It’s the 20th of the month. It is one of those anniversary dates that we don’t celebrate, but remember. It’s eight months ago that I officially separated. It was sudden and it began a life change that I had no idea was going to take me on this journey. I recall the welcoming feeling of being freed from the oppressive spirit in my home. It was dramatically different to be at liberty just to be me, in my own home! I remember thinking I can have a cigarette here on my own patio! I wanted to do that, and I did. For seven months. Now, having enjoyed that freedom, I have found a new one in quitting smoking. I find that is liberating, too. Both choices have been mine.
The six weeks or so following the separation and the the joy from my new found freedom pretty much came to a halt mid-September. Reality hit. What reality? That with freedom comes responsibility. I am responsible for a lot of stuff now. Physical stuff and emotional stuff. The reality that not only could I not continue to blame everything on Tony but that I had a bunch of garbage to confront in myself; a lot more than I thought. I had assumed that Tony was the source of the majority of my problems. Certainly the marriage has brought on its avalanche of pain, dysfunction, and codependent behaviors. There are issues that I brought into the marriage, and accepting that fact was, and continues to be, a sobering reality. It has given meaning to the reference of therapy and recovery being so much work. No one can prepare you for this kind of stuff.
So eight months into this, I am reflecting on the changes. I have a whole new vocabulary. Words like boundaries, recovery, enmeshment, codependency, self-care, addict behavior, awareness, inner child, are just a few of the everyday words of my conversation these days. I have a growing library. I've read more self-help books in these eight months than combined in my lifetime. I’m so glad I have a Nook now because sometimes I don’t want to be pulling out some of these books in public! But more than that, it sure is handy to have my library with me wherever I go. Thirdly, I have a growing group of new friends. We didn't really want to be in the recovery club, but finding acceptance, encouragement, and authenticity in this struggle is a welcomed gift. My life is so much richer because of the people I now have as precious and dear friends. Recovery kind of does that.
The greatest changes of course are within me. My new reality is seeing that with the pain and the struggle came courage and fortitude. I am discovering who I am and that there are endless possibilities for the next stage in my life. I’m learning to go with the flow of life, and the varying emotions that accompany each phase. I think this is the “acceptance” that keeps appearing in the readings and my morning meditations. That Letting Go language is making more and more sense!