Undermining Ourselves There are a few really impacting definitions of what it means to undermine. Take for example Dictionary.com’s: to attack by indirect, secret, or underhand means; attempt to subvert by stealth. Or Miriam Webster’s: to make (someone or something) weaker or less effective usually in a secret or gradual way. So often in our own personal recovery, we undermine ourselves. We aren’t typically aware of it. We don’t usually see it until someone points it out to us or we actually are ‘present’ or ‘aware’ enough to have a moment of personal clarity or revelation. I undermine myself and the next day’s productivity when I stay up late at night working, writing or just plain watching TV to escape the pressures of life. I undermine my ability to connect physically with Samantha when I don’t connect with her emotionally. I undermine my ability to lead and love my kids to the fullest potential when I only communicate with them when they need to do a chore, or to stop picking on their sibling, or do what I want them to do. I undermine my ability to establish and foster tight knit relationships with friends if I only reach out when I want something or need a favor. I undermine my recovery when I put myself in high risk situations with high risk people and little to no accountability. I undermine my recovery and Samantha’s trust when I knowingly put myself in situations which create suspicion, confusion or reminders in the mind of Samantha. I also undermine my recovery when I don’t live in light of what I’ve done in the past, even though I am forgiven and I’m not treated like a doormat in Samantha’s mind at all. I’m not living in the past; I’m living with the reality of what I’m capable of apart from grace. We have incredible ability to undermine our own recovery as well as our spouse’s. We don’t always see how we’re doing it and most of the time, we’re too stubborn to be told by someone else just how we are in fact, undermining the very thing we want to perhaps save, redeem or reinforce. Pride and stubbornness are the shovels which undermine recovery for some. For others, it’s a refusal to take a shovel, start digging and simply get the right help. “I can do it myself” and “we can do this ourselves” are the very shovels which destroy the fabric of the marriage seeking restoration and redemption. Excuses are another shovel. Rather than find another way to get help or take a personal step forward, we blame, accuse or lay our own health at the actions of another. Excuses are what give us a reason to settle for what is, rather than what could be in life and in recovery, and at the very least for ourselves. This walk of recovery for both spouses has its own pains, hurts and enveloping hopelessness. When we can finally come up for air from the darkness, it’s vital we take time to ask ourselves (or trusted source of expert care) where are we undermining our own recovery. Where are we subtly digging at the foundation we so desperately want to restore? I hope you can find space to breath today and I hope you can take some time to explore where you may be undermining your own recovery.