Happy hopping and welcome! My theme for the Challenge is addiction because both my hubby and I are recovering addicts. No worries though. I like to keep things fairly light even when dealing with a heavy topic like this one. Want a glimpse into my world of cocaine addiction? Listen to Metallica’s, Master of Puppets. If that’s too heavy, you can try Staind, It's Been Awhile instead. Much more mellow.
Take a seat sex and love addiction, substance abuse has decided she wants her moment in the spotlight and we all know what she’s like when she doesn’t get her way. She can be one moody bi- Oh, hey, subs, didn’t see you standing there. Take it away!
That’s right folks, today it’s my turn to shine! I’ve talked about my denial, living with a drug dealer, and my love for cocaine. Think Tony Montana. Or rather coke’s disastrous and rather unhealthy love of me, but I haven’t shared about how I got chemically sober, and then how I became emotionally sober. Eventually.
I didn’t know there was a difference. Or that there was such a thing as emotional sobriety. I thought when I stopped snorting blow up my nose my problems were over. Addiction doesn’t work that way. For me, I started substituting one thing for another. Or really, one person for another, but we’ll get there in a minute.
To keep this post from becoming too terribly long (yeah right!), I’ll sum things up like this: after a drive-by, a bust gone wrong (although when are they really right when you’re the one doing the drugs?), shootings inside the house, my dealer holding a shotgun to my head, and a friend finding another friend’s dead body left in an alley, I finally moved out of the dealer’s house. Why? He started speedballing every day and got way too unpredictable. As if the chaos I surrounded myself in was some kind of zen. Still, in full denial, I white-knuckled like any great addict does, until I hit my rock bottom.
I quit cold turkey. It doesn’t make me strong. It makes me a moron. I didn’t step foot into one meeting or into any kind of rehab. I thought if I put the drugs down, that’s all that I needed to do. Since I didn’t have any kind of understanding of addiction, I stuffed my emotions deep inside me.
My relationship with my mom, which sucked at best, grew worse, but I pretended it was “fine.” No resentments here, folks. The molestation that happened when I was a kid? No worries. It’s all good. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen, okay? Cool, thanks. My hubby just got killed and now I’m a young widow with two small kids? No problem. I got that covered. Easy, peasy.
Let me just step on over here and grab this guy though. He seems like a good fit for me. Yep. Perfect. Alcoholic, you say? I got this. I’ll fix him right up. Hmm. He doesn’t seem to be conforming to my hostile demands. No matter how hard I push, he just doesn’t seem to budge. Screw it.
Wunderbar! This looks like the perfect specimen. Let me give him a good look-see. No red flags here. Let me snatch this guy right up. Oh yay! I’m pregnant too! It’s like a fairy-tale. That’s weird. He doesn’t want to move in with me and my small kids. Well, that’s okay. I’m sure he’s just giving me space and that beer I smell on his breath is probably from last night, you know, because he works nights so…are you freakin’ kidding me? Another alcoholic?
Okay, I’ve got a feeling I can help him though. I’ll just leave these Alcoholic Anonymous papers I picked up on the desk so he can see them before he comes to bed. That’s funny. He put his twelve-pack on the paperwork. Maybe he didn’t see it but he did agree to move in. I’ll put them on the coffee table instead. Another twelve-pack on the papers and he didn’t come home last night. Screw it.
No, wait. Not next. It’s time to pause. Get some counseling to see what went wrong. That lasted about five seconds when I found out it was going to require work on my part.
And then I met my handsome man. My knight in shining armor. We clicked on so many levels…and he never drank more than one drink. Never. When the red flags popped up, I wasn’t able to see them. When they became neon flashing lights that blared THIS IS A LOT OF PORN! I still turned a blind eye. Then, when it was too much pornography and it had infected our home after we were married, I did what I did best: I tried to rescue him from himself.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t have my own needs taken of because his needs were so much more important than mine...weren’t they? Didn’t he need me more than I needed me? After all, if I spend more than a few minutes looking in the mirror, what would I see? What would I have to face? All the childhood abuse would come rushing back. The loss of my first husband. The reasons I couldn’t remember chunks of my childhood. No. No, I couldn’t have that, so I invested myself in him because that was so much easier.
Until it wasn’t. Until the day I found myself on the kitchen floor weeping uncontrollably, months after disclosure. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was emotionally spent. Our minds are beautiful. They are strong and capable of so much. But they also need to process. The demons need to be exorcised or they will find their way out in unpleasant ways.
It was time for the tides to turn, or at least for me to stop fighting them and be carried safely to shore. I had to be my own hero. My own knight in shining armor.
I began by attending S-Anon meetings. From there I went to AA and it was there that I learned about emotional sobriety. The ability to feel all of our emotions: the good and the bad, and be able to process them, move through them, lean into them, and not be afraid of them and most of all, don’t ignore them. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem!
Being emotionally sober means being comfortable in your own skin and standing tall, flaws and all, and not allowing your inner-self to be defined by others, but to be defined by you and you alone. So be proud of who you are and all you’ve accomplished so far. We’re all destined for great things.
A great saying about emotional sobriety in AA is, "My definition of balance is being able to obsess equally in all areas of my life." Funny and true for those that love to obsess. You know, people like me. And for the best talk about emotional sobriety I’ve ever heard, listen to Mr. Tom B. He’ll make you laugh, and if you can relate, he’ll make you nod your head too:
Laugh of the Day:
Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you stuff your emotions or do you share freely?
To celebrate the A to Z Challenge my self-help book, Steps Along My Shore will be free until midnight tonight. Last chance to get it for free!
I look forward to seeing everyone during the Challenge! Click here to get to the master list sign up sheet. I'll see you all this afternoon.