Growing up in the 90's, there were these popular pictures going around. It was a computer generated image that didn't really look like much besides a bunch of confusion on the page, but when perception was shifted, it would reveal a 3D image. Googling to find what this was called I came across stereograms so I guess that's what they're called.
I remember wanting to see the 3D image my friends had seen and yet I couldn't get my eyes to focus. I couldn't see anything but the jumbled mess in front of me. Friends would give me directions like "Hold the picture close and slowly pull it away. Let your eyes cross." Still, nothing. I remember feeling frustrated. Why couldn't I get it to work like they had? What was I missing? Why couldn't I do it right? And also thinking maybe it was a joke. Maybe there wasn't another picture. And then it happened. I experienced the shift and I saw the 3D image they were talking about.
When I first came into recovery, it didn't make sense to me. How was focusing on me going to change him?! My life looked a lot to me like that page of jumbled confusion and the more I focused on that, the more confused and angry and frustrated I became. I tried listening for other's guidance on how to get the serenity they had seemingly found, but I wanted to have it all figured out before I started. I thought I had to understand everything first. All I needed to do was get started and the rest unfolded for me. Somewhere in there something shifted for me. That shift from focusing on the problem to working the solution. And that shift continues to grow.
It doesn't mean I never find myself back to focusing on the problem again. That's where working on me comes in, because I know it works when I work it. And like building a muscle, I become stronger and faster the more I work it.