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.