Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Happy Tuesday

I'm back from the trip to Maine and have spent the day doing catch up chores and getting ready for my niece's visit, beginning tomorrow. It's good to be away from work. Being in the mountains and near the ocean was very relaxing this weekend as well and some quiet time with my husband was appreciated. I think we both were pretty present with one another -- he wasn't distracted by work, and me with all my 1 million distractions. That was nice. We had conversations about whether or not to make a move, based on a job offer he got last week from his former boss. We're inclined to go, and I'm feeling positive about making a break. However, a final decision will depend upon the answers to some questions we came up with for his former and potentially future boss.

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

A letter to an old friend

I'm glad you went to the doctor and are taking some medication that is helping you to feel better. Although I didn't face what you did, I have beens suffering pretty severely from depression for over a year now. It's been pretty tough on me. The feelings of loneliness and isolation have almost done me in. Like you, I'm on meds now, but because of the anti-seizure meds, I have to take a pretty low dosage of Prozac, which does the trick most days. Other days I simply have to live through it -- force myself to go to work, even if I don't get anything done; to try to remain present.
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


Some days I just don't know how I make it through the day. I just want to close myself off from the world and then all I want to do is find someone to hold me. I push everything away from me and then I need someone to hold me.
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

Life on the Road

After spending the first five hours of my workday stuck in the same spot in the middle of one of Pennsylvania's busiest interstates, I am finally at work. I left home at 6:30 a.m. and got to work at 11:50. You'd think I'd be pulling my hair out by now, but I'm not. I enjoyed sitting in the middle of highway where everything generally moves at 80 mph and feeling the quiet. I had some books in the car, including my Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps and Love is a Choice books. I also had my Writer magazine, and was prompted to write about my surroundings by an article I read in there. I enjoyed a conversation with an Asian truck driver who travels from Boston to the middle of PA each day and is on the road mainly 20 hours a day. My oldest brother was a long-haul trucker and I know the rough life these guys lead. I enjoyed watching three Hispanic truckers play a game with pennies, where they each took turns throwing the penny toward the median divider and whoever got closest to the edge collected all three pennies. Once you were out of pennies, you were out of the game. They laughed and cheered each other on. I laughed with them as they were playing just outside my car. I even contributed a penny to the game. They told me this was a game they used to play when they were kids. It made me feel good, and I think set the tone for my own mood, that they were not bitching and complaining about being on the road. They were just making the most of the time. I was very present during my whole time on the road. Even though as I woke up my head felt lost in circular thoughts, for five hours the world stopped and I enjoyed it. I'm thankful for that blessing.

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

I did ultimately end up sending an instant message to J. -- the guy who is on my bottom lines to never contact again, because if I contact him life will be over, and I'll go back into the disease in full force, blah, blah, blah.

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

OK... remember that nice e-mail you got this morning about me "taking care of myself" ... well, the reason I never say shit like that is because every time I do, it's like all forces that want to attack me come on at full force. They are mocking me ... "Do you really think you can actually do something right?"

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.

Which is:
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.

A mission in life

Last night during my face to face meeting, a guy who has been coming to the meetings about the same amount of time I have shared that during a recent visit to his therapist he talked about all his addictions -- sex/love, food, work, money. He told the therapist when he is finished dealing with the SLA, he'll start on the next thing. The therapist told him it would be more wise to look at the underlying solution to all the problems. That solution was .. "Take care of yourself."

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.