I hardly know where to start this morning. Nine whole months clean and sober. Life looks nothing like I would have imagined it a year ago.
I’m holding on by a thread today. The urge to crawl back in my tiny hole is so strong. Not because I want to get high but because there are a few situations in my life which are incredibly painful.
I hate this. I hate where I am at the moment. I hate me at the moment.
There are too many people who look at me like I am a total failure, like I am just trash to to throw away when times are hard. And it is so hard to hang on to God right now, so hard to remember that it is only his opinion which matters.
There are also plenty of people who know me and love me but sometimes it is really hard to remember that. I keep hearing about how awful I am, how mean I am, how worthless and useless and completely unwantable. My brain knows what’s up with it but my heart is broken and grieving.
Nine months of little miracles. Nine months of utter hell.
There are great benefits of getting sober. I stand up for myself now. Fear doesn’t grip me like it did. I have the courage to say what I need to day. I was so afraid of conflict before, too often I was controlled by that fear and didn’t deal with issues that needed addressed.
But there are significant trials and troubles too. Every single relationship in my life has changed. I’ve been most surprised by the push-back I’ve gotten from friends and family. One moment it’s “I support you” or “I’ll walk with you” and the next it’s “aren’t you afraid of getting addicted to the steps?” or “here, do you want red wine or white” or “your sponsor has turned you into a victim.”
Relationships change in sobriety. I’m not playing the role I used to. I’m learning to be me and to love me and to stand up for me. Not tolerating the old patterns that left me so grief worn and angst ridden and turning to dope and drink. But healthy me is not a wanted me. Sick M was the girl they loved. They don’t love M taking her medicine or taking responsibility but only taking responsibility for herself.
I used to be really good at being responsible for everyone and everything. It nearly killed me. Refusing to pick up someone else’s trash is new for me. Before I would keep picking it all up until my dumpsters were full and I couldn’t take another crumb. But I can’t be responsible for anyone’s problems but my own. And this has been an earth shattering shift for me. It has cost me everything.
Perhaps the most revealing thing is to see all the double standards that made my relationships “functional” before. And were truly crazy-making for me. I’m still a little bit insane, no doubt about it. Who wouldn’t be after decades of having people deny reality and shift all guilt and blame to their shoulders?
The shedding of my hyper-responsibility into something more reasonable and manageable has resulted in endless accusations of not owning my shit. But it isn’t my shit and I can see that now. It never was my shit. But the pattern was set decades ago that I would clean it up anyways.
I’ve had to face that this old pattern is based on a power-over dynamic. It hasn’t always been so. There was a while when my life and relationships were based on an absolute freedom and equality for everyone. But always it came about that I was put back in my place. I can accept being powerless but I cannot accept being used. And that is the dynamic that arises when one person accepts powerlessness and the other does not. I am powerless over people – but that does not mean they are allowed power over me. The correlation of me being powerless over people is that other people are also powerless over me.
The problem is I let my walls down. All of them. I let my boundaries be permeable and manipulated. I thought I was safe. I though I had a friend I could trust absolutely. And so I was totally vulnerable and honest in a way I haven’t been since I was fourteen. And I got a powerful lesson of exactly why I have been so carefully hard and invulnerable for so many years. Last summer I had a moat and fortress and missile defense system around my heart, more impenetrable than NORAD. But I believed him when he said he would walk this walk with me. I had trust and faith and radical vulnerability. I drained the moat and opened the doors and decommissioned the warheads.
I shouldn’t have done that. I knew my brain was not working well at the time, my ex-husband was ripping me apart. I was going through a brutal withdrawal. The friends and family I thought I could count on proved to be a source of testing and temptation. I was hurting and needy and foolish. So foolishly I trusted. And now I know better. Now I remember exactly why it was I turned to drugs in the first place. Why I hated God as much as I loved him and needed him. Why there is one relationship in my life I never could quite trust that God had a good plan for.
It is so hard to hang on to faith right now. I know it is unfair to blame God for a person being unkind. But that doesn’t help me feel any better right now. Right now I am in a place where I mistrust God. Right now I know exactly why it was I threw Jesus as far out of my life as I could. And why it was so hard for me to let him back in. Why I needed a hand to hold just to get through the doors of church again.
I can’t blame God and I can’t blame the person either. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect. No one is all good or all bad. I can’t blame myself either. I know, somehow, it is still in God’s hands. But right now it is really, really, really hard to believe that God loves me and and cares about me and wants a damn thing to do with me.
Grief is like that. It’s the ultimate in separation and separation is hell. Right now I think I’d rather just get burned alive. That is, effectively, what has happened. Being constantly shamed by someone you love is like endless flames. I wish he’s just hit me or forgive me. Either one would be kinder than this.
It seems so monstrously unfair right now. Why me, God? Why me? Haven’t I been through enough already? Is this some test to prove my endurance or check my commitment? I thought I really believed that God would not ever give me more than I could handle. And I have been through some dreadfully dark places. I have no illusions about a happy life. But right now, where is God when I need him?
I don’t expect a single person of my non-homegroup friends will show up to clap and cheer for me tonight. It would mean the world to me to feel supported and valued like that. But I know that I am not. I am too much a realist to feel special like that.
No, this is one thing that has not changed. The happiest, most beautiful moments of my life are the most lonely. No one will be there, least of all the person I love most. Yes, it is heartbreaking and deeply grieving. Someone I would do anything for won’t spend one hour for me. And that, too, is a power-over dynamic.
The truth is I don’t need power-with relationships. I need powerlessness-with relationships.
But, bottom line. I don’t have to use today. That is a miracle. I can make it 9 hours till my meeting. One damn second at a time if I have to.