Lately I am more and more aware of my soft squishy insides, I am more and more aware too of the massive defences that I can blame myself for and I am seeing how they came about out of necessity, the necessity of self protection.
Today I went to another AA meeting. I have been away from meetings for some time, I left around the time I started to pursue therapy, but lately I am aware something has been missing for me and I am lonely not connected to those who are living from the inside out rather than the outside only. I went to dinner with an old group of friends on Friday night and while it was lovely to connect, they are big drinkers and the time we spent together in my mid 20s was a very chaotic period. I have shared about it in the blog I posted on Friday. My Dad had died and I went off overseas. The plan had been to travel with my current boyfriend, who never truly loved me all that deeply and was addicted to dope, I see that in a way I had him on a pedestal, he had travelled, at that point I had not and I was not aware of my own value at all. Anyway long story cut short, he ended up breaking off our relationship via telephone at 4 am in the morning a week or so after we buried my father, telling me he didn’t really love me and had met someone else and did not want to travel with me. I ended up travelling to London alone and it was a very lost period for me, cast adrift as I was after at least 6 years of other traumas in my life. I was drinking heavily along with a lot of my friends, the friends I connected with the other night.
As a recovering alcoholic I cannot feel happy about the way I abused myself with alcohol, I cannot joke about it or celebrate it, as my friends can who did not come so badly unstuck. So at these kind of events I usually feel a little out of things. I am aware that on Friday I felt more a part of things than I usually do. I see the different path I have travelled to my friends, and to be honest I am frankly grateful I don’t need to drink any more. However I think being with them did spark up a lot of old stuff inside me and I have been grieving a lot for the lost relationship with my father and the emotional distance and neglect that I suffered in my family following his death. Today I just knew I needed to get to a meeting.
I was really blessed, I turned up a little late to hear a guy about my own age share about this own journey, details of which I cannot share here due to anonymity, however suffice to say his own journey really resonated with mine and we were able to have a lovely chat both in the break and following the meeting. I was even brave enough to ask for his phone number. Friday night made me see that currently I need to establish more relationships with others in recovery. It seems I have, over the past 10 years veered off into the wilderness a lot. We even shared about that.
This afternoon there is a peace in my soul and during the meeting I was able to cry deeply when others shared from their hearts about things like how sad they feel and how much they regret hurt and pain they have unconsciously caused others. I felt that deep pain as if it was my own. Also the sadness they felt that the gift they have been given of sobriety was not attainable for those in their family who also needed it.
In short it felt like a door in my heart opened up and this afternoon after a short visit to see my sister and Mum I am aware of how emotionally barren and harsh that atmosphere can sometimes be (not always). I was telling them how I now feed my dog only natural food, no tinned dog food. “It is easy enough to just make extra vegetables when I do my own cooking,” I said, “then I can combine that with a protein I have on hand and some rice or avocado.” They both raised their eyes and said to me “that dog is SO spoilt”. I tried to say how loving and caring for a being entrusted to your care is naturally what you wish to do, surely? I ended up feeling like in their eyes I was being excessive, which I know I am not.
Its not a huge thing but it speaks volumes about that lack of true self love and self care I see demonstrated in my family. I came home feeling all the pain of those barren emotional wasteland years overseas when drinking too much and drugging was the only available relief from emotional pain and of how ignorant I was for years about the deeper crucial issue of my life, emotional neglect which led me to become an addict who did not know how to truly love or care for myself or others.
Today I no longer need to live in that barren world. I can care for me and for my dog. It doesn’t come naturally to those of us who were emotionally neglected, but for me it is so important to do this, to provide a healing antidote all those years of harshness where I did so much damage and did not learn to value and guard my precious tender self as I now need to.