Thursday, September 28, 2006

To Be A Witness

I am struggling to keep my walls down. After going through an extended period of time, by the grace of God, of having no walls up, I've been stunned by how quickly I can put them back up. I am stunned by how quick my instinct is to shut people out when I feel threatened. How much easier it seems to be alone and in my cave than open and vulnerable.

After bemoaning the fact that this journey feels like too much hard work, I said something yesterday that gave Father Charlie the opportunity to tell me for the umpteenth time - the Truth shall set you free. Oh, vey. Can't you see me dancing for joy? Nope. Nada. Not this gal.

Friday I got pissy with dearest one. What started out as one small resentment lead to remembering plenty of deep seated ones. Ones I thought had been dealt with years ago. I could have been grateful that those resentments had been brought up to the surface where I could choose to deal with them. I wanted to be. Even at my AA meeting I talked as if knowing I needed to let go of them meant I would. On a cerebral level I wanted to. On a heart level I was one pissed off woman with a long memory. And in the interest of keeping the resentments alive I did, subconsciously, what I could to keep them that way. I let my 6 weeks minus a day length of abstinence when it came to my sexual addiction fall away. Nothing will kill intimacy quicker, or keep it from being possible, than self medicating; than turning towards something that masquerades as intimacy, yet is incapable of delivering.

So Sunday morning finds me in need of mercy. In need of grace. I make my way to confession before I was crippled by shame. I go into it wanting a reminder that all is not lost, that I am not lost, that I can still hold my head up and move forward. When I'm done sharing what needs exposing to the Light, yet before I get the reassurance I need, Father Charlie asks if it's possible that there's a link between my resentments surfacing with my acting out in self numbing behaviour. The stunned knowing in my gut, that confirms Truth has been spoken, is there and for the first time I see a direct link between the behaviours. And as much as I wanted to hit the delete button on the Truth, I don't.

From Sunday onward I've felt like an observer of my own actions. What was subconscious behaviour the day before turned into conscious behaviour. I was able to connect the dots in what has been such a (never before realized) predictable pattern in my life. Every self destructive behaviour since has felt like I was punching dearest one (and our relationship) with a "take that" and "that" attitude. I put up my walls in secret only to watch them destroy in the open.

Despite the head knowledge, it took until yesterday to even be willing to consider letting go. I had no grid for how to validate my feelings, which were at the root of the resentments, while letting go of the resentments themselves. I felt as if letting go meant the feelings weren't important. Father Charlie walked me through how to validate the feelings, deal with them and then make a choice. Hang onto them and create walls in relationships, or let go of them and have the intimacy I crave. What did I want to be? A martyr? A victim? Healed? Whole? Hard questions. The choice is mine. How powerful and scary at the same time.

All I really want is to be able to live an authentic life. To be accepting of myself no matter what. To be honest with myself and others. To be a credible witness to the life I do have. To be a credible witness means telling it how it is, without embellishing the truth. I thought I had that mastered. With every AA meeting I attend, I see that I don't.

I had to laugh at myself this past week. On my way to the meeting I was sorting through why I struggle to share at meetings. Why my words sound hollow to myself and how blown away I am by others' honesty and why, oh why do I seem incapable of being that honest? I laughed when I realized I was always trying to compose a "blog like post" in my head to share at the meetings. That is so far removed from simply telling it like it is. Whether it is messy or not, just tell it like it is, Hope. That's all. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not desperate enough yet to be honest, without worrying what it looks like to others.

Usually when I write a blog post I have had some time to sort and decide what to tell and what not to, if even to write about it at all. At a meeting I need a place to tell it like it is, whether I'm sorting it through or not quite there yet. Sharing only shiny, worked through issues are not going to get me very far in the recovery process.

At this point I have the head knowledge of what it means to choose to let go or not. I feel raw and vulnerable. I am still stunned by how swift I was to erect walls to protect myself. I wish it was so easy to let them crumble. I told Father Charlie yesterday that all I felt like God was asking of me was to be present and aware; willing to sit and wait in the feelings while I learned to deal with them. It sounds so brave to type that. So hard to live it.

You know, week after week at AA meetings I hear it said that none of us live the program perfectly, that it's spiritual progress we are after, not perfection. This past week I read these things aloud at the meeting and it felt like I was hearing them for the first time. For part of the time that I was reading them aloud they were speaking to me so deeply that I was totally unaware of anyone else.

I've had a love affair with head knowledge my whole life. I have a magnet on my fridge that says: "More than anything she wanted to live from her heart." I look forward to bearing witness to that reality one day.

No comments: