Sunday, November 25, 2007

struggle for balance

Last night, I tried to give my partner a "restitution gift." It's a tool our therapist taught us to clear up messes. The concept is that when someone in the relationship does something that hurts the other one, we can offer a restitution gift. It has to be something that the giver would LOVE to give and the receiver would LOVE to get.

Here's the background. It's complicated. Stay with me. (Or don't. I'm really just trying to sort it out for myself.) I had shared that I was really hurt by my partner saying "fuck you" to me during an intentional dialogue. He suggested that we talk about it, and that she offer me a restitution gift. She got upset and said that I owed her one. She said she didn't remember why but that she's sure I didn't give her one a couple of months ago. Actually, from my memory, even that incident was about me trying to own my part of a problem without her being willing to own hers. I had owned my piece of an issue and offered a restitution gift. She refused the gift, didn't own her piece, and left mad. Then about a week later, she comes back and says she's changed her mind and wants a restitution gift. I don't remember whether I gave it to her or not. It was a long time ago. But I agreed to give her one this week. And she agreed to process with me about my feelings about her saying "fuck you" to me during an intentional dialogue. (If you're trying to keep up, that's what brought up the restitution gift in the first place.)

So, last night I tried to give my restitution gift, a body massage. First, she told me that I wasn't really massaging, I was just touching. Then, she told me I was rubbing too hard. I told her I needed to stop. I was trying to give her a gift, and all I kept hearing was that I wasn't doing it right. One of my biggest triggers is that I'm not good enough, and it was getting majorly activated. Then, she got triggered by my being triggered. I'm not going to go into her stuff, but I acknowledged her feelings, and held her and she went to sleep.

OK, here's some of what's bothering me. I tried to take care of her by giving her the restitution gift. She has yet to bring up the dialogue about the "fuck you." Maybe she will before Wednesday, but I doubt it. Ok, I know, that's having an expectation, which is a premeditated resentment.

But things feel way out of balance for me. It feels like I take care of her, and she takes care of her. Last night, what went better for me was that I took care of me too by stopping when I needed to and by sharing my feelings. She took care of her by sharing her feelings. I took care of her by acknowledging, reflecting, and then holding her. So what went better is that I took care of me and I took care of her and she took care of her. At least I was in the equation, since I tried taking car of me. But something's still missing here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

becoming entirely ready

My writing workshop is on step 6. We did 5 last week. We were all resistent, feeling like we couldn't do it good enough, and then we all said very similar things. We all knew that the others weren't so bad, so maybe we weren't either. Magic!!

But of course, we were supposed to be ready to share Step 6 last week, and like the good little codie I am, I did the writing for it, even though I wasn't really finished with 5 and was in the middle of tantrumming, not a great place to become entirely ready to have God remove all defects of character.

I think it's the word, entirely, that's tripping me up. Sounds like I gotta do it perfect, and trying to be perfect is what trips me up all the time. I wanna change the language. I want it to say "were becoming ready." I could live with "were becoming entirely ready." There I go again, trying to tell recovery how to do it right.

But maybe it's like MPJ's turkey dilemma or what NA says about reservations.

My book has an analogy about bungee jumping. It said you may be all dressed and have all the facts about safety and even all the confidence in the operators, but you won't jump until you're ready.

Today, I can't say that I'm entirely ready. But at least I'm thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recovery Meme

The Junky's Wife tagged me for a recovery meme.

Here's the rules:

Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
Post these rules on your blog.
List seven things you're grateful to have learned in recovery.
Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

1) I'm grateful to have really come to understand the concept that addiction is a disease. The first time this made sense to me was in a multifamily group. The presenter asked if any of us in the room had allergies, and I raised my hand. He looked at me and said, "you weak little shit. I can be around pollen and my eyes don't swell or turn red or itch and my nose doesn't run. What the hell is wrong with you?!?" It was the first time I was able to get that it wasn't about strength of character or willpower, it was about whether or not somebody is allergic.

2) I'm grateful to have learned that I'm not greater than or less than anyone else. (OK, so that's one of the one's I'm still working on.) I don't have to be, in fact, I'm not expected to be perfect. And nobody else is either. Even my addict. I'm grateful to know that this program is about progress, not perfection.

3) I'm grateful to be learning that it's not about me. It has especially helped me to get to know people on "the other side of the street." When I watch other people I care about, but am not intimately involved with, struggle in the same way that my partner does, it's much easier to get that it really, truly, ain't about me.

4) I'm grateful to be learning about me- my wants, my needs, my feelings. Sometimes, like last week, I have to tantrum to figure out what's going on inside of me. But sssssssslllllllllllooooooooooowwwwwwllllllyyyyyyy, I'm learning who I am. And I'm learning to speak up for what I want.

5) I'm grateful to have learned the Intentional Dialogue. Ok, so this one didn't come from recovery, but it did come THROUGH recovery. I'm grateful to be learning how to give and receive validation and empathy, and to see more and more that when we are struggling the most, we're coming from the same place.

6) I'm grateful to have learned that I'm dreadfully ordinary. It's comical and comforting when the truths I agonize about are mirrored by my friends in recovery. Nothing that I'm experiencing is new or unusual. Somewhere, in my recovery world, I have friends who have been there, done that, and can help me through it.

7) I'm grateful to have learned that there are recovery programs for ME that can help me get through experiences I need to get through. I used to "help" people by taking them to AA. I learned about Adult Children of Alcoholics, and though there's no alcoholism in my family of origin that I know of, knew that I fit many of the criteria. Then, when I really needed it, I found CoDA. Years, later, when I found myself in the throes of the family disease of addiction, I found Naranon. And for that, I'm truly grateful.

OK, tag, you're it:

A Family in Recovery
Married to an Addict
The Hurting Heart
The Discovering Alcoholic
Tania Marie

Friday, November 16, 2007

I've been tantrumming

I spent the last 3 days tantrumming. Tuesday, I had a great big hit-and-kick-the-wall tantrum. I've never done that before. It's not fair. I want more. I've been so frustrated that I'm expected to suck it up for her family but she won't show up at all for mine. What it comes down to is that I just don't feel important to her when what's important to me isn't important to her. She's been really good about containing me, which I guess is a good thing. But I end up feeling managed and dismissed. I feel like she can't hear me, so I yell louder and cry more. Yeah, that'll make her hear me. Sigh.

Hell, I even tantrummed over at Two Women Blogging b/c MPJ posted hand pics there and did't include the one of the two of us. Kinda ironic when she just gave me a "nice" award. I'm not feeling nice. I'm also, and at the same time, feeling punished for being nice. Like being nice makes it easier for my needs to be ignored. Maybe I need a good dose of "not nice."

I know, the party line is that I can only change me. But I'm not liking my options. I want balance. I don't wanna be not nice. But I can't make my partner be nice. I guess what I'm really feeling is insignificant. Damn it!!!