My feelings are hurt. Even though I knew things weren’t going well and that I was considering ending my sponsorship too, it stung. The teacher gave up on me. Yes, I was a difficult student who asked a lot a hard questions, but still…teachers are supposed to meet their students where they are at, right? I guess I don’t really know how sponsorship is supposed to work, but she wanted me to follow her guidance without question. I brought my baggage to the table as I tried to grapple with it as I went through the steps with her. I wanted a teacher; it seems she wanted a disciple.
This a minor example of how I feel from my last post. I tried to be so honest with my Sponsor and in the end she rejected me. If I would have “faked it” a bit more and played by her rules she would have accepted me, but then I wouldn’t have been myself.
Well, here I am: sponsor free, out on the prowl, no strings attached! I’m a free agent. I can look into all sorts of traditions that will nurture my sobriety without being told I’m doing it wrong. I’m going to embrace this freedom, once I stop crying over being rejected.
I’m newly back in China after a lovely visit to Portland. It was easy and fun to be sober there. I went to a few 7am AA meetings and found my people there. Such a Portland quote from the meeting, “If you are a man, or identify as a man, you are welcome to come to the Men’s meeting on Wednesday.” People were warm and welcoming, we were in a Church basement, there was another women crocheting like me, I ran into a woman I taught with at the high school there, I left with people’s phone numbers and left with warm feelings towards everyone, it was worth getting up and driving 20 minutes to get there.
I also went to one Refuge Recovery meeting. It was 20 minutes of yoga, 20 minutes of guided meditation and 20 minutes of reading and shares. I loved this meeting style, I guess it was only born a few weeks ago and already there were about 20 people there. I went out afterwards for fellowship with the yoga instructor, chair and her boyfriend afterwards at a gluten-free and vegan bakery. I saw how they could be part of my community if I lived there. I could have sober friends easily. I missed how my life could be if I lived there, I felt homesick for really the first time in the 8 years I have lived aboard.
Well, here I am. I’ll go to my weekly AA meeting, I will start my step 4, I will do yoga and foster meditation. I’m equipped to stay sober.
As I want to work on this forgiveness aspect of my recovery I am realizing I have been doing some wordsmithing and jumping over the work that I ultimately need to do. Forgiveness is an act of love, right? I haven’t been able to really think about how to forgive myself for what I did while drinking because it is so tied up with why I drank in the first place: seeking acceptance while self-loathing. How do I forgive myself for hating myself?
When I think back to my family, how my identity formed as a teenager, I came to think of earning love through achievement and that turned into love through competency. I am competent. And when I’m not I have no value. Sadly, I truly believe that, and then I’m resentful of it. Even in my marriage I see elements of this: I take care of the bills, travel, dogs, etc., and that’s how I earn my love, through being of use. When I was in high school I thought if I were to be an animal I would be a worker bee, a fucking drone doing my part to keep things in order among the other faceless masses. Useful, needed, uncelebrated. How uninspiring.
I have created a divide within myself through the façade I have used for decades of a successful confident woman. “Fake it until you make it” has worked well for me to get hard times, and I fake it all day long, then cry myself to sleep with self-loathing, anxiety, and overwhelming fatigue. I carry resentment toward people who I have felt I had to earn my love with them through my achievements, but I set it up this way. I know that I have isolated myself from true connection by acting the part. I have thought, “you don’t really know me, you know what I have shown you. If you did really see me for what I am me, you would hate me.” How do I get at that to pick it apart?
How do I get at that? Writing this out. Asking for help (don’t know how to do that yet). Talking to my inner critic and cultivating a better dialog with myself about myself. This is the work at hand to reconstruct my self-worth beyond a function for others to use.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp