i need to process tonight. chew the meat, spit out the bones. no part of it might make sense to you, but it all fits together for me, anyway. i find that i’m writing more for me, like a journal, than for anyone else these days. i’m glad to offer what i have to you, but mostly i’m giving what i can to myself these days. feeding my own soul with my own hands.
seriously, only, like 7 people are reading my blog right now. i’m not on facebook, save for the five minutes i got on last week to sell something (actually, the big red furniture mentioned later) and thought, “no, no, no, this feels bad and i don’t want to be here and it’s wasting me, no, no, no”. i’m not doing anything to drive any traffic here. when i keep things right-sized, save for the 7 people who keep reading my words (thank you, by the way), i realize i can afford to just write without edit for me right now. forever, for now. hopefully.
i came home tonight and made an egg salad sandwich. i’m trying to be all paleo, no grains and all, but i just wanted an egg salad like my mom used to make so that’s what i did and i will make one for tomorrow’s lunch. the last thing my
fat extra-curvy but still-beautiful body needs right now is bread, even the gluten-free kind, but it’s what i wanted so it’s what i did.
i went to two meetings today, my regular morning one and what is becoming a semi-regular afternoon one.
i’m listening to prairie home companion from my kitchen, aired a few weeks ago, but originally broadcast in 1985 from the ryman. nashville is still my favorite place, or at least the next place i want to live.
“only buy what you need today, only get what you can afford,” i kept hearing myself say in my own voice in my own head at my whole foods, but not my normal whole foods. it was an encouraging voice, a kind one, one that spoke in fullness and not poverty. it felt good to hear myself say it to myself, to not spend money that i don’t have because i’m afraid of not having enough. i bought just what i need, and have plenty of raw to last the next few days because that’s only as long as raw really lasts.
tonight i sent a message to a new friend and said, “just want you to know you haven’t do anything wrong.” and then went on to say, as nicely as i could, that i needed him to leave me alone. basically. that’s not what i said, actually. but that’s how it feels now. he was understanding. in fact, he kinda acted like it was his idea. that’s fine. let it be. for me, i just needed to be honest and true to myself. the silent treatment isn’t very grown-up. for me, it’s fear. i can speak up for myself, and state what i need, ask for what i want. my therapist says i’m not responsible for someone else’s (lack of) boundaries, but i am very responsible for mine. it’s my duty to draw and maintain my boundaries. i am learning. my thought process in sending it to him was that i didn’t want to have to make an amends to him later for ignoring him, when all i really needed to do was be honest. i appreciate his kindness and understanding, and he really is a nice guy.
in light of this…
when my plane was descending into houston the other night, without meaning to, i suddenly started thinking about my next fourth step…and then my fifth and sixth and seventh steps. i dropped out of my program when i was right around steps 6 and 7, which means i’ve basically been living into my defects for the last few (or 5) years. i think i kind of did step 3 on my own last week, but i respect my sponsor and the program and myself enough not to jump ahead of her, and will wait until we meet this weekend to talk about step three, which is the step of surrender.
so, when i was about 18 minutes from hitting the ground, i started for no real good reason loosely examining my past relationships since the last time i did my fourth and fifth steps. for the first time, i became very, very honest with myself about my own part, which is what the fourth step is: with all the courage one can find, he or she takes a searching and fearless moral inventory of his or her self. this step kind of sucks, actually, but it’s a gift. the thing is, what i hope you can get, is that this isn’t god’s way of punishing or picking on us. if you do the steps in proper order, each one is another step toward freedom. and i want all the freedom that i can have. the first time i did my fourth and fifth steps (5 is to tell someone and god everything you wrote down on step 4, which is exactly as scary and exhilarating as it sounds), i covered every shameful, wrong or bad thing i had ever done, to the best of my memory, to that point. i think i talked about this here years ago. that was the first and last time i did a fourth and fifth step. i’ve had other relationships and hurt different friends since getting sober. there are two or three other categories you make in your fourth step, but honestly i can’t even remember what either of them are other than the sex/relationship one.
and this is the one i was thinking about when my plane was landing.
just because one stops drinking doesn’t stop one from acting badly. but that’s the gift of the sixth and seventh steps, which are the lists that come as a result of the fourth and fifth steps. because, the thing is, the behavior is just stupid shit that all alcoholics – all humans, really – do. the reason why we do these things is because of our character defects, and that’s the thing we want to address in doing all of this. we want to be free from our past and our secrets, but we ultimately want freedom from the things – in my case, lots and lots of fear, mostly – that makes us do the stupid things that we do or have done.
read up on all of that if you want to, what happened to me in seat 1A is that i suddenly was struck by my own victimization, codependency and just plain wrong thinking. i didn’t let myself get stuck on all of this, though, because a.) i wasn’t physically set-up to deal with it in the moment; b.) i’m not on these steps yet, and trust my sponsor to help determine my best course of action, as laid out by the steps that are already in the right order for good reasons; and, c.) i was about to see the cutest nephew and niece in all the land, and just didn’t want anything in the world to take away from me seeing and spending time with them, and it didn’t. once i landed, other than not being able to exit properly from bush international, i was not distracted by one single thing while there. i was fully present the whole time i was there, and loved every moment.
it didn’t suck to look at myself. it was good to finally get that honest. i’m pretty self-aware, and only become moreso. it’s not like i was surprised, but it was always easier to point the finger than to stand in front of the mirror and take a good, long, hard look at myself. at any given point, i have known these things were true of myself without actually owning my part -that is, my actions- as a result of these things -that is, my defects- being true of myself. does that make sense? so i wasn’t thinking all these thoughts for the first time, just took the glasses off so i could see them all more clearly. i was finally taking ownership for my own part in each of these very similar exact same relationships. this isn’t to say that i was the only one to blame or at fault, but i wasn’t considering at all their part, just my own -only my own- this time, for the first time. it was right and good, and will be a good set-up for these steps to take place as they’re supposed to over the next few weeks or months. takes as long as it takes. i’ll be ready and prepared for taking whatever action my sponsor suggests, with god’s help. and i know that i will experience a new freedom and a new happiness as a result.
it feels really good to be back in a recovery program, y’all. i wish everyone could have one, but that would mean you’d have to have a reason to find one, and i wouldn’t wish that part on anyone.
there was one relationship i’ve been talking about it in therapy this summer as i’ve finally thawed out from that thing that happened and then unhappened. in fact, i don’t mind telling you…but kind of i do mind, and this might be another one of those posts that i post and then hide because i’m not ready to share it yet…i’m doing a therapy intensive tomorrow called EMDR. have you heard of it? i can’t even tell you what it is, to be honest with you. i’m just doing what i’m told and going with it.
i just let out a big sigh.
that’s why all of this. i knew it at the beginning of this post, but needed to get it all out in order to get here. to actually know, or to see if anything else came up as i peel away the layers of my anxiety onion. the egg salad sandwich, and the nerves today, and the two meetings, and the other store, not mine…as angsty as i am, i guess it’s also a signal that this is a really good thing i’m going to do for myself. i don’t really even know what EMDR is, but i’ve had enough inner healing intensives to trust my therapist that this will be, hopefully, a final step toward freedom from the trauma of that thing that happened and then unhappened, but for the grace of god. it’s why i was on edge today, because i know tomorrow will be great and hard. i know god will use it to make me more free, but i will have to go back to that place and i am terrified now to relive it. i know i will be safe tomorrow when all of this goes down, and it’s probably a good thing for me to recognize that this is all what i’m feeling right now, but i will likely be on edge until i get there tomorrow afternoon.
and i sense the spirit saying, “beloved, it’s okay. i love you. you are safe. i was with you then, i am with you now, and i will carry you through this tomorrow.”
last wednesday morning, i dropped my mom off at the airport and then went about my regular wednesday, which has been my longest day this summer. i see my wellness coach right after work, who then teaches the yoga class i asked him to start, and then head to therapy. had i not taken my mom to the airport, i would have started my day with my morning meeting. (my meetings were my mom’s favorite part of her visit, by the way.) there really wasn’t much to unpack with my therapist from my mom’s visit. we really had a special time, which i know is in large part due to the gifts of recovery and only by the grace of god, which is only to say i can’t do anything at all on my own without his help or surrendering to my need of him and i’m tired of trying to do it all on my own.
so i didn’t have much to share with her, not really. but because i’m only as sick as my secrets and in the interest of full disclosure, i told her how when it came close to my mom coming, i went out and bought living room furniture on credit because at the time i didn’t have two nickels to rub together. since i moved into my very cute apartment last summer, i had been babysitting some friends’ couches, and the arrangement was that they would get their couches back when they got married, which was earlier this summer. i was fine to live without living room furniture for a while, but wanted my mom to, you know, have a place to sit while i was laid up in the bed after my procedure, which i was for not much time at all.
so i bought couches.
they are huge, too huge, and 100% leather and very nice and comfortable and red. when i saw them at first, i loved them but left the store thinking i had no business being in there and move on, sister.
later i thought to myself, “next time, just pretend like the building is on fire and just RUN”.
so i did, i moved on.
and then i went back.
and i got a deal that really wasn’t a deal for me, though i’m sure it would have been a deal for someone. the best deal i could have made would have been to JUST SAY NO.
in fact, at the time, i wasn’t sure if it was nerves or god who said, “don’t do it”. i heard it, but i chalked it up to nerves and did it, anyway.
this happened ten days or so before my mom came. it is reasonable that i would need and it is fine that i would have furniture, i just didn’t have any business buying any at the time.
because when my mom came and we went antiquing the day after my procedure, we both immediately flipped out over an english antique love-seat that was just meant to be mine, and at an affordable price.
we went back about 3 other times after that to look at it, but because i had this ginormous, beautiful, new set in my living room, we couldn’t justify buying it.
finally, the last time we went to look at it, before we got there, i said out loud to god and my mom, “lord, i’m sorry. i repent. i messed up. i know you’re not mad at me, but i know i heard you tell me not to buy that ginormous furniture, and i did it anyway and i’m sorry, lord. pleeeeaaaase have mercyyyyy on meeeee.” and i heard the father’s laughter in my heart, saying, “beloved, i’m not mad at you, and i’m going to sell that furniture for you. it just complicated things that you didn’t wait, but i’m going to take care of it for you. i knew that this was the piece i wanted you to have all along. if you had waited just two weeks, we wouldn’t be in this situation. but, don’t worry. i’ve got it covered.” and i know that he does. in fact, when we went back in there, we made a layaway arrangement because i know i’ll sell this ginormous red furniture at some point.
and you know what else? we became friends, of course, with the owner of the shop and in one split second when i turned my head, i thought, “i wonder if she needs help in here…” and as soon as i turned around, she said, “would you want to come help me in here?”
but here’s the gift of the situation, and what my therapist made sure i knew when i was telling it to her. because i’m keeping myself right-sized these days, and living from a place of worthiness, i didn’t beat myself up over the couch-thing, and haven’t. it’s a mistake that a lot of people make, and it’s not a big deal that i made it, too. i know god is going to help me take care of it, both in selling these gigantic couches and paying for them until i do. i know he’s not mad at me. he’s not thinking, “ugh! you doofus!” he’s delighting in me, even in this.
my therapist seemed to think this was a really big deal that these are my thoughts on the whole matter.
in fact, it is.
i know that it is.
i didn’t shame myself, or even guilt myself. it’s not something i have to keep secret. it’s just something that happened, and it’s just not a big deal. of course there are consequences because there always are, but it’s not because god is punishing me. it’s just because that’s the way that it is.
and that thing that happened and then unhappened?
it’s also something that just happened, and it’s not a big deal. yes, i’m still walking toward freedom from it, and pursuing further healing, and i do have to continue to be patient with myself. the goal, though, is that i would no longer continue repeating the same relationship mistakes again and again because GOOD GOD. but not because of them anymore, but because of me. i’m the common denominator in each of those relationships. the other goal? that i can forgive myself, accept all of my human-ness, let myself off the hook, take care of my business, and then move on.
in looking at who i was in each of those relationships, and in victimizing myself, i painted an unfair picture of each of them in my heart and mind. (by the way, in the 7 years and 8 months and some weeks and some days that i’ve been sober, i’ve had only a handful of relationships. i am speaking specifically of these in this post. these steps, however, also cover friendships or even acquaintances in which i allowed my disease, which is dominated entirely by fear, get in the way of how well i treated people.) it especially breaks my heart that i would paint them unfairly publicly because i was unwilling to fully admit my own wrongs. some, yes. a little bit, maybe. but not all, not fully. (because it has been said of me over and over and over again that i over-apologize for myself way too much, i again want to reiterate that i do not mean to suggest that they didn’t have a part, it’s just not my job to point it out and i’m sorry i did that. i’m sorry, too, that in pointing out their part i absolved myself from fully examining my own.) these guys were – are – just human beings, too. there was nothing wrong with them, or even me. we both, for the time i dated each of them, were just trying to figure it out together and do right by each other and it just didn’t work out because sometimes it just doesn’t work out. and that’s what happens and it’s not a big deal. not every boyfriend is meant to be the one, and everyone until the one is going to become an ex sooner or later. for the first time, i have more compassion on them and on me and i’m sorry i wasn’t working my program in a healthier way or that i didn’t hold them up better in the light of god, as his children. i made them look bad by presenting my pain while i was pretending to no longer be bitter. i know better than to build resentments or create a case for myself. while i’m fully owning my part in my notebook and in my crooked little perfect heart, i wouldn’t be protecting myself to share any of that here. but when the time comes, when my sponsor and i get to those steps, i will be ready and i will so happily and willingly reach out to make whatever amends are mine to make.
egg salad, big red couches, therapy…all of it goes together somehow.
gotta run. i’m chairing my meeting in the morning and need to go to bed.