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.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Glad to have you back and glad you got some closure with R. I'm going to mull your thoughts on relationships with our mothers affecting our relationships with women. I have only recently (in my late 30's) started building female friendships.

I have often felt more comfortable with men and suspicious of women. My dad was not physically or sexually abusive, but was verbally abusive -- and my mother wasn't able to protect herself or any of us from his rage. I'll have to think about that... Thanks for sharing.

Summer said...

Stopping by to say hello. I'm glad to read that you're steadily getting stronger.

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