Thursday, December 08, 2005
I sat down to write about my escapades, but somehow I'm even now ashamed to write about the myriad of men I have entertained and the hours I have spent pursuing them. I still say "I want my life back, I just want to be normal." But I have not done what it takes to make that happen.
It's all simple actually, tell the truth ... be honest, live an honest life, never do anything behind someone's back that you wouldn't do in front of their face. How hard could that possibly be? I ask myself that question ... and find nothing but fear. So, what am I afraid of? Afraid of losing control ... ha ha ... isn't that funny? My life is spinning out of control and I'm afraid to lose control. How bogus.
I haven't given up hope ... in fact these days I'm feeling a bit better. I'm not sure I have more resolve to stop my behavior right now ... but at least a little more a part of the human race. I just have faith that whatever will be will be ... and I've just got to get through this part. Yesterday I told my husband I was on the verge of checking myself into a mental institution. I still am not sure that's not the best answer. But on the other hand, it's probably just me looking for another escape. God knows when I'm going to stop running and start standing on two feet exactly where I am. But I still have faith it will happen. It won't be a miracle ... I'll have to do the work, and there may be disasters bigger than I can imagine before I get there ... but this is where life is. This is where I am today.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I had a breakdown with my friend M. last night. He started talking to me about "the program" and the steps, and I just said, "I don't give a fuck about Step 1 or Step 12 or any other step. What I see is that after a year, I'm right back where I started. I want my life back. I'm tired of being obsessed with sex."
He rightfully told me that I have to take my life back. But, damnit, I'm tired of trying, only to find myself right back where I started.
I was away from my husband for two months, and I guess that I thought I would come back and he would have miraculously changed -- but no, he's still the same callous person he was when I left. While I was away he called me every day. While I am here he just talks to me in the same rude way he always has -- barking and forgetting that I need affection and love now and then too.
This morning I went to sit down with him while he got ready. It was clear he didn't want me there, since when I told him something he started his usual barking.
There are plenty of people who think I should just leave him. But the truth is that somewhere beneath our issues I love him. I don't know what the right thing to do is anymore.
I feel that my addiction is totally separated from all these frustrated feelings for him. In other words I don't consciously think ... "Oh he was a jerk today, I'm going to go find someone else to fuck." Rather I just detach myself from reality and escape into a world of sexual fantasy. Common sense tells me there is a connection. I think it's probably one I don't want to make.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
So ... here I am typing on my blog ... needing to be working. That's where I am right now. But today, I still feel the peace from going to visit my stepfather on Monday. I know that I'm going to be alright. I may not be perfect and life will likely throw me some major curveballs ... but I am going to be OK.
Monday, September 12, 2005
The program teaches me to face each day the decisions that lie before me. This one was a little bigger one than whether to clean the house or goof off all day. I looked the decision in the face and wrote down a number of truths about the situation, then I prayed for clarity. I went to an Al-Anon meeting and the reading there was about the Three A’s – Awareness, Acceptance and Action. I spoke frankly with the group about my dilemma and several of them lauded me for my courage to face the issue of my abuse at all. But one gentleman, Charley, spoke directly to me. “I’m very familiar with the situation you are in. I did make the visit and he did die two days after I left. I’ll never regret that I did it.” I shared that I didn’t know what I was going to say, but that I had turned the whole issue over to my HP and felt compelled to make the trip, and had faith that whatever needed to be said and felt would be there. Charley said he also didn’t know what he wanted to say either … and in fact he didn’t have to say a word, his father brought it up. “I just gave him the dignity of listening.” That’s exactly what I needed to hear. By the time I left the Al-Anon meeting I had the clarity I needed and I expressed thanks to God for that. I came home and got ready and left.
So many people, including Charley, have said, “You don’t owe that bastard a thing.” And every one of them is right. But in my heart, the person I am, being bitter and resentful and spiteful feels contrary to my purpose. I have only recently realized that I can follow my own heart without condoning someone else's bad decisions. I will never accept what my father did to me as a child and then later as a young adult as right. It was horribly wrong. But for me to use it to hurt myself over and over again is no longer his wrong -- but my own. I realized that I needed to visit my dad, not for him, but for me. I needed to show love where there had been none and give him the dignity of saying whatever he had to say Above all I needed to tell him that despite it all … I love him. And that’s the truth. I needed to be honest with him and give him the opportunity to be honest with me, and then I needed to be done.
I felt at peace as I drove the hour and a half, and when I reached there, there was a bit of tension in the air, but within 10 minutes my HP presented the opportunity for me to talk to my dad alone. He was showing me an addition he had built onto the house and before we left that area, I asked him to sit down so we could talk. I asked him how he was doing and he expressed his true concerns for his health. He said he was dreading the prostate surgery and that his lungs were not working very well, but it was only through continuing to work on projects around the house that he could keep going. I didn’t feel pity for him or sadness. I just listened, as one caring adult to another. And then I said, “Daddy, I just came here today to tell you that I love you.” He said, “I know that. I never questioned it. I love you too.” I paused so that if he wanted to say anything else he could, and he didn’t. But, I wasn’t disappointed. I had said what I went to say, and I went without expectation of him, what he said was inconsequential. I didn’t need anything from him anymore. I had released, in my decision to go there and express my love, all the need that I have had of him for so long – all my need for approval, all my need for love, all my need for him to be a father, all my need to forgive him. Now I see him as a man, who has been sick with the very real and difficult disease of sexual addiction and obsession for a long time. I owe him nothing. He owes me nothing. I am me. He is him.
I am finished using what happened to me as a child as an excuse for what is happening to me as an adult. I am finished blaming the past on the decisions I make today. I knowingly went to see my father today, and from this day forward what I do, I will do with keen awareness. I will make mistakes and I am still an addict who has to be ever vigilant and committed to my program. But the decisions I make will be mine; there will be no buffer, no excuse. If I decide to screw up, it will be because I decided to screw up, not because I am the victim of childhood abuse. My addict will play its role in my life, but I have the tools, and the HP to keep that in check. If I choose not to use those things, that is my choice, not a result of being a victim.
I don’t intend to have a relationship with my father or really my sister (who I also saw today). I won’t ignore them if they call, but I won’t run from them or toward them either. If they disturb me, I will set boundaries. If I want to see them, or my niece and nephews, I will do that without hesitation. But I will feel no obligation toward them again. I released that today.
I have also decided that I will no longer lie about my abuse. I will not make a bold announcement, or an announcement period. I will protect my own privacy. But if someone asks me if I was abused, I will straightforwardly say yes. My past has helped to shape my present, but I will no longer let it dictate my future. I will not be ashamed, and if I am, I will demand honesty of myself.
I cannot express in words the peace I feel today. Serenity – which I have ask for – has come to me.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
My sponsor asked me to say "thank you" 300 times a day, so this morning I went out and got started. I said "thank you for ..." and got up to 112. I said thank you for everything and everyone that I could think of at the moment. I may have to say the same things 288 more times, and some things I wasn't exactly sure what I was thankful for (particularly people), but I said "Thank you" anyway. Because if I can find something good in every Harry, Dick, Tom that I decide to act out with ... I can surely find something to be thankful for in the people who are around me.
I started thinking about a "recipe for success" that one of the doctors gave during the seminar I attended last week. I like it. It went like this:
1. Write down everything you DON'T want for your life.
2. Write down everything you DO want for your life. (Write in great detail)
3. Bring your mind and body into a place where you can feel what it would feel like, and imagine what it would look like to have those things.
4. Take action to achieve those things you DO want, staying focused on your goals for success.
I also remembered that I never sent you guys the affirmations/quotes that I said I would send.
The best affirmation is kind of long and you have to say it strongly to get the full effect. It goes like this:
Today is a great day and I have the opportunity to show up as the best me ever!
My life is a HUGE success!
My beliefs create my reality. I think big thoughts and relish small pleasures, and handle all setbacks gracefully.
I am deeply grateful for all I create and receive.
My life is now in total balance and ...
I am the best!
It may be difficult to believe, but it does feel good to say it. And we're supposed to fake it til we make it ... right?
So here are some other things for you guys about thoughts. As I look at them, they are not really affirmations, but simply truths (at least to those who believe them).
Negative thoughts with negative feelings isolate me from my creative energy.
I am a product of my beliefs.
I am a chained slave to anyone I hate. Hating ruins my life.
It is not what is said that hurts me, but how I respond to it.
Nothing is good or bad unless I think it so.
The most important thing to change is my belief.
No one else is responsible for the way I feel.
Whatever I have done, I will learn from it.
All of these things point to one thing for me -- When I have negative thoughts, energy, emotions, I create a bad place for me in life. If I can replace those negative thoughts with positive ones I improve my outlook on life and my ability to learn and grow. For example, if I just take the first quote and say "Positive thoughts and positive feelings connect me to the universe," I feel so much better about myself. When I replace hate with love, I remove turmoil.
One thing that my sponsor has been trying to get through my thick skull is that this is a simple program and the answer to all issues are in the steps. Honesty is the fundamental tool for recovery, because telling the truth sheds light on the dishonesty of our disease. That is pretty simple ... but not easy. Anyway, something I've realized in trying to grasp this fundamental truth is that "Who wants to be that simple? There's no drama in that." We've all talked about this before ... drama is so much a part of our lives. The "thrill seeking" of our disease often put us in danger and harmed us in many ways. But I see that I continue to get "wrapped up" in the drama of my life, even if it's sometimes just in my own head, because it's the only way I have practiced thinking. The idea of "total balance" seems "out of whack." It's good to know there's always a way I can continue to grow.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. I got up and gathered my recovery books, and 12 Step Prayer book and went outside to pray and meditate.
By 6 a.m., I was in the midst of a call to a recovery friend, talking about a very harrowing recollection I’d had the night before of one of the instances of sexual abuse from my childhood.
By 6:45 a.m. I was taking a refreshing walk around the neighborhood, feeling blessed to be energized.
By 7:30 a.m. I was on the computer, engaged in intrigue, much like what I’ve been engaging in for days.
By 9 a.m., I’d only stopped my acting out long enough to feed my husband breakfast (he had gone to work at 5 a.m. and returned to take a shower) and drink a banana smoothie for myself.
By 9:30 a.m. I was engaging over the phone with someone who I had discussed meeting in person. When that was done, I was right back to the computer and ignoring reminders from my HP to end my intrigue with a 23 year old boy who had approached me. I told the boy my conscience wouldn’t allow it … he pleaded and ..
By noon, the 23 year old boy with a bright future ahead of him was standing naked in my house.
By 1:30, I had spoken with another potential victim of my addict, who turned out to be a man who lived directly across from my bus stop when I was growing up. His children are older than me. Even after learning all that (except for my identity) he still was insistent that he wanted to have sex. At least I had the good sense to turn that down.
By 3 p.m., I was making up lies for how I could be out of town tomorrow night to meet a man an hour away.
By 5:30 p.m. I had asked another man to meet me for a beer at a bar 45 minutes away. We barely intrigued as we drank pitchers of beer together, and enjoyed a relatively good conversation. After he asked me to order the third pitcher of beer, he began to tell me the story of how two years ago he was involved in a five hour standoff and shooting with local police and was released on probation and a requirement to attend four AA meetings per week. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “I had 8 days until tonight.” I told him I was in another 12-step program and had been sober for three months until Sunday. Then I told him, “I gave you your drink … now I should make you give me mine.” We both passed on that one … as I had to come home to my husband, who was sleeping on the couch. He never asked anything and now at 10:30 p.m., he is now in the bed sleeping soundly, unaware of the truth.
Just like alcoholism, this disease is progressive. There are those who can get their fix off a single encounter. For me, it never ends with just one. The bingeing cycle is no different. I pray that today has been enough, and that tomorrow will bring me silence and sobriety. I pray for forgiveness and offer thanks for another day to grow one day at a time. I realize this post focuses on the problem, not the solution ... but that day is coming.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
He came into the bedroom and I tried to tell him what was going on inside my head, but it was too confusing for even me. I just told him that I never thought I’d turn out this way, that I didn’t want to hurt him with my sickness, that I didn’t know what to do and that I was worried I was never going to get better. If all of this sounds hysterical (and not in a funny way), it was. But not nearly as hysterical as it got. At one point, he said “It’s going to be OK, just climb into bed and take a nap,” and I went absolutely berserk. I began screaming and crying at the same time saying that going to bed was not going to solve the problem, that nobody understood that there was something wrong with me, that I was scared I was never going to get better. This is the second time this year that he has had to witness one of these attacks and I feel so badly for him. I do sincerely feel sorry for him that he got wrapped up with someone with the emotional problems I face. I know it cannot be easy.
Of course, I am focusing my attention on him, because I have no idea how to even begin to sort out what was going on with me. If it’s not simply being crazy, I’m not sure what it is. It’s humiliating, demoralizing, and downright scary when you simply lose control of everything – when you want to throw all your dishes through the front window and when you start crying and screaming like a child until you lose your breath.
I had a message on my answering machine yesterday from my dad asking that I call him. He doesn’t really want anything except for me to act as if there’s nothing wrong. I haven’t called him yet. I can’t let go of the thought that the call is going unreturned, but I can’t even begin to make myself call either. I feel numb, paralyzed – not mad, but unable to lie anymore. Some days I feel as if life is falling apart. For a few hours today, that’s what I thought again. I’m feeling better now. I hope it lasts for awhile.
Thanks for listening.
Subject: The Path of Recovery
Recovery does not happen overnight. It is somethingthat happens over time by being abstinent and workingthe steps. In AA rooms you hear the aphorism - 1 stepa year. Not that you should only work one step veryyear but that the complete internalization of eachstep takes a year. And I have experienced this. Of course there wasphysical recovery and a return to sanity before 12years (thank goddess) but the true deep recoveryreally did take about that long. I was so deep indenial about the food it is no wonder it took a yearfor me to REALLY admit I was powerless over it andthat I REALLY was a compulsive overeater. This was nota diet it was a way of life.The physical recovery in terms of weight loss took 8months but the recovery from anxiety and panic tooklonger. But it did come. This took faith, diligence,desperation, stubborness, support of the group,support of a sponsor and working the steps twice. Ican honestly say that doing a 5th step saved my lifefrom a psychological and spiritual perspective. I wasno longer alone with my dirty little secrets. What arelief! Then I thought I was moving right along with mentalrecovery. But I would have many backslides in thisarea due to clinical depression and a failedrelationship. But that did happen. And it was steps6-9 that helped support this process. As I could seewhat I had done to create the problems and issues inmy life I could stop blaming other, stop being avictim and start really living as an adult. I canhonestly say this took many many years. But it didhappen.The spiritual recovery came about as I cleared up myphysical illness, cleared up my mental and emotionaland realtionship problems. And all along I prayed andasked God for help and this strengthened my faith.Workind steps 10 - 12 deepened my spirituality. Icould see I was not alone and I could see my own innerdivinity.I am a pilgrim on a lifelong journey. Each year I workthe steps in a deeper way. Each year I have a deeperappreciation for the steps, the slogans, and thefellowship. AA and all that it gave birth to is amodern day miracle. And I am a miracle too. I shouldbe in a grave dead from my eating or from my suicidaldepression. But today I am happy, I am self expressed,I am living out God's plan for me.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Before entering a 12-step recovery program, which seems to be helping me immensely, I would have yelled back, made excuses, maybe even lied in some way to cover my ass. Instead I admitted -- yeah, I really suck at this and ask him if we could come up with a more stable plan for oversight of the checkbook. I admitted that I have never been very responsible when it comes to money and keeping track of it. He wanted to continue to yell about it, but I simply said what can we do to make it better in the future, let's come up with a plan. I felt better admitting my weakness rather than telling a big fat lie. I've lied about this weakness for years and it resulted in a horrible credit history and more check overdrafts than I care to recall. I don't want to live irresponsibly in any way any more.
And even though I think I handled this confrontation very well -- much better than I've ever handled something like that before, in the end I began to cry and it seemed I could not stop crying. I have been so irresponsible with my life, made so many poor choices, just because I was always running, always somewhere else other than the present, scared of fear and almost anything negative, scared even of myself. I have just not shown up in my own life. I didn't want to be there. I always wanted to be in someone else's life. All this came rushing at me yesterday as I faced this one area of my life where the consequences and truth stared at me directly. Did it hurt to look at this? Hell f'ing yeah it did. All I could think was, "How could I have made so many bad choices in my life?" That sentence just kept going over and over and over in my concious mind, but underneath years of the truth was flashing through -- spending, eating, sex, lies, ... on and on. But it was like it brought me right in front of myself and said, "Now stand there. Look at this. Is this what you CHOOSE to be for the rest of your life? OK then, you don't have to be. Get your ass in gear."
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Why try? Because I spend half my days in tears and agitation now. I am sad, lonely, empty. I want my life back. I want to not just pretend to be full of life. I want to be in touch with my life and know that it's in there. I want to feel. As long as I'm an addict I have trouble feeling anything.
Sometimes one of my friends tells me I think too much, but it's simply out of desperation -- wishing that I could just feel something. Maybe I'm even addicted to the pain and loneliness, because at least it is something.
I wasn't always like this and it's hard to accept that my entire life has been a lie, and certainly hard to think that the rest of my life will be like this. But I am thankful to be realizing that at 36. And I will keep plugging along, asking questions, and being thankful. There's a big wall to knock down between me and myself. The only tool I have is God, his patience and understanding, and his gifts -- which include the program and the people I have met through it.
In case you didn't notice ... the wall went up somewhere between the two paragraphs above. The feelings come and even though I say I want to feel, I shut them off. I can't stand not being in control of them -- and until I accept them, let them come, feel them -- I'll always be here.
When the plane lifts off today at 7:10 p.m. bound for Israel it will be carrying some precious cargo. There's a gift to the world on there. He is my brother. The brother you gave me.
Surely those around him will notice that he is strong, but what they can't see is the strength that is buried beneath the brawn. They may see the intensity of his eyes, but they cannot see the sharpness and creativity of his mind. They may see the lifting spirit of his smile, or even feel his presence, but they cannot see all that he carries inside.
Thanks to your precious love, I have seen inside him, and I know, as you know, that inside him is the world -- all its pain, all its glory, all its curiosity, all its fear, all its life, all its death, all its love, all its hate, all its strength, all its weakness, all its happiness, all its anger, all its hope. It all exists inside of him. You have given him a great responsibility, because you knew he is at heart a survivor, a strategist, a person who can carry the load, for those among us who cannot.
The people he encounters on his trip -- the pilot, the passengers and crew, those he meets in Israel, will have no idea of these things. But you will, and I know you will protect and bless him, care for his needs, and remind him at all the right times that he has everything he needs -- and more than anything help him to remember that he has love, the love of many, many people who walk with him. I am one of them, and for that I am truly thankful.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
What are five things that you dislike about the way you interact with others?
a. I am controlling and manipulative -- I want everything to be my way. If it is not, then I think it is wrong. I become angry when I am not in charge and when I want something to be a certain way, I think of the actions I can take to make them go that way.. I even want to control how people think -- For example, I want people to like me and I will do anything I have to make them like me. Like you, I do not like confrontation. I don't like to leave them to their own thoughts.
b. I am judgemental
c. I am dishonest -- In my life I have lied -- a lot. I have lied to my husband, to my friends, family -- all in order to live this secret life.
d. I am weak -- Even though I always want to be in charge, when I am in charge, I often don't know what to do, which leads to more lies, and an inability to say ... "I'm not sure" unless it is a good manipulation tactic.
e. I sometimes feel inferior and ashamed, which makes it hard to talk to people on an "equal" basis.
Here's an example of manipulation -- I want to say ... Don't worry, I know this sounds harsh, but I have as many things that I like about myself, because I don't want you to think certain things about me. Hell fire, it should be OK for you to think whatever you want. It's not going to kill me. Being dishonest for the rest of my life is.
What are your five biggest pet peeves?
a. People who are rude and unsympathetic, especially those working in customer service.
b. People who are selfish
c. People who think it's cool to blast their bass radios in the car beside me.
d. Repetitive questions when I am trying to think.
e. Women who act stupid in order to get attention.
(Did I mention I am judgemental :) )
What are five things that make you smile?
a. Watching kids laugh and play
b. A good song on the radio that I didn't expect to hear
c. Hearing from an old friend
d. Knowing that someone I love has had a triumph
e. Right now, knowing that I have a lot to look forward to in my new home
Sunday, June 05, 2005
"We each are spinning our individual threads, lending texture,
color, and pattern, to the "big design" that is serving us all. Person by person
our actions, our thoughts, our values complement those of our sisters (and
brothers), those of the entire human race. We are heading toward the same
destination, all of us, and our paths run parallel on occasion, intersect
periodically, and veer off in singleness of purpose when inspiration calls
This came from one of the Hazelden meditations and I thought it was appropriate for what I wanted to share today.
Something else I heard today that made me think of you all was an anonymous quote ... "Our friends are God's apology for our family." Wow! I accept and am forever grateful for the friendship that I have found in recovery. It is a blessing beyond words.
I sat down to write that the final decision about our move back to our home state has been made. As I suspected, we are going. The resignation letters were written and our landlord received notice that we will be vacating our apartment here in July. My husband is accepting a position as vice president of his former company. It is a tremendous opportunity for him, and also a good chance for me to do some starting over.
I have thought a lot about a song someone mentioned recently ... "You've got to walk that lonesome valley, you've got to walk it by yourself, ain't nobody here can walk it for you, you've got to walk it by yourself." It is so true. Sometimes I feel so alone in this journey. Even in making such a major decision, I have felt myself disconnected from my husband -- one because I subconciuously chose to for self-protection and two because he chose to make his decision in the solitude of his mind.
In the whole process of considering this move, the one thing that has caused me the greatest concern is my fear of separating from the support system that I feel right now is still holding me up. When I think of leaving my face to face group, leaving the Northeast where at least four people in this group can get together now and then, I actually visualize a tree coming up from the roots it has planted so deeply. I have felt like I am abandoning people I have grown to love, and that in doing so I am abandoning myself. It is like when I was in a horrible car accident 13 years ago and my leg was crushed, leaving me with only a rod and a bunch of screws and pins to keep my leg and ankle together. I went from a plaster cast, to a hard plastic cast, to an air cast, to nothing. But the day the doctor told me I had to start walking without crutches, I was literally scared to death. I was afraid I could not walk on my own. I feel that way now.
But the fact is ... I am not doing this on my own. I am choosing to isolate myself and feel alone, because it's the only place I've ever known to turn -- inside. Yet, if I open my eyes and see the gift of friendship that God has given me -- I see that I am not the only one suffering from these emotional turbulations. I am not so special, there are others here, facing their own individual feelings about moving, but holding hands in friendship, and walking together. I am so thankful for the blessings of my Higher Power, and the bigger picture that he allowed me to see today.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
So .. what I really sat down here to write is this: I'm running around here today, doing chores, cleaning, doing laundry, marking things off the to do list more slowly than I'd like to be doing, and I start to clean off the table that sits in front of the couch (I won't call it a coffee table, because it's always so piled up the image of a coffee table doesn't fit.). On the table is a book I bought for my husband a couple of months back called "Ghosts in the Bedroom." He hasn't read much of it, but I started reading a few things. And after reading about how victims of sexual abuse often have compulsive eating disorders, compulsive sexual disorders, are triggered by certain touches, face lots of issues about confronting the abuser, understanding the abuser, on and on ... I feel like a ton of lead. It's payback I suppose for offering too much unsolicited advice to a friend who has been suffering from depression lately --a reminder that these feelings of the world just being too heavy to deal with are real. I'm sure these feelings will pass, but I would rather have enjoyed a few more days of peace and quiet rather than think about the truly enormous mountain I have to climb. Some days I can convince myself that my sex and love addiction is all I have to work on and that everything else will fall into place. But the fact is, my s and l addiction is just the beginning. In fact, this particular book was saying 3-5 years of therapy and group work is usually needed to heal from the abuse itself. Great!
Ah, well, it could be worse. I could have spent the entire day today looking for some man on the Internet to have sex with. Instead, I'll probably just eat three or four cookies. Happy F*ckn Tuesday, Ya'll.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I'm truly sorry I could not be there for you more than flowers and one phone call. I know you were hurting so much and that you must still hurt -- medication can't take reality away, only numb the effects. But for the first time in my life, I've realized that a lifetime of taking on everyone else's pain and never dealing with my own has started to kill me. I'm in therapy and part of a support group, which seems strange -- that I am turning to strangers when I can't bear the thought of picking up the phone and talking to the many friends who love me and who I love so much. Even a couple of times when I've tried to have conversations, it just doesn't work. I'm estranged from my family for the most part, except for my older sister and of course my niece.(She's coming to see me the week after the holiday I am happy about that.) So, things are a mess, but they are gettingbetter and until they get a lot better it's just the way it is right now. I have faith that it won't be this way forever. I realize I didn't get here overnight, and I won't get better overnight either.
My husband has been very supportive. He takes good care of me and makes sure I take care of myself as much as possible. Thankfully I have a job that is far less stressful than what I've had before, so while the lessened productivity has been noticed -- it hasn't been detrimental.
Know that I love you dearly, and no amount of depression could change that. In my heart, I hold you close and pray that you will continue to take care of yourself. Please do not worry about me. I did not tell you all this to make you worried. I wanted you to know what's going on. One of the greatest blessings of what I am dealing with is I have found a closer connection to the spiritual part of my life, something I've needed to do for a long time.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I did it again today ... for the first time in months, I went online and found a stranger, intrigued with him and then was on the verge of agreeing to go to his house to finish what we had started. Thankfully, God intervened. I was protected. But not because I was trying.
I feel like it's all starting again. I don't understand why. I don't understand what I am not getting . I don't understand why the desire for sanity is not strong enough to make me move forward with true sobriety and serenity, rather than backward. It's all there, just waiting for me to take it and I am unable somehow to take hold. I want to sleep, I want to cry, I want to throw up. I do not want to be alive and aware of the way my life is going.
Last night I watched a movie about FDR and his struggles with polio. Before he entered the presidential arena, there was a scene where Kathy Bates, who plays his physical therapist, looks at him and tells him, "I met a boy today who is 7 years old. He's lost all feeling below his waist. Now go tell him why you, with a wife, an education, a future, and children, want to give up." I ask me these questions all the time. What the fuck is wrong with me? How could I -- the person who overcame great adversity to become successful -- want to throw all of that away to reckless abandon. There is a reason this is happening to me, but I'm not very happy about it today, God.
I listened to this man, who has just go through a painful divorce, tell me his story, and then I wanted to use him for my sick addictive patterns. I know full well that I will tell him I'd like to develop a relationship with a man, as a playmate, and then in a week, even if it takes that long, tell him, "Sorry, I was mistaken. I really do want to be faithful to my husband (not to mention my recovery program)."
I felt rejected by a close friend this morning. I know this must have started there. I feel like I am a farce in my program, because I don't feel like I am getting better in terms of my cyclical thinking and my ability to focus ... I just go through patterns of thinking this is all worthless, because I'm never going to be able to do it anyway. I think others can, but not me. I have been so successful in my life, why have I somehow convinced myself that I can never truly do anything right again?
I know I need to go back and start working on self-esteem and all that comes from taking care of myself, working on my obesity issues, finding ways to believe in myself. Right now, I just feel tired. One recovery friend told me ... "Face the addict, and don't let it get by with this shit!" How can I do that, when I am powerless.
It's a downer day. I'll make it through though ... without acting out any more than I already have. That is if God's willing. If he's not, I may have fucked 3 men by nightfall.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
One of the things I decided to do while working through the Gentle Path book was to start a focus group with some members of my face to face group are struggling through the same issues and are at about the same stage of recovery as I am. I contacted one of the guys from my group and he thought it was a great idea ... he was all for it. So, I think we will work together to get that started.
I've been living my life "in the middle" the past few days -- dealing with some irritations from my addict, but nothing overwhelming; dealing with some good feelings of my progress, but not over the top. Being in the middle is uncomfortable to me, because it's been a long time since I've been there -- if ever. But I have faith that I will begin to settle in if I don't get in my way, and if my HP's ready for that.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
So, he messaged back ... and you know what? I was really upset at myself at first. Oh my God, this whole mess is just going to start over again, why can't I just take care of myself, I will never do a damn thing right in my life, cry, cry, cry. Then I called a recovery friend -- an accountability partner so to speak, (more clearly a gift from God every day) and confessed, intially in this shameful, guilty, "the world is over" state of mind. As we talked it through, though, I realized ... I didn't get a hit! In the whole conversation with this man who my addict has used as a lure over and over again, reminding me of how good the "active addict" life can be, I didn't get a single hit! I didn't think, "Oh if I could just be with him again or even one more time." We talked, but I didn't engage him sexually, just asked who he was seeing, how it was going, that I'd seen one of his former fucks. He tried to engage a bit, but I just didn't. And it wasn't because I was trying to resist -- it was because I just wasn't turned on. It was like I was catching up with someone I used to work with. For the first time, I saw him for what he is -- one long penis, with nothing else going for him. I saw clearly every "line" he threw out, I saw every lie he told. I saw every step he took.
And then to think I was thinking, I won't tell the truth -- that I was going to hide it because I was ashamed of myself for being weak. God gave me an amazing gift yesterday. I was able to see all the reasons I've gotten so far into my addict, because time and time again I've let myself be sabotaged by this voice that says you can't do it and you're not worth it anyway. Just keep having fun, what's the use trying anyway. You're trash and you'll always be trash, you are just pretending if you think differently.
If I had hidden this, I would have been giving into the addict, and not realized the truth. But when I showed this 'dirty secret' to the light of day, I saw the truth. It's amazing how the little idioms of this program "you are powerless," "you are only as dirty as your secrets," continue to reveal their truth to me. I love it and I am so thankful for those who are witness to my change.
Friday, May 06, 2005
While I made some very good food choices at lunch today, my sex and love addict was triggered in a major way that has left me feeling like I am about to come unglued. And this shit is so minor.
I was at a meeting with a printing company representative, along with another colleague. The fact that the woman was talking about the printing industry was enough for me to want to call G. who happens to own a printing company and talk to him, knowing that business would be the first, but certainly not the last thing we'd talk about.
Then who comes up as the waitress at the table next to ours but a woman that I know J. acted out with a couple of times. He was kind enough to tell me enough details about their encounter that they were all going through my mind, as I thought of how much better he and I were together than they ever could possibly have been ... all the while I'm supposed to actually be present in this luncheon meeting.
Oh, and I should mention that on the drive back ... the phone rings and shows a "restricted" number, which is what usually shows up for a couple of recovery friends but no one else. It was S. I am absolutely ashamed that I can actually write about three men who I slept with outside my marriage ... and more ashamed that that is only the beginning.
I could call someone right now, but I don't want to. I could pray, but I don't want to ...that's the same as calling someone. And I don't want to equates to me not taking care of myself. So this boils down to me taking a moment to make that choice.
OK, I'll pray and write the TRUTH and GRATITUDE of this whole scenario.
1. I went to lunch at a nice restaurant with a nice business associate and my favorite colleague.
2. We had a waiter who was very attentive in his service to us.
3. The food was excellent and I made a healthy choice.
4. Even though both the other ladies at the table ordered a big piece of dessert, I skipped the urge.
5. Just when I thought I was going to lose my mind, a program friend called and I was at a point where I could politely excuse myself and take the call.
6. I did take care of myself and I can continue to do so.
When I was managing editor of a community newspaper a few years ago, our newsroom made a committment that no matter what the competition was doing, our mission was to be that community's "hometown newspaper." Every decision we made surrounded that mission. We often had to pause and think, does this promote the mission? That pause helped us to evaluate the decision better and keep our committment to our community.
I have decided that my mission in recovery and in growth will be "Take Care of Yourself." As I am faced with decisions, however big or small they are, this will be my focus, my central point. Sometimes I will have to pause to evaluate the right choice, other times I may act before I think or pray enough and end up falling on my face, but over time the instinct will develop. The instinct to do something I have never done before -- take care of myself.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
She basically went over my most current history, as well as stuff about my sexual abuse. She got it that I was involved in very risky behavior as an addict, and she got it that my getting "caught" could have been a very devastating thing beyond just my marriage -- but also the reputation of my university and the longstanding effects of such a scandalous "outing" on my career. Although she was skeptical of my reasons for wanting to leave my current therapist, after I shared with her that my therapist had made me feel uncomfortable by continuously sharing about her own feelings about her own sexual abuse knowing I was a codependent, she said, "I had doubts you should leave her. Now I have no doubt that's not a good place for you to be." But before we got to that point, she asked me a very valid question ... "Is this just another way for you to run away?" I appreciated that.
I quizzed her on her experience working with sex addicts, sexual abuse victims, people in 12-step programs. I was satisfied with her answers to all of those. When I asked her if she believed in the effectiveness of 12-step programs she said that she certainly did, up to the point that the program becomes an addiction or an escape itself. Because I can sometimes see myself doing exactly that, I appreciated her answer.
So, let's see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, April 18, 2005
When I start to try to think of explaining how I feel, what is in my mind, it makes me feel insane (uhh... that could be the first sign), it's just so jumbled. I think over time I have "stuffed" so much, given up so much of myself to one addiction or the other -- be it sex, food or codependence -- that my mind and soul have become like a dilapidated house filled with old, musty, filthy remnants; clothes and linens piled up in an corner, covered in cobwebs and dirt and dust, floorboards rotted, broken appliances and fixtures, dead rotted mice lying about and roaches sneaking out in the dark.
The image reminds me of the house my older sister and her family moved into after their house was destroyed by a tornado. Her husband was a drunk at the time and barely did anything to fix it ... but there were a few rooms that my niece fixed up, made pretty, the best she could. Still, it was barely held together. The inside of my head is like that house. I remember that my niece, who is four years younger than me and as close as a sister and a best friend rolled into one, felt "less than" living there. She was ashamed when the school bus stopped there. She felt she couldn't have certain friends because she could never invite them to her house to spend the night. She gave up a lot of her life because of her shame -- of her stepfather's drunken antics, a house that neither lived up to her potential or over which she had any control to fix.
For me, the shame of what's inside my head is covered up in my "parallel life" -- the life where I am the cheery, supportive, loving, hard working, good-hearted person that most people see. Inside I am empty. All this other "good" stuff is just a fresh coat of beautiful shiny paint, glistening in the sunshine. It's what I want to be and it's what I want others to see. But I feel rotten to the core, afraid to let anyone walk in the door. There are a few people who have made it into the living room, which has been made presentable, but no one, absolutely no one would ever make it into the attic (interestingly, I just wrote that as "addict" before I realized my mistake). My niece and I used to go into the attic of that old house when we wanted to get away from everyone. It was filled with other people's junk, left over from years and years ago, all dirty and nasty. It was scary. It felt haunted with "old spirits." I was afraid to go there alone. But with her, it was fine, we were OK and we had good talks or laughs or even fun.
There are a lot of parallels here ... and I'm glad I started to write. I know I can take my trusted recovery friends with me into the scary, ugly places and not feel ashamed, because it is the love and fellowship that is between us that matters. And with support, slowly I can begin to rebuild -- making clean, clear and beautiful all the areas of my life that have been lost to shame and self-rejection.
It's interesting that I was talking recently with a recovery friend about the gender of my addict, when I realized that the luring male personification of my addict is actually the face, smile, laugh, and feelings associated with my last lover, the guy I slipped with in Feb. and the man who I have been mentally planning to slip with again. I think the somehow the process of going through the decision to not act out is what lead me to these feelings of despair this morning. My spoiled addict was throwing its hissy fit, and in rejection, the addict has no personification at all ... it is simply what it is ... an "it." One day I hope it will become a part of the accepted whole of me, recognized for its contributions and kept in check when it tries to make the rest of me feel 'less than."
Friday, April 15, 2005
“History, despite its horror, cannot be undone. But when faced with courage it need not be lived again.”
There are a lot of things I don't want to live through again. I got what I needed the first time, thank you. Like many of the rest of my fellow addicts, I have resentment not just against my FOO, but against a whole host of other things. I won't even begin to post them here ... but I can tell you that I resent being an addict. I resent it with a passion. And there's a lot of blame associated with that. I have to let go of both the resentment and the blame in order not to relive the feelings and continue to feed my addict exactly what it wants. Because if I'm honest, realizing I'm an addict is an amazing miracle.
I went to an SA meeting yesterday morning, and in there they read the AA big book. I noticed that in a description of the 4th step in the "How it Works" chapter they actually used resentments as the guide to get started working on the 4th step. I'm edging toward working on the 4th step, and I was glad to see this suggestion for working through the step. It called for the addict to list the person or situation, the cause of the resentment, and I believe the third column was the behaviors which that resentment evoked. (Someone who has the book or who has done this exercise, please correct me if I am wrong.) Slowly bit by bit, I have been edging toward this step (Step 4) that scares me, but then last night in my f2f meeting we focused on Step 6. We read it aloud from the SLAA text and it scared me too. Reading the words about rebuilding, about true spiritual connection -- those sounded wonderful. Reading the words about letting go of all my defects of character, turning over and letting loose these tools that have helped me survive my life. Oh wow. I want that, but I feel inadequate to handle it. I don't feel like I can live without them. I am scared at the thought.
I know I have to work through steps 4 and 5, and really finish up Step 3, although I believe that I have reached some grounding there, before I get there. And that by taking my time, working through those steps, I will be ready when I am ready to move into this very powerful step -- Step 6. That feels encouraging. Although my impatience sometimes makes me want to rush ... to become discouraged with myself, I am thankful that through each step, I am able to work at my own pace, truly absorb the meanings and the feelings, and have hope that I will be ready, truly ready for the next step that lies ahead. There is new hope for my life in each step.
I thank God every day for this program and for the people who have I have joined in this journey. We are walking an amazing walk. One day at a time.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
But then, deep down I also know that when this crisis is over & if I come out of it unscathed, it would be so easy to slip back into my Addict skin & mode of thinking," I'm bored with this, I need more than this".
Dear S. and Group --
Boy, did S. ever catch my mind ... er my addict mind ... at work. I woke up Sunday morning with an image of me my face beaten and bloody covered in bruises -- a reminder of how lucky I was when I was meeting men I didn't know at all, some I had barely talked to, for sexual encounters. I could have been beaten, killed, God knows what, and I'm only lucky that didn't happen. During that time I liked to believe my instincts were good, that I could tell when something was a little "off" about someone. As it turns out, I was right. I encountered a bunch of lonely souls like me ... who were just as risky and desparate as I was.
So then my husband never found out, I didn't get beaten, I didn't lose my job, I didn't get arrested, I'm in recovery, I'm improving my life. I am so freakin' lucky, so blessed by the gifts and the protection provided by my HP. Yet, what does my addict tempt me with ... "It's so easy. You can do it without getting caught, without any consequences at all." Even writing that is triggering to me. When I get in that mode I start thinking ... like the rest of the world, ahhh, it's alright, it's just a little sex. What a powerful, cunning and baffling disease we are up against, my friends.
We are to be commended for taking on this fight. There are plenty of sex addicts walking the streets today who will never admit their problem. We've at least made it to step 1.
So, cheers to you all! And thanks S. ... for singing my song. I needed to hear it today, to bring it out in the light.
On Saturday morning , when I was hell bent on acting out again, I opted not to fight against anything ... I simply thought, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen. If it's not meant to happen, it won't. I just took it that simply. And, as it turned out, I got sick, and it didn't happen.
I remember a time in my active addiction when I was set to meet up with a guy that I saw pretty regularly, it turned out that he (in addition to being as big an addict as me) had a pretty bad cold. I struggled pretty seriously I remember, thinking "I'm going to get sick if I meet this guy and not only am I going to get sick, I'm going to take my sickness home. " I remember driving to meet the guy, yelling at myself, "What are you doing? Do you not have any more self control than this?" I remember that the struggle was intense in my mind, not only because the guy was sick, but because he had already proven himself to be a tremendous con artist and user. And I STILL acted out with the guy that day (and others to follow). My husband ended up being sick for close to a month ... not to mention me. It was miserable. I wonder what would have happened if I had just become calm and let go of the struggle?
During the times that I think of how powerful my addiction is, and especially how powerful it was when I let it run free, my mind always goes back to this incident. I can still feel the sickness. It was miserable, and miserable to see my husband suffering through it and to know that it came into our house because I was willing to use and be used by a man who didn't give a shit about either of us.
For those of you who have not subscribed to the Hazelden "Gift of the Day" list, this one was perfect for me. To read, "Would you put a friend through that?" That was perfect.
Today's thought is:
Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.--Eleanor Roosevelt
In recovery, perhaps first we make peace with ourselves, and not until later do we become our own friends. We have been at war with ourselves and in turmoil with our families, even while feeling like victims. This program lays out Twelve Steps we can follow to become friends with ourselves. In recovery we may still feel self-hate when we constantly monitor our every action, when we react to our mistakes by berating ourselves, and when we dwell on past offenses. Would we put a friend through that?
True friends will accept you as you are.They don't put you down or call you derogatory names. They'll give you honest feedback and won't put on a false front. They'll support you when you're in trouble. Being our own friend means doing these things for ourselves. Perhaps we can even embrace and be kind to the part of ourselves that is addicted and codependent.
Today, I will be a friend to my whole self -- even the parts of me I have rejected.
Monday, April 11, 2005
There’s a difference in living your fate and living your destiny. On the train of life, destiny is the engine and fate is the caboose that is dragged along. One leads, one follows. Destiny is what happens when you follow your instincts. Fate is what happens when you have to live with the question of what would have happened if I had listened to my inner voice? Walk on this Earth with courage, because if you don’t, someone will have to lead you.
So, the first question is ... are you living your fate or your destiny at this point?
I think because I am early in recovery and still trying to find my way that I may still be living my fate. My goal is to live my destiny. I think I do my best to listen to my inner voice, it's just that sometimes the voices are too intertwined. The other day I had to pray ... "God, I can't hear what you are saying here. You're going to have to straighten this out." Then only one voice came through.
Second, Myss says, "One of our greatest fears may be the reality of being empowered."
What would empowerment look like in your life, and what about that empowerment scares you most?
Empowerment in my life would be a self-assured person, clear on the direction I am going, fully present in my life. I would be able to live my life based on my principles, and be clear on what my principles and values were. Basically, empowerment would be living my life for me and by me.
What scares me most? That's a lot of responsibility. It is hard work living like that, without an escape, being held accountable. It's easier to just run away and hide. But that has gotten me no where.
Third, how does fear feed your addict?
Fear of being alone feeds my addict in a significant way. Fear of accepting myself as I am may mean that others don't accept me and I'm still afraid of that.
Lastly, what would you do if there were no fear?
Fear is both good and bad. If there were no fear I might get pretty cocky, release my need for others and for my HP. That would be detrimental. However, fear also stops me from making the needed choices in my life. If I were dreaming ... and there were no fear, I'd quit my job, go to Arkansas for a few months, do research for the book I want to write based on the mountain people there, then go and live in India for a few more months and write the book, as well as write a few short stories from there. I'd have complete faith that when I finished that project I would have a meaningful job when I returned to the U.S.
If there was no fear, I'd tell my husband everything and say I need you to be as honest with me about how you feel about staying in this marriage. Then I would have the courage to accept his answers and make the right choice.
If there was no fear, I'd take on the cause of mental health and the issue of sexual addiction in a grand scale way as a lobbyist and activist.
The truth is ... there is fear, but I don't have to let it rule my life. I just have to make the right choices, knowing that the wrong ones can have lifelong consequences.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Before I met my husband 10 years ago, I was living very much the life that I have lived over the past year in my active addiction -- unaware that it was an addiction to sex and love at work. Being with him and married to him has kept my addict at bay for a few years ... and then suddenly he wasn't enough, and there was a fear that our marriage would be lost to his inability to be present with me and provide me with the love and affection I needed. Whether I realized it or not ... my codependence on him coaxed my addiction to the surface, giving me an "out," an escape. I said to myself ... you can make it work if you are not too needy, you can make it work if you get your needs met elsewhere and just bring what you have to offer home. You can have everything you need. But then what I found was ... where I was searching, in empty sexual relationships with men who cared nothing about me was that I got nothing close to what I needed. I was torn further apart. Filled with less and needing more.
I have a chance to live a more clear life because of the me that recovery is revealing. I never again want to make my decisions based on fear of being alone, weak and unprepared, but rather with complete consciousness and assurance that I took advantage of every opportunity there was to receive the blessings of love and hope that have been waiting for me all along. The day will come when I can actually ask for what I need and not feel selfish. That is the healthy life I desire.
I also realized there are people in the world who are suffering through REAL problems -- bankruptcy, divorce, problems with their kids. I got it easy. It should be easy for me to forego a horny urge to get laid.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
For those of you who think I'm a drunk ... no ... I'm a sex and love addict and sobriety means I'm not fucking around with some guy who I'm not married to -- read all my early posts if you really want to know more.
The weather was so beautiful yesterday and rather than enjoy the gift of the beauty of spring, my addict came into full swing, sabotaging any thought of that. I was already feeling very "vulnerable" -- doesn't seem like the right word considering my state of mind -- and then I got an e-mail invite from a former DOC to hook up Friday night and if not then Sunday. That didn't help much, but I managed to hit delete. But the joys of spring must have had him by the .. ahem .. oh sorry .. I meant, heart as well. Because on my drive home, the phone rang ... the number showing up "unavailable." Because I get work related calls all the time that show up that way, I answered ... to a bright, cheery, fully engaged voice on the other end ... and man, did it feel good. I'm not going to lie for a second. There's no reason to lie. I can pretend and say phrases and tell myself you're worth more than this and all kinds of stuff, but guys none of it matters to me right now. Long story short about the phone call ... I talked, but didn't make any plans, although I didn't stick to any hard line like "I'm in recovery and I won't see you," either. He was clear that if I were not driving to meet my husband to go to dinner with friends there would have been nothing to stop me.
Making plans is on my bottom lines ... once I tell someone, yeah, I'll see you on such and such day, there's no going back. And even though I have made no verbal commitment in my mind, I know that in my heart I have already made a commitment to be open to the idea of making something happen on Sunday. I'm already making plans to "prepare" for something tomorrow. All of these things are dangerous, very dangerous for me. I'm less than a breath of throwing everything away ...
For a long time I have not "wanted" to do this ... I have just resisted little temptations. Now there's nothing I want more. I want that buzz, that high, that thrill. I can visualize and feel the smile on my face. It's not about the sex for me ... it's about the moment ... living in that fun, carefree moment, where nothing else in the world matters.
I've written to my support group, begrudgingly. I don't want anyone to talk me out of this. And frankly, I don't think anyone can talk me out of it. But, what I am doing is having faith that despite my best and worst efforts, God will handle this for me -- someway, somehow. As the song goes ... sex is natural, sex is good ... I know feeling sexual is not wrong. So, I'm going to let those feelings go ... knowing I am powerless over them, and trust God to take care of the rest. He's got the road map and the more I try to control, the more I'm going to mess it up.
Sometimes I feel awkward because none of the men I want to sleep with really mean much to me. It's not that they are worthless creatures, it's just that it's understood that we are using one another. None of us are looking for love. That's so different than many of you here ... who got tied up in addictive relationships with people who you care about. Perhaps I'm more of a sexual compulsive than a sex and love addict. What do you think?
Sunday, March 27, 2005
I visited the Murrah Building memorial last year in OKC and was moved deeply. It's amazing how they have put the whole thing together, a true rememberance of the terror the day's events and the lives that were lost.
My visit to the memorial was actually only a short time before I attended my first f2f SLAA meeting. I was feeling like my life was in shambles -- maybe because my insides were. But as I went through the memorial, heard the sounds, felt the commotion, then heard the stories of aftermath -- what it meant to the city, to the country, to the world, and then more closely to the families whose loved ones lost their lives -- I cried and shook inside. I remember it took me a long time to settle down after we left. It wasn't that I was still crying, but I was still feeling, still shaking, still shocked.
And what I think now as I look back on those feelings I know they hit deeper -- to feelings that my insides -- my heart and soul, my mind -- feel like they have been bombed, blown to pieces, and so much has been left in the wake. I feel empty and hollow, love is only able to pass in and out. There are survivors of me, people who have loved me, who still love me, who mourn the loss of my spirit and soul and wonder if I'll ever be rebuilt. Friends who have been neglected, a husband who can only do his best, and a family that both scares me and makes me sad. I wonder if I ever will be rebuilt. There are glimpses of reconstruction, but the foundation is being laid very slowly.
I can't help but imagine the grassy outer area of the memorial, where the copper covered seats line up row after row, facing the clock that marks the time of the attack. I've been trying to think of what those represent in this analogy to me. And I think it is that only one of those seats belongs to me. I am not alone. Through this program, we all come together for strength and hope, and rebuilding.
And, together, lined up row after row, we represent a beautiful image of peace and serenity, a memorial and testament to all that has been given, all that has been taken and all that has been left behind.
Thank you to every addict who walks with me. Today, I do not feel alone.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
I am now four months sober of sex outside my marriage, if you discount a slip I had back about this time in February. So, technically, I'm only one month sober -- but I'm trying to be clear about how far I have come.
G. the guy I slipped with, has not returned calls or e-mails -- so I'm assuming I pissed him off. That's good -- one less thing to worry about.
I met in NYC last weekend -- a week ago ... wow, it seems like years ... with a group of my online support buddies. It was a wonderful, amazing experience. We had an actual "meeting," complete with the steps and a prayer at the end, right there ... with the world going on around us. I think one thing may have been the place. In NY you can be invisible.
I have no feelings about the letter from my stepdad. I guess those will come. I expected he would write me and say most of the things he said. I didn't expect how I would react.
To answer your question, yes, I was sick for a long time then.
I did love you, I still do love you.
It was not your fault. It was mine.
The good Lord forgave me for all of my sins. I wish you could too.
I am all right now, except for being toothless, going bald, going blind and all of my other troubles.
I probably have less than five more years to live (with my emphysema), so please let me live the rest of it in peace.
I have thought about just leaving it all behind and disappearing for good.
S. (my niece who will soon be three years old, who is often in the care of my dad and his current wife) is going to live a good peaceful life, without anyone bothering her, or I will get up from my grave and do some rear-end kicking.
Friday, March 25, 2005
As for my biological father, I also wrote him a letter. I mailed it late last year. In it, I said, as a child I spent many years hating you ... mainly for how you treated my mother and abandoned her and she didn't deserve that. As an adult, I can tell you that if you need forgiveness, you have mine. My biological father and mother married when they were 17 and 15. They grew up in a tiny, tiny town and were basically forced together by their parents. He went into the military and they traveled around the country from Army base to Army base ... my three siblings were born and then they returned to settle not far from where they grew up. He went to work as a cross-country truck driver and was on the road most of the time. He soon met another woman and began spending part of his time with her. After a while that time became more and more until he left my mother with three young children and no education. His family and my mom's family helped some, but they were all poor. My brother went to work at 14 years old to help pay the rent. When my sister was a teenager she began to act out -- sleeping with boys, staying out late, these things. He told my mother, "She wouldn't do these things if she lived in my house." So my mother said, "Come take her to your house then." So, he came to our hometown to pick up my sister. That night in a moment of weakness he and my mother had sex. I am the product of that encounter. A pure unwanted, unneeded imposition, resulting from weakness.
Before my father returned to this other woman the next day, my sister decided she didn't want to go live with him. So, my brother said, "I want to go." My biological father's response was "You can't come, because Frances (his girlfriend) doesn't know about you. She didn't know I had kids until I was forced to tell her about Debbie (my sister) because she was going to come live with me."
I only heard this part of the story four years ago. I always thought I was the only one who was ever rejected. It was very humbling to know that we were all rejected.
Anyway, so the letter I sent to him just said -- it's clear that you loved this woman you left my mother and your family for. You are still with her after all these years. I understand how things happened and I no longer hate you.
At the bottom I wrote ... you don't need to acknowledge this letter, I wrote it for me. He never responded.
Back in December, before the new year started, I wrote a letter to my stepfather telling him how f*cked up my life is, how depression and overwhelming feelings have rendered me almost helpless – unable to work, unable to function. (I didn’t say anything about the addiction.) I told him that I had finally reached this stage because I had come to grips with the fact that the secrets of his abuse I had kept all these years were killing me. “I pay the price every day. My husband pays the price every day,” I wrote. Now, it is time for you to pay the price and face this – Why did you do this to me? I told him that I had no grand scheme to start telling the world, but that I was now saying the truth out loud, and that if there was ever any indication that he was abusing his granddaughter the way he abused me, I would make sure he lived the rest of his life in shame.
I have carried this letter around with me … in my purse since then. I shared it with my counselor and with my husband. They both encouraged me to send it. My husband said, “Why should you be the only one to suffer?” I told him then that I for some reason still felt the need to protect my father (sorry … I never call him my stepfather, he raised me from 9 months – it’s hard for me to get in that mode.). I was afraid of hurting him. I know that this is more about my obsessing need to ignore myself and look out for someone else’s feelings. But, the reality was, I was afraid of hurting him – this man who has so selfishly hurt me, stolen my innocence, and asked me to kill myself by hiding all the hurt inside.
I mailed the letter on Sunday. I was cleaning out my purse, and there it was. I took it out of the tattered envelope, put it in a new one, addressed it, and put it with a stack of bills to be mailed. Later, as I dropped it in the mailbox, a minor fear struck me. I thought to myself, “You can never get it back.” Other than that, on the surface I have felt pretty casual about mailing the letter – like it was time, and I did it. But these fleeting moments of desperation about other things – things like what I talked to my friend about yesterday – tell me that there are things that lie beneath.
On Monday, almost without prompting, it suddenly occurred to me that the three most defining points of my life came together on a single day in 2003. It was the day of my mother’s funeral, I was 25. My biological father, who I had never seen, and to this day has never acknowledged me as his own, came, passed by the family, touched my hand, and never knew he was touching the hand of his daughter. He even came to the cemetery and I had to “protect” myself from being near him. I remember saying to my cousin, “Please if you see him coming near me, save me.” I hated him for coming to the funeral. As if 17 years of marriage gave him any right to show up on the most traumatic day of my life, and pay his respects to a woman he had shown such utter disrespect for in the past. Little did I know that the day would only get worse. Later that night, after the family had cleared out of the house and I was alone with my father, he called me into the bedroom like he had done so many times before when I was a child. He began to talk to me about his sexual relationship with my mother, and then began to talk to me about a prostate surgery he had had a few years back, and then asked if I would like to see the scar. I said no … still the scared child couldn’t scream. He pushed a bit further and said, “It’s not really wrong, you are not my real daughter.” It was then, for the first time, that all the hurt of my childhood came back to me. I just looked at him, tears in my eyes, and said, “Why are you doing this to me?” The only response I can remember was, “I never meant to hurt you.” And I remember him reaching for me and holding me like his child as I cried, and the child inside me felt good to be held by my father, the only father I ever had.
I read these things now and want to wretch. I am angrier with myself than anyone for being so weak, for being unable to see the truth. I never had a father who loved me and I never will. I was willing to run from a man who hurt me only by his absence in my life, and willing to take solace in the arms of a man who had done me so much harm by his own sick and pathetic weak presence in my life.
Still, this morning, as I started my morning prayers, I felt the disconnect that sometimes comes – the inability to feel that I am in communication with my higher power. Those are the times that I try hardest to reconnect, and finally after all the usual methods, I began to pray out loud, thanking God for “all that had been given, all that had been taken away and all that had been left behind.” I prayed some more asking for God’s will in my life today and then I said, “Lord, watch over me today …” and closed my eyes and said, “Momma please watch over Daddy, he will need you.”
I don’t understand why I care. This hurts me in a way that only nothingness can hurt.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have
become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.
And if I have prophecy and
know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove
mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And if I dole out all my
goods, and if I deliver my body that I may boast but have not love, nothing I am
Love is long suffering, love is kind, it is not
jealous, love does not boast, it is not inflated.
It is not discourteous, it is not selfish, it is not irritable, it does not enumerate the
evil. It does not rejoice over the wrong, but rejoices in the truth
It covers all things, it has faith for all things, it hopes in all things,
it endures in all things.
Love never falls in ruins; but whether prophecies,
they will be abolished; or tongues, they will cease; or knowledge, it will be
For we know in part and we prophecy in part.
But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be superseded.
When I was an infant, I spoke as an infant, I reckoned as an infant;
when I became [an adult], I abolished the things of the infant.
For now we see through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face.
Now I know in part, but then I shall
know as also I was fully known.
But now remains faith, hope,
love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
The most important part of this scripture to me is the last three verses. This again is my interpretation ... When we strip away all that we were and all that we are, when we stop seeing the world as a child, but rather as an adult, fully aware of our imperfections, accepting of them and allowing others to accept them as well, what is left is hope, faith, and love. The most important of these is love. Why? To me, hope and faith are ours alone. Love we can share with others, and it is the sharing of love that binds us together and sustains humanity.
You and I both, and maybe all S&L addicts, struggle with what exactly is this thing called love. I don't know the answer, but I don't know that I have to right now to continue on with life and continue to follow the inner voice that speaks to me. And I know I will never know it, until I commit myself fully to understanding myself and loving me. Once I love myself, put aside shame, blame, guilt and all those negative images I have of myself, I will know the answer to the question ... What is love? Then I will be able to share that love -- a true love with others.
This was my "Letting Go" meditation today. I thought it was pertinent and wanted to share it:
You Are Lovable
We go back ... and back ... and back ... through the layers of fear, shame, rage, hurt, and negative incantations until we discover the exhuberant, unencumbered, delightful, and lovable child that was, and still is, in us. From Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie
You are lovable. Yes, you.
Just because people haven't been there for you, just because certain people haven't been able to show love for you in ways that worked, just because relationships have failed or gone sour does not mean that you're unlovable.
You've had lessons to learn. Sometimes, those lessons have hurt.
Let go of the pain. Open your heart to love.
You are lovable.
You are loved.
Today, I will tell myself that I am lovable. I will do this until I believe it.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
We can either continue to hurt each other unintentionally, or we can just call this off all together.
Regardless of what we say, we want one thing (sole committment from one another) and do another.
When I fell rejected by you, I do my damndest to find some other means to feel accepted, or some way to mask the pain. When you feel rejected, you have your own way of dealing with it. Either way, it's all counterproductive to the reason we started this in the first place.
Blame is not going to fall on either side. I've made my mistakes and misjudgements, and you've made yours. In between, we've harmed what was something amazingly good.
I thought after we started "going on our way" that my way was going to be to give up chat and these sexual escapades all together. We'd had our fun and it was clearly over -- you'd moved on to more exciting things. Instead, in order to mask pain and what felt like rejection, I've found myself in a worse situation than I ever expected. I want desparately to hold on to you -- a place I never should have been, yet have no faith that you want me for anything more than a "stash." Thus, I seek out new people, people who keep you from mattering to me -- even people like the doctor, who simply convince me that nothing about this matters at all.
I know you won't respond to what I've said. ... but know that I'm sorry for hurting you, and for not being strong enough to handle things a little better. I have no interest in hurting you or fighting with you anymore. It's a waste of energy. We've spent our energy in good ways in the past. And for that I'm thankful. For what we are going through now ... I'm sorry.
And a month before on Oct. 1 --
(Yes, one day I'm going to hear your thoughts on all this ... )
I think this morning was great because, to me, it felt like what was happening really was an extension of our sharing. Your pleasure was constantly in my mind. I felt that everything I was doing with Terry was in some way giving you pleasure, and I certainly know that seeing you with Tammy, and knowing and hearing the pleasure she was feeling made me feel good that the guy I call my sexy lover was making another woman feel so good. And I heard you enjoying her sucking, I was so aroused, so thrilled. When Terry was moaning when he came, I was hoping you could hear him and got a thrill from knowing it was your woman that was making another man feel like that. When Tammy was moaning from your touch, your tongue, your cock ... I was thrilled beyond belief. When I joined Tammy in sucking your cock and your balls ... I can't tell you how turned on I was by the fact that I was taking part in something that I knew you'd fantasized about extensively and were finally getting. I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I hope that you can understand what I'm trying to say.
And one little thing that I wanted to tell you that drove me through the roof ... when Tammy and I were both sucking your cock and I went deep down on you and you said my name ... wow! I could have almost cum.
Funny how none of the above is what I sat down to write ...
What I sat down to write is that at some point when things settle down a bit, I'd like to talk to you about what's on your mind. Ever since I came back from vacation, you have been "different" with me ... more reserved is the only way I can describe it. It may be that you've had a horribly busy time at work. I certainly think that's the case this afternoon. But it's not this afternoon that I'm talking about ... it was earlier in the week, even when you were here. You seemed a bit like you wanted some distance. I just want to open up the door, if there's something we can discuss. The range of things that run through my mind as possibly being wrong run everywhere from you're really feeling a need to focus on work and think that I demand too much of your time in chat (which I do, and I'll understand if you say so. We could both use some time to focus on our work) ... to not just me, but all these horny girls after you are too much to keep up with while trying to maintain your sanity, to maybe you're feeling the need to be a little less exclusive. Maybe you enjoyed that "thrill of the chase" with Tammy and Jo while I was gone and are feeling a little smothered by how we've "defined" our relationship. Or maybe it's none of this ... I don't know. But you told me once that whatever is on our minds, whatever we are dealing with, we should be able to talk about it. And, I'd like to, when you get the time. At the same time, I want you to know without hesitation or worry, that I'm willing to give you some breathing room, a chance to explore if that's what you want, or even just a chance to work, if that's what you need. But I think what we have is special, and even if we have to take a break or simply "come up for air" ... I want you to continue to be a part of my life in some way. And I want you to feel free to tell me when something is on your mind. So, at some point, in your time ... let's talk.
and on Dec. 10, 2004
Hope that you are doing well and that your week has shaped up OK. Mine was long, but not too tedious. The weekend is here, so that's good, even if it is raining like crazy.
I wanted to write you a note and tell you that I've decided to take a brief break from "this" -- this meaning extramarital activities, online searches, all the stuff associated with that life. I think over the past few months, I've let it sap a lot from me, and I just need to step away and sort of take an inventory, so to speak of where I am in my life, and rejuvenate. Put my head on a little straighter.
I realize that you and I have just sort of started something, and haven't gotten to spend a lot of time together -- but I don't think it's fair to either of us to proceed half-heartedly. Rest assured, that this decision has nothing at all to do with my interest in you. Without a doubt, hands down, no-holds barred you are the most skilled lover I ever encountered and I have enjoyed immensely the time we have spent together both sexually and in conversation. I mean that truly.
Still I know that I am off-kilter, not prepared to give you what you need or want right now ... and I don't want to be that to anyone, especially not someone as giving as you are.
So, that said, I'll step away and see where the next step leads. I'm not saying goodbye -- although you may decide that's best for you -- I'm just saying for now I'm taking a break. Again, we'll see where the next step leads.
Thanks for everything. I hope you will understand.
and then on Dec. 16, 2004
Hope you are doing well, surviving the cold and the busy holiday season. On my end ... life is manageable, kinda.
I needed to write more to you about my "break," what brought it on, etc.
I really should have taken this break after my "disconnection" with J. My perception of the relationship I had with him, and the reality of what it was hurt me more than I probably still know. It was not that it hurt me so much that he didn't think of me in the way that I thought he did, but more that I allowed myself to be made such a fool of, and put my guard down that far. Also, that I was not more in control of my emotions -- knowing, going in, that this is just sex for fun, I fell for words and ignored actions.
But to be honest, J has only a little to do with this whole thing. Over the past few months, I became obsessed with sex, sexual pleasure, the pursuit of it. It was what my life revolved around. My work suffered, my self-esteem suffered, a lot suffered. To get a cheap thrill, I was paying a high price. Ironically, the reason I began pursuing an extramarital affair was because I felt a void of intimacy and closeness at home. What I ultimately ended up doing was using sex as a drug to "medicate" the feelings of loneliness and isolation. I came to the realization slowly that I had to stop that.
I wrongly started something with you, feeling insecure, untrusting and just plain numb. Pure fucking was fine ... 1. because it was so good and 2. because I thought, that's all there is anyway and 3. because beginning a relationship with you did "medicate" what ailed me. In the meantime, I was thinking, "This guy could have any woman he wanted. He's way too good for me. You're just available, he's available and you are hooking up." If I dig way down in my psychoanalytical mind (psycho being the key word there) ... I know that I also simply thought that we'd use each other and then you'd be gone, off to the next best thing. And I'd be in the same place ... Lonelier, more isolated, with a bigger void than ever.
I'm not trying to paint myself as a martyr here. I know full well that I have used men, including you, for my satisfaction -- ignoring whatever truths existed in order to pursue my own pleasure, momentary sense of connectedness. I am not proud of that fact, it gnaws at me every day. But I know that I need to break the cycle. I need to face myself instead of running away from the things that caused me to hurt in the first place. (That's a lot longer story that I won't subject you to.)
I know this must sound like total lunacy and I'm not sure why I felt I needed to write it to you. I think in one way it is a confession. In another it's an apology. In another it's a way of saying, you matter more than just walking away -- I felt I owed you some kind of, no matter how cryptic, explanation, but mainly an apology for drawing you into something where I knew there were questionable issues.
I am willing to be friends. But I'm also willing to say, I fucked up, I have some serious issues to work on, I'm sorry for all I did wrong, thank you for everything good that came out of the brief time we spent talking and together. Both are true.