One of the things that I don’t always write about on my blog or on the forums is where I stand now in recovery, in my life and with my relationships. I think we (me included) tend to think a person who recovered X amount of years ago is all better. They’re done. “Nothin’ more to see here, folks.” And while I personally believe that’s partly true, it’s not entirely true. It’s always good to do an inventory to see if you’ve reached goals. And to remind yourself of what recovery is, so that you stick to it!
I liken the experience of recovery to growing up, and becoming an adult. Because let’s face it, that is, essentially, what recovery is. When you are not recovered and you are in the throes of your addiction, you’re acting out, avoiding life and responsibility as a child would, and ultimately refusing to grow up. When you recover, you pass through the stages of psychological development and hopefully reach your potential, whatever that may be. SO, while you are not growing at such a rapid rate anymore, as an adult (as a recovered person), you are still making choices about your life, you are still choosing roads and you are still deciding what kind of perspective you would like to hold on to at any given juncture in your life. A successful recovery, therefore, means that you find your identity, you learn how to be intimate, you begin to contribute to the world and you feel a sense of accomplishment in your life.
But here’s the tricky part…
Can even the healthiest among us know the entirety of their identities when an identity is a constantly evolving human experience?
And can anyone really experience intimacy to the fullest, once and for all, despite the fact that people change all the time, and close up and bottle up and the open up again?
And must we reach a definitive point in our lives where we only contribute to the world, and no longer have occasional bouts of weakness where we must once again be the takers?
And despite feeling a sense of accomplishment for certain achievements, is it possible (or necessary) to feel a sense of accomplishment for every darn thing?
I guess what I am saying, is that while advanced recovery teaches you to not make critical mistakes anymore and gives you the tools to live an overall healthier life, you still face the human experience, you still must evolve and make decisions, you still must take risks and make mistakes, and you still must deal with other people who push your buttons, who challenge you, and who create in you a sense of wonder. So, while I no longer deal with the concept of PoAs or addiction, or doing horribly regretful things, I do deal with procrastination, avoidance of work, challenges within my own personality conflicting with others, challenges with my expectations of others (namely people I work with or family members) and from time to time frustration, boredom, anger, blame, and (my most recent) lack of interest in my job–after working to the point of near exhaustion from June to end of December, I collapsed and have been sick nearly the whole month of January. I want nothing to do with work and I am instead more interested in doing laundry and dishes!
Here’s more. Personally, I think I will always deal with my lack of ambition. I probably could have been far more successful than I am, but I never had any ambition, nor did I have a focus. I think I will always deal with my own version of ADHD in that, I can get bored with the direction I am heading in and change. And because of that change, I end up starting all over again. At the beginning.
Lastly, I wish I were better at spending less money.
So, at the moment, work and money is not working for me. That is where I am struggling. Should I continue with this particular volunteer work, or should I let it go? And if I do let it go, what will be the consequences?
On the flip side, my relationship with D has been wonderful. Aside from the past month where we were both sick and miserable with the flu, and a bit short with each other, our overall relationship is right where I’d hope it’d be after 4 years. My feelings for him still grow. He still amazes me with his kindness, love and respect. ANd I still have deep emotions for him, backed by the fact that he never hurts me. When you find someone who you love and trust and who shares your same values, AND they never hurt you, the relationship becomes such a healing one! Are we lovey-dovey and shmoopy every day? Hell, no. He makes too much noise at night when I am trying to sleep. He’s oversensitive about my tone of voice (I’m Italian! I’m a little louder than the average girl!) He more often than not feeds his kids junk food. But these are issues I can handle! We are planning our wedding for August 24th, 2013.
My relationship with my kids is also strong. I am growing prouder and prouder of their accomplishments and the men they are growing into (well, they are still boys!). I spend lots of time with them and they mean the world to me. Do they act out and whine about cleaning up their rooms and doing chores? Yes! Every day. Do they get straight As; are they picture perfect students? No (well, the youngest one is!). Do I spoil them? Probably a little bit. But I am learning to let go and let them grow up in a healthy environment. I am creating a peaceful, loving world for them, and for that, I am proud.
My health and diet is going well. I decided to lose a few pounds back in October, and I accomplished my goal. Now to maintain! I am eating extremely healthy too, which makes me feel better and more important, regulates my mood so that I am happier, calmer, less moody. I’m telling you folks, try to cut back as much as you can on sugar, caffeine, drugs and alcoholic. When you do, you can clearly see what a large role those chemicals play in affecting your mood!
My relationship with my mother is wonderful. It usually always is, but now, she is newly retired and lives close, so we have been spending extra time together.
My house is a wonderful place to be. We’re under construction and that’s hugely exciting!
SO, that’s where I am now. How about you? Take a look at where you were five years ago. Are you where you thought you’d be? Are you where you want to be? What goals can you set you achieve those outcomes?
3 thoughts on “Where is she now, in 2013?”
Thank you so much for sharing. Your journey has been an inspiration to me. When I have my doubts about my own recovery (which has been focused on letting go of my PoA), I come back here and remind myself of the realizations you came to when slowly letting go of yours, and I know that I am doing the right thing.
I am pleased to announce (knock on wood here) that in the last month, I feel hugely shifted. I now longer engage in the same compulsive communication patterns with my PoA. While he broke up with me as a lover over a year ago, we maintained a compulsive e-mail exchange since then as “friends” which fed my false hopes that we would reunite. He is the classic case of an avoidant, since he is Married. A month ago, he dropped a bomb, shared that he was separating from his wife, but was moving right in and on with another ex-Other-Woman/”friend”. The other shoe had dropped, but not into my lap. I howled about this for a while, but over the last two weeks, I see that he has given me a huge gift. I am free from his drama. It is now my job to release myself from feeling tied into it, and it seems to be working. We are barely in touch, no more compulsive e-mails, I no longer obsess over him, and I am moving on.
But, as you say, once the fog of a Love-Addicted-Episode lifts, you are left seeing how little you have invested in yourself over that time. I don’t have it as bad as others; I have two great part-time careers, my health, my hobbies, my home, my domestic projects, my friends. But, I still feel unable to look after myself. I want to look after someone else. Life feels purposeless, boring, restless. You mean, I have to entertain myself? Gawd! The Love Addicted part of me misses the drama, as painful as it was.
I am, however, excited. I haven’t felt this peaceful in… in… in…. um… ever? As “boring” as life is right now (and keep in mind, this new mindset has only taken root for two weeks), I feel inspired, once again, by projects that have languished since two PoAs ago.
Also, I have to admit, that I was foolish enough to start a relationship with someone before I got over the PoA – an off-and-on relationship that has been more “on” for the better part of a year. I wasn’t two-timing anyone, right? The PoA and I were only friends, right? It’s not like I am cheating on anyone! Ha ha. Of course I was. LIke any practiced Love Addict, I needed a little of this, a little of that, to make me feel totally loved… too scared to get it all from one person in a committed relationship. Now that the PoA is fading, I see with great clarity that my so called “real” relationship – someone very nice, but avoidant in his own way (underemployed, borderline functional alcoholic, a child in a man’s body). Is this the relationship I want? No. He served me well when I was busy privately pining over the PoA and needed someone to help me feel validated. But this guy, unlike the PoA, despite his problems, is real flesh and blood, and I owe him my honesty – do I really want to be with him in a fully committed relationship or not? Now that the fog of the PoA is lifting, I am wondering if I should just be single for a while. I think that it would do me well. Or, do I step up? Not questions than anyone here has to answer…
Wow! First of all, thanks for reading and being so inspired. It’s always wonderful to hear. Second, you sound like you are doing wonderful. YES, it’s only been two weeks and YES you have a long road ahead of you, but you seem like you have the mind power to take on this challenge. And um….you consider that you were cheating on your MARRIED PoA? Once the fog lifts, and once you start thinking with a healthier mind, you will see the absurdity in that kind of thinking. Believe me, when I look back (not often anymore), and see some of the things that I dealt with and how I “justified” it, I feel completely foolish. Oh well… Time is also a wonderful gift. Keep reading, keeping learning, keep posting! You’re on your way! And YES be single for awhile. It should be a requirement of all love addicts. How will you get to know yourself if you never sit with all the awkward feelings of boredom, purposelessness and restlessness? This is what most of us fear most and wanted to avoid. Just being alone with ourselves. Eek!
Thank you for your reply. It started my day out right.
Oh, hee hee. I guess I was a little unclear with my twisted love-addiction-addled love-life. I have been “friends” with the PoA for going on a year (up until a month ago), and have been seeing another man in addition. That second relationship became, for better or for worse, a real relationship last fall, growing out of a casual relationship. Once we crossed that threshold, I realized that I couldn’t be emotionally available for him, since my heart and mind were still wrapped up with the PoA. I feel like I have been cheating on the man I am dating, not the married PoA. The married PoA was married, he was sleeping with someone else last year, and has just run into the arms of another OW! No. I don’t feel like I was cheating on him… except, to tell the truth, I had a hard time being upfront with him about my other relationship, because I liked to give the PoA the illusion that I was available. I wasn’t been upfront with the man I am dating about how frequently I was in contact with the PoA. Yes, messy. At least, in my head. Well, it is now less messy in my head. The PoA, and the “friendship” that came with, are receding / have receded, and I am left with a half-baked relationship, but a real relationship, that doesn’t serve me well. I feel a little hung-over, if its fair to used that term, from the PoA, and I can’t turn on a dime and be the full-partner the man I am seeing expects and deserves. I don’t have the courage to turn all of this on its head right away, especially since I truly do feel hung-over, but I know that we need to talk. Soon. I feel ready to be single, even though it scares the sh*(&(*&*(&t out of me.