20:17. Not feeling well. I have issues I need to examine. Some old stuff has been churning up and I don’t want to face it. I faced it back then and I was done. Why do I have to face it again now?
I do a quick internet search now for “buddha on facing old memories”
and, scrolling down a bit, end up with these two quotes:
“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.” -Buddha
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
I have to say that those two quotes are in fact the crux of my suffering, because:
- I care far too much about too many people, *and* (this is the key problem:) whether or not they care about me.
- I can’t stand myself.
It sounds harsh but that’s how I feel a lot of the time.
The old stuff that is coming up is manifesting in my body. I often have a feeling as though there are invisible hands around my neck. I don’t understand exactly why. It might have to do with an incident I mentioned on a sobriety friend’s blog, but which I had been thinking about even before that.
When I was in my late teens, my recently-ex-boyfriend showed up drunk in the middle of the night, in a rage, stormed into my room, ripped the covers off, shouted things at me I can’t remember, and nearly strangled me. In front of my parents, who stood frozen in the hall.
I froze too, which I hated myself for, and yet in retrospect it had perhaps been the right thing to do because I didn’t end up (physically) hurt. But I can’t seem to forgive myself for the fact that it happened at all.
He was five years older than me, but I was in fact an adult at the time, being 18 or 19, so I can’t blame my age. He came from a horrific childhood and he was an absolutely amazing person in spite of it.
My parents calmed him down and let him stay on the sofa till morning. I was appalled that they did that. I who thought of myself as so accepting could not stand that they allowed him to stay in our house. I was not as accepting as I liked to think.
But they had done the right thing.
In the morning I called a halfway house and asked them if they had a place for him. I don’t remember the details but I suppose he had been evicted from somewhere — and I needed to find him a place to stay. They did have a place.
One of my parents and I drove him there. I remember seething with hurt and anger the entire time, from the back seat. He’d scared the living daylights out of me and I couldn’t understand how my parents could be so nice.
But it had been the right thing to do. I’m really grateful to my parents in retrospect.
I never heard from him again, except for a letter of apology and amends that he mailed to me, months later, which to be honest hurt terribly all over again.
But last I heard, he was still sober. All those years later.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. I didn’t even mean to write it.
I think what hurt is that I missed him so much. I wanted us to always be friends, even though I knew I couldn’t be with him (I had broken up with him, which he didn’t want to accept; hence why he showed up drunk in a rage).
I truly loved him. I was also massively attracted to him in all kinds of ways. But after our breakup, he would not be friends with me. It was all or nothing.
I believe I felt rejected.
I know that’s ridiculous and selfish. But the heart can’t be reasoned with very easily. (That’s where spirit has to intervene, instead. For example in the form of a Step 3 prayer. But I didn’t know anything about all that, then.)
You can’t be friends with someone you’re in love with; at least, it’s not healthy to be (since then you will not move on). But I selfishly, unconsciously, wanted to have my cake and eat it too.
Some part of me didn’t want him to move on. I believe that’s why I felt so angry and devastated that he, in my unconscious view, forced a total severance of all ties — by trying to force the opposite. I was then morally forced to say goodbye. He knew I would never call him unless he called me first, and after we brought him to the rehab, he never ever made that call.
He did the right thing. The less selfish thing.
He then did another right thing by writing me a letter detailing all he had done wrong and apologizing. For me it came out of the blue, months later. Reading it all, I felt so much shame inside myself that it had happened in the first place. That feeling that somehow I had caused that awful scene to happen.
I know it was partly my fault, for reasons that are too complicated for me to explain here now, except perhaps, in short, that I was attracted to his darkness; I suppose I wanted to be his “saviour” as well as his “saved.” (Both of us from past pain — though his was far, far worse than mine.) Though I know ostensibly that even if you are willing and/or have skills, you can’t heal anyone who doesn’t ask for help. Neither can you be “saved” if you’re not ready to be.
But in spite of being partly at fault, outwardly I blamed him entirely. (Hands-around-my-throat feeling as I type this now.)
I hated him for sending that letter, which caused me to relive all the stuff in our relationship, just as I was beginning to feel okay again. And perhaps the reason I hated him for that is because I didn’t truly want to let him go.
In fact, he admitted to and exposed a lot of mud within himself, never blaming me, in that letter, for any of it (though he certainly had shouted a lot of awful things at me that final night), and I rejected that work he had done, in my mind, focussing only on what I perceived to be the selfish act of mailing the letter instead of keeping it to himself. Remembering only the awful things he’d shouted (which I’ve now forgotten — though I’m sure they’re buried deep within my consciousness).
I feel awfully about it. I feel like a shit person.
How could I have been so fucking awful?
(Hmm. Was that what he’d said?)
This is in fact the only way to get sober and stay sober, from any addiction.
It’s useless to blame the other. We have to look for the cause in ourselves.
If you are reading this and haven’t done the 12 steps or similar work it may be hard to understand how difficult it is to expose these issues within ourselves, even *to* ourselves, but far, far more so, to another person, or even online on a blog like this. And I’m still not doing a good job of it.
But he did that in his letter, and in fact, all these many years later, I think he may actually have done the right thing in sending it. It brought, once again, closure.
But I can’t shake this feeling. I don’t know why. I might actually have to get some help.
23:23. Writing does help. Feeling ebbs. And… I need to get back to re-working the steps. It’s not just for sobriety from wine. I need to get sober from all kinds of stuff. Mainly, from striving for meaningless achievements, and from craving outside validation. We’ll see how it goes…
12 steps free online: https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf (note: feel free to substitute AA Big Book “God”-related terms for whatever suits you; I use “Tree” and “it” rather than “God” and “He/Him,” for example)
~sobrietytree.home.blog/sobrietytree.com – 7 months 18 days alcohol-free. working on awareness. wishing for the return of the pink cloud, which seems to have floated far, far away.