I finally came up with something for Angel's experiement. Here it goes.
Lately I've been feeling like I'm forgetting all the pain. I know, this is amazing, I should be grateful and thrilled, and for my own benefit, I am. But I feel like I'm losing my empathy. I also feel like I've heard so many stories, much worse, that I have no "right" to complain. After group meeting the other night another woman, even more advanced in recovery than I am, and I were visiting. She said she sometimes worries that when she says things like
"I'm so grateful for this experience..." or "I no longer worry or suffer..."
that the other women in the room want to ring her neck. We agreed that it is nice to see that someone survived, that there IS hope. But at the same time, I don't cry during meetings anymore and that almost makes me feel like an outcast. (Not really, let me be clear, there are no outcasts in group meetings.)
Last night Pete and I had an argument. It wasn't over anything substantial, but I rolled over in bed and closed my eyes. I forced myself to think about nothing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Go to sleep.
Then I remembered. I remembered, months ago, being curled up in the fetal position on the blue rug in our bathroom. I let Pete take care of the kids while I first sobbed, and then closed my puffy eyes. Forcing myself to think about nothing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Go to sleep. Escape reality.
When the memory hit me the pain didn't come back, just the memory of the pain. It was real. It had hurt tremendously. It felt like betrayal. I was devastated. I can relate. I do have empathy.
The pain of everything in the past is gone. It is truly gone. I am healing. I am totally uncertain about the future, there are no guarantees but I do feel prepared. It has been two months since Pete's last relapse, and I am clueless as to if or when another episode will come. But regarding what is behind me, it is at last, behind me.
I don't mean to imply that I have "completed" recovery. I'm not sure that is even something I can ever cross off a checklist. It's a life process for me, even if Pete eventually overcomes addiction. I am still sorting through issues. So this is where I stand today:
-I am days away from having the most frightening conversation of my life. I have completed my personal inventory for Step 4 and am preparing to share it.
-I still struggle with intimacy and affection, and get frustrated with myself as I strive to have a healthy sexual relationship.
-I still feel regular temptations to return to codependent behaviors and constantly let the choices of other people determine my mood, attitude, and ultimate happiness.
-I have moved on from the debilitating fears of my husband's addiction, our future, his salvation, death and doom, to more managable fears about people not liking me, rejection, and failure. (Progress, right?)
- I have forgiven Pete for his past misdeeds. I don't perpetually blame him for all the shortcomings of our relationship.
- I don't blame myself for any of Pete's past choices.
- I have a strong desire to reach out to others, to help them, to comfort them, and to give them hope.
- I have faith in God, that his divine plan for me is going to give me peace no matter what my mortal experience will entail.
- I view the trials of others in a different light, it's sad and I feel awful for their pain, but I have faith in God's plan for them as well.
- I have learned a new way to live, and a new way to love.
I look forward to the coming year, for myself and for all of you!