Friday, June 20, 2008

Anger right in the face

(Warning: This post contains information that could be triggering to sex addicts, pedophiles and incest victims.)

In EMDR yesterday I had ideations of kicking my stepfather in the face as he knelt between my legs, then kicking his shoulder until he fell backwards, then standing over him and kicking in his chest, his face and placing my heel squarely in the jaw -- all the while making it clear to him that I was NOT enjoying what he was doing to me.

For the purpose of repairing extreme emotional damage, the therapist and I were revisiting an incident in which my father was performing felatio on me in my parents' bedroom, a common location for my abuse scenarios. I don't remember how old I was, but it must have been somewhere between 10-12. I know this because I remember that my stepfather became more aggressive in what he would do to me as I got older. I'm not sure I've ever shared, but one of the reasons I got the courage to tell him to stop when I was 13 was because he had already experimented with putting his penis partially inside me. If he ever went all the way, I've blocked that out completely. However, I was scared to death that he was going to try to become completely sexual with me and I could not bear the thought.

But back to this particular incident. In the midst of his experimentation with my young, innocent body he asked me if what he was doing was feeling good. I told him without emotion the absolute truth. "No." The truth was I wasn't feeling anything. I was just laying there dissociated hoping it would all be over soon. But then he asked me a question that has terrorized me ever since. He asked, "Then why are you breathing so hard?" Oh my God, was I doing something to indicate that I liked what he was doing? Was it possible that I was enjoying it? I was beside myself with shame. Again, I blocked myself quickly from the pain of those emotions but they make me shudder even today.

Thus came yesterday's violent ideations of not only making it clear I was not enjoying myself, but putting him in a vulnerable, helpless situation and asking him, "Does that feel good?" What a miserable piece of sick shit this man was.

It is so difficult to be reliving all of this 30 years later, to be trying to reclaim innocence lost, after giving so much of my innocence away. I sobbed last night in pain. I cried earlier in the day thinking of the fifth characteristic of a sex and love addict: "We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone." I feel so empty, so incomplete, so irrevocably damaged.

My stepfather was a sex addict too. He also felt empty and incomplete when he was alone. And he used me to medicate that. I have used husbands that weren't mine. I wonder if he also thought, "As long as no one knows, no damage done." If he did, he was under the delusion of his disease, just as I have been under the delusion of mine.

I don't know what else to say. I am empty and I am praying for God's guidance and fulfillment today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

If ain't one thing, it's another ...

... as the hillbillies used to say back home.

My food is so completely out of control. I am powerless over my compulsive eating right now. I know, know, know I am not powerless over my choices, but I am really in a bad place when it comes to food.

I had begun attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings more than a year ago. I even had a sponsor for a short while. However, when my sex addiction issues started going haywire, I had to focus on the disease that was killing me the fastest.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am very slowly killing myself with food. For the past 48 hours, I have eaten nothing but sugar, fat, carbs, milk products. It's just gross to even think of all that has gone into my poor body. And this is simply a continuation of behavior that I've been engaged in for months with sugar and carbs. Right now I am powerless over $1 item menus in fast food drive thrus.

I went to an Al-Anon meeting today at which a woman shared whatever our "substance" we turn to for comfort becomes our Higher Power. That must surely mean that God is nowhere to be found in my life, because he's being gobbled up in junk.

I know the message is that I have to get back into OA, start working the steps with a sponsor and really commit to getting truly sober in SLAA and abstinent in OA. I'll be perfectly honest, I'm scared shitless if I start to work my OA program, my sex addiction issues will rise again and I'll feel out of control in that area of my life.

I know that there is a power greater than me who can restore me to sanity, and I stand at the turning point, am I willing to turn my will and my WHOLE life over to God as I understand God. All I can say today, is God please help me find the courage and willingness to do what it takes to regain my sanity.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I love you still

Answers in the Heart, June 15

“The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Victor Frank

There are days in recovery when life in recovery seems like a bad play we are unable to walk out on. It would be wonderful, if after we’d bottomed out, we started recovery and made nothing but progress for the rest of our lives. Recovery, however, isn’t like that. It’s a day at a time, a step at a time, a problem at a time. We struggle sometimes with no idea of where we’re going. We discover that our brothers and sisters in recovery are fallible, just as we are. Sometimes we want to throw up our hands and say “Is this what recovery is like?”

The answer is yes and no. To modify our unrealistic expectations, change our attitudes, and work humbly on our character defects teaches us how to live life beyond powerlessness. Yes, we will sometimes run out of patience with the process of recovery. But we can never go back to how we lived before; we know too much. We can feel the feelings, yes, but despair and give up for good? Never.

If today is a difficult day, I will still be hopeful. I’ll act as if and have faith that things will get better.


Fifteen years ago today, I got a call from my stepfather saying my mother had had a heart attack and was not expected to live. I rushed with my sister and niece to make the two hour trip to reach her, praying for the chance to make it there, and for her to live. But during our trip, she died and there was no chance to say goodbye. My mother had been my safe haven, that source of love I never had to doubt. I thought I would die from the sadness I felt.

As today’s reading promises, every year my sadness has lessened, my acceptance and understanding has grown, and things have become better. Back then, I could never have said that my mother died so that I could have the chance to begin the healing process from my childhood sexual abuse. Back then I would never have admitted that my mother knew about that abuse and was emotionally incapable of doing anything to stop it. Back then, I simply could not have admitted that my mother was anything but perfect.

Today, because she often told me, “You have to work out your own salvation,” I am in recovery and I am able to say that in dying my mother was saved from the 25 years of abuse she herself endured from my stepfather and she allowed me to begin my own unraveling from a lifetime of lies.

I still miss you, Momma, but I am thankful that I know you in a whole new way, as you are, not as I imagined you to be. You can rest easy that I love you just the same, which gives me hope that I too can be loved, flaws and all. Thank you for the lessons you continue to share even in death.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Letting go of a lie

I've written here several times about E. He's one of the first people I did write about. He was the person I first acted out physically with in my marriage. I got an e-mail from him yesterday with the subject line "Long time." Thankfully, it had been a long time since I had reached out to him, seeking the validation of a man who only chose to hurt me, defile me, use and abuse me. I have reached the point that I am finally ready to let go of the lie that held me captive in his disease and mine.

I don't have any desire to have any attachment to E. for any reason. I am completely ready to let him go. I realized this morning that because of him I was propelled so much farther into my addiction than I might have ever gone. Shame and a desire to correct the past (please love me, don't hurt me, see the good in me, don't use me -- that's what I was hoping I could change) kept me going back to him again and again, finding the same abusive bastard, but hoping like a naive little girl that I could fix it. When I couldn't find it in him I kept searching and searching, looking for someone, anyone to fill that emptiness inside. I can be thankful that God put the obstacles of sex addiction in my life so that I could grow and overcome all the sickness that lies inside me, so that the little girl could grow up and learn that I don't need another's acceptance to be lovable.

When I met him, E. represented the acceptance and loving kindness I had always wanted from an intelligent, successful, passionate man. Over time, he also represented my stepfather's emotionally distant, conniving, abusive self. I wanted him to want to talk with me and to enjoy our conversations, to see my worth as a human being, to feel my genuine feelings for him, to enjoy my company, and return to me love and acceptance... but instead he performed vile acts on me, played dirty mind control games with me, bruised and defiled me, and then would make up lies and say he had to be somewhere when it was time to share conversation as two intelligent professionals, involved in successful pursuits of our careers. He really only wanted to use my body and feel the "high" of controlling my mind, something he was painfully good at.

In my disease, I became just like him in some ways ... I shut myself off emotionally, used men's bodies without caring anything about them or the damage that was being done. Even if they pretended or maybe genuinely did want love and acceptance and intellectual stimulation ... I never believed them. I just thought "ahh, cut the bullshit and let's get to it, I know what you are here for." I became disrespectful of boundaries and overt in my advances to the point that it made the other person feel uncomfortable. I guess in that way I was trying to please men by becoming what I thought they wanted, so they would want me, accept me, love me ... that never ending search for a loaf of bread at Home Depot. I had come to accept they didn't want a woman who had a mind or anything interesting to say. In my mind, and many times in theirs, that was all useless ... they just wanted someone who would give them what they wanted, and in my own way, that's all I wanted too. I wanted the impossible ... make me feel loved and important, take away my emptiness and loneliness, and do it all in a few stolen moments or a couple of hours in a cheap, dirty hotel room.

E. had his own demons, but I kept believing if I gave in, if I just kept going back, I could change him, his heart would soften and he would love me and care for me, and stop coming up with new ways to hurt and defile me in unimaginable ways. But each time I came back there was something worse, until there were things so disgusting and painful that I could not even bring myself to talk about them. But I got angry when I saw his e-mail yesterday. I got angry enough to get this man out of my life for good.

So, all the secrets, all the shame that only me and him shared, I spilled it all in a note to a trusted friend, breaking all bonds of secrecy and sickness. I was sick to write about it, sick to think of how disgusted the other person would feel, I didn't care ... I wrote it all, all the ugly disgusting vile truths of what I accepted as a substitute for love, honor and respect; all the anger, all the delusion drained out. I was so ready to be done with the hold this man had on me.

I prayed to God to help E., to save him from his demons, and to lift any remaining delusion I might have that he held some secret power to my happiness. I prayed hard and I continue to pray if he comes to my mind. This is a lie I am determined to be rid of, to let go of and to feel the lightness that comes from being free of the hold of my shame and guilt.

Oh great ... I'm coming back as a water buffalo

A few of my blogger friends have posted this book quiz on their blogs. So, here I am, following in their footsteps. I have to say ... the synopsis is pretty head on, although the questions needed some room for "none of the above."

You're The Things They Carried!

by Tim O'Brien

Harsh and bitter, you tell it like it is. This usually comes in short,
dramatic spurts of spilling your guts in various ways. You carry a heavy load, and this
has weighed you down with all the horrors that humanity has to offer. Having seen and
done a great deal that you aren't proud of, you have no choice but to walk forward,
trudging slowly through ongoing mud. In the next life, you will come back as a water

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's not time

I've been feeling some "pull" to send my stepfather a note for Father's Day. I sat down to pray about it this morning and the question I got back was "Are you doing this for him or you?" When I thought of sending a note that simply said "Thinking of you on Father's Day," I knew it was for him. But when I began to think of writing a card of gratitude, thanking him for being there on the day my mother died (June 15, 1994) and for showing up "in spite of the demons that lived inside." I thought the card would have been for me, from my heart.

I sat down and wrote the card a few minutes ago and I'm sick to my stomach. I wrote "It is the demons that have done the damage" and then sat there for a long time thinking of what to say next. Finally I wrote, "Thankfully we are all more than our demons."

As I reread the card, I am filled with resentment at every line. I know that I can't send it.

I am exhausted. My body tells me that today is not the day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A few musings

OK, first of all, I think it's important to say that I am feeling lonely, tired, and overall like I don't matter to anyone in the world. I know this is not true ... but that's what I am feeling at this moment on a Wednesday afternoon.

I'm also thinking about an AA speaker I was listening to this afternoon on CD who was talking about the 7th Tradition in its context to daily life. The 12 &12 teach us to be self-sufficient through our own contributions. I've spent the past year or so balking at that tradition. I had always said I would not be dependent on a man's financial support, the way my mother was ... and look what I attracted to myself: an unwillingness and inability to find work. Sure, I've gotten a few little jobs here and there, but nothing that can truly show I'm self-sufficient. Also, I have not been very sufficient around the house either. I feel a lot of shame around my lack of energy and motivation to do anything.

The good news is I'm sober and I made it to two extra meetings this week, and have the willingness to go back. More good news is I finally finished the work that I've been putting off for months and I have a list of other things that I want to get caught up on. I am accepting of the fact that I might not get it all done today, but some of it is manageable and I know how to prioritize.

The bad news is my dog keeps releasing her silent but deadly gas into the air and is making it difficult for me to breathe and type at the same time.

So, with that I'll close ...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My haunting little girl

WARNING: This post includes material that may be severely disturbing, particularly for victims of childhood sexual abuse.

Last year I went to a workshop in San Diego where we did some guided imagery meditation surrounding our inner child. I remember the person leading the meditation asking us to imagine our inner child and then reaching out to that child and hugging her. I brought to mind my little-girl self dressed in a faded purple yard sale dress with yellow and white stripes and white rounded collar, curly black hair and a white face sprinkled with a few genetic freckles. She looked at me with fear and distrust and when I reached out my arms to her, she ran to my mother and began to hug and play with her, laughing and enjoying the innocence of childhood.

I came to use the image of that mistrusting child as a tool to aid in my recovery. I wanted to earn back her trust, to show her that she didn't deserve to be used and abused the way she had been. I knew the reason she ran from me was because I had continued to hurt her with my acting out in my disease. I covered her up in mounds of added body weight and pounds of emotional burden.

In my most recent struggles, I lost sight of that little girl, forgot about her pain and my need to nurture and care for her. I haven't thought of her as I have begun the difficult task of reliving and feeling the emotions she never got to feel. I forgot that it was really her that was connecting me to those feelings and helping me to experience them now. Instead, I met a man last month and another this week while my husband was out of town... all in my weakness and unwillingness to walk through the fires of temptation.

I didn't think of her until I received a note from EC this morning saying he considered acting out in his alcohol addiction a slap in God's face. Then I remembered my little inner girl, the one who I promised to protect and take care of and not let her be hurt again. By acting out again, I had slapped her in the face, broken her heart, and came up empty, sad and alone, with nothing to show for the trip I took to the dark side. There is no way to explain such weakness to a fragile hurting child.

After my husband returned home last night there was a big blow up in which his anger raged over an incident that had happened while he was gone. When I picked him up, I had just left the motel where I had met another man, feeling empty and unfulfilled, wishing I'd felt what I went there to feel, but instead ... as my husband roared, I felt all the feelings of being a child again, being screamed at, hit with the thundering blow of words, and feeling scorned and stupid. I took the dog for a walk -- as she was a major source of his anger -- and with her I walked and cried and cried. I know it was that little girl inside me who was crying too.

I think now again of the imagery of what my acting out does to that little girl inside. I am letting her be violated by men who want to use her as a worthless piece of trash, call her dirty names, use her body for their pleasure, spill their semen into her mouth and her vagina, or all over her, then zip up their pants and go on as if nothing ever happened, as if she never existed or had any worth. I invite these men into my body and into my world to do these things to her.

And even as sick as those thoughts make me, I am reminded of how powerless I am over the disease of addiction, when I still entertain thoughts to do it all again later this month when yet another opportunity arises. Although the desire is lessening, and I can see that there is hardly any high in the acting out anymore, my horribly sick and disgusting addict still wants whatever it was it didn't get the last time. I see opportunity, like my stepfather saw opportunity when my mom went to the store and left me alone ... when he would call that little girl into his bedroom and violate and abuse her innocence, stealing from her piece by piece her dignity, self-respect and her very sense of being alive.

His sickneess killed a part of me, and mine is doing its damndest to kill the rest. It lives in that lost little girl's soul, which lives inside this big girl's mind, whispering in self-defeat ... "Daddy did it and Momma let it happen ... why shouldn't you?"

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I am the one

In the workshop I went to a few weekends ago, we did a meditation in which we stood facing east and meditated on the thought of all the women who had come before us in our families lined up behind our right shoulder, then all the men who had come before us on our left, and thought of parts of all of them coming into us, and then the leader asked us, "Will you be the one who breaks free from all the past hurt that was carried into your physical and spiritual being by these generations of people?"

For a long, long time we meditated on and breathed into the phrase "I am the one." It was so powerful.

And even though I don't have children, I feel my decision, and God's decision, for me not to have children, was about ending the cycle of incest and abuse and women laying down everything they are to give themselves away in every way to others. This is my way of being "the one." ... The cycle stops here. I am the one. No other child will have to carry all that I have carried into the world, nor the hurt that I have brought into and attracted into my own life in order to learn some incredibly dynamic lessons.

One of the greatest lessons I am learning now is that my Higher Power is real. There is something bigger than this disease of addiction, much bigger.

I have been struggling in a way I haven't struggled in a long, long time. The opposite of struggle is letting go and letting God ... but I have been resistant to that. I've wanted to fight and I've wanted my addict to win. I've been living the characteristic of sex and love addiction that says "Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time." Even after all God has given to me ... I was feeling the fear of being deprived for the rest of my life of certain things that don't exist within my marital relationship. And rather than having the patience for the willingess to break through my own fears of asking for what I need in my marital relationship and working to rebuild trust in that relationship, and having the patience to hear God's answer to my prayers, in fear, I decided I needed to take charge of my life again and get my needs met my way.

But God is allowing me to witness the miracle of my willingness changing, of my Higher Power at work, still with me, even when I jump ship and head off in my own direction. It's not that I haven't been in situations where my willingness changed, but I have never really stood outside myself and been witness to the internal shifts happening. Yesterday, after going through the motions of doing some recovery work, and literally ignoring a message from my Higher Power earlier in the day to simply ask him to take charge of my life just for that day, I was in the shower at the gym and I physically began to feel the shift of the willingness, and watched it blossom, until I was able to come home with full intention to cancel plans to act out today, only to find that the heart of the person I was set to act out with had also been changed. We both were relieved, and I was humbled.

I won't lie here and say that I'm clean and sober, but I know in a way I never knew before that God is with me. I want to be honest here, because I'm not honest with the recovery people in my life about my most recent transgressions, and that is because in taking on sponsees and doing service, I have developed an ego ... that I am important. But I am not. God is and it is only by his grace and love that I am alive today, that I didn't act out on a whole new low today (with someone nearly the age of my stepfather, which was sure to send me into flashbacks and a state of insanity that I might never return from), and that I have enough awareness left to see all this stuff in pure light.

My friend EC, who is the one person I feel like I can be honest with lately, reminded me again this morning, "God cares for you very much." It's amazing and incredibly humbling how much really.