I had been married for about 10 years.  I knew he was having affairs.  I had even talked to a couple of the bolder ones on the phone who had the nerve to call his home, MY home, the home of our CHILDREN!  One of them I remember kept asking “Who are you?”  I responded “HIS WIFE !  who are you?”  Well, after several go-rounds with this particular robin, I knew this conversation was going nowhere fast and hung up.  You might, with righteous indignation demand, “What did he say when you confronted him?”  But, sadly, at that point in my life, my already hugely battered self-esteem would not allow me to even attempt to confront him one more time.  I couldn’t have taken watching him stand there in front of me and blandly lie to me yet again over his inappropriate behavior.  If he had said to me one more time, “I don’t know who it was, must have been a wrong number.”  This was way before the days of caller ID, mind you.   I would have just disintegrated right there on the spot.  Ya’know, just like how they show the vampires on TV, when they get struck by the sun, one minute they are standing there in full view of everyone, the sun comes up and poof!  all that remains where they were standing is this cloud of smoke and dust.  That would have been me.   I just couldn’t’ve take it again….

This obviously wasn’t the first one and I was completely convinced that as long as I stayed there would continue to be others.  I had two children under 10 years old and wasn’t working at the time.  Children needed their father, didn’t they?  Children in a family together, even when it was not good, was still better than children from a divorced family, wasn’t that what everyone said?

This was all happening during the early 80’s.  We were enlightened back then.  Feminism was alive and active.  So where did it all go wrong? Now, I think it was all wrong before it ever started, but that is another story for another day.  But back then, I thought it was all my fault.  I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t a good enough housekeeper, and on and on, ad nauseam….

There was a part of me that knew he loved me, or so I told myself.  And yet, the scene that kept running through my head was this:

“If I could find a tree, just the right size tree, and run my car into it, not too hard, but just hard enough, ….  I could knock myself out, be unconscious for 4-5 days, he would come RUNNING to my bedside, sit there as the handsome, distraught, young loving husband, holding my hand, gently stroking it, repeating over and over again how sorry he was, what a schmuck he had been, could I ever forgive him, please come back to him and give him another chance, how he would never mess up again…. Then, after he was sufficiently scared that he might actually lose me,  I would miraculously come out of my coma, with absolutely no brain damage, tell him I heard every word he had said to me while I was unconscious and how I completely forgave him, because I know knew that he would be forever faithful, now that he had almost lost me and realized how much he really did love me. ”

Jeez, Louise!  What FANTASIES we can come up with to appease our broken hearts!  …  and our bruised and battered self-esteem.

I was probably 4 or 5 years into recovery when it finally dawned on me as I heard another woman talking around a table.  She was telling a story about HER FANTASY, and I thought, “oh, my, gawd, she is suicidal!”.  Then and there, in that moment of recognition, it dawned on me that I had been suicidal.  If anyone had asked me at the time that was all going on if I was suicidal I would have completely denied that I was, at that time suicidal, or had ever been suicidal.  After all, it was just a little fantasy, wasn’t it???  …..  It probably took me another 5 years before I could tell that story for myself sitting around a table….  Finally admitting, that yes, I had been suicidal for several years when I got into recovery

Just Lexxie, Chatterin’ Again!

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geez, I am sitting here on the fence, getting splinters in very uncomfortable places…  if ya’know what I mean…  lol

I know many ACoA’s feel very threatened when a polar opinion comes up, so please don’t take offense or feel challenged by what I am about to say. I am not trying to decide this issue pro or con for anyone else. I am not trying to declare that anyone is wrong about this, which ever way they feel, however, several questions immediately pop into my head about this issue.

In this day and age I think anonymity is well on its’ way to becoming a double edged sword. I am, by no means, proclaiming that everyone go out and shout from the rooftops, “I AM A MEMBER OF (12 step program of your choice) AA, ACOA, NA, CA, etc, etc. AND I can completely agree that anonymity is a big deal within the 12 Step Programs. I have chosen to maintain my anonymity here on this blog, but, I am getting to the point where I have very mixed feelings about anonymity and 12 Step programs and personal recovery.

Anonymity was built into the programs in a day and age where there were very severe consequences in your life and your work world if you admitted to being an alcoholic or a drug addict. You instantly became “untrustworthy”. When in fact, the opposite was probably more the case. By admitting to being an addict or an alcoholic, you then, hopefully, began to behave in a more trustworthy manner because you knew people would be watching you more closely now that they had someone to blame things on. “oh, it was that drunk, Joey, he did it! I always knew there was somethin’ funny about him!” In many ways, unfortunately, a lot of those consequences still exist in our world today.

There is also the issue of proclaiming to the world “ I am an alcoholic and I got sober in AA” and 5 days, or months, or years later, getting arrested for another DUI and getting it splattered across the front page of the paper, or the internet home page of your choice. It does give a bad name to the program, or does it? Is it the fault of the program that didn’t work or the individuals just being human if they relapse… It seems as though no one is really interested in what was going on with the individual that they got into a place where the best option they came up with was to get drunk again. Isn’t it more about what they do about that relapse that counts than the fact that they relapsed in the first place? There is a saying that I don’t remember where I picked up, but it goes something like, “it is not about what happens to you in life, it’s about how you handle it” So by relapsing and then picking yourself up and saying, “Hey, this isn’t working for me any better this time than it did the last time I tried it!” and then doing something positive about it… like going through rehab again or going back to the meetings that saved your life the first time around. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where people put more emphasis on what you do when bad things happen than the fact that something bad happened in the first place. Where would Tiger Woods be if people said, “ok, you messed up, now how are you going to change your behavior, what are you going to do differently, how are you going to fix this?” But NO, everyone wants to know all the gory details, how many were there, where did they meet, how long has this been going on? We seem to all have some ACOA in us as I see it.

Does anyone REALLY have anonymity in this day and age? What with the internet, facebook, myspace, and the biggest offender of them all in regards to personal privacy/anonymity, TWITTER? Just because a website or a forum has a password system on it, doesn’t mean that no one can get into it without a password. Or that they can’t just PRETEND, and say all the right things and get into the forum and get their own password. How many databases is my information in, my surfing preferences on the internet, what I am chatting about? These can all be accessed if someone wants to badly enough. It is just that most of the time, with most individuals no one cares that much what the heck I am chattering about… lol

Isn’t anonymity, in fact, in direct conflict with learning how to break the ACA family rule of “Don’t Talk”? How do I keep this big secret about what I am doing with myself now that I am in recovery and not doing the things I used to do anymore? How do I resolve this conflict?

What about all the individuals who wear ANY kind of recovery jewelry? The camel pins, the triangle rings, etc, etc… or the bumper stickers that you can get at conventions? Aren’t all of these methods of breaking anonymity? And yet an entire industry has grown around all of it. You can even turn an AA sobriety coin into a key chain bob if you want to… Most of the people who see the pin, or key chain bob, or ring, aren’t going to know what they signify unless they are in some way connected to recovery themselves. I sure didn’t know what those items were about even after I got into recovery, until I started asking questions.

Then there is the fact that all of the steps and traditions are simply GUIDELINES, there are no governing bodies, entities, individuals within the 12 Step structures, so doesn’t it all boil down to a personal decision? As a matter of fact, the entire program is a program of suggestion… isn’t it? And who am I to become that “governing body” that says, “you bad person, you are breaking your anonymity”.

Isn’t part of the tremendous growth of ALL of the 12 Step programs simply about more people finding out that there is a way to learn how to live without addictions and dysfunctional family styles… Isn’t part of that growth BECAUSE people are speaking out about this wonderful thing that they discovered called a 12 Step Program? How many adolescents lives have been saved because their rock star idol got clean? Or their sports hero came clean and talked about how he did it, with a 12 step program…

Just Lexxie, chattering away again!

Chatter back! Let me know what YOU think about this one.