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Moth wings

Old 01-18-2017, 02:51 AM
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Moth wings

I am awake at 4:30 AM, my time.

Not because I'm out partying, but because I can't sleep.

Two beloved women friends were robbed at gunpoint last night. They had to lay on the ground, a gun touching the back of their heads, trying to convince the man not to shoot them.

They are both confident, capable, kind women. They both survived. The guy got an iPhone & $20. They will carry this in a thousand ways for a long, long time.

I spent tonight texting one of them. The other had returned to her mother's house, was getting support from family & friends. I texted the one who "was fine." She had "dealt with it."

She is a girl who always "deals with it."

The other woman was surrounded by her community - sympathy, hugs, concern. I recognized "dealt with it - no big deal" girl. She wasn't getting hugs.

I was deeply moved to understand that many of us are "so strong" that people forget how scared we are. Before she fell asleep she shared that her deepest fear wasn't getting shot, it was that no one would notice her absence.

I have built many walls around myself. I noticed it the other day with Dee's share about his scooter & his medications. I never share my fears or hard stuff. Some part of me feels like I'm supposed to "have this." My job is to succeed & to be supportive. My job. Cause recovery somehow means "recovered."

Right before she sadly & drunkenly fell asleep, my friend texted "I'll text you in the morning, so you know I'm ok." And I realized that this is exactly what is so frigging hard about being single & confident & "recovered" & capable in a big city.

The fear isn't the violent event. It is that no one would know you were missing - perhaps until your job got concerned, or a friend you keep distant because you're "doing really well."

I email my NA sponsor that I'm "doing really well" about once a week. Like there's a grade, or a check-in requirement. Like that's the point - that she be proud of me & think I'm strong.

So, on behalf of my friend's sad experience tonight, I need to say out loud that I do care that I have a community, that it is impossible to always "be doing great," & that I want more in my life.

Just like folks post about their sobriety vows & accountability, I feel compelled to say - I'm not always doing great & my value isn't in that posture. Authenticity is supposed to be the point. Even though it sounds artificial & nerdy, maybe the first step is to intentionally tell people when I have a hard time - my sponsor, my co-workers, my friends. Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that recovery was about heroism & stoicism.

Like recovery itself is a mask.

How have others shifted their "invulnerability" (likely a strength disguise) to just being imperfect & real & scared sometimes? Tonight was scary. Our lives are as fragile as moth wings.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:06 AM
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Thanks for sharing that Heartcore. An incredibly powerful and thought provoking post.

and yeah I think sometimes we think that admitting weakness or pain goes against our recovery or something.

I don't believe that - each of us is human, with all the brilliance and all the frustration that brings.



Praying and wishing the best for your two friends.

D
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:07 AM
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How awful for your friends!!!! I hope that they will both receive the support and compassion that they need from friends and family.

I am single, now, too. Widowed. I have the same fear as your friend...that if something were to happen to me, no one would notice for 3 or 4 days. I am scared sometimes--very scared.

I am a scientist, and I also feel the burden to be capable, strong, not need anyone--but that is my own burden, and I can lay that down, too. I've begun to admit my fear to people, too. And that's OK.

I don't know that I have any brilliant answers, here, but I do understand.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:21 AM
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My addiction (well, I can get addicted to anything) - but my primary addiction is with cocaine (& for many years prescribed Adderol - taken as prescribed - even when I was clean & sober in the program, with the blessings of my wise ones - therapist, sponsor, mentors).

I made the connection tonight that those particular drugs make you feel invincible, eternal, present, relevant.

The existential void beneath my love of those particular drugs is likely fear.

I never quite connected that before.

Maybe that's why I've felt like I need to be so heroic & strong shouldered in recovery.

Cause fear is...you know...scary...
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:48 AM
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Ps. I quit the Adderol in January 2016, because it was a lie.

I felt its falsehood in my body...

False bravery in a scary world.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:55 AM
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I think fear is at the bottom of a lot of addiction Heartcore....mine too

If we're working out recovery right, each day we get a little better....or thats the aim

D
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:02 AM
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I'm not sure we get a little better, but I do believe we get a little "truer."

Thank you, Dee. You mean a lot to me.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:45 AM
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Thank you heartcore - thinking of you today too

D
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:01 AM
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i so appreciate your post and putting yourself out here this way.
i understand.
i try, at times, with mixed results, to let people know.
i'm thinking that i need to work on wanting a certain result...but i do. when i open up about vulnerability and fears, i do it in the hope of getting support, empathy, a hug. when that doesn't come, i feel worse.
(which is why the 12-step stuff "works" well for me).
and i made a conscious decision when first entering the sponsee-sponsor relationship that i would never pretend. and i haven't.
we connect once a week in person, hiking with our dogs, but sponsor is always reachable by phone or email, though we don't much use this anymore. but i don't ever tell them i'm fine when i'm not. it's been a steep discomfort curve, but soooo worth it.
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:34 PM
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Sweet addendum.
She did text me this morning & say "I'm awake. Headed to work."
Then texted me tonight to say "I'm headed to sleep now. Goodnight."

Sometimes I am very lonely & I completely forget that other people are just as alone.

For me, when I feel alone, I can reach out here, on the boards. But not everyone has this. There are many folks who would never identify as alcoholics or addicts - either because they're not or because they aren't ready.

I decided tonight to start reaching out more to everyone I think might need friendship (I know - most people learned that in 4th grade). But somehow I didn't. Somehow I only allow myself to connect with people when they approach me first.

I am just understanding something really important. That in order to build community we have to actually BUILD community. Huh... Fascinating...
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:39 PM
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heartcore, I love what you say about being truer. It's going to help me because I'll remember that next time I try to lose reality. Thank you
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:15 PM
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Hi Heartcore,

I am sorry that happened to your friends, and I am glad you were there for your one friend who really needed someone, even if she didn't say it.

I think we are all vulnerable, some times more than others. I hope you know you can reach out to any of us on SR if you need to vent, support, or just a little encouragement.

❤️ Delilah
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:40 PM
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Hope this doesn't sound too emotionless but if your friend had "track my iPhone" app installed it can be turned on the iphone remotely and through GPS located within about 2-3 feet of it's destination. May be really helpful for helping the police catch the person who robbed them and have him put away where they belong.

Glad everyone made it through physically OK.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:33 PM
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Otter, they did do that. The phone gets locked when you activate it. The police found it thrown in the bushes after tracking it.

So all that terror, & the guy didn't get the phone. It was the experience of terrifying violence which was devastating, more than the phone. So - in the end - it was all for 20$...

So sad.

Ps. I even have a tile tracking device in my wallet, but that's mostly because I lose it all the time...lol...
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Old 01-21-2017, 07:16 AM
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There's is so very much to your thread heartcore - thanks for turning the lights on sober fear. The same ego that lead me to bad behavior while drinking can at times produce a false bravado of I got this. This is a daunting, perilous philosophy. It can lead me into that isolationist mentality.

I have to work at being connected which is difficult for me. Even when around other people I can feel quite alone. I have to find ways of dropping the mask and reaching out - thank you for the reminder.

I read a book in the last year - need to reread it - entitled the spirituality of imperfection. It helped me understand my broken-to-pieces-hood nature. That I am indeed not perfect nor are others. " To deny your essential imperfection is to deny yourself and your own humanity".

We are hurting healers, together engaged in the balance of love - fear - joy and pain. I am comforted at times by envisioning your cocked headed owl. Wise, cautious but willing .

WE got this........
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Old 01-21-2017, 11:13 AM
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I'm always glad I logged in to SR but particularly so this evening to read this thread. I think sometimes that loneliness could be a subtitle to my life, I don't mean that to sound self pitying. Lots of complex reasons, family ( lack of / estranged) poor choices and then needing to escape. I'm coming to the realisation that a fair bit is created by my fear of vulnerability and that's thrown up the walls, leading to habit ..... Anyway grappling with some stuff echoed here.
Love to you and your friends.
Xx
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Old 01-21-2017, 01:03 PM
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Hi heartcore.

I relate to this thread in a few ways and these are also recurring questions for me. The story of robbing your friends for $20 is indeed very upsetting. I experienced something similar several years ago, was mugged on the street by two guys who took my purse that had nothing of value for them but it was a major pain for me because it contained my passport and credit cards. It also had my apartment keys and home address, so I had to have the locks changed quickly. I doubt they benefited anything from mugging me but it was a pain for me having to call the police, canceling my credit cards, getting a new passport that took over two months... I did not feel that the incident had a strong emotional impact on me beyond the initial shock that lasted a couple hours, but in retrospect I think that was definitely not true and the mugging experience affected my feelings and attitude toward many things. I must also mention that I was mildly intoxicated when it happened and my memories are a bit fuzzy. People at work, including my supervisors, heard about my mugging incident and I was offered free counseling that would have been provided by someone at our institution. I declined it without a second thought, not even grasping why I would need that and what it might give me (it was long before I got into all my therapy adventures and learned it's something I like a lot).

I often think about the question of authenticity and what it means in different contexts. I think it's true that hiding vulnerabilities behind an emotional armor prevents us from interacting with the external world in certain meaningful ways. I definitely do a lot of that in everyday life and agree with those that brought up that certain professional environments encourage behaving that way (I am an academic). I also tend to find myself drawn to people who are very professional and that often comes with the "side effects" of concealing weaknesses and insecurities. But is this incompatible with authenticity? I personally don't think so. Does not authenticity mean being true to ourselves and our values? If so, then for someone who values professionalism and equanimity, not falling apart and getting very temperamental, it just fits with who we are. Of course too much of that and being standoffish can prevent connecting with others in a more "human" way and lead to loneliness. I also think that when we get overly absorbed in individualism and unique features, it can also become very isolating.

For me, what broke through my walls most efficiently was the very experience of active alcoholism. When becoming very vulnerable was no longer an option as it was beyond my control. The severe major depressive episode I had once while drinking heavily, which interfered with pretty much everything I valued in myself and with my tendency wanting to appear "together" at all times. It wasn't a good experience but thought me important lessons about seeking and accepting help. I did put some of my armors back in sobriety but it's significantly less than earlier in my life, and it's quite rewarding being this way. I do not behave the same way with everyone though and still find it's best to be most vulnerable and open in a select few relationships. I find that it works best with an intimate partner but also with close friends and even sometimes with a mentor I trust. Many people also go into therapy for the same reason. For me, a good therapy relationship can definitely provide some safe and open arena to explore vulnerabilities but I am only willing to go so far with that as that sort of relationship is very limited compared with real close friendships. My last therapist once pointed out something I really liked though: that having good boundaries is quite different from building walls around ourselves.

Anyhow, I personally always think that it's best to develop one or a few close connections with people we trust and relate to naturally rather than aiming to be vulnerable in broader and more superficial, less satisfying ways.
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Old 01-21-2017, 09:15 PM
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Thank you, sweet brilliant one, for responding. I really value you.

Your comment that for people who highly value a professional & "neutral" face, wearing such a face is not necessarily inauthentic, just blew my mind.

This is my exact contradiction/challenge. My profession is as a mediator & negotiator. My value professionally is in neutrality & the ability to hold calm competence in any (& every) crisis. I am trained to do so.

Then, in my personal & recovery life, it is that exact strength & capacity which prevents me from asking for (or even without asking, soliciting) support.

I haven't yet figured out how to hold competence as a value in one major aspect/identity & relax it in the other...

Ps. One of the great gifts of my move to New Orleans was discovering a therapist whom I love & respect. I share things with her that I don't share with others. It is a wonderful addition to my life. I was doing a "recovery worksheet" in a group I'm involved with that asked about the people we trust & love. I listed her more than once in response to different questions & then felt sort of embarrassed because it was a worksheet about our friendships & personal support systems & my therapist was one of my primary sources of support. I decided not to be awkward about it though, & awkwardly shared it with her. We choose our people...its ok.

Appreciating you & very glad you are still here. You are important to me. You always give me lots to consider...
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Old 01-21-2017, 11:03 PM
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WOW.
Thank you for this thread heartcore! It's really got me thinking . . . which in this case is good!

I've always been an "I got this, no problem!" person. It was my job, from being the oldest child to my last job in pediatric ICU.

I realized not very long ago that I was doing the same thing in my recovery. Being an "AA Old-timer," people seem to think I have all this wonderful wisdom and constant serenity, etc. How can I admit that the exact opposite is true? I must not be doing this right! [Egotistical lack of self-esteem?]

I pride myself on being honest, but I wasn't. People would ask how I was and I'd automatically say "GOOD!" and flash a big smile, even when I was dying inside. I wanted people to magically know that I desperately needed help. It finally dawned on me, not only am I not being honest with others, I'm lying like hell to myself.

But it's kinda funny [not ha ha] that lately, when people ask how I am, I still want to say something positive . . . [No Whining, No Self-Pity!] . . . but I want to be honest even more. They don't know how to react when I pause and then say "Well . . . I'm sober and I'm at a meeting" and then genuinely smile [cuz I'm sober and at a meeting!] It might sound like I'm trying to mess with their minds . . . but really, I'm trying to un-mess mine and this is the only way I can think of to do it right now.

What good is being part of support system if you won't let yourself ask for support?

Lots of reflecting to do . . .

[I'm really glad your friend is checking in with you! She prob'ly doesn't realize that she's actually reaching out . . . ?]
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Old 01-21-2017, 11:06 PM
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Moths do not see life that way. Using the same metaphor- they start off in a cocoon- they morph into something completely different. I see my sobriety like that (thus the name). I have seen some really crap stuff in this recovery program that has been my life for 6 months. A place where those in it- with brutal honesty and very, very hard work can complete this change. Fragile -yes. There was one girl here- successful, talented- smart. Now- in her own words- a crack *****. Her was heavily pregnant from one of her unidentified clients. Was chucked out for relapsing many times. Had an induced premature baby because she was using and back on the streets. Sad, ugly stories.
But consider the moth- who does not think of itself any less a child of the universe because it is not a butterfly. The moth fans it's wings and lives it's life- to grow, to continue- to seek purpose. Now- not thinking about the cocoon, or the fact it's life will be so short. The moth lives now- for life with all it's risks, beauty and tragedy.
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