My recovery week in review…Monday I mustered the courage to face my love addiction by going to a twelve step meeting (followed by an emotional reaction), Tuesday was the airing of the story on EMDR (a lot of compliments for my "daring greatly" efforts), Wednesday was final divorce mediation (good work in getting this done finally, but painful nevertheless), Thursday brought group therapy, step study, a twelve step meeting (let’s just say it was quite a day), Friday was yet another twelve step meeting. I have exhibited a lot of vulnerability this week. Perhaps tonight I’m feeling the effects of that. Brené Brown refers to it as the “vulnerability hangover.” It seems to becoming standard requirement for me these days. The main point of this for me, is that I am showing up for myself. I am taking risks, showing courage, and heading full-on toward healing and wholeness.
I ask myself, what will that look like anyway? What does wholeness mean? Will I know it when I get there? Do I ever get there? I know for certain that I’m not there now. I still feel broken. I still feel shame for many things, but tonight I am most aware of the feeling of shame for having emotional needs, of asking for those needs to be met, heck, for even wanting to have those needs met. I acknowledge that it sounds absurd, but when I honestly assess my beliefs, there they are, horrifically staring at me; it sounds rather pathetic actually. I say this because I would never deny that my son needs to be loved, to be held, to be cherished. He most certainly has emotional needs, and as his mother I did my best to meet them when he was in my care. Why then, do I feel guilty and shameful for having those same needs? Yes, there is some work still. Old tapes are the worst, aren’t they? They become so ingrained within that it is work to get them changed, or more appropriately to create new ones.
Erma and I talked about the notion of stopping such tapes. Then she suggested that we hit the play button of the NEW tapes. What I think is the best metaphor is to hit the “skip” button. I can’t really help or control that the track of negative beliefs begin, but I can decide whether I will allow it to play in its entirety or to hit the repeat track over and over. Recovery has taught me that I have choices including what to do about my thoughts. I can combat this negativity with some commitment. Those thoughts can be rather sneaky, and I sometimes find myself having entertained a whole series of negative thoughts before my awareness kicks in that I have been in that zone for awhile. The gentle and loving thing I want to do is simply shift my thinking from harm to love. Whew! Easier said than done! This is one reason I write…to put to paper my intentions, to go from wishful to willful. It is not merely about wishing to be different but the willingness and intention to make things different. I choose to shift my unhealthy thoughts to affirming, positive ones.
Ultimately, I see that I have a choice on what to do about my compulsive behaviors. I am still challenged by the thought of being powerless in this addiction (step one) but I do have a choice as to whether I look at this love addiction or just deny/minimize its effects. I choose to seek healing by attending twelve step meetings; it is intentional, difficult; and doable. I see my choice to be a part of the EMDR story and my intention to share my experience so that others may benefit as well. It was my choice to go to mediation for my divorce, to be considerate and caring through the process and most definitely to not be vengeful, resentful, or harmful. Most notably, I see it is my intention to keep showing up for myself; to see myself beyond the current situation, the current pain and exhaustion from battling the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. One of the best gifts of twelve step programs is seeing the sober living of those who have gone before me and to see the joy and peace in them.
The therapy work I have done this past year has really paid off. I continue down The Healing Lane with those tools and the awareness which are invaluable to me as I renew my intention of recovery. I choose health; I choose healing; I choose living and giving. Yes, I shall simply “skip” the shame tape that keeps wanting to play in its entirety and move to playing the “I am worthy, loveable, and precious” track. I can hit repeat on that one.