Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Up and then down

That's the way the mood cycles seem to be going lately. It is hard sometimes not to want that reassurance of worthiness from someone else -- and to want to reach out in the wrong direction. But, I'll post some recovery writing I did this morning, while I was on one of the Ups of the cycle and then go get what I need to get done out in the world.

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Just about a month ago, at almost 40 years old, I met my biological father for the first time. He had left my mother almost 10 years before I was born, came back for a weekend reconciliation and I was conceived, though he never acknowledged the conception. (It took two people to make that mistake, by the way. I now know not to blame it all on him.) I actually was raised by another man, my stepfather, who in addition to molesting me, was extremely emotionally abusive and sometimes mildly physically abusive.

As I look back on my life, I see so many ways I have understandably tried to fill the need and want for a "real" father in my life. Every little girl wants a Daddy to be her hero and protector, right? I see how that child's search has played into my sex and love addiction. I have insisted on acting out with men at least a few years older than me and in some instances, old enough to be my father. I have sought out powerful, protective men (who also usually turned out to be controlling, but that's beside the point). All I ever wanted was a man to say he loved me and truly mean it -- for love not to mean sexual favors or submission to control, but to mean that I was cared for and that I mattered. (I bet you'd never guess that I never found that in any of my acting out partners.) And in all of this I have been scared to death of abandonment -- scared to the point that it has been very easy to push people away.

Looking at this through the eyes of an adult in recovery, not a helpless child, I know that all of the stuff in the first paragraph is on the men who brought me into the world and raised me. Everything in the second paragraph is on me. Although those men were woefully inadequate as parents and even spouses, in my estimation; they never had the benefit of recovery, they didn't have the best of upbringings themselves, and their judgments were impaired with addiction and ignorance. That doesn't excuse them and it doesn't excuse me. I was lead to recovery through my despair in acting out, and have the opportunity to end the cycle of addiction and ignorance in my own life.

For me, the true gift of recovery lies in unveiling the truth. My recovery is about me, no one else. The 4th step has been paramount in helping me unveil the ways I have kept myself tied to the people who hurt me through resentments, and how I have lived my life in fear (fear of failure, abandonment, and inadequacy -- messages I received as a child) and how that all has fed my need to run and hide in sex, love, food, codependence or any other thing I can find. Equipped with the truth, I have a whole lot less to turn over to my HP every day -- I'm turning over what is mine, and leaving what belongs to others to them. With faith in my Higher Power and a willingness to be honest and responsible, I can begin to clean up my side of the fence and healing and positive change continue to come one day at a time. Dishonesty, resentment and fear only stall me, and I'm not delusional enough to think I'll never get stalled. But I'm thankful that recovery is helping me see the
truth, which for me has become a guiding light.

2 comments:

bella said...

"For me, the true gift of recovery lies in unveiling the truth. My recovery is about me, no one else."

These words rang out to me.

Nichole said...

another instance of where I couldn't have said it better:

All I ever wanted was a man to say he loved me and truly mean it -- for love not to mean sexual favors or submission to control, but to mean that I was cared for and that I mattered. (I bet you'd never guess that I never found that in any of my acting out partners.) And in all of this I have been scared to death of abandonment -- scared to the point that it has been very easy to push people away.