note – links to previous posts open in separate windows, linked only for reference
I met with my sponsor a few weeks back, after writing those letters, and had him read them. Even though I already worked the steps, specifically 4 & 5 (resentments, fears, etc, sharing them with another person, etc) I felt I needed to show these to someone who I trusted to give me a clear sighted perspective. I didn’t take them to my therapist because she would have looked at them through the lens of historical exploration and delved into a lot of unnecessary stuff. My sponsor, on the other hand, usually brings it back to the simplicity and reality of whatever it is we are talking about.
Basically I was operating from deep insecurities, not feeling worthy of friendships and, at a an unconscious level, using these people to feel like I was a person. They were pretty messed up themselves which is probably what attracted to me to them. I was flattered that they would bother to pay attention to me. They were popular so hanging around them gave me status. Me, me, me. That isn’t to say that they also weren’t completely them, them, them, but that is not my place to judge, nor be responsible for. I was hurt because I expected them to be different than who they were, that is, loving and caring beyond themselves. Was I loving and caring outside myself? Nope, I was self-absorbed and very needy. I hid my neediness quite well by showing up in their lives for them as I put it. But did I really? What was my motivation? A couple things – fear of abandonment, fear of criticism/disapproval, fear of being found out, desperate need to feel relevant; I can go on but it’s evident that my motives weren’t honorable either. I hated and railed against needy people and I turn out to be one of them!
The theme, as it always is for my life, is fear. I needed to say what I did though so I could let those people go. I did let them go, said a prayer and shredded the letters. I would like to have burned them but finding a place to burn letters simply isn’t as easy as that when living in a flat with a sprinkler system connected to the balcony.
Why long term addictive/self-destructive behavior? (anorexia, alcohol, self-harm, etc)
One simple word: ANXIETY. I used to think I was the calmest person around. I actually felt sorry for people with anxiety. Looking back it’s all clear now – my anxiety was calmed by starving, exercising, drinking, anything I could do for mood stabilization. With the addictive behaviors gone – wow, I am a ball of anxiety. This is what I’m working on now; how to deal with it in a healthy manner. I’m using AA as well as therapy to do this. Pearls of wisdom thus far? Um yeah, I’ll let you know when I know. I’ve been given lots of tips but haven’t had the practice to see if anything is useful or helpful. I realize that weighing myself, at times, is still helpful for keeping my anxieties at bay, at least till the next fear provoking moment. I’ve been maintaining for quite some time but if it is even one pound higher over a period of days it becomes distressing. I’m still terribly fearful of what others think about me. The one thing carrying me through the program is that 2 pillars of AA have taken me under their wings and teaching me what friendship is like. We go to breakfast and meetings together and hang out a lot. Another thing that I find helpful is my service positions of which I can write a whole post! I’m a GSR for my home group: general service representative, a position of great responsibility. I’ve also joined the archives committee which is quite an adventure.
As mentioned in this post I considered a medication change to stabilize mood swings. I tried it, it didn’t work, I’m back to previous protocol. A good deal of mood instability was my anxiety over formal zen practice and the nearly unbearable pain I go through to sit with the sangha. I’m still working this out but after making a decision to take breaks, to withdraw from the 3 rounds of sitting, and so forth; with getting back into regular exercise which I’ve been slacking, getting back into writing which has fallen to the wayside, clearly, and spending more and more time resting in between activities, my mood has more or less stabilized. Once again it comes back to getting honest and honoring where I am right now. In other words, doing the next right thing, not just with regards to others but also with myself. Sleep has gotten slightly better, zzzzzzzz.
I’ve had, and continue to have, the opportunity to talk with someone who had to withdraw from being a monastic at the zen monastery due to fibromyalgia.
The downside to having attempted having a kitty is that I now miss having a kitty! This weekend though I’ve had the opportunity for kitty sitting duty. It’s been really nice.
Last night I stayed home from my normal meeting due to extreme pain. I felt bad because I promised a newcomer I’d meet her there. The workout I did at the gym, with my trainer, stressed my neck beyond capacity, as well as my back. Those exercises are now on the never-do-again list. I have to have a talk with my trainer and remind him that the reason I chose him was for his understanding of injuries. Since I workout so well, meaning that my body naturally pushes weights like a champion, due to a history of bodybuilding, I think he forgets.
Chronic pain is a hidden disease and I’ve learned to not display my discomfort so people forget, or don’t realize I’m in pain nearly all the time. Chronic means regular, not necessarily constant pain but I’ve been in constant pain for quite some time now. I think I came out of the last flare only to have a new one because I did what I always do when I feel better: go back to all my normal activities. Well, I can’t do that. I pay the price and sometimes the price is severe! You see, that price used to be 3 days of discomfort and elevated pain but now the price is a much higher level of pain, constant discomfort, meaning fluctuating aches and pain, and an unknown flare time period, typically longer rather than shorter. My therapist pointed out that every time I come in saying I’m having more difficulties it is followed by my saying I hadn’t been resting enough. It helps to hear an outside opinion/observation since I can’t always see it.
I have a fair amount of stuff on my plate right now but recognize that I need to parse things out over time so I can spend hours, yes hours, resting. The plus side is I’m getting loads of crochet done! I’m exhausted this morning, even with my favorite coffee: cafe’ bustello, but am in better spirits. I’ve got my last day of kitty duty, a meeting after that then rest until my evening meeting. I have lots of catch up reading to do so can hopefully work that in.
Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event of something with an uncertain outcome.
Recovery: a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” ~ Mark Twain