nothing changes if nothing changes…

 

How often I have heard this, expression I guess it would be called, and used to think what does that really mean. It caused me pause and many moments of contemplated thoughts. It seems like a fairly short and simple statement to grasp. However, one would need to be willing to change in order to understand and appreciate the value in these words.

Long ago when my life was a living hell, full of chaos and uncertainty, my attitude was all about change. If only he would adjust to my ways, life would work better. Why can’t she see my point of view and do things better. I expected the world around me to make all the sacrifices so I would be more comfortable. How well that worked out for me.

It all came down to choices I soon came to find out. You mean I can choose to live this way or that? These weren’t the lessons I was taught. I observed and learned from my first teacher to accept everything as it was. Changing things was not an option, enduring them was the only choice. What a grand way to start a life with these amazing broken tools.

Off into the small world I grew up in, I learned to isolate early on. It was safer to stay inside my four walls of comfort where no one could reach me. I needed be invisible so I could remain the same. The only thing changing was the natural process of me growing up, while my insides became more confused.

The small town I grew up in wasn’t very different from when I was a young girl to the time I graduated high school. I was content but as much as I thought I wanted to break out, I was afraid to leave. One day my best friend and I thought that a change would do us good. So we took a leap, packed our things and moved 50 miles away to the closest city. One with a shopping mall, fast food on every corner and a freeway.

Feeling quite mature and somewhat more free, we discovered there was more to life than working at a fast food chain, cruising the loop of our tiny little town on the weekends, sunbathing at our favorite swimming hole and hanging out with the guys because there was nothing better to do. Content yet bored, there had to be something better than this.

We both found new adventures waiting for us as we parted ways geographically, but remained best friends even still.  That would never change. Both of us got married within a few short years, one month apart. Added together we had five sons between us. While she stayed happily married and in the same home with her wonderful, little flourishing family, I was in a constant state of change. Oh the roller coaster this man took me on. What other choice did I have? I was stuck.

By the time we made a circle in all the different small cities over a period of six years, I found myself right back where it all began. The familiar smell of the pine trees, clean air, majestic mountains and now two stop lights, I was back home. A place I never wanted to return. Happiness was this place in my rearview mirror, for a brief moment in time.

Come to find out later, all this moving around was merely us running from ourselves, me escaping me, but everywhere we went, there we were, he was and I was dying inside. Back in my what once was my safe haven, I began to hide out once again. This is my life. Deal with it, and that I did. Miserable and breaking, angry and unsatisfied, I found ways to survive.

My sons became my only source for joy and a means to escape from the turmoil residing within. My focus completely on them while I waited for their dad to change so I might feel anything other than hopeless. obsessed with his comings and goings, the frequencies were happening more often now. His drinking consumed him and I was losing myself as I sunk deeper into the darkness of despair.

My best friend’s home was my only means of refuge, but it was now two and almost a half hours away. That required a skillful way of scraping enough gas money together to load up my three joys and run away, at least for a weekend. The ease I felt just being there. In the presence of what I could only imagine normal might look like. The tension I carried seldom allowed me to relax. The five little boys with all their energy, exhausted me, but my frustrations and tears were understood here.

Dread set in every mile I drove to return to that place I now called home again. What other choice did I have? I felt trapped, unloved by this man I chose to marry. After all, if he truly did love me, he would change. The play was a continuance of my childhood just with different actors now. I was destined for this life that contained people who were consumed by the drink.

A martyr was born. She was always in there, but now she had blossomed and played her role well. Forced to come out of the background when my oldest son started school, I actually made a few friends. How refreshing and at the same time, foreign to be in the company of some positive energy. Soon I couldn’t get enough and found ways to be around it more.

I wanted to be like these seemingly happy people, so I soaked up what I could and held on tight. Not knowing what or how it happened, but I felt a little spark inside that shifted something. I think it was the possibility of thriving instead of surviving. Maybe there is a way. For the first time, I began to hope.

Six homes, a one year separation, multiple disappointments, constant let downs, agony, defeat, his DUI and arrest, a brief period of homelessness, fearful and hopeless, many years later, ten to be exact, I came to a crossroad. I realized it had been me all along that needed to make a change if I wanted anything to actually be different. I chose life, but what did that look like?

I had only ever known misery and it was a demented, familiar comfort. I was petrified as I walked in the door. A room full of strangers in a make shift church, but in a strange way I felt at rest. “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control and you will never cure it.” I was hooked and relieved. Those three little “C’s” gave me the freedom I had longed for my entire life. Those that were consumed by their addictions weren’t going to change unless they wanted to. I was soon going to find out that no matter what I did, I was just not that powerful.

As long as I continue to do what I have always done,

I will continue to get what I have always gotten

growth

Nothing changes if nothing changes…

 TBC…

 

 

 

 

 

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my own ESH (experience, strength, hope) or (extra special help) your choice…

lost

Self abandonment is something I am all too familiar with. We go way back, abandonment and me. For most of my life, I would put myself, needs, wants and desires on the back burner. It may even be safe to say that rarely would I be found on the stove. Growing up in a dys~fuck~tional home of dis~ease and addiction, I often had to find my own means of support, both emotionally and spiritually.

When I was two, my daddy had left us (me) and by the time I was seven, I knew mom had succumbed to her allergy when she became a full-blown alcoholic. Albeit still loving, slowly but surely her dis~ease robbed me of yet another parent. I typically found other means of seeking out comfort that I lacked now from both a mother and a father. A whole new description of abandonment developed.

I quickly learned I had to start growing up and fast. Try as I may to remain a child that I deserved to be, it was clear that I had to start learning to take care of my own needs. That meant that at ten, I babysat for extra cash so no one could tell me what I could or could not spend my money on. At that young age, I didn’t need materialistic things. The bonus was that it got me out of the house and temporarily away from the madness. Mom was a good provider in that our basics needs were met. She wasn’t incapable of sustaining employment. In fact, she was “highly functional” in her state of sickness and successful as a state employee. I did know she loved me, because she told me often.

So where was the lack and neglect? When she remarried I was seven and suddenly all her focus and attention was on this new man she expected to be my replacement daddy. Soon after is when the mental and verbal abuse started. The sting of abandonment, now enhanced. Mom cowered down to this man and never protected me. Her choice was evident who was more important and the burdens of an adult were now placed on this child. Suddenly I was now expected to carry them and take care of mom’s emotional state. I witnessed the demise of this lovely lady whom I once proudly called mom.

By the time I was a mid~teenager, I had been working for nearly six years and had the maturity of a young adult. I had responsibilities placed on me that were never age appropriate, but I lived up to them to the best of my abilities. This is the precise period of my life where I began to lose touch with my own self. It was as though I was forced to abandon my own thoughts, for fear of the ridicule and demeaning attacks that came with making mistakes. The message sent, received and delivered was, YOU are not good enough. Do better and MAYBE you will be loved, but only if you earn it.

Well, fuck. Order the party hats, hang the streamers, blow up the balloons and bring the popcorn, welcome to my lifelong pity party! What a party it was. I remember it starting at about age seventeen and lasting until maybe six years ago. No wonder I am exhausted keeping up those appearances that served me well for a very long time.

Let me back up quite a bit to my late teens where my own dys~fuck~tional relationship patterns were born. As I sought outside myself, seeking in others for my emotional fill-up needs, I was always led to the most unavailable sources because that was all I knew. I was drawn to and gave a free pass to those who would make me work harder for their love and attention. It was the system I witnessed that my mom created and we lived in. It seemed to work for her, it was familiar to me, so how was I to know any better? I continued to endure the verbal abuse and eventually even some physical. By now the pity party was in full force. Remembering often the message, “YOU are not good enough, try harder, be more, then maybe you will be worthy of love”. It was ingrained on my brain. Dance little princess dance.

Alright, I managed to escape my LTR from high school, but only because the next white knight flattered me enough to lure me away from my current abuser. The blood hadn’t even dried on the back of my head that went through the wall when I announced it was over and I was onto the next chapter. More balloons, streamers and cake please. This one is the one I can count on. He rescued me after all. He must love me for me. So he drinks more than I am comfortable with, smokes pot and snorts some white shit “once in a while”. I would never partake in that nor was it allowed at my pity party. However, I was determined that this guy was all I dreamed of and he would not be like the others because he would change for me. I AM that special and powerful, no matter what the old tapes playing in the background keep repeating. That is actually comical as I think of it now.

In the very beginning of this relationship I had lost my mom to a tragic, fatal car accident. I was twenty-two and devastated. She was my mom and despite everything, I loved her. By the mercy and grace of God, whom I had no relationship with, we had been mended with paperclips and scotch tape, but at least we “liked” each other again. That was my first introduction to detachment with love and acceptance. She was a beautiful soul who was caught in the cruelty of a horrific dis~ease. I stopped blaming and forgave her.

A year passed and I married this man after committing myself to complete self abandonment and promises to live in denial of the truth. Eighteen years and three amazing sons later, I filed for divorce after a tumultuous relationship with this alcoholic. The skills I took away from that chunk of my life were those on survival I had fine tuned. I became an expert in control, manipulation, managing, shaming, blaming, overcompensation, perfectionism, and oh yes, the party continued as prescribed by me. Except now, I began taking hostages in order for the celebration to carry on. Since all of my needs failed to be filled by any and all outside sources, my master skills were now serving me well.

The next one was on deck prior to the soon to be ex husband vacating the premises. This new man was simultaneously going through the same motions as I was. A match made in heaven, yes? Oh Lord I prayed this one was my final hero and savior here on earth. By this time I had come to terms with a lot of emotional pain and effects from a lifetime of abuse and neglect. Not only from those who were supposed to love me, but myself included. If I could not treat myself with the love and dignity I deserve and cherish all the blessings bestowed upon me, how could I be worthy of receiving more?

It was at this moment in my life I had found the rooms of recovery. A saving grace that welcomed me with open arms. I stumbled in, broken and shattered, depleted of all my self-worth, value and love. An empty shell that had been emptied over the course of nearly thirty years at that point. Pieces of me now strewn about, so scattered and left behind, hopeless and full of despair, how would I ever be put back together again? Angry that I was in this place where dys~fuck~tion forced me through the iron doors. Confused and frustrated why I was the one in need of changing and fixing. After all, I was not the one with an addiction problem that fucked up the lives of everyone they touched. Or so it seemed.

The newest man I was sure to be Heaven sent, scolded me and said he would not be able to see me as long as that husband was still in the picture and the house. That was enough incentive to light the fire. A few short, but long agonizing weeks later, he was out of the house I was happy to report. Done. Now will you love and cherish me? Five months later, we too were done. Meanwhile, I continued to show up in “those rooms” I was so resentful to have to be in. Little did I know, the message was seeping in my stubborn skull. It leaked in with every word I heard as it sounded like my own story. For every ounce of wisdom I allowed to creep in, I cried a bucket of tears. I knew where I belonged and I never left.

The balloons slowly deflated, streamers and hats disappeared one by one and the candles were finally blown out. A new party was in the works as resentments lessened and gratitude slowly replaced it. At some point I told my pride and ego to take a hike as they were no longer of service to me. I was becoming empowered and equipped as my faith grew and was humbled by the ESH of others. I came in because of them, the sick ones, I stayed for me, the real sick one. That was nearly eleven years ago. I have been asked why do you still go there? My answer is always, my life and emotional sobriety depend upon it.

As I dove head first into this new discovery that was teaching me a better way to live and love. I finally reached a point in my life that I began to make sense to me. I could admit I was a walking wounded, but not beyond repair and certainly worth every bit of work I willingly put into it. I found hope and courage, but more importantly, I established the two most important relationships I never thought possible. One with myself and the other with the God of my understanding.

In February of 2011, my beautiful, once filled with life twenty year old nephew died of a heroin overdose. He was as close to me as my own three sons. I thought my heart would never recover. I was again devastated by another loss. I hit my knees like never before. Lord, how much more are You going to remove from my life? I cannot fucking take one more tragedy. Enough, I yelled to the sky! It was in that depletion from my heartbreak that as I became angry at God, I drew closer to Him. I quit fighting and resisting His comfort and chose to walk with Him. I became devoted and fully trusted Him for the very first time. At that moment I obediently turned my will and my life over to Him. I was saved.

By this time I had suffered enough pain and loss that I was not willing to open my heart for another to come in and risk damaging the repairs that the Lord had mended. I continued to seek Him out in everything and relied on Him solely. My life began to change. The healing was coming from the inside out. I poured myself into the spiritual world of recovery and found balance for the first time in my life. Relationships were also being healed and brought to fruition because I have learned to cultivate them with God’s blessings and my offerings. I prayed for His wisdom and guidance for my life. Then one day shortly after losing my nephew, there was a new brokenness presented in my life. It came in the form of a human man.

I was blind to his presence in the early days as I was in turmoil and grief. My blinders were on, heart guarded and I remained obedient as I waited on the Lord to keep filling me up. At some point, this new man very subtly found his way through a crack in my heart. For the very first time in my new life, I didn’t seek out a man to fill my emptiness. I talked to God often about His intentions and will for me. Did You send this man for a reason? The answers revealed were, yes and I was to pour into him the abundance of love the Lord now fills me with because He has promised me an everlasting supply.

Over the course of our friendship and relationship, I have never given up on the man who God instructed me to encourage, support, lift up and love. He has taken my brokenness from me and undone what has harmed me. He has restored my heart a multitude of times. He never gave up on me and always waited patiently for my cooperation. Because of Him, I am more complete than I ever thought possible. My Heavenly Father made me perfect in His image and it is in Him that I seek forgiveness for disparaging His creation of me. I am the blessed one, granted new mercy and grace every day. 

 rumi 2

 tbc (to be continued)…