Saturday, June 13, 2009

Unscrupulous disease

The letters I have written to my stepfather are on my mind from time to time these days ... the words that are written there and the memories that are caught up in them. I wrote the letters to unleash the hooks of those memories, and have hopes that once he reads the words of the second letter, which ends with "These are my truths. Now we both know them." the betrayal bond will be broken. Of course, these are only my wishes -- my Higher Power may have other plans. We shall see.

This afternoon, however, I did have a bit of an epiphany as I thought of the words that I overheard my stepfather tell my mother one night when I was about 10 years old. He wanted her to have sex with him and she was resistant. He said, "You know if you don't give it to me, I'll go and get it from Rae. I already did once today." I heard those words in my mind many times until a couple of years ago I was forced to accept them as proof that my mother did know what was happening to me, but felt as powerless as I did to stop it.

As the words ran through my head this afternoon ... "If you don't give it to me ... I'll go and get it from Rae." I realized that this was just the mentality that kept me tied into the compulsive cycle of my addiction. I would seek a man's attention, acceptance and affection and take absolutely all that man had to give, and when he couldn't give any more, when he couldn't possibly fill the endless gaping hole inside me, I'd go after someone else. I kept multiple partners so that I never had to be without my "drug." When I would go from one man to another, driven by my own selfish cravings, I was essentially saying, "If you don't give me what I want ... I'll go and get it from some other source." Like my stepfather, I was saying ... "Do what you will, but I will not go without."

I've said it before ... the disease of sex and love addiction has no boundaries, has no scruples. It is willing to hurt and devastate anyone in its path -- whether my friend or a stranger -- in order to be fed and nurtured. It is selfish and without a conscience. Without my program, it runs my life and ruins the lives of the people around me.

For these reasons, I will keep coming back, seeking recovery and a daily reprieve from the unending need of my addict self.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Two letters

It's sometimes amazing how long it takes me to make it back here to write about what's going on in my world.

There has been a lot going on actually -- but I wanted to write today of some resolution to the "black cloud" that has been hanging over my head regarding whether to see my stepfather on Father's Day. We have not been communicating for some time and my life is pretty much more sane when it is that way. However, I also know that underneath I have a feeling of something unresolved between us and I have a fear that if I don't resolve it before he dies (which he's likely to do soon), I might be stuck in this limbo for the rest of my life. (As I write that I realize that there's an underlying need for surrender there.)

Anyway, in reaction to all this I have talked with my therapist and shared with program support people, and have been blessed with something beautiful. I was to have a letter to my stepfather drafted by last Wednesday outlining what happened to me as a child, the results of what happened, and what I was doing about it. I did everything under the sun to put it off, not necessarily conciously, but at least subconciously. Then when Tuesday came and I knew I had to write the letter, I started writing everything I remembered about my abuse in detail, but as I moved on to 'the results' portion of the letter, I kept zoning out and almost dozing off. (Traits of trying to slip away from reality for me.) I was so frustrated and I felt like I was babbling in my writing. Later that day, after sharing my frustrations over the letter with a friend in another fellowship, I got an e-mail from him with the outline of a letter that was the perfect precipice for writing all the words I needed to say. It was very simple, yet exactly what I wanted to say and couldn't find the words for. I was so grateful.

The next day when I met with the therapist, I read her both letters. When I read back the words of the letter I was so frustrated with, I saw that it made perfect sense and was filled with all the truths of what I had been through. Then when I read the more general letter that came as a result of my friend's assistance, it just seemed to bring everything together. My therapist suggested that if I do choose to see my stepfather on Father's Day -- which was a perfect reminder that the choice is mine and that it's OK to see him if I want to -- to give him both the letters as I leave and ask him to read them after I'm gone. Alternately, she said mailing the letters on Saturday, to arrive on Monday would be another option. She thought both letters were appropriate, because one was filled with the truths of what happened to me, and she thought that was important for him to read.

What I felt after finishing the letters was that what my stepfather needed and felt was irrelevant. These letters were for me. As I wrote to him, " It is not that I don’t care for you, but now I must care for myself. When I was small, I was powerless, but now I am taking back my power. I am working to heal my wounds through the help of a therapist and a network of support friends. I no longer keep what happened to me as a child a secret. The secret was the harm. And the truth has set me free. It has allowed me to recognize that forgiveness is not a gift I can give away. However, it is a gift I can give to myself, so that we both can be free. I pray for peace and love in both our hearts."

I do have some sense that he will get some closure as well from reading these letters. I know I certainly have felt a weight lifted in writing them. Once they are delivered, I hope that all fears of obligation to "act as if" nothing happened and everything is OK will be gone. If those fears do not disappear ... then I know I have more work to do.

For today, I'm grateful for the work that has been done.

Thanks for listening and being with me on this journey.