Monday, April 18, 2005

My dirty mind

I have spent the better part of the morning either sleeping or in pretty deep despair. The cloud is slowly beginning to lift and I'm beginning to feel like more of a part of the universe.

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."

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