I had a session with my therapist this week. I had much to say about my addictive patterns. Not shocking. It seems to be all I think about. I observe my behavior constantly, always watching and waiting for my Addictive Voice to engage with me. She speaks a lot and encourages me to act on my addictive thoughts. She likes to be in control. She likes to win. She’s still loud. She still has a hold on me, but she’s not as potent as she once was. That in and of itself is a huge comfort.
My therapist and I got to talking about my response to vulnerability. This is a common theme within the work I try to do on myself. I have spent a lot of time over the years feeling vulnerable and needing something to take the edge off (especially when I don’t understand why or how I’m feeling about something). This is where the roots of my addictions were born. e.g., eating and eating to compensate for the neglect and fear I felt when my parents couldn’t give their attention as completely to me as they did to my troubled big brother. This is something I know, something I turn over in my head a lot and in doing so I really understand why this tendency of mine started. I get it. I have examined it to death and yet I still feel the need to write about it here…we all know I like to adore my pain. I like to stroke it and remember. In a sideways, fucked up way I feel alive in the remembering.
But I don’t need memories to make me feel alive lately. I haven’t wanted to wistfully look over my shoulder to find another nugget of truth so I can better understand why the wording my boss’s latest e-mail may have triggered me a little. Clearly, I’ve been hyper-sensitive over the last 2 or 3 years and very involved in my pain. Having an affair with my memories and feelings felt like the right thing to do, back then. That’s what being a sensitive Empath will do to you I guess, especially when said Empath had some serious shit thrown her way.
I needed to stay where I was for as long as I did in order to gain the clarity and sense of self that I have today. So now, I am able to recognize the depth of the strength I have. I can appreciate that even though I have my moments of feeling overwhelmed and FAT and shitty and tired and lost, they are fleeting.
I am so much better at recognizing when a hopeless pattern of sifting through the ashes of my failures is rushing to knock on the door of my consciousness. I used to be waiting at the door to welcome that shit onto the couch in my mind so that I could have a good, long conversation with my sadness. Now if I hear the knock, I may look out the peephole just to assess what is actually there, but I don’t let it in. If I walk away from the door, the emotion or pattern goes away and I feel relieved and empowered when I feel it retreating. That kind of thing responds well to internal walls (in my experience).
I want to put my energy into things that are worthwhile and don’t hold me back. I deserve to feel good about where my life is going and I am finally, finally beginning to accept that.
I still have a tough time sitting with my vulnerability. But I don’t feel an overarching, tremendous need to check out and be numb. I truly do not need to escape. I’m still drinking, yes…but it’s not holding me prisoner as persistently as it once was. That shift has been game changing. Grateful doesn’t even cover it.
But, I still don’t want to give it up. I still want to have the freedom to drink, when and how I choose…typing that hurts a little…and I’m not sure why. Maybe because one day I will have to give it up? Maybe I’m scared of that? Maybe I’m just too stubborn for my own good and I’m fighting a battle I can’t win? I don’t have all the answers tonight and I’m not going to wrack my brain trying to figure it out and beat myself up when I can’t. I’m just going to try and sit with this feeling, let it in a little and then let it go as best as I can.
I’m still here: this Good Girl Addict, defining my own recovery one post at a time.