5th Step

I’m in the middle of a 5th step in the ACA program.  I’ve done the steps in AA, but the ACA  program is way different.  I’m a child of trauma, and have essentially became much like my parents emotionally, causing all sorts of turmoil.  I’m doing it with my therapist, who I trust and can tell anything.  I’ve had 3 one hour sessions, I’ll need at least 2 more to finish it.  My insights so far:

  • OMG – I now understand how the ACA is an identity crisis having an identity crisis.  I don’t know who I am yet because I was using my traits and character defects to protect a false self/inner critic.
  • I was really, really messed up emotionally.  I’m just mostly messed up emotionally now, lol.  Thank God for recovery and therapy.  My therapist told me she doesn’t know how I’m alive.  She also told me how proud she is of my honesty and clarity.  It took me over 35 years to get here.
  • I’m still messed up emotionally but have a Higher Power, my recovery programs, my family, my recovery friends, my group therapy members and therapist for support.  They all know me pretty well now and I can trust them as healthy people.  This is very different than a few years ago, when I was an isolating, feeling stuffing, fear based, people pleasing, dishonest mess with many process addictions who gravitated to people who were just like me.
  • I operated in TOTAL denial of how insane my thinking was.  I am essentially an emotional addict – meaning I fed on shame, fear and abandonment even though they were killing me and I feared shame and abandonment.
  • I’m my own victim and I seek victims (emotional) at the same time as loathing victims.  This is because I have such low self worth.
  • I’m honest about all this because I don’t want to die and I am willing to do anything to have a life that I feel is worth living.  Also, there are a lot of people I care about and want to contribute to their lives in a healthy way.
  • Putting all the lists and inventories on paper and reading them out loud has been a staggering awareness.  The struggle and turmoil of my life is huge and in my face and makes the difficulty of recovery all the more meaningful and necessary.  Stopping now will mean falling into the abyss of insanity and death.  I am not exaggerating.  Well….I can’t be sure of that but it feels like I am not exaggerating.
  • I’m proud of me too.  But I’m also feeling shame and healthy guilt.
  • I’m staying with my feelings, working my therapy, going to lots of meetings, doing service work and spending time with my kids….I’m all in like I’ve never been before.
  • I’m still not sure what my higher power is.  I just know that it is.
  • I thought this program was too big and would be another thing that I would fail to do.  It still looks that way, but here I am.
  • I’m still way too serious.  I’m really sad but despair has been significantly reduced.
  • I’m very willing.  I haven’t stopped since I started this process a year ago.
  • I’m a good person, that got me here.  I’m a sick person though, and that delayed my arrival.
  • My life was very much like the situations describe in Eric Berne’s excellent book Games People Play.
  • I’m a good actor (reactor really, which I’m changing).  I’ve maintained a very good job, a career really, and most people (who I keep a wide emotional distance from, for now) think I’m relatively “normal”.  They would shit the proverbial brick if I started incorporating this stuff into my water-cooler talk (I don’t really do much water-cooler talk at work anyway).  It’s good that I’m not an open book to people outside of recovery, imagine this:
    • “So how was your weekend?”
    • “Not bad.  I kicked off Saturday with some meditation and crying for 20-30 minutes, you know, just feeling my feelings.  Then some light journaling about my fear of abandonment and a good share in my Al Anon Meeting.  I hit an AA meeting right after to meet a guy who just got out of jail.  That night the kids and I went to Guardians of the Galaxy 2, it was hilarious.  Did you get a chance to enjoy the sun?”

Thats enough stuff for now.  My we never grow so old again.  Smiley emoji.

What this is

Recovery is hard.  I’ve been at it for a while now and am finally doing some deep work.  I run the majority of the recovery gauntlet, AA, Al Anon and ACA (Adult Children Of Alcoholics).  I’ve been sober (drinking and drugging wise) for nearly 10 years.  This is mainly a place to let out some anguish, hope, inner child feelings and generally be kind of creative.  Being a true ACA, I claim to be creative but mainly admire creativity from a safe distance and have a very difficult time with spontaneity.  It’s rare to see me just doing something without fitting it into my, mostly, subconscious defense mechanisms and ridged inner critic/inner child protection modes (See Laundry List Traits and Other Laundry List Traits on the Adult Children of Alcoholics website if you want to know more).  I guess I’m writing this in the slim chance someone reads it.

I’m going to try not to explain how I think shit works.  I’ll just say it’s working as I think I am in the middle of experiencing real recovery.  It’s been sloooooooow.  Healing has been horrible and releasing and painful and soulful and foreign.  The two posts I have wrote so far are not like me at all, and I like that.  My inner critic sees bad poetry (“your not a poet fuckhead!”) and a guy still weepy about being born.  I’m experiencing pain but pretty grateful right now as I have been doing so much work in ACA, Al Anon, therapy and group therapy.  I have to say that group therapy is awesome.  It’s all experiential (gestalt, psychodrama, grief work, anger/rage work, nurture pieces, etc.).  I’m the only guy in a group of 5 women and it’s been groundbreaking for me.  They say it’s been good for them too and want another guy in the group.  Probably because most of them have father issues and I, mostly, have mother issues.  Go figure.

See how I am, I talked too much about how shit works.  🙂  I’m going to try to stay out of intellectualizing every post. I posted the poem thing (In the head) while listening to Madame George by Van Morrison.  I highly suggest listening to his album Astral Weeks if you need to get in touch with your feelings.  They may not be the feelings you want to touch but Mr. Morrison brings them out with his voice on this genius work.  My stomach aches with feelings when I hear this album.  I need my stomach to ache with those kind of feelings.

In the head

Oh my child are you in there, too

Are you soiled and spoiled and boo hoo hoo

With balloon pop shakes and tin foil hat

Don’t scream this time if you can hear any of that

Have you fed yet or dead yet or just dreaming red yet

Laying in bed hearing voices play dread

Your just a whore, like Sheri next door

Do you feel your arm held to keep the whore from the door

Do you see her not there, her absent not stare

It’s time in your mind to mind the moth of her lair

Its not long to fall, not as St. Paul can recall

Stop talking and sink or take your turn in the pink

We’ve dug our dry well, spitting hell all over Shell

Start the full hot burn, the slow, low gravity turn

Turning our me into you and ever to her

Sure, fucker, sure, take your spoonful of cure

I’m here, dear, cram your fear

Pin those ears and eat my tears

I’m spinning my bowls, a tight white swan in ballerina pose

My legs will stay on even alone with her mom

Lets speak another of a million frowns

And clown around and around, red light of the town

Let’s pound their sound down with our holy bent crown

Then the eyes and lies and eventually flies

Spinning drunk circles away, looping out of my fray

Never holds always fades making silent burnt roast

Grow up dress down depress it and toast

It’s the last time like last time, my god please be the last

Time is never ahead, its last in line in mine, living rot root cold deep in the head