Full disclosure.

Old 10-01-2016, 10:40 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Thanks for your kind words, Deli, but you don't have to thank me or anyone else for what you're doing. Courage is courage, and whatever isn't courage isn't courage, whether acknowledged or not.

You have a very important story to tell, one that many people need to hear. That many of those who can benefit from it most will do nothing as a result is beside the point.

When I read about your interactions with your counselor, I knew immediately that you'd made some major strides in your work with her, and that you had clearly learned something important from your suffering. Even if it doesn't seem that way to you. Some people might be surprised to know that this is a very rare event.

It may be instructive to look at alcoholism, or the struggle to get sober, as a model. I don't care about the percentages of people with addictions who go ahead and seek help, those who actually get clean and sober, or the fact that very few people even try, but the numbers are striking. About 10% of those with chemical addictions of any kind seek help. The standard for long-term abstinence for all chemical addictions among those who do get help is usually placed at between ten and thirty percent. Based on personal and professional experience, I lean towards the lower end of this estimate.

Why is it that we haven't learned to stop killing ourselves and, in the process, making life miserable for the people we care about most? We all know the horrors of addiction, yet the numbers tell us, among much else, that few of us actually do anything about it, and very few of those who get help remain abstinent. And these data hold, across-the-board, among those who seek help for and eventually get to a better place with virtually all kinds of maladaptive behaviors. The human race is very big on promoting "wellness," but not so good when it comes to do anything about it.

Ya know, you're story, the way you're able to articulate your suffering, your extreme honesty in doing so, and what you're willing to put yourself through in order to get well, despite the absence of any guarantees, is truly exceptional. In the service of not wanting to put too much pressure on you, this doesn't mean that you won't stumble along the way, or that anyone will lose all sense of compassion by criticizing you if you do. After all, and as is true of too many of us, you've been taught that nothing you do is ever good enough, and that you'll face severe punishment if you don't do things perfectly well according to someone else's standards.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:02 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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.... and isn't that just it? Who can really recover from anything if they can't be honest with themselves or others about how they really feel. Or the things they've done. I am so sick of lying. I do feel like if I take a step back I have not only let myself down, but I've let my entire support system down. I think most of us feel that way. And so we stumble, and retreat in shame. Afraid to look honestly at what's going on and how we're feeling. Afraid that not adhering to perfect abstinence or behaviours will bring us to severe persecution or consequences. Afraid that real truth or tough love is going to literally kill us if we stop for one moment to consider it might be true.

I have to say, the past two days have stripped me bare. This morning, I am kid free, my ex took my dogs with him to the farm too to help with the racoon problem. There go my plans for a long walk with my dogs and podcasting. Who's to say I can't do it alone? I just don't want to. I don't want to be alone.
So, I cancelled my date tonight. Why date? I am in no shape to date. I went on a date because I wanted to feel some connection somewhere that had some innocence and honesty in it. I don't want to be alone. But I also don't want to be sitting there with not much more than a stranger with all my guts hanging out that I can't seem to stuff back inside me. I can't. Stop. Crying.
I cancelled my date with my friend tomorrow too. I won't cancel AA.

I have been pacing the house. Trying to focus on something. I WANT TO DRINK. All I seem to do is shake. This is the problem. Walking through the pain. I want a meeting. I want to not be alone. I want to NOT feel like this at all. I don't want to sit there and watch the hours go by going from one mindless task to the other obsessing about going to buy booze, what do I want to gorge myself on next, breaking my no-bars rule to go gamble (I self-banned myself from the casino-- even that makes me clench my fists)

I am running around in a panic. Trying to breathe.
This is what happens. Every single time I hit this point in working through my sh*t. I freak out. I hit the wall. Because what comes next? Hooooow do I sit here with all these questions and no answers?

Let's go over them:
I'm a disappointment.
I'm just tired, I need a nap.
I need to get over it, let it go.
Your truth is not true.
What you say is wrong.
What you feel is wrong.
What you do is wrong.
You are wrong.
You are not allowed a voice or an opinion.
You just imagined it.
You need to get your sh*t together.
Just stop doing XYZ
Don't tell mom about that abuse.
You don't have a leg to stand on.
That never happened.
Just stand up for yourself.
Put up or shut up.
Don't let them get you down, or take advantage of you.
Well, you put yourself in that situation.

Etc ad nauseum.

I know we ALL have stories full of pain. I really don't think mine is particularly special. I know I have tried MY WHOLE ADULT LIFE to fix whatever is wrong inside of me because all I know is that everything inside of me is wrong.
I went to any end I could think of to find an answer, some way of fixing whatever was wrong with me. I have gone to great lengths.

Of course, we find our escapes along the way.
I got lucky. I had a terrible, abusive boyfriend that I had two beautiful kids with who dragged me to a province I hated and didn't want to move to, isolated me from all my family and friends. BUT. There was help out here. It still took me 10 years and a very, very deep dip in the bottle to find the help I really needed but it was here. Out in the middle of nowhere. At no cost to me.

BUT. Every time I hit a "breakthrough" in therapy, I run. Up comes the wall. I get mad. This blubbering mess is even worse than anger because I JUST WANT IT TO STOP. I know I've posted about this somewhere before on here.

Being told, I have a right to be angry (well, no I've been told I don't and my feelings on everything are not valid). (I never went back to that counselor by the way)

Being told it was ok to cry. (No no no, go have a nap. Are you on your period?)

And well, all the other good stuff that I've started to fill the void with and slowly ripping off the rotted layers of my soul. I still see the good that people can find.

But right now I am stuck in a box. I feel trapped and panicked because all these things I have been running away from for 25 odd years are all catching up to me and I'm running out of room to run.

I can see a lot of good things they just seem really, really far away... and between me and that "stuff", that elusive feeling of freedom and unencumbered joy there is a huge chasm that I can't see the bottom of.

I feel like stripping away all the ugly would leave nothing left of me. And how do you cross the unknown?
Why is it that I have so many answers for everyone else yet I get so lost and stuck in the mire of my own life? I am not this person. Who am I?

Deep breath.
I think too much and I'm not good at expressing what I want to most of the time. Writing is a little easier than speaking. In fact expressing how I feel when talking is almost impossible to me.

There sure is a lot to be said about working sobriety and working towards recovery, that much I am starting to understand now is true.

The tragic irony of it all is it's so predictable. This path was laid out for me by my mother, who I know very little of. I've landed myself in the hospital many times thanks to suicide attempts almost always fueled by booze. My mother overdosed while she was drinking. It was deemed an accidental overdose. I was a year and a half old, alone in her care when she died. By all accounts I've followed in her footsteps in every way, good and bad. The only difference being I've got a decade on her 23 years on this earth and I've gotten 7 or 8 do overs to try and get this right.

I don't want this for my kids. I can see myself in my daughter already and that scares me.

Well the floodgates have been opened and there's no putting all those tears and emotions back in there. At least I've stopped crying and shaking and I'm breathing.

Now what?

I'm tapping my fingers trying to think of the lesser of all evils.
I keep telling myself I'm here. I'm showing up.
I get it, I get it.
I came. I came to. I came to believe.

I just want it. Now.

I am really, really tired of hurting. And hurting everyone else.
And this is what, 24 hours of real honest reflection?

Oh boy. I'm screwed.

I'm settling on a pack of smokes for now and a gingerale.
I have so much work to do. Besides this verbal gut retching I'm doing all over SR. Screw it. I'm going for smokes and for some fresh air.

I think I'm going to change my user name to, "writerofsmallnovels"
And if you made it this far, I owe you an award. <3
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:04 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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I submitted this at around the same time as your most recent post, so I'll mercilessly need to follow up.

You've made a point of talking about crying in your comments, Delizadee, as well as your own reactions to it.

To me, we cry for the same reasons that we cried as infants and children. We don't know what to do with the pain. In crying, we also signal to other people that we need help, which is not the same as accepting it. Two very different things. Almost anyone who is or has been a mother or "mothering one (MO)" (i.e, a surrogate caregiver/taker whether or not the biological mother is present or absent, or the biological mother herself), knows what it is to hear a baby crying. And then act accordingly. In the case of an indifferent or otherwise pathological MO, inaction, or worse, punishment reliably ensues. Knowledge is not always power. By the end of the 20th Century, one would hope that we came to learn the deleterious effects of always responding to the baby's cries by soothing the baby back to silence. But we go on doing what we've been doing anyway. In turn, by either excessive attention or excessive neglect, the child never, or never effectively, learns how to soothe itself when in distress. Donald Winnicott, a British pediatrician, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and sociologist, talked about "good enough mothering."

"What I like about Winnicott’s picture of the good enough mother is that she is a three-dimensional human being. She is a mother under pressure and strain. She is full of ambivalence about being a mother. She is both selfless and self-interested. She turns toward her child and turns away from him. She is capable of great dedication yet she is also prone to resentment. Winnicott even dares to say that the good enough mother loves her child but also has room to hate him. She is not boundless. She is real."

Many people, and especially people who've been abused, learn that crying is, at the very least, an inconvenience for their MOs. In extreme abusive mother-child relationships and, truly, in abusive relationships of any kind, it becomes increasingly dangerous to express even a hint of discomfort. We even learn to devalue ourselves as human beings in our crying. Or we cry or complain all the time, and devalue the power of our tears and the honesty of our suffering; another means of keeping at a distance people who might otherwise have helped us.

Virtually everyone needs to unlearn ways if thinking and behaviors from our earlier years, particularly those that later encourage destructive and self-destructive activity. But not everything. Some things we learned are more or less harmless or even adaptable, while others don't make all that much of a difference beyond irritating other people. But when our impulses and habits, our habitual way of being, lead us to destroying ourselves, to demeaning others in thought, word or deed, to make it a certainty that we'll live a life of regret and remorse, and/or reacting to the status quo as our singular, lifeless identity, then something different needs to be tried. And if that doesn't "work," something else needs to be tried, and then tried again, and then something else again.

With all our planning, with all our brainwashing about who and what we are, life only "makes sense" in retrospect, if one can call that making sense at all. I don't. To look at the underside of a tapestry doesn't give or take away sense, reason or value from the intended "finished product." It also works the other way around. One simply cannot be without the other.

We may imagine ourselves to be anything from rock stars, statesmen and women, changemakers, celebrities, peacemakers, to actors and actresses, medical and scientific geniuses, artists of every kind, and even heroes. Until we're not. Dreams don't come true on their own and, often, even when we work at them, many of us fall woefully short of our unrealistic expectations. "Is that all there is?" We never know where we're going until we get there, and we never know what it is that we can accomplish until we do it.

I don't care what you have or haven't done; I only care about what you're in the process of becoming. Sitting still or hoping for the best, or deciding that most everything in life "is what it is" and is not worth challenging, not worth our trouble, is nothing more or less than despair in all its whatever-the-opposite-of-courage is ingloriousness. Standing perfectly still with the expectation that you can't hit a stationary, isolated, or hidden target is only infinite regress personified. And is hopelessly without benefit to anyone.

To be human is to suffer. No sane person has ever attempted to challenge this, and no one has ever been fast enough to run away from this simple reality, though many of us have tried, and many will continue to do so. It's the process of working through our pain and misery that is the outcome. The process of working through and only sometimes learning something from our suffering, if at all, is what makes us who we are. The process itself can make us whole, not again, but for the very first time. Or at least as whole as nature and individual limitations will allow. The concept of "wholeness" itself inducing both dread and terror.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:30 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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I wish I could comfort the precious babe bereft without her mama.
Kindest thoughts to you, Delizadee.
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:22 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Delizadee View Post
But right now I am stuck in a box. I feel trapped and panicked because all these things I have been running away from for 25 odd years are all catching up to me and I'm running out of room to run.

I can see a lot of good things they just seem really, really far away... and between me and that "stuff", that elusive feeling of freedom and unencumbered joy there is a huge chasm that I can't see the bottom of.

I feel like stripping away all the ugly would leave nothing left of me. And how do you cross the unknown?
Why is it that I have so many answers for everyone else yet I get so lost and stuck in the mire of my own life? I am not this person. Who am I?
The thing of it is, you don't have to know. The need to know before we do anything of importance is an unfortunate hangover from Twentieth-Century thinking. It encourages a drive towards the normalization of all things, where explanations and descriptions of people and things replace knowing and believing. It encourages envy of a lethal caliber towards, and the ultimate dismissal of, excellence, and finally discourages the desire to explore and discover, and instead rewards "averageness" as a preemptive antidote for fear and doubt.

You're eighteen years old, and someone offers you a long but average life, with average highs and lows, average interpersonal experiences, and average rewards. Or, you can choose a life of unknown consequences, including your own longevity, with the likelihood of experiencing your greatest dreams and your worst nightmares in unequal measure. A life of unpredictable suffering. Which would you choose?

I would go as far as to argue that, with the kinds of things we're discussing, knowing adds nothing to the process and can, in fact, be harmful. The ability to predict is the Rosetta Stone in science, but does very little in terms of living a good life.

You're an atheist, a non-believer, or a person without faith. A worshipper at the altar of science, or just someone who relies primarily on common sense. Maybe you carry the misguided notion that science somehow "trumps" God, or even that science has sproven that God does not exist. It hasn't. It mostly doesn't care.

Or you're a God-fearing Christian, someone who invokes a Higher Power, or who believes that faith is much more powerful than anything that is knowable. All of the squabbling over whether or not God exists, or that even the idea of God is helpful or hurtful, is essentially an endless debate over nothing, with the empty, meaningless benefits of such an enterprise falling perfectly and inexorably in line with the purposelessness of the debate itself. All of this saber-rattling in the name of belief and non-belief has brought "both sides" of this (to me) petty argument to the same exact place in terms of your addictions.

It doesn't matter. We are all someday going to die, and we're all going to die of something. For many of us, this will be much sooner than we allow ourselves to imagine. The only thing left to do is to act.

Problems around life and death don't care about what anyone believes in. Don't care about personal convictions. Don't care that you place yourself above others due to your beliefs or your lack of beliefs. Life and death go on without our principles, no matter how genuine we are in protecting them from rational or irrational influences.

The idea is to stop killing ourselves, to stop alienating ourselves from the larger group because we have some special mission or calling, because our history has made us separate, and somehow much better or much worse than other people, or because we believe that we've been endowed with a special way of seeing the world that is inaccessible to everyone else. No one cares as much as you might imagine they do. The idea is to get sober, and to do that, we often have to leave behind the things of a child.

The idea is to find a better way for yourself, and then find the courage to live it.

"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -- C.S. Lewis
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:37 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Del I was worried if I stripped the alcoholic from there'd be nothing left....

in fact I found a long forgotten room I'd papered over at some point and a me I'd forgotten existed.

Getting sober is a leap of faith, but not a very risky one - not when you read the success stories here fo those who have gone before you.

You might want to drink - but please don't have to
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:05 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Thank you all for the truly heartfelt and moving shares on this thread. Feeling very sad and happy here.
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