriage will change. Ask them how they feel about this. Ask them if they are happy. Ask them if they want a more connected, loving relationship. You need to begin talking to your partner. Don’t blame them for your unhappiness, but let them know you are tired of being unhappy and want to change.

You need to take responsibility for your situation because it is your fear that is keeping you there. You have the power to change that if you take ownership of it. Part of taking ownership is going to the doctor if you are depressed and being assessed so they can give you the proper treatment. Many people in triangles are also depressed.

Fear and love rule the world and relationships. When your fear of being alone, and facing your demons keeps you locked in an unhealthy relationship, it is time to face your demons and work through the pain. Happiness is waiting for you, but it’s inside you. No person can make us happy if we are afraid of being alone. That isn’t love; that’s fear.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

Getting sober won’t fix everything…

cf9c3dc234035e12d15e7aea993827bcThere are people who absolutely hate me… and with just reasons.

I walked into their lives like a nuclear explosion destroying everything they held dear. I wrecked their lives, reputations, credit, sanity and above all wasted years of their lives. There is no fixing what I’ve done to them… and there is no reason to contact them in an effort to right my wrongs…
I can hear the conversation now, “Hi, this is Rob… I just wanted you to know that I have stopped trying to kill myself on a daily basis with drugs and alcohol and I’m sorry if I inconvenienced you in the past… I’m sober now! Hurray for me!”

Please… why insult someone with your “I found Jesus moment” while they are still getting over the devastation you brought into their world? Have some class… stay away forever and let these people heal.

When you made the decision to get sober, drinking and drugging were probably causing major problems in your life. You knew that you couldn’t go on doing what you were doing indefinitely. On some level, you knew you were causing deep pain to the people you love, but for a while alcohol and/or drugs were the most important things in your life.

By making the choice to get sober, you are definitely on the right track to a better future. But even though there is hope that things in your life will get better as you get better, it’s also possible that there are some things that can’t be repaired even though you are sober now.

Relationships are often badly damaged by addiction. While you were using drugs or alcohol, your loved ones were repeatedly disappointed. You may have caused irreparable financial problems. You may have said or done things under the influence of substances that your loved ones are unable to forgive. You may find that your loved ones simply don’t trust you anymore. You may feel uncomfortable in sobriety because family or friends continually bring up mistakes you made in the past. Some may tell you that they aren’t going to be able to forgive you or trust you to stay sober.

In the end you can’t choose to get sober for anyone else. You can’t recover just to save a marriage, for example. In spite of your best efforts, a loved one may choose to end the relationship. Although this may be extremely painful to you, it’s important that you not go back to drinking and drugging. It’s also important that you not try to hang onto relationships that have been damaged beyond repair.

You may have gotten into some serious legal trouble because of your addiction. You may have participated in reckless or violent behavior and suffered the consequences. You may have stolen money or possessions from loved ones or from strangers. You may have lost your driver’s license, or you may have a criminal record.

If the bad choices you made while under the influence led to arrest or other legal problems, these problems may not go away just because you are sober. The bottom line is you have to face the consequences of your actions and do your best not to repeat the behavior.

Alcoholism and drug addiction can lead to major health problems. Heavy drinking can lead to problems with your liver, throat or digestive system. Smoking chemicals can lead to long-term lung disease. If you used intravenous drugs and shared needles, you may have contracted a virus that won’t go away just because you are sober. My brother died from liver failure years after a heroin addiction complicated by alcoholism.

Many health problems will improve dramatically once you make the decision to stop abusing your body, but there are some that will not. If you are suffering from a long-term illness caused by your addiction, remember that going back to drinking and drugging will definitely not make your prognosis any better. Remaining committed to sobriety is the best way to give yourself a chance for at least some improvement of your health problems or at least slowing down any progression of long-term illness.

It’s painful to go through the turmoil of difficult losses, particularly when you know they might not have happened if you hadn’t had a problem with alcoholism or addiction. There’s nothing to be gained from looking over your shoulder or dwelling on regrets for things that can’t be changed. You can’t undo the past. You can only strive to make a better future.

The way to healing is to live in today and to approach your life one day at a time. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, and the mistakes you made in the past have helped to make you who you are. Although there may be things that can’t be fixed, sobriety offers you an opportunity for a brand new beginning and a brand new life. Life will never be perfect, but it’s a much better life than you would have had if you hadn’t gotten sober.

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

Why do I feel so empty?

Something is missing in your life, isn’t it?

You’re working hard, trying to get ahead, doing everything you possibly can to make life just a little bit better. You’re trying to keep it all balanced, though. You won’t be one of those people who commits every waking second to work and the pursuit of a career. Not you. You’ve got it figured out. You even make time to exercise, eat right, meditate, or maybe spend time with friends and family.

You’ve got it all figured out… except for that one stupid thing that keeps tugging at your heart. You don’t really know what it is, but it is there, and it is driving you a little crazy. Yeah, I know. I get that feeling sometimes too. It is often mistaken as unhappiness, fatigue, depression, or being stuck in a rut. Many people will go off and do wild vacations or try things they would never try in a million years just to see if those activities settle the strange, inexplicable emptiness they feel inside.

When they return to the real world, though, the problem is still there, still nagging at them. Maybe they think they didn’t go “extreme” enough, and will push themselves harder. Or maybe they take it in a totally different direction and put more time into meditation, or even trying to manifest happiness in their lives.

Does any of this sound familiar? Or do you have it under control? I’m guessing since you’re still reading, you don’t. It’s okay. Neither do I. In fact, neither do most people.

So, what is this mysterious thing that is pulling at you, leaving you feeling empty and unfulfilled in a life that would, from the outside, seem all but amazing? It’s the pursuit of happiness. Before you click away from the page, thinking that this is another article about how when you stop pursuing things, that is when they come to you, don’t.

It’s not about that at all.

We are constantly presented with things that we believe will make us happy. New cars, flashier televisions, prettier women or men, houses, furniture, more money, exotic vacations, and a myriad of things that go along with that stuff. We are pounded by books, blogs, and billboards about how we can get everything we want in life, and live happier, better, and wealthier.

The simple truth is, we are so focused on getting what we want that we forget about everyone else in the world around us. And therein lies the key to that empty feeling inside. Right now, there are people who are hungry. And not just in Africa or India. They might be within a square mile of you. There are kids who don’t have a decent place to sleep. There is only one thing that truly fills the emptiness. Love. There is only one cause of inner emptiness: a lack of love.

But it is not a lack of someone else’s love that causes your emptiness. Inner emptiness is caused by self-abandonment … by not loving yourself.

Inner emptiness comes from a lack of connection with your spiritual source of love… from not opening to the love-that-is-God and bringing that love to yourself through true thought and loving action in your own behalf.

When you abandon yourself by judging yourself, ignoring your feelings by staying in your head, numbing your feelings through substance and process addictions and making others responsible for your feelings and for loving you, you will feel empty. You are causing your own emptiness by your self-abandonment.

Your ego-wounded self is filled with false beliefs regarding who you are. Your wounded self may see you as inadequate, unlovable, not good enough, not important, selfish, bad, wrong. Your wounded self operates from core shame… that you are intrinsically flawed.

These are programmed beliefs that have no basis in truth, but they may be running your life. When you believe that you are not good enough, then you turn to others and to addictions to try to feel okay… to fill the emptiness that you are causing with your self-judgment/self-abandonment.

The truth of who you are comes only from your personal source of spiritual guidance… whatever that is for you. When you open to learning with a source of higher guidance about the truth of who you are, and about what is loving action toward yourself and others, you open to the love-that-is-God coming into your heart and filling your inner emptiness.

If you believe God is keeping score or is punishing you… fire him and get a new God. To me, God is goodness and light … an energy source that wants me to live the best life I can while I’m dancing on earth. By finding the God of your understanding you’ll find what’s needed to fill life’s emptiness.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

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