When I first divorced in the summer of ’04 (a few months after my father died of a drug O.D.) I was happily able to maintain possession of my home and my ex moved out. I had been sleeping in the guest room for many months while he had the master bedroom (all my choice). When he left, the house had less furniture and a whole lot of free space. The whole house was mine and I was ecstatic. The master bedroom was empty and I could finally move back in promptly. Thing is, I didn’t. I didn’t move at all. I stayed in the very small guest room.
For months I didn’t find it strange. I believed I simply liked the front room better. But when I decided it was time to move into the master room, I had a panic attack and went back to the guest room. It would be another two years before I had the courage to move into the Master bedroom and make it my own.
I now realize that there were two reasons why I could not make the commitment to moving from the guest room into a master room. Both of which are quite telling to my recovery.
After I divorced, I became the head of household, with my two young sons. There was no man. There was just me. On the one hand I was quite happy to be free, yet on the other, I was overwhelmed with my new role. On a subconscious level, I did not believe I was the head of household. Or rather, I did not WANT to be. Far too grown up in such a huge position of authority. Somewhere deep inside me, I equated the master bedroom with Authority. I believed that room was for a “married couple.” It was for “parents.” And I felt I was neither. I had no husband and I lost my father. So…I remained in the guest room, almost like a little girl. I refused to grow up, if only symbolically.
The second reason had to do with the fact that after I was divorced I felt free-floating. I felt untethered. Despite having a rotten marriage and a neglectful husband, I placed MORE value on the fact that marriage, I believed, essentially grounded me. When I was divorced I had nothing to ground me. I can remember having nightmares for many years that I was falling off cliffs and floating through the air and other out-of-control reveries.
I would do anything to get that sense of stability back and so, when I met G, I made him my whole life. Ironically, it was within my relationship with him that I was able to move back into the master room, ONLY because I thought we would live together.
But as many of you know, I broke up with G and eventually M and lost S…and through it all (gaining men, and losing men), I came to my senses and realized a few very important things:
- I am OK as head of my own household.
- I believe in my own ability and my own power of authority
- I do not need a man to make me feel grounded or centered
- I accept my grown up responsibilities.
I am writing this because I just realized today through a string of coincidences that I no longer have a PoA. Surprisingly, I received an email from S and surprisingly, I bumped into G. Both were pleasant experiences. But neither affected me in any deep, meaningful, desperate way as if I were in need of seeing or hearing from either of them. Period. The only thing I did recognize was the ABSENCE of drama within me, emotionally.
I thought for the longest time that if I didn’t have a PoA, I would revert back to the free-floating, untethered feeling I experienced when I was first divorced. This was not the case. I can be WITHOUT an anchor. Or rather, I am my own anchor.
All this is due in large part to my latest realization that recovery is largely based on one’s ability to be MATURE. To be a grown-up. I don’t think I ever gave this much thought until this past year, and I am not sure where I picked this knowledge up (probably HERE). But I thought I’d share.
I have no PoA. I have no one I am addicted to. I am no longer even addicted to any substance (I used to be a smoker). If anything I probably have to find a new support group for people addicted to facebook. But, that’s the extent of my addiction right now.
I believe we are addicts because we think we need something to hold on to. We think that that to which we are addicted will help us feel better, will help us feel grounded, will take care of us and comfort us like a parent. But neither an addiction, nor a person will do any of that for us when we grow up. We are not children any more. We are adults. And we must learn to do it ourselves. And the thing is, sometimes we will fail. But that’s OK. Because the thrill of finally getting it and taking responsibility for our own lives far outweighs the losses we may incur along the way.