Thursday, September 27, 2007

A month on the road

I have been away from home for most of the month of September and it feels good to finally be home.

A few things to note about the time I was away:

I saw R. when I went back home to visit my sick brother. The first day I arrived I went to his work and waited for him to come out to his car and then we talked easily, like old friends. I didn't get out of my car. As we said goodbye he said it was good to see me and that if I wanted to go to lunch while I was in town to call him. So, of course, I did a few days later. It was difficult to go through many of the same motions I had gone through before and it not be the same -- to pick him up from work, him get in the car -- not to kiss, hold hands, not to tell him I love him, not to worry about him pressuring me to leave my husband. We had a good conversation at lunch and it was between friends, which felt nice. He told me about his life with his wife and her family now. He also complained a bit about a few things, which reminded me of my gut feeling that even if I had left my husband for him, it would never have been enough to make him happy.

Before he got out of the car, he took my hand, which was attached like glue to the steering wheel and pulled it to his lap and said, "It was really great to see you. I miss you a lot." Then he hugged me and kissed my cheek, which by that point had a tear running down it. I just said, "Me too. I'll see you soon." I honestly don't think I will see him again, but it was the only thing I could say at the moment.

I felt a strange sense of closure after I had a good cry driving away. He has his life and I have mine. I saw my therapist while I was there as well and she said she thought it was good that we could see one another and simply say "I didn't use you and you didn't use me. We needed what we had, it is over." I agreed. And I agree that seeing her brought some closure to it as well.

Today's thought for today from Hazelden was:

Life has lessons to teach. We can remember them and share them with others, or we can forget them and have to learn them again.--Jan Pishok

What we are destined to learn in this life will keep presenting itself until "contact" has been made. Each experience is a minute part of the big picture that's unfolding. We will receive the information we need, again and again if necessary. Let's give up our fear about where we are going and how we'll get there. We are in caring, capable hands. We will get to the right destination on time.

In this program we are invited to share with others what our experiences have taught us. What better way to recall, and thus relearn, what we have been taught, than to tell another about it. Every Twelve Step program is specifically designed to simplify our lives. The Steps coach us through every situation, and they never shame us for needing reminders of our lessons.

I will help others through sharing my own experiences today. In the process, I'll recapture the essence of the lessons I have learned.

And to share some things life has taught me that have finally sunk in:

Over my years in recovery, it is the Fourth Step that I have needed the most time to work through. Up until entering SLAA, I had done everything I could to avoid looking at myself, my motives and what was really inside me. Now I was suppose to take an inventory of myself and be searching and fearless in my quest. Me? Fearless? That was a tough call. But one day at a time for a very long time, my Higher Power has lead me gently through this process. And like most things in recovery, discovering myself has been like unpeeling the layers of an onion. Some new realizations were revealed yesterday that I thought I would share here.

The trouble women often face relating to and enjoying the company of other women has often been a topic on this list as it speaks directly to the way we use sex and love to escape healthy, meaningful relationships with people of both genders. I read something yesterday morning that caused me to really give some serious thought to my own issues and the way I relate to members of the same gender. I was reading from a book about healing from childhood sexual abuse, which stated that while we don't always realize it, women often feel anger at their mothers first for not protecting them from their abusers. This makes it hard later in life for them to believe that women can be trusted. It makes it also difficult to respect women in ways that might otherwise be normal.

I have only in the past two to three years even been able to acknowledge that my mother knew I was being abused. She was someone I idolized, someone I felt loved me unconditionally. I have not wanted to let go of that idea. After all, men have disappointed me, abandoned me, used me, and I have returned that by doing what I can to disappoint, abandon and use them. But through it all, I always believed that my mother was my solid rock. And to some degree I still do believe that.

A few years ago as I struggled to maintain a relationship with my stepfather (my abuser), my huband said to me, "I see you constantly trying to create something that is not there, just for the fact that you want it." In other words, because I wanted to have a normal father-daughter relationship in my life, I was struggling to pretend that certain things that were false were actually true, and vice versa. My husband said he had observed this same behavior in me as I related to my younger sister, who was an addict and with whom I was very codependent.

So, now I sit and realize that I have also desparately hung on to this "ideal" relationship I had with my mother because I needed something to hold on to. It is one of the many things that my work through the Fourth Step has helped me to realize. Slowly I am discovering a life based in real truth, not the false truths my mind has created in order to survive.

I'm glad to be home, my dear readers. I hope you all are happy in your homes as well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back from PA

I'm back from a weekend trip to PA where hubby and I visited some old friends and enjoyed a nice getaway. I have gone back there numerous times since we moved away ... and this is the first time I felt relatively untriggered by the lure of old haunts. It's true that many of the places we went or talked about conjured up images of my past addictive behaviors, but they didn't linger in my mind. They simply passed through.

It could be that I am finally moving on from all that started there or it could be that I've started other "memories" elsewhere. I don't know. But I was glad the sting was not as sharp and that we were able to have a good weekend together with friends.

Tonight is the first SLAA meeting of the group that I am helping to get started. I keep telling myself that I have been physically sober for awhile now and that everything will go OK. But I know honestly that I am not emotionally sober, and it is in desparation for full sobriety -- I want my life back -- that I start this meeting. I am reminded of the saying in program ... "We don't work the steps to get sober. We get sober so we can work the steps." God, help me.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Today, despite writing about letting go of the negative, the truth is I'm feeling down. I'm not sure what it is all about, but it is there. I committed to eating three meals a day today and no snacks and connected with two OA friends. I'm seeing a therapist now, once every two weeks. I posted to my online group this morning. So, I am doing some good things.
They are offset by the fact that I have an ongoing "thing" with a traveling man who is my area once a month or so. He's someone I don't want to let go. Nor do i want to let go of a couple of other people who are in my addictive circle. Still, I have let go of everyone else that I had "built up" in this last addictive rage, and am feeling empty, feeling the need to not be empty.
I read back over a post from a year ago and saw how desparate I was at this time. I was seeing R., had just lost his baby, was thinking of leaving my husband. Geeze, I wonder sometimes whose life this is anyway. People who know me in the "real" world would never, could never imagine this was my life. Just a few months prior to that I wrote about how my addict had awakened. It was just two days before I first spoke to R. It looks like I would have seen the railroad coming, but even today ... I still keep marching on, knowing the railroad is coming.

Letting go of the negative

God, help me let go of my need to stay immersed in negativity. I can change the energy in my environment and myself from negative to positive. I will affirm the good until it sinks in and feels real. I will also strive to find one quality that I like about someone else who's important to me, and I will take the risk of telling him or her that.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Today's reading from The Language of Letting Go is pertinent in my life because as an addict I tend to focus on the negatives in my life. I tend to find everything I did wrong, then focus on it and shame myself over it, procrastinate and put off my life and my recovery longer.

I have to confess honestly that sometimes I feel my recovery is taking too long, even think sometimes of just giving up the process of recovery. Then I'll think it's my fault it's going so slow, I'm the one who is screwing everything up, who keeps hanging on to the lure of the addiction. Why can't I just step out of the way and let HP take over? It must surely be easier than I am making it. That is all negative thinking that my addictive self, my diseased self uses to keep me locked in my disease.

Whether it is the wrong way I am working my recovery or the wrong way I am living my life ... if I am using the word "wrong" then I am not accepting myself, and I am not accepting that my HP has a plan for me, whether I understand it or not.

As the AA Big Book says, "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today." And what better way to accept life on life's terms, on my HP's terms, than to find the things in it for which I can be thankful and can admire. That simple shift in attitude can make all the difference.

That said, I'll transform a couple of negative into a few positives this morning:


My addiction leaves me feeling trapped, locked in its clutches and I feel powerless to move ahead with anything else in my life. It is stifling, like being locked in a cellar.


I am powerless which clears the way for a power far greater than I to have a role in my life and help me to experience life at a level which I could never have dreamed.

I have seen life at a depth that few people can comprehend; it gives me perspective that helps me to handle situations with a greater understanding. In other words, some things that cause others to freak out, don't even faze me. I can see them in perspective and realize they are passing issues.

My addiction is a manifestion of the pain I felt as a sexually abused child and recovering from this addiction is helping me to recover from the painful feelings I never allowed myself to feel.


My recovery is taking too long. I feel sometimes as if I am never going to get it right, that I might as well just give up, that I am one of those "unfortunates" that they talk about who is constitutionally incapable of being honest with myself. Either that, or I'm just too lazy and self-centered to do the work it takes to achieve success in this program.


I can share these feelings with others and know they have been there too and that they made it through and have seen the miracles of the program happen over and over again.

I can pray and feel that my HP is there if I just reach out and make "concious contact."

Nobody is asking for perfection but me, and I do achieve success in this program in little steps that I can be very grateful for one little day at at time. For example, already today, I made a list of things I am grateful for about my husband and our relationship and I took the risk of sharing it with him, then let go of the expectation. That is one little grain of success for today. If it's all I get, I still have done something positive, which is a step in the right direction.

One day at a time, one moment at a time, I recover. And I'm certainly grateful that something inside me drives me to keep coming back.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Carry on

Carry on ... that's the best we can do, I wrote on the blog of one of my longtime blogging buddies, Summer.

Hubby and I returned late last night from a long driving trip to the eastern part of the country. We saw old friends there and realized that we live a pretty good life compared to those who constantly feel they have to keep up with someone else in order to have any worth. We also talked about getting a dog. I'm excited about that.

Today I read a post on A Room of Mama's Own this afternoon that made me cry the kind of tears you cry when you see something that feels so familiar but you never thought anyone else could ever understand.

The lines between sex/love addiction and friendship blur for me so easily, leaving me feeling empty and confused. I eat chocolate cake and buy ice cream and say it's going to be the last time and then horde money for later adventures. I'll try to go to an OA meeting tonight. My first SLAA meeting is next week and I'm feeling inadequate to run it, but I'll do it anyway in hopes that someone more sober will show up to lead the next week's meeting.

I feel out of sorts, I don't know if it is lonely or tired that haunts me. Maybe both.