The road out is not straight and smooth. I felt bad for Blue Eyes last week. He attended a meeting with one of his favorite 12 step guys and during sharing he found out the guy had lost his sobriety a couple weeks prior. He was four years in and now he’s starting over at zero. It happens and from my outsider’s position, it knocks the breath out of the guys in the room. Of course I am not in that room, but if Blue Eyes is any indicator, when one guy loses it, it’s like a big neon sign constantly flashing in their periphery that says… IT COULD BE YOU. YOU ARE THAT VULNERABLE. STOP FOOLING YOURSELF, and it’s scary. I know it seems so simple for those of us who are not addicts to just say “are you fucking kidding me???” “Do you not remember the havoc you wreaked on your life by lying and keeping a shameful secret???” “Do you not love me enough to not hurt me anymore???” “How could you even think about acting out sexually after everything you have learned about yourself and all the work you have done???”
As I have said before, I get it. The empath in me can feel what it must be like to have a fairly easily accessible drug that I know for sure works to help calm me, to help ground me, to–if just for the most fleeting of moments–make me feel whole. Some days I feel like I am a food addict. I have actually looked into it, especially after being away at a facility where a good majority of the participants were, in fact, food addicts. You don’t have to be 300 pounds to be a food addict. I feed my emotions with food sometimes and if I felt like I was not in touch with my feelings and what drives me to overeat or eat things I know are not good for me, I would certainly haul my ass off to meetings. Some days I use sex to soothe, to help me feel closer to my life partner, but I am not a sex addict either. I don’t hide inside my own head lying to myself and others. I don’t deny my reality and I don’t hurt others with my behavior.
A really difficult aspect of this healing process is separating ourselves from someone else’s recovery. I need what I need to continue, and he has his own shit. If it wasn’t for the fact that both of us want to be together, who knows where our paths would lead…
I have been in a nesting mood lately. After three years of not caring what my house looks like, or whether the laundry was piled up, or how old the pasta was sitting in a box in the pantry, suddenly I woke up and realized I wanted my house back. Part of my desire to purge may have to do with how wonderfully clean and uncluttered the beach house is, I don’t want to leave it. But I do have to come home. One Saturday I cleaned the pantry from top to bottom, then I tackled the laundry and have decided I want a laundry room makeover so I scheduled a meeting with our designer and a contractor. I am also in the process of cleaning up my desktop computer and my desk drawers. Whenever I do this I run across something I wrote since discovery. This email was written to Blue Eyes approximately six months post d-day.
Please read the attached elephant journal entry. For the most part, I think I was this girl when you met me. Even though I was only 20 years old, I had lived sufficiently by myself without ever letting anyone in. I consciously and purposely did not let anyone in. I fell in love with you and then gave you the most important thing I had to give, myself—wholly and unconditionally.
I love you very much, but things went terribly wrong in our marriage. I resent the fact that in your Japan journal you said that I wasn’t independent enough. Sort of ironic, don’t you think. You took the most independent person you had ever met and you sucked the life out of her. I do not even recognize myself anymore. I want to be whole again. I want to live and laugh again. I know you have a long journey ahead of you… please remember to honestly and wholly respect me for who I am. I don’t ever want to be compartmentalized out again. I don’t ever want to be treated like a member of your staff again. I do not ever want to be disrespected again. I cannot live that way.”
I was especially taken with point #4 of the article:
4. Don’t be two halves of a whole, be two wholes that make an even greater whole.
Remember that this “Miss Independent” is just that—an independent chick with an ability to fend for herself. She might even be afraid of relying on others, no matter how much she trusts them.
Therefore, don’t think of a relationship with her as one that joins two halves together to make a whole; she won’t treat it as such, and she definitely won’t feel comfortable if you do. Rather, see it as two wholes becoming an even greater whole—two individuals who love each other enough to respect the other’s independence and uniqueness.
This includes honoring her need for alone time. She realizes that you are a person with or without her and asks that you see her in the same way. Being able to spend time apart is important to her; she doesn’t want to rely on your presence, nor does she want you to rely on hers.
Don’t try to spend every hour of every day with her unless you want her to feel so bombarded that she tailspins into a mess of tears, word vomit and utter confusion, ending with her breaking it off and swearing to never interact with another human ever again.
But when you are together, be together. Completely. Let her know she is loved until she begins to understand what that feels like, and then keep doing it. If it’s right, she’ll come around. And because she’s loyal by nature, she’ll stick around, too (so don’t give her any reason to think that you won’t).
Then, in the email to Blue Eyes, I included some inspirational quotes for the both of us, mostly Dalai Lama:
A PRECIOUS HUMAN LIFE
“Every day, think as you wake up
today I am fortunate to have woken up.
I am alive. I have a precious human life.
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use
all my energies to develop myself,
to expand my heart out to others,
to achieve enlightenment for
the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have
kind thoughts towards others.
I am not going to get angry,
or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others
as much as I can.”
“When you are discontent,
you always want more, more, more.
Your desire can never be satisfied. But
when you practice contentment, you
can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes—I already
have everything I really need.’”
“The true hero is one who conquers his own anger
-Dalai Lama XIV
Five Simple Rules for Happiness
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
“ I am me,
I’m who I’m meant to be.
I am my past, my present and
who I want to be.
I’m not any one, I am all three.
I am a work in progress, a destiny.
I am who I choose to be,
I am me.
The quotes were truly as much for me as for Blue Eyes. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how independent I really am. Somewhere in my trauma I had become but half of a whole person. I forgot who I was. Thankfully I am back, and Blue Eyes is working his way towards being that whole person he never was.