I spent the past week out of town. The first half was for work, then I was with my extended family for a vacation. During that time, I didn’t make it to any meetings. After only a few weeks in meetings, I’ve seen their benefits. I also strongly noticed my slow decline in progress and emotional health during that time without a meeting.
I made it to my first Sunday meeting tonight. I knew that I had to go – I was pushing my own boundaries, and had started making questionable decisions. I had maintained my physical sobriety, but just barely. I had never been to the Sunday location, and I only saw one familiar face there, but some thoughts mentioned during the various shares hit me pretty hard tonight.
- “I have to regularly remind myself of everything she’s had to absorb from me.” – This made me think of Grace like a sponge – she has absorbed all of the lies, deceit, and pain from my actions, and she’s overflowing now. I keep wanting to show her that I’m on the right path and we should get back together as soon as possible. I need to remind myself that I put her through a lot. A lot more than anyone in a relationship should go through. It is still taking time for her to heal from that, and I need to give her the time she has requested. I need to respect her process and progress, without pushing her. I struggle hour-by-hour, sometimes minute-by-minute to keep myself from reaching out to her. I need to remind myself of her pain.
- HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. This acronym is thrown around a lot, and reminds us of some of the major times when we act out. Currently, I’m lonely a lot. This pushes my desire for connection – often for Grace, sometimes for whoever will give me attention. I also have some underlying anger, which I think is often caused by fear: fear of losing Grace forever, fear of being unimportant to her, fear of her finding a new guy, fear of underperforming compared to whatever standard I think she has set for me during these three months, fear of not getting my addictions under control, and the list goes on… I’m Angry and Lonely most of the time, so I’m fighting urges all the time.
- “I feel like I’m using a BB gun to fight a T-Rex.” – This analogy feels spot on. I have been conditioning my brain for over twenty years on how to respond to certain stimuli. I’m just starting to get a hold on these urges, but there are times when they come at me hard and strong – like a T-Rex. My mental and emotional defense arsenal is incredibly limited – like a BB gun. That arsenal is constantly growing, but it is a daily struggle for me, physically, mentally and emotionally.
For now, I keep fighting. I have a small victory every day I can go to a meeting and say:
“Hi, I’m John, and I’m happily sober today.”