Recently I purchased a vintage red bike at an estate sale. I smiled when I first saw it. It felt right. The first time I rode it, I realized how far I have come in Al‑Anon. I had finally purchased the bike I wanted, instead of letting others make the choice for me.
As a child of an alcoholic, I learned to ignore my own needs. I tried to do whatever my alcoholic mother wanted in hopes of ending the chaos in our household. I lost my self-esteem as I continued to please others and say yes to others, rather than following my own instincts and values.
This continued into my marriage when my husband decided to purchase bicycles for us. I let him make the decision for me and was never comfortable on that first bicycle, even though I wanted so much to enjoy the outdoors on a bike. The one he chose was complicated and uncomfortable and was not right for me. Later, we purchased some trail bikes, and again I let him make the decision in order to avoid conflict or disapproval. I was unhappy in the tight, confining biking clothes and did not enjoy that second bicycle, either.
I am so grateful to Al‑Anon for helping me change my people-pleasing behaviors. By attending meetings and working the Steps with a Sponsor, I have gotten to know myself and am learning to make choices that match my desires, instead of the desires of others. I can now risk their disapproval in order to please myself.
Today when I ride my red bike, I can smile and be happy, knowing that I have gained the courage to be myself.
By Laura D., California
The Forum, November 2017
This is such a hard one for me. It is so built into my wiring that it happens before I even know it’s happening. And that’s just one aspect of it. The other is how uncomfortable I am not being comfortable with how I feel, by not trusting how I want to be in the world because people may not like me as much. I have been seeking happiness and love from the outside for so long that I don’t know how not to do it. People liking me, as as long as I can remember, has been intrinsic to… Read more »
Thank you for your courage, strength and hope. I relate to all you shared and am sick and tired of being sick and tired of people pleasing. I find it so hard to not people please to avoid conflict. Al-Anon is giving me the courage to trust my truth and with my higher power right next to me, I can be what I feel and want what I want, despite what others think of me. I love the slogan, “what other people think of me is none of my business!” The joy and freedom of being my true self is… Read more »
Amen! So used to covering up the big white elephant in the living room, since childhood, I’ve no idea who I am anymore, except cleaning up and avoiding crisis. I am going to look for a bike, literally and figuratively. Thank you for sharing.
This one hit very close to home!
I have never had a self esteem.