Monday, April 26, 2010

step 5

spent saturday driving to the middle of absolute nowhere to meet my sponsor to give my step 5. we live about four hours away from each other, so we split the difference and met 1/2 way. we sat at a place called "the million dollar view" and it was beautiful. my family drove with me and sacrificed a lovely saturday trying to find something to do in the middle of nowhere. god bless them. we really had no idea it was so far from anything. they are good sports.

as i sat in her car, this woman who is committed to me, but nearly a stranger - i felt safe and assured that she was the right one to hear this. it is the fifth time i have done the fifth step. each time scraping away at the debris as i climb this spiral staircase known as the 12 steps. each time i pass by the familiar parts of my life - sometimes i have to face again the similar things because they still cause pain or i still have resentments. but surprisingly each time there are things that no longer push that button or pull that puppet string like they used to. and i am amazed. in awe of the process. things that used to baffle us....

it was a totally new process this time, really well done, charts based on the big book wording done in such an intuitive, nearly inspired way - i made connections this time through that i have never made before. it was a really good process.

i did have to face the crap from these past 2 years though and i did not like that one bit. face first in the refuse pile is not my favorite place to be. i had to admit my part in my community falling apart. i had to face my pain and resentments toward those who had hurt me so badly and i had to own my own desperate need for attention and approval and know that in these next few steps there will need to be amends made and character defects given to god.

it was grueling at times. face first. god help me. admitting my greatest character defect, my desperate need for approval and attention from spiritual men in authority (whatever the hell that means - and yes, i am untangling it) - mostly my dad - and the lack thereof has torn off a piece of my shielding and left me so vulnerable.

as i spoke with liam this week i acknowledged that there could not have been a more "perfect cocktail" prepared for me than the person i struggled with for the past two years. it truly has very little to do with him - but our velcro of needs pulled us together in a fearful way and it leaves me scared that it could happen again. we have not had any meaningful contact in ages. but the fear remains.

his wife means so much to me - she is in my recovery group and the hardest part of all of this has been my desire for absolution from her. i know this probably will fall into that place of 'more harm than good' - she is in great denial of this whole process. i am not the only woman her husband has sought out - this is far greater than just me - but for my part i truly want to look her in the eyes and apologize. having to admit that i wanted to "beat her" in the competition for his attention (to even the score on all of the great and wonderful things she has that i do not) was absolutely the lowest point in my recent history. i wanted to wretch when i had to first write it down, and again when i said it to god, again to myself, and thirdly to another human being... so i'm writing it here now too - hoping against hope that it will lessen it's shame as i truly don't know if i will ever be able to make direct amends.

i know that amends are 3 steps away - and wisdom and strength will be given when the time is needed, but today it still holds so much power over me, and i want it gone for today. i feel so weak, so needy and nearly desperate to fill myself back up. i am shaky, physically feeling wrung out and wanting to isolate myself in a deep way.

i have an hour or so left of reflection before i move on to step six. i will be spending time with god and the big book and looking back at the process and answering a few questions. my sponsor has also given me a mantra. 10x a day when i wake up and 10x a day before i go to sleep. it's only three lines - but i am having a horrible time remembering it. i can't even type it from memory right now - so i am searching for where i wrote it down.

found it...

i am capable
i am competent
and i am worthy.

couldn't remember competent. those words choke in my throat. i know that one day i might believe them. today i am turning them into an art piece to place next to my bed so i won't forget or have an excuse. i also found a sheet that has prayers for each step from an old OA newsletter. this is the one for step 5:

higher power,
my inventory has shown me who i am,
yet i ask for your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you.
assure me, and be with me, in this step, for without this step i cannot progress in my recovery.
with your help, i can do this and will do it. amen.

i am capable
i am competent
and i am worthy.

fake it till ya make it, eh? i can do this, and i will do this. amen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

laying it down

felt ever so much better after writing that last post. kind of like i didn't have to stress and carry it around afterward because i knew i could come back and read it if i needed to - thanks for helping me to carry the load.

just read this post by eli and it touches me so very deeply. as both a sexual abuse survivor and a sexual addict i feel their pain. it has been so difficult for liam and i to renegotiate intimacies since the memories started again. more clues, images and links.

a few months ago i found some of my mum's old papers as i have carried them over hill and dale for the past 20 years - thought i might start to sort them to see if any of it was worth keeping. started to read old letters from the end of her senior year in high school forward. they told of her attending college - not just working there - but actually attending and dropping out. WHAT? that was never part of the narrative before. shortly after she moved to the state she met my father in and they were married soon after and had me a year later. i so wonder if she got pregnant. it would be just like my family to keep this big of a secret. it might have just been finances and the shame of that kept her silent too - either way they both tie into what i am wondering through in my own story. money and sex and secrets... apple doesn't fall far from the tree i guess. am debating a phone call to my great aunt to pick her brain. it's been so long since we talked though that i don't know how it would be received...

see my therapist tomorrow. glad of that. feeling the need for some wisdom and a fresh perspective. he's always really good at that. it's like he takes the broken clay pot i show him and he turns it about 30* and says "have you ever seen it from this side?" and usually i am astounded at how differently things look in a new light. i really like that about him.

buck shared with me at bedtime last night that he stumbled on a website that had pictures he didn't want to see, but kept looking. we have had many talks about guarding your heart and building muscles within ourselves that help us to say no. i showed him google reader tonight and told him about how it helps me to keep from seeing images that i would struggle with. he knows in his 10 year old version that mom has struggles of her own. it means so much to me that he knows he's not going to get in trouble or shamed, but that talking about it strips it of it's secrecy and power - and that forgiveness is way better than secrets. love that boy so much. i can't imagine trying to grow up to be a man in this culture with free access to everything. god please help him.

Monday, April 12, 2010

highway robbery

i haven't been here in ages, hadn't really needed to i guess... should have probably come back about a month ago when the memories started surfacing. damn.

the first time i went looking for them. life wasn't making sense and i needed those puzzle pieces so that i could understand things that weren't working well, my body image, my sex life, my intimacy with liam. recovering that memory helped so much.

this time though things were really beautiful. the memories are interfering. i know that means i am ready, that i shouldn't be afraid - but i am - and they are making a mess of my emotions and sanity. i am still abstinent - but food too many times has looked like a solution. food was always my safety addiction so that i didn't mess with my sexual addiction. these memories are messing with my sex life, with my relationship with liam.

surrogate abuser crap is surfacing again and i hate it. he (liam) is gentle and understanding - he's never hurt me knowingly. he is kind and patient. when he was leaning over the fire the other night coaxing it to life again i had the impulse to beat him with the andirons. where the hell did that come from? i told him about it this morning before we made love. it had been weeks. i knew we both needed it, but i just wasn't able to find myself there in both body and spirit. it had been so good before the memories. damn.

i have always known that there were more. being orally raped in a bathroom doesn't explain the panic i have when i am trapped in covers or the way i spread my legs any time any male came near me (tickle fights as a kid were abruptly stopped by the guys when they realized things went from innocent playful to me being submissive). i connected those memories about two months ago. even casual make outs with boys in my teens years were awkwardly ended because i engaged sexually when they were not there - i scared them - and had no idea i had done it.

how does a young girl learn that spreading her legs is the go-to response when a male is near her? damn.

i have no active memories of any full-on rapes. they are currently blocked from my active memory. i do have a memory from my early childhood that plays like a freaky, twin peaks episode in my head. i am laying on a bed - probably six years old - and a seven year old playmate is on top of me, either truly having sex with me - or playing at it - and there is another playmate sitting on the floor - peeking over the edge of the bed - he is an albino boy, son of the friends of my parents - his name was charlie - and i am saying to him "it's okay charlie, we're married." his pink eyes and white hair have been seared into my memory bank.

that's all i have. other than the reoccurring nightmare of my childhood - where i am dorothy from the wizard of oz - and the tin man, lion and scarecrow begin as my friends and then they come at me, my feet trapped in cement and they smother me. i always woke up terrified, freezing and soaked in pee.

lately i have been having conversations around money and my inability to grow up around it. i have a lot of magical thinking around money. i realized that by not working outside the home for the past 14 years having to re-enter the work force has triggered some deep emotions. i am a professional organizer and am really good at it - and while people would want to pay me for my services i would never let them. it always made me feel uncomfortable. i'd rather "god take care of me" or have my dad rescue me with "gift" money - somehow none of that made me uncomfortable - but being paid made me feel dirty.

i was having a conversation about money with someone i deeply respect and i said something about my magical thinking around "god taking care of me" and he got a smirk on his face, a kind one - and i said "yes, i know i need to grow up with money" and he said "i would have never said that out loud, but since you did, yes, that is exactly what i was thinking". it was such a gracious conversation that it allowed me to begin to really think this all through.

i awoke in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago and i was wide awake and very peaceful. i usually would read with a book light until i was tired enough to fall back to sleep, or it was late (5:30 ish) enough to get out of bed - but i just sensed that i was supposed to get up. i went into the living room and stoked the fire and sat on the edge of the footstool and just said "okay god. i'm up. what? i need some clues here about why i can't seem to grow up around money" and it was like a curtain opened. it was there. i knew that i knew that i knew that somehow money was involved in the rapes. i was somehow paid, or hushed with money. and that was why it made me feel so dirty.

i just sat there and wept the most comforted tears. those kind of answers bring me so much healing. i hate that it's true. i hate that it happened. but now i know that i can begin to grow up. and the best part was knowing this time that it wasn't that bastard god who "ordained it" to happen. it was as if i knew that god was witness to the horror, and that he remembers even if i couldn't. and that he has carried them for me, grieving the whole time and waiting for me to be strong enough to carry them myself.

i hate that not only did this person (people) screw with my sex life and body image - but they also screwed with my livelihood and my ability to support myself. i am 44 years old and have never, ever been paid well for anything. i made a lot of money on ebay - but that wasn't for services - only goods. it has damaged me deeply and i am grieving the loss. my family has suffered greatly by having me be so immature and damaged with money. i know that i am stronger than this, and that i will grow up - but for today i am feeling robbed. stolen from - in so many ways. innocence, childhood, finances, intimacy, trust, fear, relationship - the locust have eaten and stripped bare so much of my past.

i know that one day i will not regret it - or wish to shut the door on it - so much of my pain has been redeemed by owning my story and telling it to others. this will be another chapter, but today i am grieving. keening, sitting shiva, and marking the grave.