“Home”

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I am at the airport again and thank God for that! I am so grateful that had two visits with my mom’s ex husband before I left. He is the closest thing I have had to a father figure. I feel like I retrieved a portion of sanity in those visits. I went ‘home’ for Christmas, back to South Africa after almost 3 years in Melbourne. I felt like I swam into a different world, where I was was in a completely different book to everyone in my family, let alone a different page. It was a place where understanding was a mere myth – something that you might’ve heard about in a  fairytale, but never experienced.

My heart broke in the same place it has broken so many times before. When I realised my sister – my supposed ‘team mate’ – will bat against me even against non-blood related relatives. I felt defeated and completely thrown under the bus. My innocent heart made the mistake of hoping I would go ‘home’ to find my sister there, the one I have been searching to connect with for my whole life. Instead I found a lonely truth, which triggered an overwhelming loss and sadness, that the connection I craved is impossible and the ‘home’ I was looking for, wasn’t there.

I read a saying in a meeting, “An expectation is just a premeditated resentment.” – Boy, is that the truth! All wasn’t lost though. There were a few times last year where things got really tough in recovery and the wound I dug into for the purpose of self discovery, started to hurt so badly that I just wanted to go home – I had this fictitious idea that I would get some kind of love and nurture in South Africa and that sense of family that I couldn’t get in Australia. This ideal only exists in story books – I realised the cold hard truth, that I am not part of the family, but nor did I want to be. That the place where I felt safest, was the very place I left, in the pursuit of safety – ironically. My ‘Home’ resides in me and the love that I want is never going to come from the family that never gave it, because the only person who has changed is me.

Flying back to Australia, I felt empty, but relieved and strangely enough I felt quite a lot of hope, I felt like letting go of my expectations was a hugely freeing process. I was left with an empty space, which felt to me more like a blank canvas – It was something quite spectacular, because all of a sudden I could let go of the “should be’s” and what I thought life “should” look like, because it was the first time ever that I wasn’t desperately trying to fit into a box – where wearing a dress, being a racist and drinking 3 bottles of wine a night is absolutely normal – I can now paint my own picture and be surrounded by people who share my values – For me this is a beautiful place to be.

One good thing that came from the whole trip, is that I got into that desperate place, where I’ll take on any suggestion to help me recover, The result: I read a book by Mara Gleason – “One Thought Changes Everything”. All I can say is – PROFOUND! Initially the book got recommended, I ‘thought’, “I’m an addict, my thinking is the problem, why would I read a book about thinking?” – The first two parts I was judgemental of the writing style and actually resenting every second of it… Now that I have finished it, I am thanking God for giving me the perseverance. I now know my thoughts, just like my feelings, have a lifespan and just like a flame, they will eventually burn out. I had the HALT’s on board when I got home with jet lag and my head was racing (catastrophe thinking) and somehow I was able to detach and not become all consumed… It wasn’t a perfect experience, nor was it a tidy one… It was different and the changes have just kept on coming. I feel more present than I have ever been.

Today I am grateful.

 

Recovering My True Self

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Whoo hoo! I’m back!!! 🙂

I have been on quite a journey in the last month. It has been a real period of self discovery! I had been going flat out with recovery, since about April last year. I was in a desperate amount of pain after breaking up with my ex, the woman who I moved to Australia for. Since the break up, I did a step one on her and a step four on her in the drug program, but that really didn’t work. 6 months later, I fell into the love fellowship on my knees and desperate to fill the empty space that was so dark and lonely, it made death the more palatable option. I was scared. I didn’t want to die. It took every last bit of strength and God, to stop me from giving up entirely.

I started the steps in the love fellowship and in the process realised my codependent tendencies, so I started the first 14 days of questions in that too. I was acting out with workaholism and at the beginning my sex addiction was running rampage. I acquired a little self worth in the codependent program and managed to walk away from my job and a boss who was gas lighting me. I also managed to get more than 30 day abstinence with the sex and love stuff too. What I was left with, was the beginning of a life worth holding on to and that darn empty space!!! Somebody suggested therapy. I took the woman’s number, but with the ‘glamorous’ childhood I had, I really didn’t see how I could possibly need therapy (completely overlooking the fact that I had been to therapist after therapist since I was 14).

One day I was at home and I was completely overwhelmed with shame after receiving a message from my former boss. I was ready to throw in the towel and it was then and there that God gave me the strength to reach out to this woman. She called me and it was an instant connection. I had no idea how I was going to pay for these sessions, considering I had just walked away from my job, but I was desperate and I would have done anything at that point. What followed was a gruelling commitment to self recovery – Recovery from addiction, is in actual fact, recovery of my true authentic self (you know the one that was there before the dysfunctional family systems and societal jading).

Since February I have worked through books. Before then I didn’t even read. Books like: Claudia Black – Changing Course; Jerrold Mundis – Earn What You Deserve (Turns out I had a money addiction too); Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan – Money Drunk Money Sober. Charlotte Kasl – Women, Sex & Addiction; Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel; Patrick Carnes – Facing the Shadows. I have finished the 12 steps in the love fellowship. I started in the money fellowship, got up to step 3, put it down and picked it up again. I did an improv comedy course. Have just started listening to a guide to stand up and writing jokes – this was all while working and studying. Every time I put my program down, I would get into a heap load of pain, so I was afraid to stop. I was even frantic around doing heavy therapy sessions fortnightly and writing this blog.

Now I don’t know if I had a spiritual awakening, but it sure feels like one (Many actually! Every time I turn my head one whacks me in the face – it’s like a profound realisation!). One month ago, I threw in the towel on therapy. I went into the session and just said I just cant do anymore. I wanted to live the life I had worked so hard to recover. My therapist supported me in a way so gentle, I have really just tried to carry it to everyone I deal with – it is a love and a gentleness that I had never experienced before.

After making that decision, which for me was the first step toward empowerment and independence, everything started to change. I booked a trip to Sydney. Reconnected with a love interest. Had a near fall out with my best friend, which pulled out my deepest abandonment wound and put me into the most vulnerable place I have ever been – I was naked and frail and so aware of my humanness AND I didn’t die! (I was able to self soothe and even though I had ‘lost’ my best friend, I was ok!) – It was there I let go of the self judgement and shame. I could see my defects and was able to make amends for the behaviour (taking people’s inventory). Seeing my humanness, helped me see it in other people and it is there I found true love for self.

I put my program down for that month, but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I have been able to start dating and start breaking the sober dating guidelines, but I go easy on myself. I am an addict, I am not always going to get it right! I got into pain around the money stuff, so I recommitted. As a result opportunities are falling out of the sky and God is actually giving me the courage to follow up on business and feel worthy of that business and feel good about the work I do. “Gentle judgement free approach to self” – I wrote that down as one of my top/bottom lines a year ago and I finally get to practice it.

Tomorrow I will do 5 rhythms, then go and ride a horse that somebody wants me to compete. I’ll go and watch a comedy shoe in the evening (Nadine Sparks) – an inspiration in my pursuit of my comedy career. And then ending off on a night out dancing in the LGBTIQ community. All four of these things are on my list of esteemable acts. I am blessed. I am working a program, but not like my life depends on it and I am living that life I have always dreamed of. This stuff works and the moments of stillness in my mind, make the work totally worth it!

Feeling love today and feeling SO grateful!

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!

 

Gratitude

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I went to a meeting last night and the topic of the “Just For Today” was gratitude. I absolutely love this topic, because, I am constantly walking around looking up, and saying, “Thank you God!”

My life in recovery has been an honest gift. I had such a plan, when I got out of rehab and reintegrated into society. I was so sure that if my life just worked out exactly the way I wanted it to, that I would be happy. My friend got me a t-shirt which said, “God is watching you. May as well make Him laugh” – I think thats exactly what I did making these extravagant plans for my life and the way that I thought it should be. Hahaha I was way off!!!

When I got to Australia, I thought I was going to become a professional showjumper and get married to my girlfriend. Neither one of those things happened and I don’t think I have ever been as happy as I am now… Ever! The idea of the plan, to me, was so exciting, that I simply overlooked the fact that I would phone my mom in tears at least twice a week. I cried myself to sleep many nights. Jumping in front of a moving train seemed like a possible option, many times, and I was getting hugely exploited by some really narcissistic bosses. – Ignorance is bliss. I really had no idea I was unhappy.

A number of things changed, in rapid succession. I found a plethora of different fellowships. An incredible therapist and a job that I had absolutely no idea that I would ever enjoy. I went from being an exploited, aspiring showjumper working 55-65 hour weeks, living so deep in the country, there’s a change in temperature. To being a student, who works as a youth support worker for 20 hours a week, lives in an amazing house in town (with 2 girls – which I never thought I’d do), giving a few pilates classes here and there.

So just a little background: I love to cook. I have been cooking since I was 12 and I used to love catering for parties, for my friends and making a full hangover continental breakfast. Feeding people, feeds my soul! I also love exercise, though I may not always feel motivated to do it. I do try as often as possible, for my own sanity.

Tonight, I am working. I got here earlier and took my client to gym after playing a card game with her and the case manager. We did some interval training on the treadmill and did a pilates class together. After that we walked home and stopped off at the supermarket on the way. Tonight’s recipe was stir fried vegetable and chargrilled honey and spring onion pork cutlets… Together we prepared the dish.  It turned out amazing! We ate dinner together and had a great laugh and here I am rounding off the shift, by lying in bed doing another one of my favourite things and that is writing this blog.

I just can’t believe I get paid to do this. Tonight (and every other night), I am truly grateful. God has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams, but more importantly. God has given me a life worth staying sober for.