Giving it a red hot Go!

Just got to do the Melbourne convention. It was absolutely amazing! I was there the whole day and did loads of service, which is great, because I have never really been involved in service at a convention. I hadn’t discovered my primary fellowship until I found a home in these rooms and it was a beautiful experience for me that went full circle.

The first topic was healthy relationships, followed by healing the guilt and the shame and it finished off with “do you really want to have casual sex?” – For some reason the topics in that order left me with a well rounded perspective. First I got to hear what a healthy relationship looks like, just listening affirmed that I am really on the right track, firstly with the relationship to self, followed by the relationship I have been building with my Higher Power. It was followed by healing the guilt and shame and I got really vulnerable. My experience with this topic, was looking at the core belief systems, which make me feel like I don’t deserve that loving relationship. It got to the root of why I just give myself up so easily. The childhood tape of “I’m not good enough!” and “It’s not ok to get things wrong/make mistakes”. Once that was addressed, it moved up to the surface, to grapple with whether I really want casual sex or not… And the answer is yes, but the realisation is that I can’t have it. And it’s through becoming aware of it and noticing my misconception that Sex = Love = Sex = Intimacy… That I am able to let go of my desperate need for sex and simply have it as a byproduct of a loving relationship – as the program promises.

So after the big bonanza 😉 I have decided to go on a date tomorrow. We are planning to go on a beach walk, but typical Melbourne weather forecast 13 and rain… Hahaha Joys!!! I am busy frantically reading sober dating guidelines, in an attempt not to loose myself in the situation. The truth is a really like the girl. We have been speaking for 3 or 4 months now and I am quite excited.

To answer the questions in the outline: I have spent 9 months sober from acting on bottom line behaviours and I see my addictive patterns as clear as day. I have used withdrawal a number of times and may need to use a pause every now and again, but my pattern is avoidance, so I will need to start to learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings. I can date soberly, by not having sex or physical contact for 90 days (This is going to be the hard one for me – one thing I have learnt, is that if things turn sexual, I run for the hills and considering I am trying to break that pattern, it motivates me to keep my hands off this time) – I have a sponsor, I’ve worked the 12 steps, I don’t have a dating plan… yet! (Tonight that is what I am working on) – My intention is to get to know her better, do things we both enjoy and see if we can just hang out in one another’s company. I would like companionship and socialisation. My dating history is the same as the stereotypical lesbian with the u-haul story… Sex on the first night, move in after 2 weeks, have a toxic relationship for 2 years and end up in another country hahaha! <—– Hahaha, no wonder I am scared to date!

My biggest character defect is my avoidance (FEAR) – especially by the overwhelm of sexual attraction. The fear is of loosing (CONTROL), which is funny, because if I surrender and practice the third step, I shouldn’t be trying to control anything, so no need for the fear of loosing control… I am powerless. I have a good support network. I have my people – those who don’t judge and support me no matter what. My sponsor knows who I am dating.

My bottom line behaviour – I need to avoid, avoiding 🙂 Running is not an option in this one. If I choose to exit, I strive to do so as an adult (Please God help with this)… My life needs to come first while dating and no relationships for another 6 months… Just because I am prone to falling into them so darn easily.  My top line behaviours are the same as always. Maintain friendships; Do comedy classes; Take walks on the beach; Exercise; Meetings; Step work; Outreach; call my sponsor.

My addictive pattern is to always choose unavailable partners and having sex too early – So one down, one left to tackle. What do I mean by ‘available’? Hahaha, well a good start is for her to be lesbian… I always overlook that one 😉 – Secondly, her not being in a relationship with another person is a pretty good start for me too. She likes me back, which is another huge plus. Being sexual to me?… Kissing counts as sexual. Holding hands could even be dangerous, so that probably needs to be added in there too. Things are not going well, if we end up having sex before the 90 days is over and if we start living in one another’s pockets. The red flags I tend to ignore are the moving too fast flags. Once I get caught in that current, my whole outlook changes to anything goes. “Ah well we’ve broken those boundaries, might as well break em all!”. I don’t normally stay in unhealthy relationship, I normally run. I did become financially insecure with my last partner a bit and moved country and had nowhere to run to, so I stuck around until I got my independence.

I got 3 more pages of questions to answer on the sober dating guideline. The next question talks about balance and, well… I actually need to get some uni work done tonight, so I think that enough time spent focussed on relationships. Glad I have this outlet as a point of expression. Am I going to get it right? – Who knows! At least I will learn a lesson in the process.

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Matters of the Heart

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Today was one of the most excruciating times I have ever faced in recovery. I bawled my eyes dry this morning and as I lay there sobbing in the fetal position, gasping for air… I wondered, what am I doing in Australia? Why am I still so far away from home?

The truth is I love it here. There are just some days, where I feel like I am just holding on (white knuckling it, as they say). I also know that wherever I go, I take myself with me. I am lonely on my own and I am lonely in a room full of people (even if those people are my family).

Today was like something out of a dream, Déjà vu type experience. Granted it felt like I had cotton wool wrapped around my head from crying and like someone had taken a baseball bat to my skull, my head was pounding so hard. I felt like I was looking at life through the lens of my 10 year-old self. I felt as lonely, helpless and innocent as the day my family left me behind. Even the colours looked like they had a sepia effect. It felt nostalgic and raw. Nothing quite like anything I have ever experienced. It was so familiar and yet so foreign all at the same time.

Yesterday, I made a mistake and I took my closest friend’s inventory for her. It obviously didn’t get received well and though, when I was wrong, I promptly admitted it. The damage had already been done. She has disconnected from me. This is one of my dearest friends and the closest person to my heart. Now, I know, and many times I have preached, that the only person who can abandon me is me. I also know, this has nothing to do with her. What it did trigger was the pain I felt when I was young. I blurted something out in anger once and my dad ‘banished’ me. He refused to speak to me and sent me to live with my mom. From that day I have had an overwhelming fear of saying the wrong thing. In fear that I might loose you. I remember the remorse I felt and the overwhelming regret. I wished so deeply that I could have done things differently – that I could go back and undo what had been done.

My core belief became, “I can only get love by doing or saying the right thing” – there are times when I will say nothing at all, for fear of being rejected. My friend pulling away after I said the ‘wrong thing’, was like a scab being torn away and whats left is a gaping, bleeding wound, as fresh as the day it was made. This is the wound that makes me want to run. The pain that has me questioning if I can keep going. This is blood drawn from my veins, leaves me so drained and exhausted that I just feel I need to throw in the towel and give up. If I turn around and walk away, I can go far enough and I can forget the whole thing. I can even forget you, if I try hard enough to. – This is my brain rationalising, at it’s finest!

Today I didn’t run. I called my therapist. She facilitated my pain. I felt heard and validated and so proud of myself for picking up the phone. The second call was to my sponsor. She facilitated solutions, she shared her experience and gave me a good lesson in boundaries. Both calls were effective and God has put two of the greatest women in my life. I am blessed beyond words and I have profuse gratitude toward them and to God. I was met with loving words and nurture, as well as an action plan, so that I may use this pain as a learning experience.

And the rest of the day… well, I felt fragile and I wanted to hide. I went to work and my case manager was onsite, which made me want to dissolve, but I just fronted up. After she left, my client asked me to do something we had never done before. She asked if I wanted to walk to the park, instead of giving her a pilates class. We ran there. Then we ran around the oval a few times. We walked back and all the flowers have come unveiled for this beautiful spring afternoon. The gardens were splashed with the pastel colours of pink and purple and the trees dotted with colour. We turned the corner to see the sky stained crimson, as the sun set. We visited an elderly woman and picked some of her grapefruit after walking the rest of the way home kissed by the warmth of the Melbourne spring. Days this serene are rare in this part of the world. I felt like God was holding me with the gentleness of these conditions. Caressing my soul with the beauty of my physical surroundings. My heart is tender, but still beating… I feel loved, throughout all of the pain. Today was a gift.

 

The Spirit of the Twelfth

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I’ve been rather busy lately doing all sorts of wonderful things. It’s feels like the moment I complained a little that my life felt empty… God was like, “Oh yeah? You think so?… Well, how do you feel about this? and this? and this?…” – I am busy running around like a spring chicken now, busy, but so happy.

My trip is booked to Sydney… SO stoked! Another member mentioned there is a convention coming up soon there, that I should check it out – It turns out that it is on the exact date that I am there (so thank you God!) – And it’s my home fellowship. At least the one, which I resonate most with. I am pretty excited! The decision, alone, has inspired two friends to come with me and I know another woman who is going to be there, who asked if I could get involved in helping her represent the Victorian fellowship. What a privilege! The whole point of the trip was to expose myself to the fellowship in different places and can’t get more exposure than a convention & a regional service centre meeting, really!

This weekend had been great! I have been devoted to some service, which has really helped get me out of myself. (I’m also totally reflecting the step that I’m on, because service just keeps popping up – “Having ha a Spiritual Awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”)  We walked around Melbourne yesterday, asking shop owners to support the Marriage Equality vote, by putting up “yes” posters in their shop windows. It is an absolutely beautiful thing to see so many rainbow flags painting the streets of Melbourne’s display windows. Later, a sponsee shared her fourth step with me, in the most magnificent Bonsai garden  and then, I got to attend a committee meeting for our convention. Just to top it off, which is my favourite part – My client had a rice dish cooked for her, which she doesn’t like, because it has too much spice. She asked me to take it, but considering I don’t do starch. Rice doesn’t really work with me. I told her I am not going to eat it, but that I could definitely give it to some homeless people, who might be interested in a meal. So she’s packaged it up into four containers, each with its own fork and well… lets hope it’s well received. I tasted it and its pretty good! Service keeps me sober. I feel energised after a weekend, which was jam packed. I am so grateful for the program!

I had to laugh though, when I added yet another app for recording things. My first was the “Sober Time” app, which I downloaded to start recording my sex & love sobriety. I then got the “iExpensit” app to start recording my spending. This app is golden and really gave me so much clarity on my numbers. It helped with what I could and couldn’t afford to get paid, just based on how much I was spending each month. Also I saw that I was spending so much money on fuel, that moving to the sitting and dropping my second job cost me the same amount as staying in the country and continuing to work and travel for 10 hours a week. This brings me to the “Eternity” app – how to overcome time drunkeness 101 hahaha – I was initially split: 43% work, 9% uni, 4% service and 32% sleep. So sleep has always been great for me. I am an 8 hour a night girl, but to be spending 52% of my time on work and uni, it leaves very little time for anything else. (I am not a stats freak – the app works it out for me) – After using it for a few months I  am at 33% sleep, 30% self care, 30% work/uni and 6% service. So freaking balanced! And I’m exercising everyday. I feel great. Also earning the same amount doing 40% less work.

My last app is not exactly program related. I think it’s for women who want to get pregnant and gauge when they are ovulating… For me I just need something to tell me why I am shovelling gallons of chocolate down and taking everything so freaking PERSONALLY!!! After years and years, it still catches me off guard. Hahahaha! So now I have an app for that too. I don’t have to think anymore or work anything out. Technology has got me at the laziest and the most efficient I have ever been in my life. I love it!!!

Loving my life. Grateful to my Higher Power. Feeling full and rich with experiences. ❤

 

Married to Me

Who Am I?

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So Curious Mind Magazine has deemed it,  “Sologomy” and it’s a thing!!! I absolutely love it! I have been married to myself for a few months now and the things I have done as my wife… Well lets just say, I am one lucky woman 😉

Since I’ve been married to me, I really stick up for me, in all situations – I got myself out of a really toxic living situation without hesitation. I have moved us into a beautiful house, which gives me more time to take myself for walks on the beach and to do yoga and have dinner parties with friends. I have started doing meal prep and making myself lunches for uni and for work and instead of buying gluten free schnitzels and serving those up to myself. I went out and bought chicken breasts to make me, my own… Using pecorino and desiccated…

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Changing Course

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After writing last night’s post, I felt totally uninspired. It was another recovery post and I just felt it lacked so much inspiration. I was feeling flat and my program had hit this point of inertia, which left me feeling totally bored even writing about it. I went to sleep feeling disappointed and empty. My life felt hollow and meaningless. (The sound of a concerto played on the world’s smallest violin – haha)

I started thinking loads before I went to sleep and what came up was that my life is very small at the moment. Yes, I have huge insights and revelations around recovery and that gives me a lot to write about, but it just seemed so narrow and one tracked. All I really have in my life at the moment is recovery and work, which both are extremely fulfilling, but 2 things on a plate is not a very interesting meal if you ask me. This brings me to my next point, I wanted to blog about cooking or rather my creations. I don’t think I put it as an esteemable act, but it ought to be. I am at my most grounded when I am making a meal. Not only to have the opportunity to make a meal, but to be able to nurture and give love to my housemates – and have it appreciated… This is one of the biggest gifts for me.

The truth is, I have been so inspired in the kitchen lately I even considered changing professions. The moment that thought popped up, I heard the childhood tape in my mom’s voice, “you have to choose one thing Nicole and stick to it, you are burning the candle from both ends.” – This left me totally deflated and I felt shame for even beginning to dream a little. Looking at the photo of my recipe. I wanted to post it, but my narrow mind said to me, “This is a recovery blog Nicole, you can’t write about food.” – Then a shift – It is like my inner child came bursting through, adamant to be heard. I am nothing like my mother, though I admire and respect her hugely, we really are cut from a different crop (we are on opposite sides of the spectrum in numerology) – The diversity in my life and my passions is what makes me thrive. It is what makes me, me. I am passionate about a lot of things and if I do any of those things individually for a prolonged period of time. The flame will burn out, because it is a very little fire.

I watched a great interview of Joni Mitchell. She simply refuses to be put in a box and is admired for being able to stretch over so many different genres. Music comes second to her painting and she is celebrated for her durability and her diversity.  For me, I see this in all great artists and it inspires me to my core.

Though I am technically not an artist, I most certainly am a creative soul. I love to draw and to paint, I love writing. Creating delicious meals and presenting them to look like something that has come out of a restaurant kitchen is my favourite thing to do. Becoming a comedian is something I have dreamt about since I was very young. I am a good showjump rider and I absolutely love working with people and helping people, so it’s no wonder I have a job in the community sector and instruct pilates. The diversity keeps the momentum rolling for me. On my vision board it’s funny, I have stand up comedy. Sustainable living and a kibbutz community type thing (it’s actually the San Patrignano rehabilitation farm in Italy). I have a food truck, showjumping, equine assisted therapy, writing, leaders, children, multi-culture and road tripping – hahaha I most certainly don’t have one direction. The shift that happened in me the other night, was that instead of feeling shame around it, I got to celebrate it. I don’t have to hide who I am for fear of not being normal. What is normal anyway?

I thought about my therapy sessions and how far I had come. I thought about my recovery and all the work I had put in and there was a voice in my head saying, slow down and enjoy life! I went into the session and I just got honest. I have so much fear being in a country so far away from home. That I am recovering, but that I feel my life is so empty and that I have dreamt about going to Sydney, since I got here. I just want to see it! Oh, and I really want to dress like a boy. These may seem like simple things for most people, but for me, the ability to want something for myself is HUGE! I have internalised homophobia, so expressing that I want to change the way I look to be who I am, rather to fit into what is deemed “normal” is one of the biggest steps for me. Then expressing to my therapist that I want to cut my sessions in half and use that money to go away every second month, is even bigger… I am a poverty addict and I am used to living on nothing, so to spend money on something nice for myself that can be considered a luxury and not a necessity is monumental and something I have never done.

I left the session feeling on top of the world. My therapist, being the incredible woman she is, asked me, “what can I do to support you Nicole?” – I felt empowered and loved. I don’t even know how to express the gratitude I feel – I got home and started cooking hahaha! It was really well received and appreciated by both my housemates. A friend of mine is going to Sydney into an incredible treatment centre there and threw out randomly, when I mentioned my dream of going to Sydney, that I should come visit while she is in there. She totally planted the seed. And she is my best friend. I continued cooking and then got a reach out call from another member, who is a good friend of us both. She said she had the dream of going to Sydney to check out the fellowship and I said, “well I’m going on the 21st to go and visit….”, she immediately jumped on the bandwagon and asked to join. She said she was bad at organising so if I could do that she’d book her flight.

This was God’s will. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been motivated to do anything. If it wasn’t for the money program, I would have tried to do the booking all in hiding. Instead I voiced it and openly spoke about budget with my housemate. She put me onto the best car rental place, which cut the car hire costs in half – Vehicle Rent – you’re welcome 😉 hahaha – Anyway, the end result is I booked a holiday that was $100 under my budget and it will become even cheaper, because when I spoke to this other member this morning, she has booked her flights, so accommodation and car gets halved again! WINNING!!! The best part is the friend I am going to see, thinks that only I am coming… The look on her face when she sees both of us arriving is the type of thing that I live for.

It’s the simple things in life. Always through the most amount of pain, do I gain the greatest learning. Today I am beyond grateful. I am so lucky! My life is changing course and there is some beautiful scenery ahead AND I am walking hand in hand with God… Suddenly my life doesn’t feel empty or lonely anymore.

Shining light on the past

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Something seriously shifted in me today. I had an experience. In my previous posts I’ve highlighted my impeding program and though I feel the rest was necessary, it left me in a huge amount of pain, with little clarity of how to get out. By cutting down on certain things, I got to experience first hand what has really been working for me with the reintroduction this morning. Step work, therapy work and prayer are simply not enough. Meditation and Morning Pages (A tool in the Artists Way), have been the things that took my recovery to a much deeper level.

I wrote the 3 pages of long hand, like Julia Cameron suggests, after a 20 minute heart chakra meditation. I cried my eyes out (which is totally out of character, because of a rather stoic family conditioning) – There were a number of core beliefs, which came up and the main ones were the feeling of not being good enough and no matter how much I do, it will never be enough for you to love me and choose me. This spurred from a dream I had a couple of nights ago, about a partner leaving me for someone else. I never saw the connection, until I wrote about it this morning. My dad, sister and stepmom left the country when I was 10. I got left behind. This has left an incredibly excruciating wound, which cuts me deep to my core. My mom, struggled with her own demons, indulged in workaholism and disappeared from my life at the same time. This trauma bond has been replaying as the blueprint for every relationship I have ever had. It’s no wonder when a woman chooses me, I immediately fall in ‘love’. There is such a deep longing to be enough for somebody to love and choose me. How I keep recreating it, is I continue to choose unavailable women, who inevitably choose their partner over me (hahaha, God I give myself the worst opportunities, but they seem to be the only women I am attracted to).

The tears were healing and I think a really long time coming. Sometimes the memories are buried so deep for me, I need the dream to trigger them. God works in mysterious ways and I am so grateful for the insight, because slowly everything is starting to fall into place. I have the opportunity to shine the light on my foggy past and finally heal from all of this unprocessed stuff. Breaking free from the chains of addiction one day at a time, unlocking a spirit inside me, ready to fly – I am blessed and so grateful!

 

A Human BEING, not a human doing!

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There had been something brewing in the air lately and I can’t put my finger on why my heart is so sore and lonely, not sure I will ever really know. I feel like emotionally I need to take a break. It is the most loving thing to do. I have been living in God’s grace for the last few days and that requires a solid commitment to not over planning my life. I have been going pretty much flat out since I started recovery. I have workaholic tendencies, so it is really easy to distract myself with busyness. So this whole go with the flow in God’s grace thing, though heavenly, has been really confronting. All this time to process emotions, which were always brushed aside as an inconvenience in my hectic life.

The result is, I am feeling rather bruised. I have tried to bury myself in my program, but God even has other ideas for that. I have found myself slowing right down. I do my tenth every night and I ask for God to direct my thinking every morning, but the rigorous way in which I worked my program in the past, has stopped. I don’t find time for it. Now you would think it’s because I have lost momentum and like I am putting life in front of my program. (This I would have judged other people in the past for, if I heard them talking about the same thing) But instead it is time taken out to go for a massage, take a bath or walk on the beach. Time taken to cook a really loving meal or get involved with my housemates in gardening and making a beautiful place feel like a home,

Sounds pretty healthy to me. The thing people have forgotten to mention, is that although living in God’s grace is simple, it is by no means easy. I have activities take place that ground me and then all this extra time to feel these feelings, that I have spent my whole life forcing down or distracting myself from. It is more painful than I realised and I’m truly present in my body to feel it. I am desperate to reach out to an old intrigue, but by the grace of God, I am holding on to my sobriety again, but that I have to pray for a few times a day, because she would be the perfect detraction from the pain in my body.

I am reading Brennan Manning’s book, “The Ragamuffin Gospel” – I absolutely love it. It is giving me a better understanding of religion, but more so it is really focussed on what “God’s Grace” actually means and how it has been misconstrued. For me, this deeper understanding, is deepening my relationship with God and that is fundamental during this process of deconstructing the barrier around my heart. I feel like, once through this layer, that I will be more vulnerable  than a naked baby and I am going to need divine guidance and protection. Manning said, “To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark side. By admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means… My deepest awareness of self is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn or deserve it” – I love this! I have become a human doing and I have always used what I do, to define me and the more I do, the more love I will get. The concept to be loved for who I am is so foreign to me, it’s not even in the same language.

It’s no wonder I am struggling with doing less. It boils down to self love for me. I can not expect you to love me for who I am if I don’t love me for who I am. And it is even more difficult to expect myself to love me for who I am, if I have always been to busy doing to actually be. Who is the human being… I have had a little glimpse. Too brief to really know.

The Gruesome Truth

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Twelve steps in Sex & Love Fellowship done! 🙂 I totally did them to prove a point, but who cares what the motivation is for positive behaviour, because at least now they are done once completely. I feel really content and I have had the pleasure of experiencing the quietness of mind, even through slippery times.

My major excitement comes at the fact that I can now recommit to the money program. I can address the compulsive need to prove, because that is one of the symptoms, and get to work at setting goals for life and building self worth. For me, through my experience (and now I can say it, because I did put all other programs down, just to work on one) – I need to work programs simultaneously, because really my addiction is forever manifesting and one of my triggers for acting out sexually is financial stress. So I have contacted my money sponsor and tonight I have set the intention to recommit to that program, while running the sex stuff parallel.

Working through Chapter One of Patrick Carnes, “Facing the Shadows” has just smashed through the denial and the cockiness I developed through sustained sobriety. I am a sex addict, who loves to play the victim of crazy lovers or of misplaced love… playing myself a concerto on the world’s smallest violin. When the truth is, I am a hunter, a predator if you must. I am just “a shy little, blonde girl”, so you would never guess it. I got away with this disguise loads in my active drug addiction. I was a dealer, who used to get off on getting away with ‘murder’, because the cops never questioned my involvement in anything.

The truth hurts! While working through the book, I couldn’t stop shaking my head in shame. I know I have a disease, but I am not proud of my behaviour and seeing the beast in it’s vulgarness is confronting beyond words. Thank God I am used to doing my 10th without self-condemnation… that alone has softened the blow. For so long, I chose to turn my back on my past for fear of looking at it. So ashamed of what I have done. Thats what makes recovery hard for my avoidant self. The only way to heal from it is to look at it and learn from it.

Today I am grateful for the determination to carry on. This is more God’s success than mine and I am so appreciative of the fact that I am able to move onto the other side of this pain, where the learning is.

Recommitted

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I have been on somewhat of a wobbly road lately. I have looked a relapse in the face and somehow managed to avoid it. I’m not out of trouble yet and I am treading hard to stay afloat. I guess you can say I’ve fallen into the river, but I am still holding onto a branch on the bank… Just.

I spent yesterday in complete resistance. I have never felt that way towards program before. I literally was ready to give up. Throw in the towel. Call the girl and act out. I white knuckled yesterday. I didn’t do any step work to get relief, nor did I ask God for any help… The result? I acted out with sex with self, for the first time in 5 months. I justify it by saying I stayed connected with my body and it was a once off and brief, but the truth is a slip, is a slip, is a slip… no matter what the nature.

If I’m honest, I have been on the slippery slope for a month now and denial was lathered on so thick, I pulled the wool over my own eyes. As I work through the “Facing the Shadows” book, I am seeing it clear as day. I am a sex addict through and through and 8 months of sobriety just made me cocky. This disease is so much smarter than me!

This morning I recommitted to my program. I am on the 12th step and after thats done, I will throw myself into the money program, because thats the next issue… not the money, rather my self worth. When I woke up, the last thing I felt like doing was getting up 2 hours earlier to do my morning program, but the truth is, that it has been the only thing keeping me sober and choosing not to do it, is choosing to relapse. I pried myself out of bed. Prayer, meditation, step work, journal and Patrick Carnes workbook… I am proud of myself. Today felt bearable and I managed to refrain from using the whip on myself for yesterday’s slip.

The goal for the week now is to recommit to the exercise routine (this includes yoga) – I need it daily – and there is probably a huge calling for some more relationship recovery meetings. My life has gone seriously off track. Not enough for anybody else to notice, but I started obsessing and stopped living. It’s no wonder I am lonely and searching outside of myself for someone to fill the void. I am recommitting to myself (my wife – that awesome woman I married 3 months ago.) – I got distracted by another woman. I pray to forgive myself and continue the relationship with the person that matters the most – Me.

The Life on top of a Lonely Heart

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I feel I should start this off by talking about the gifts of recovery. Well the most current gifts, that is. Last night I got to travel down south to the Bellarine Peninsula to visit my home away from home. A couple, I met almost a year ago, live down that way and they have been the closest thing I have to family here in Australia. I met Jules on the showjumping circuit and have visited her and her partner, Marco, monthly since November.

Each visit they invite me into their home, welcome me. We cook sensational food together. We do the most magnificent, breath taking beach riding that one could possibly hope to experience in a lifetime. We listen to great music, have flowing conversations. Oh my word, we eat until we are too full, you have to roll off of your chair and lie in front of the fire for an hour, before you are able to get up and go to bed. We play rummikub and laugh like no one is watching. It is beautiful, nurturing and free! I am so blessed and grateful. It is one true gift of staying sober.

Each time I visit, I see how far I have come in my recovery. It is like a milestone for me. Each time I realise how much more comfortable I have become in my own skin and how much lovelier, lovely people become. Also their humanness became apparent. Instead of pedestalising these ‘Gods’ who just have their shit together the whole time. I got to see the people behind the front. But for some reason I don’t think it is them who have been hiding, but rather me who was unable to see such vulnerability until such a time as I have experienced it.

Another gift, though it is hard to acknowledge it as that. Is the gift of feelings. I have been somewhat overwhelmed by what has come up for me in the last two days.  In my therapy session I became aware of how I grip onto my pelvic floor as a trauma response, I thought it was only when I got nervous, but it turns out I do it all the time. I grab it when I look in the mirror, because I have this idea of how my body should look and how flat my tummy ‘should be’. I have been so body conscious after the session and have actively been working on disengaging that muscle. My sponsor suggested a way to relax it. I listened to Peter A. Levine – Healing the Sacred Wound – The first time I watched it, I tried it and burst out laughing, but I will continue to practice until it becomes a part of my routine.

Consciously releasing my pelvic floor has given me heightened (or in this case, revived) sensation in the lower half of my body. I feel like the Vagus nerve Levine talks about, has been restricted for a very long time and all of a sudden I have this awareness around sensations in parts of my body, which prior to this release, I have been totally disassociated from. It’s nuts! Makes me ashamed to proclaim body awareness as a pilates instructor. That I can teach awareness and exercise none. – The result is a depth of unprocessed emotion sitting on the floor of my pelvis, that feels overwhelming and at times a little unbearable.

I have this beautiful life, yet I sit here with this sadness and loneliness I didn’t even know was there. This is an old wound, I know. Through letting this muscle go, my guard has started to drop. That became apparent with my Bellarine family. I outreached to one of my support friends earlier and had a massive realisation. I have never been the one requiring the support, so my support network are those I can provide support to, not necessarily the people who are able to support me. I started to break down to her and she asked “where is God in this?” (A generic response) – I thought, “God is sitting right next to me, where God has always been… I am not asking where God is, rather, where are the rest of the people?”

We sat in silence for a bit, then I did what I’ve always done and turned the conversation back onto her. I listened in a broken state, generic and unauthentic. I felt deflated. My friend is a really special soul. I give her no discredit. It is me who, time and again, fails to let people in. Whether it is because I don’t want to be burdensome or if it is because I don’t feel worthy. I continue to shut the door. I put my arm out and I keep you there. Desperate to be close, but too afraid to take a step towards you. Yearning for connection, but turning to bolt when it starts to come towards me. You can have my time and everything I could possible give you, but not me…

It’s interesting. With this new found awareness, I am sure the change will come. Though bleak, the light still peers through the cracks and shines hope into my dark and lonely heart. A heart that has been locked away from the world for a very long time.