Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drinking from a fire hose

Some days I feel as if I'm "stuck" and other days it's like drinking from a fire hose. The "awakenings" and realizations come so fast that I can't seem to process them fully.

Today, I am realizing that my prayers that my character defect of dishonesty be removed and replaced with transparency are being answered one day at a time. I have been avoiding contacting my sponsor and even though I didn't know why -- I was honest with her and told her what I knew -- that it wasn't personal, that I wasn't trying to hide anything, but it just seemed to be something I was avoiding.

I talked with my therapist about this avoidance today, along with some goals I have for working toward healthy sexuality and intimacy in my marriage. In our discussions, a pattern was uncovered. I feel comfortable with giving to others -- whether it is physically or emotionally -- but I feel very uncomfortable, and ill at ease in receiving nurturing, care and support. I don't feel comfortable with my body, and this aversion to contact with my sponsor tells me that I also don't feel comfortable with exposing my spirit either. I love talking with the women I sponsor and other recovery friends. I love rubbing my husband's back at night. But turn things around and I'm so ill at ease. I don't have the answer for how to resolve this yet, but I have faith that more will be revealed. I am feeling certain that this continues to center around my need to be "in control."

These realizations come on the heels of reading this profound statement in Maureen Canning's book, "Love, Anger, Lust": "In the childhood abuse, we sexually addicted people suffered, we were forced to disconnect from ourselves. It was the result of sacrificing our authentic emotions in order to serve our immature and needy caretakers. The characteristic perversion resulting from this disconnection is that sex addicts lose the ability to get pleasure from sexual activity, even as they declare their need for sexual pleasure. In fact, they don't know what sexual pleasure is. The abuse they suffered in childhood caused them to fuse fear, shame, lack of power and intensity with sexuality. Until addicts recover from this abuse, sexual motives will carry the rest of the painful bundle."

Something that came up for me after my session with my therapist is the realization that, while being molested as a child, sex felt like rejection to me. I was being violated because I was the "step" daughter. If I'd been "real" - I might have been good enough. I have spent my entire life feeling that sense of "not good enough." But this concept of sex feeling like rejection is new to me. It makes it more understandable that sexual intimacy with my husband has been so difficult through the years, while sex with strangers and men I've engaged in extramarital affairs with gave me a "high." Again, it goes back to control - I sought out those men, I pursued them and "caught" them. In a marriage, sex is not about control, but about sharing -- yet it has felt like something I was not allowed to say no to.

I recognize that some of these thoughts have still not gelled and may seem disconnected ... I am trying to get them out so I can look at them and process them. I do know that I could never get to this level of self-examination as long as I was acting out. Too much of my time and energy was spent focused on one person or the process of finding the next "high." I am grateful to have the clarity to seek these answers and to have these awarenesses. I am grateful to truly understand what it means to say ... "This program is about you."


vicariousrising said...

I love your analogy of drinking from a fire hose.

You've made some profound realizations. Woo - sex as power AND sex as rejection. That is a lot to carry around.

I have many personal intimacy issues too, and letting people help me certainly is one. One thing that's helped me is getting massages. It's a non-sexual, yet physical way to treat myself nicely. It's helped me out in the rest of the world with my personal space issues, which are loosely defined as stay well out of mine.

MargauxMeade said...

I also love the fire-hose analogy. And, again, you astound me with your very honest insights.

Anonymous said...

Once again, thank you for sharing. There is some great stuff here. Much of it is familiar.

Wendiloo said...

Thank you Rae for your blog. I'm in SLA recovery (6 weeks in, withdrawl sucks!) and found your blog very honest, insightful and courageous.

Mark said...

Hey Rae, I like your latest post. The whole control thing intrigues me. It is another big issue that my better half has. I am learning a lot from you. Thanks! :)

Eli said...

I'm really grateful for your honesty here, Rae. This is vital stuff, central to your healing and the health of your relationship with your husband. It's also always good for me to read of other women going through such similar feelings to my wife. The need to be in control, the difficulty with sharing and surrender - it's eerily similar.

Nichole said...

I've read your entire blog and the whole time I was waiting for you to make the connection with the control aspect. People that are sexually assaulted feel the need to take control of their sexual relationships. They seek out similar situations to try to prove that they can have control this time. But in the end they find themselves victimized over and over. Until we learn and accept that our victimization wasn't our fault and isn't something we could have changed or controlled, we will forever be attempting to right the wrongs.

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