What IS rock bottom? For me, a year ago, it looked like this:
"I can't be this way anymore. I'm desperate. I acknowledge his problem. I want to change. I'm ready for a new, better way to live."
I remember clearly my rock bottom with Pete's addiction. It was too heavy, I couldn't carry it anymore. I didn't want to be pathetic and miserable. I didn't want to be bitter and suspicious. I didn't want to be afraid of the future. I didn't want to be full of hate and I didn't want to be depressed.
I wasn't functioning as a proactive, positive mother. I withdrew. I preferred isolation because social situations, particularly with family, were too difficult, they required too much pretense and insincerity. I was embarrassed. I was lonely. I was hypersensitive and felt like a victim.
But I was ready for help. I was a sponge. I read and studied. I prayed. I reached out. I found friends online and I started the blog. I discovered 12-step meetings and amazing women at support groups. I cried at every meeting, but it felt wonderful. I was cleaning up the crap. From rock bottom, I could only go up. I had hope.
Now, I feel like I'm able to cope with Pete's addiction in more healthy ways. There is much less of the fear, embarrassment, isolation, self-pity and bitterness associated with his problem.
But after doing the Step 4 Inventory I'm no longer living in ignorant bliss of my own addictions. Or compulsive behaviors if you prefer that term. I prefer that term because my compulsive behaviors are much more socially acceptable than pornography addiction, and I like to make that distinction.
Last week a friend of mine suffered a terrible tragedy. In the midst of her crisis I found myself relapsing into a raging codependent.
"I'm gonna fix it! I'm gonna fix her!"
I called, visited, texted, arranged meals, babysat kids, sent flowers. I did everything I could think of to manage the pain. I took ownership of her trial. And to make it worse- I wanted credit for it all. I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see who was taking note of my good deeds. I made her experience all about me, and put my happiness on the line. Would I come through? Would she shower me with love and appreciation and tell me how everything I'd done had been just what she needed to get her through?
For once my actions were good, but my intentions were selfish. And in the light of my new-found knowledge I could see through my own transparency. All my efforts were good, and I know she appreciated them. But I know I can't be so obsessed with "fixing" everything. And realizing that I was exploiting her situation to make myself look good filled me with horror at my true colors. And I think I hit rock bottom again.
"I can't be this way anymore. I'm desperate. I acknowledge my problems. I want to change. I'm ready for a new, better way to live."