Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In God's order

I had a meeting with my program sponsor yesterday to discuss my Step 4 (moral inventory) and our discussions caused me think of what life would have been like had I "told" (about my abuse) back then ... what if no one believed me, what if things went into chaos and my family was torn apart, even now I can't think of doing that to my mother and I can't imagine the effects it would have had on me.

I recalled with my sponsor that I did tell one of my cousins once while she was visiting at our house. And while no one ever said anything to me about it, my stepfather asked me a few days later, "You told Chrish what I was doing to you didn't you?" I lied and said I hadn't ... I was always taught to lie to stay out of trouble. I don't remember what he said exactly, but I know it was a rehash of the "you can't tell anyone, it will be bad, you'll be taken away from your family, we dont have to do this if you don't want to" speech.

I have a greater feeling than ever that life happens in the order it's supposed to for a reason. The abuse was one trauma, the deep-rooted effects and recovery from them is another. I don't think I could have began that second round any earlier than I did and lived to tell about it. Thank God for the passage of time, and love in my life that I don't have to question at all.

Robbed - The consequence

The three months I remained in my home state, before coming here to live with my husband again, I practically lived with R. I never felt at home in his place though. I felt held captive much of the time -- captive in the world of a man who was trying to change my mind. I awakened at 3 this morning remembering a time during that period when I really felt that I just wanted to be at my house alone. R. pitched a fit, declaring in the most disgusted and angry voice, coming from the depths of his insecurity, "When two people want to be together, they don't want to 'be alone.' They want to be together." I only had a twin bed in my house at the time, but somehow I acquiesced and said he could stay at my house with me. So he came and tried to lay with me in my twin bed. Feeling crowded and uncomfortable, neither of us could sleep. Eventually he went to the couch to sleep. I remember feeling so glad he left and at the same time thinking he was a hypocrite.

It's both difficult and reassuring to think back to that time in life. Difficult now to consider how I ever got myself so enmeshed with a raging, insecure man who screamed at me as he declared his love and reassuring that there was some semblance of sanity left in me ... enough to get out. I don't know how it feels to realize that I lived my overwhelming life with him, not just in those three months, but in the nine months preceding, while carrying on a whole other life ... or at least attempting to. I suppose it is the same as living with my active addiction and even recovery all these years. Yes, it's true, I do sometimes think that living in recovery is simply switching one parallel life for another. It's just that presumably with recovery I'll be able to become "whole." That is my goal because it sounds so close to "normal."

My abnormal life has robbed me of so much. I wasn't here with my husband during the time his mother passed away, because I was with R. It will take me a long time to forgive myself for that. The isolation of and obsession of my disease has kept me separated from friends and family for so long that relationships that once existed have died for lack of watering, or at best have faded away to nothing. I have replaced some friendships with recovery friends ... but that is a constant reminder of my situation. The colleagues at my jobs have suffered greatly at the expense of my disease and for the most part, lacks the scope of my "normal" friendships. Because I have been unable to remain present, apply myself, for at least four years, and it seems like much longer, I have been robbed of the benefit of a fulfilling work experience. But it's the little things -- the little conversations I could have had with my husband, the time I could have spent with a friend or family member ... especially during that brief time mentioned above, when I was in the south, and my husband was in the midwest. I think of a time when one of my dearest friends in the world was coming to the town where I lived, and he asked me to stay with him, and because R. pitched another of his fits, I declined. This was just after this friend had lost his mother and was going through a very emotional time. He not only needed me, I needed him. Another huge regret for me.

There have been therapists and others who say that I have "repressed anger" toward my stepfather for abusing me. The anger that I feel is that I ended up with this disease. I will be glad when the day comes when I reach the point to tell this disease to go fuck off, just like I did him when he came into my bedroom for the last time when I was 13. I lived the first hell of being molested for 10 years, and now I am reliving it. I pray it won't take 10 years to figure out I don't have to.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday morning reflections

This morning I was trying to remember something from the time in my life just before I discovered the Internet and uncovered my sexual addiction. It was the time right after my mother died, and I made the decision to move out on my own, separate from my roommates, who happened to be my niece and her husband. I remember almost every nook and cranny of the house I moved into -- the smells, the feel, the sounds, everything. I remember different acting out partners who I brought there, the first time I invited the man who is now my husband there and I remember how good it felt just to live alone there. But interestingly, I can't remember a thing about how I got my stuff there, or even how I got some of the stuff that went in there. I simply remember that I had to work hard to fight off depression when I first moved in and it wasn't long until sexual addiction became my way to do that. I was already escaping through work, spending more than I earned and eating, but that was no longer enough.

My mind is a parallel universe, that part of me that "disappears" when things get too difficult has saved my life. As an abused child, dissassociation took me away from the emotional and physical pain that my young body was not able to endure. Long term, however, that thing that helped me, has also has made wholeness feel nearly impossible. Isolation and fear are two of my biggest character defects ... one sends me running into that "other world" and the other keeps me there, nursing me like a comforting mother in ways I can neither remember nor forget. Duality is a life that recovery can repair. Thus, even though it is sometimes very hard for me to avoid slipping into that "invisible world," I keep coming back to grow, working the steps, working through resentments, discovering character defects, forgiving myself and others. I am one of the ones whose recovery is coming slowly. But it is coming, one day at a time. I can see it and I walk toward it ... even on the days when I veer off the path. I pray for courage to do the will of my Higher Power today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday check in

Thanks to all of you for your condolences regarding the loss of my brother and for your encouragement as I continue to work toward recovery.

Someone posted on an old post that it didn't seem like I was really in recovery and at times I think that's pretty accurate. They call it in the program, "playing around in recovery" and it seems to fit me at times. The honest truth is there is a part of me that wants to recover and another part that feels stuck in the idea that I don't know any other way to live.

A recovery friend noted the other day that it is very hard for her to handle emotions in their raw form. Having numbed them out with years of addiction to food and sex and love and codependency, the idea that I could take any of these emotions related to my brother's death, dealing with my family, meeting my father, being compassionate with my stepfather at a level in which I am really feeling the full effect of the emotions seems totally foreign to me.

I went to my SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meeting on Monday and I was the only one there, so I sat there and read from Answers from the Heart (the meditation book) and I read a story from my SLAA book. The story touched me as it was about the reconciliation of abuse and love. The woman who wrote it felt the most loved when she was in an abusive relationship. She had grown up in a home filled with abuse of all kinds and filled her adult life with the same kind of relationships. It was only after she entered recovery and began to eliminate abuse from her life. "SLAA and God can save me if I put them first before my sex drive and my need for love," she wrote. This has been my problem ... when my desire to have sex comes along, when my need to feel loved feels like it is ripping my heart out, I feel that I have no choice, but to act on it and seek to fill that which I need. It's not true, what recovery gives me is a choice, but I have make it.

I was particulary touched by these words in that story (pg 260 SLAA text), "I believe there exists a parallel world of the spirit, which contains all the experiences of my childhood and the active phase of my sex and love addiction. When I stay sober and fully experience the pain and joy of the present, I claim those experiences and grow towards becoming a whole person again. As I call upon God and SLAA for help, the power of the disease lessens and the reconciliation of love and abuse can take place. It takes place within me as I learn to accept and love myself."

It is my prayer that I be given the courage to make these transitions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Unclouded sky

"Oh they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise. Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day."

This song is in my head tonight as I think of how I have slipped into the darkness of my disease yet again. I saw the clouds coming ... and I'm not sure I did anything to stop them. Sometimes after all these times of failing, it feels almost useless to try again. When the cloud comes, just let it rain and let the cycle go, it all will pass just as it came.

My interview went well on Friday ... as well as it could for someone who wasted so much time focused on illness rather than success. I tried to focus on preparation ... and I did do some prepatory work, but not nearly as much as I might have. I would pray and ask God to please help me set aside my obsessions and focus on the work I needed to do, but I think the prayers never reached him. Because when I'm acting out, I can't reach my Higher Power. I know this ... But I'm still an addict.

I know I am subconciously trying to numb feelings, or rather do something to harm myself because I don't feel much of what I feel I should be feeling. Sexual highs make me "feel." This may all be psychobabble. I don't know. I don't really feel anything, so I don't know what to believe.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Try, then try again

I'm so thankful to the people who visit my blog and offer their support. They help me to realize there is hope. I always go and read their blogs and get some insight into what others are dealing with.

Sometimes when I think of myself as a recovering sex addict I wonder if I really am recovering. Some days it feels like the only way I can survive, the only way I can escape, the only way I can feel anything is to live in my addiction. I make progress in my recovery, but I never trust myself enough to believe that I really will ever be the sober person that I see so many recovering addicts become.

My brother in law, who was a raging alcoholic and smoker for years, once told me, "You can't just try to quit. You just have to quit." It seems so easy when said that way. Giving yourself no option.

As I have tried to prepare for an interview on Friday, I have needed to use the computer a lot. And when I am at the computer I feel the need to reach out to someone, to not be here alone. I know it is all my insecurities and fears that take me to that place. Yet, I can't seem to break free from my need to just connect to something that will give me that little kick. That's why I am thankful when I come and find nice comments on my blog. It reminds me that there are people out there who can give me positive reinforcement, help me feel better about myself, without me giving myself up sexually, and degrading myself in ways that most "normal" people would find unimaginable.

I spent all of last week with my family. I rarely had the chance to be on the computer. I fought off the compulsion to run away from all I was feeling, even though I didn't understand most of it. I still feel very overwhelmed with my feelings and unable to process them. I know that is why my disease is playing with me.

I think about my brother ... what a good person he was, what demons he faced. Yet he survived it all. I wonder how much he buried, what all he must have dealt with or never dealt with, that none of us ever saw. My family doesn't see the demons I battle. They just never hear from me and when they do I focus the entire conversation on them, pausing only to talk of me if I am forced and then only at the surface.

I want to spend some time here telling you about my brother. He went to work at 13 to help my mother pay the bills, because my biological father -- the man I met for the first time last week -- left behind his wife and three kids, only to come back one weekend and give her a fourth, me. My brother was too young to take on those responsibilities, but he did. He never finished high school, likely not even 10th grade. He drove a truck for most of his life and befriended every person he met and brought them home if he needed to. My sister in law told us that of the 23 years they were married, they had spent one night alone. Otherwise the house was filled with kids or family or some of the "strays" that he brought in to his house because there was no place else for them to live. I even lived with them for a while, which helped me get my feet on the ground, and gave me a sense of family when I moved away from my college friends who had been my only source of family for so long. And when my husband and I moved back to my home state in 2005, I began meeting my brother for breakfast every Thursday morning. We never talked about much of importance, but we sat down and had a meal together and enjoyed each other's company. I will always be thankful for that time. I'm thankful too for the time I got to spend with him just two weeks before he died, sitting by his side, nursing his wounds, and teasing him about the silly things he was saying as he got to point where he was "talking out of his head." And I'm thankful that he waited until I got there last Saturday to take his final breath. Rest in peace, my brother. You will always be loved.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Where do I start?

If it seemed I was overwhelmed in my last post ... here comes the gusher!

My oldest brother died last Saturday, I went to his funeral and met my biological father for the first time, and really sat with ALL my feelings surrounding the insanity and chaos that being with my family brings to me. I literally feel numb, as if I've been on a tornado and am just looking around to see what is left, not sure if I'm even alive.

I'm reaching out in my addictions some ... but not enough to worry me much at this point. My food I guess is something to be worried about ... but I don't know, I just don't think I can deal with it right now. My desire to find new partners is there and in fact I find myself spending time talking with a few people regularly ... in hopes of finding someone to give me love like R. did. I wonder how many times I have to be reminded of this pain, before I'll let it go. I did not contact R. this time when I went home to be with my family after my brother's death. I came close a couple of times, but I knew I wanted something he didn't have to offer.

I talked to a guy yesterday who helped me to really reach in and feel the hollowness inside me, the emptiness of living in this disconnected world, where I feel chaotic most all the time. The truth is I want to feel anything other than this emptiness. I feel like I need to decompress and I'm trying. I feel glued to my computer, wanting to reach out to something or someone to touch me. I have an interview at the end of the week and I'm trying to get ready for that, but having trouble focusing.

I wanted to write more here ... to go more in depth about my brother and about meeting my father and seeing my stepfather (my abuser) ... but I can't. I can't seem to get to those feelings right now. I want to ... but it feels like I just get disconnected. So, I'll go out for awhile and see if I can connect later.