Friday, September 26, 2008

The Power of Choice

"You need to find a way to release your anger and embrace your little girl."

I'm sitting in Fr. Charlie's office yesterday and in the space of two hours I've gone from relaxed and joking to angry and shaking to wanting to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth to soothe myself. I used to stifle my emotions, especially sadness, in these sessions. Well, really I used to stifle my sadness anywhere from the grocery store to church. I was talented at shoving tears down into the abyss of my being at will. I cried more during yesterday's session than I have in all my sessions combined over the past 3 years. I know, I know, that's progress. Exhausting progress.

I'm at one of those turning points again where moving forward means risk. I had an experience earlier this week where I saw, in one of those split second moments where the veil drops, that I keep my cards rather close to my chest. I let next to nobody into that place where I reveal the whole of who I am. My biggest protest yesterday was that if I took said risk I wouldn't feel safe. Being vulnerable makes me feel out of control. In reflection this week I realized I process my journey mostly in my head, all by my lonesome. Yes, I process bits and pieces of it with my sponsor, with friends, and here on my blog with you. But the really deep fears, the thoughts that once voiced would make me feel incredibly vulnerable; those I keep to myself.

The worst of it yesterday was that I thought I was somewhere else in my journey. Like I'd been here so many times before and had moved on already. Finding another layer in this particular onion did not feel like something to celebrate. Fr. Charlie would remind me that it's really not the same place, that I'm a few more revolutions around the mountain since the last time I looked at life from this view.

We talked of fear, shame and guilt. Of power, powerlessness and empowering oneself. Much of it centered around the sexual abuse and how not taking the risk means continuing to let the abuse define me. At that point I wanted to kick my abuser(s) into the ground. The fuckers. I simply shook my head in disbelief over where I'm at.

I don't understand it. I don't have to. Oh, but I want to. Living in my head feels much safer than taking that 18 inch journey to live from my heart. (It really is 18 inches between the two. Good perfectionistic alcoholic that I am, I measured.)

Our session ended with celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I love this Sacrament and the peace that washes over me during absolution. What else is there to say to God other than Here I am in all my brokenness, in much need of Your mercy. [Oh, and by the way, I'm getting on a plane in three days and if I haven't surrendered by then, I will when the plane takes off.] I don't know if priests regularly laugh during confession but I really did say that. And Fr. Charlie really did laugh.

On my drive home I mulled over how my not wanting to risk is really about not wanting to trust. I was thankful for the long drive home so I could pray and think and choose. I've heard it said so many times at meetings that sobriety gives us the power of choice.

Last night I took baby steps towards letting another in. I voiced my fears, those thoughts that come from that little-girl-who-has-to-protect-myself-forever place inside of me. I surrendered to what is, however ugly, broken and wounding to my pride it is. I think that's called accepting life on life's terms. It's two days before my plane's left the ground so I'm ahead of schedule. Lord, oh Lord, have mercy.


owenswain said...

Eucharist. Reconciliation. That's it for me. The rest, or most of it, who's in, who's out, Latin, Modern, Con, Lib, whatever. Eucharist and Reconciliation are the only ways I know the difference between the false me and the dead me - dying to self that I might live.

You keep movin' forward Hope and good on you for that.

Heidi Renee said...

you continue to be such a light on my path hope. love to you dear friend.