Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Meanwhile back on the farm

One thing I have gotten really good at after moving back to my home state is doing my daily meditation and prayer in the morning. I go outside on the porch with two books -- one is a 12-step Prayer Book, given to me by one of the members of my PA f2f group, the other is "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beatie. I spend some quiet time with my HP and then read a prayer and think through it, then read a meditation and think through it. This time in the morning is very centering for me.
Anyway, this morning's meditation from the Language of Letting Go was about being a victim. And while I can't remember exactly what the meditation said ... what it brought up for me was that for a long time after entering recovery I added my addiction to a long list of things I had been victimized by. I was powerless over my addiction, so I must be its victim. What I realized this morning is ... I'm not a victim of my addict. My addict has served me well in times when I didn't have the capacity to deal with emotions and feelings that were overwhelming. It helped me to escape when I was so unhealthy that I didn't know I was escaping. But today it is my addiction that is forcing much needed change in my life, making me stronger, making me more aware of my life and how to deal with it. The only time I become a victim to my addict is when I use it for unhealthy purposes, when I continue to use it to escape my real life, even though I am gaining the skills needed to face whatever life has to hand me. When I say that I am limited in my ability to interact with others because I am an addict, I am MAKING myself a victim of my addict. Instead I need to say, "Because I have lived in active addiction, isolation and unhealthy relationships are the only way I know how to live. In recovery, I have the opportunity to learn new ways to interact with others. I have the chance to learn what it feels like to be healthy." If I choose to continue to isolate myself and blame it on the addiction, then I am submitting to being victimized by my addict.
It took me a long time just to quit living like an active addict day to day. Through the grace of my HP and the support of this program, I stopped that behavior. But stopping the behavior is really only the first step. Changing the way I live is what recovery is about for me. Changing the way I live, erases my role as a victim. I have no intention of living any of my life as a victim.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Consequences of a lifetime of not being present

Yesterday afternoon I came in from doing a million errands to find my husband working on reconciling the checkbook after several months. As soon as I walked in, I could tell he was mad about something. He doesn't have to say a word, I can sense it. He had discovered that there were some withdrawals I made but never wrote down, as well as some checks from another checkbook that I keep in my purse that I never recorded. Understandably he was upset. It wasn't that we were overdrawn, but as he said, "This is no way to keep a checkbook."

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."