I don’t have to pretend anymore

In my early recovery, “pretending” was one of my biggest problems. I was so lost in denial that I didn’t even know that pretending was denial’s big sister.

I pretended because I had lost touch with the real me. I struggled to find my opinion, my likes, my dislikes, and my purpose in life.

Fear of everything kept me in pretend-mode. I was embarrassed and thought that, as an adult, I should know certain things about getting along successfully in life. Instead, I went from one task to the next, wondering when someone was going to give me “my turn.”

Pretending that my turn was someone else’s job gave me a false sense of security—not being responsible for myself, and not taking the risk of having an opinion. I was 30 years old before I knew what I liked on my hot dog. Finally, at 33, I quit beating my head against the wall of life expecting it to be fair, and for the people in my life to give me my due.

I am so grateful that I came to believe that not every decision is a moral issue to be dissected and tested. I have the freedom to change my mind, to shrug my shoulders, and to really feel it when I say, “Oh well, I’d do it differently next time, but I learned something by taking the chance and trying it this way, this time.” Experimenting a little with daily, simple decisions has been a great way for me to widen my world safely, so I don’t have to pretend I’m okay when I’m not, or more grown-up than I really feel.

By Lynn W., CA
The Forum, April 2013