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To grow along spiritual lines...

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by guinevere64, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    i've been married 18 years and one month, together for 23 years. almost a quarter-century.

    to contemplate taking this apart feels like

    jesus, i can't even describe it. feels like tearing down the civic arena, blowing up three rivers stadium (which they did).

    but you know what: in order to make it function, to make it go (in whatever way it's going to go), it has to be taken apart. but it's damn hard to remake a relationship that's been functioning that long on mistaken identity.

    i'm 47 and i don't even really know how i like to be touched.

    when you've been with the same person for a quarter-century, they touch you (literally, metaphorically) in ways that have become habitual--ways that, because they've become so accustomed to touching you in those ways, they can't even recognize are ways you may no longer prefer. and it can degenerate into a case of memorizing preferences. "oh, i'm sorry--i forgot you don't like that." which is terrible. quite literally terrible. a relationship doesn't have a "preferences" drop-down menu. ... equally terrible is tolerating such interactions with no chemical to mediate one's discomfort and confusion, and sheer terror.

    (i realize my voice has become distant, almost scholarly; if i could write with the courage of adrienne rich or someone who, for example, left her marriage and guided her sons through the devastation of her ex-husband's suicide, etc., i would be a much stronger person than the one sitting before the computer now)

    talk about the jumping-off point.

    yes, well.

    after having formed an entire personality around other people's comfort, and drugged myself to get myself through the mountain of pain and resentment these actions caused me (and others), it's taking some time, isn't it, to grow another personality, in the midst of the same conditions, the same people, the same house. same scene, different person.

    "what is happening to you is happening very slowly," my sponsor said yesterday. the implication being that time takes time. that more will be revealed.

    there is a great deal i want to do for ME. including staying sober. but most of all, i want to learn to love myself. no: i want to learn to accept myself. so that i can know who the hell i am.

    do you know, in philosophy, there are two kinds of "self-esteem." there's amour-propre, literally "self-esteem," the kind that depends on validation from others. it's a mirror: you tell me how worthy i am. but it's a distorted mirror, and like harry potter's mirror in the attic, it's delusional and addictive. amour-propre, Pascal said, was a spiritual problem that made humans incapable of being happy in society, and it required a spiritual solution. ... then there's amour de soi, literally "self-love," love of self, which does not depend on seeing oneself as others see one. it's the love of self that Rousseau believed was planted in each one of us and that is independent of others' opinions.

    one thing that's killing me, though, is not being able to write about it. one cannot write about the inside workings of one's marriage in real-time. it's not appropriate, not fair to the other person, and maybe not even healthy. but writing is one way i've always helped myself, ever since childhood. i feel intensely disloyal even writing these few posts. nothing is supposed to be "wrong" with our relationship, you see.

    thanks for responding, dani. it's taking me some time to work through what's happening to me these days, what with anemia, physical injury, the changes of summer schedule, etc. i love the folks on this forum and what's more, i trust you. much love /g
  2. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    I know nothing about marriage or divorce, but this is absolutely true in my life-- having a sober, long term boyfriend, that prefers to be with an addict that needs him emotionally and financially, rather than an independent, reborn, free-thinking partner. it became misogynistic from my perspective, but this was a good guy... just old fashioned and maybe hurt from the lies and drama of dating an addict. not to be lewd, but this dynamic crossed over into the bedroom and became too much for me to handle sticking around for. i would talk about moving to a bigger city, and all the dreams i had about my career, but he had subtle ways of putting me down, telling me i was an unattractive wastoid, who has never amounted to much...

    look, G-- maybe i misunderstood, but i was really touched by what you said about your husband critiquing your blog. it's cool that you value his opinion and that he cares enough to read. i have always wanted to be in a relationship with another talented person who could challenge me creatively-- as long as it's healthy. he doesn't read your thread here, right? no one will think less of you, if you need this space to vent and figure out what's really happening beyond how things are supposed to appear. i'm not exactly proud of the last post i wrote, because the emotions were out of control, i was lashing out, and i revealed myself as incredibly insecure and self loathing... but i absolutely needed to blab those thoughts out somewhere... i feel a bit guilty about subjecting friends to difficult emotions that they then have to absorb, but one shouldn't have to always be cool on ODR. i relate more to flawed people than to clever, calculated writing and polished appearances. please don't ever feel guilty for venting.
  3. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Great to hear from you, Trigger. What I meant about my husband reading my blog: I used the word "critiquing" advisedly. Trying to be circumspect. The reality was, due to the level and nature of the criticism (much of which was personal, not confined to the "text"), it began to be difficult for me to feel comfortable on my own blog. He has since made a commitment not to read my blog. Which is equally disturbing, in some ways. (He hadn't read it for the first 18 months anyhow)

    I don't feel guilty, per se, for venting; what I feel is concern about the public nature of the Internet. Marriage is a private enterprise, and triply so for a British man who has been through certain early childhood experiences. For me it's a matter of weighing how much my actions might help me v. how they may hurt others. I've begun being quite honest in certain meetings and among certain people though. I have a few strong spiritual mentors, a couple in recovery and one a Quaker, all of whom have expressed the astonishing commitment that "no matter what happens" they will always love me.

    The funny thing is, now that I'm being more and more myself, I'm starting to understand why they might love me, and I'm starting to believe them when they say "always." I'm also more able to love them and appreciate them for who they are.

    That all began here. For which I'm grateful.

    Love is a matter of letting the person be who they are, and appreciating them for that. That person may be another; it may be oneself. (So I'm trying to teach my son, anyway) It's my--and my husband's--misfortune that I was raised in an alcoholic family that required me to be people I wasn't in order to survive. It became a way of life. Recovery is helping me come out from all that pretending. But the person I am isn't necessarily who some people expected to see.

    (I am necessarily leaving out the other side of the childhood history--that is to say, his, which is not my business on this thread)

    much love /g
  4. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

  5. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Met up with Chris Kennedy Lawford yesterday. AKA JFK's nephew, 27 years sober, Hawaii resident, hot-yoga master, author of three bestselling books. You know what, he was just a guy who eats his scrambled eggs by pushing them onto his fork with his thumb. He's had Hep A, B, C. What he said that stays with me is something about our lives getting bigger in recovery. Something about how our job is to "go to the fire, be who we are, make decisions that piss people off."

    He noted that Reckitt Benckiser pulled in $1.4 billion last year by selling Suboxone. Then he said, "We have small dreams. Just get sober, don't drink no matter what, go to meetings. If you'd said to me when I came to AA, 'You're gonna sit in church basements for the rest of your life, that's what you have to look forward to,' I'd have left."

    I think back to one year and two months ago when my life felt as if it were expanding on the train out of Chicago.

    It has continued to expand. At the cost of other people's comfort. I've gone to the fire, in certain senses, and made decisions that have really, really pissed people off.

    But I am becoming who I am.

    Gotta take the kid up the hill to the doctor.

    more soon /G

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