Saturday, May 06, 2006

Setting Him Free

I had never heard the term of "taking people hostage" as we refer and relate to it in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Not until I began going to the meetings.

Of course, I didn't like that term. Because I realized that's exactly what I had been doing all my life. I've told you before about my experience with Hayden. Click here and here for a refresher.

It's been 30 months since we've seen each other. December '03. He moved back to Trinidad. He is still in my thoughts each and every day. I can't help that. He just appears with no warning at some of the most unusual times. After making my amends to him at 10 months into my sobriety, I began my recovery. Step 9 of A.A.'s Twelve Steps changed my life. It allowed me to begin a new life.

I've had to let Hayden go. I've had to let him live his own life. We still speak on the phone and even chat on Yahoo instant messaging ocassionally. I sometimes fantasize that one day we'll be back together and live happily ever after. Yeah, right. LOL That will never happen. I want the best for him and he is carving his own life in a land far, far away. For that I am grateful.

As much as it hurts (it still does at times), I had to set him free.



It sure does hurt sometimes.
PS: I'm mailing my extra AA books to Patrick Kennedy

Mary Christine said...

What a nice looking man. I am sorry. These things are painful. :(

s said...

Apologies in advance for the long (!!!) post..
Hi daave, thanks for your post. (and the other 2 posts you mentioned) It brought up a lot of stuff for me, and I wanted to share this story with someone, so at the risk of boring you all to death, I'll tell you about my experience..

My life was saved in long term sobriety by someone like that. Not because I was drinking, but because I was spiritually 'burnt out' after the failure of a 5 year relationship. I had (I thought) gone to any lengths and I thought I could make it work. But my neuroses got the better of me and I drove him away with my insecurities and hang-ups. My baggage. But I couldn't see it at the time. I thought HE was the person that needed to change. I had imagined a future together and he ended it. It was as if I was splintered inside into a million pieces. For the first time in my life I considered suicide because it just felt so unbearable. My spiritual awakening meant I knew there were dire karmic consequences to this 'solution', so I just hung on in there by a thread instead, enduring the pain and grief, just showing up for life in it's most basic sense, and waiting for the pain to lessen. I knew it would pass, and all I needed to do was play this intolerable 'waiting game'. I couldn't face meetings because I felt so floored by the emotional battering. I just wanted to weep. I hid in work, licking my wounds, safely away from any social pressure, and worked as many hours as I could. My sponsees phoning me for help and showing up weekly to work through the steps in my home saved me, because they were my only regular contact with AA. When I was doing service, it gave me the life support to function and come alive enough to relate to others. My pain would be relieved while I was taking them through the steps. A miracle really. Otherwise, I was like a zombie, just working, eating and sleeping. In my disillusionment, pain and despair, I turned to a former boyfriend that despite being no good for me, had always felt 'right' and safe to be with. It felt like I loved him, but I had stayed away because it had hurt me in the past. An unhealthy comfort zone. Little did I know he was a serious disease risk. I am very lucky to have escaped that encounter without getting infected. It was a brief affair, but I was VERY lucky.
The person who saved me was a chance encounter at that time with a guy (when I wasn't looking, just going through the motions of looking) who in the past would have scared me to death because he was TOTALLY out of my league. Therefore FAR too serious a rejection risk. He befriended me despite me dismissing him as being too good looking to be either kind or smart. He turned out to be much more 'well' than myself, (very humbling!) and helped me see the risks I was taking and the ways I had seriously misjudged both my former boyfriend and the very dangerous old flame that I had felt safe with. I owe everything to this person, but in truth he still scares me to death because I still fear rejection as much as I did before, and I still don't know if I can deal with yet another (!) loss. As I risk sabotaging an even better relationship opportunity if I mess this one up as well.. Its the toughest assignment I've ever had to deal with in recovery. Because it means facing my biggest demons. But I consider myself to be one of the luckiest human beings around. Internally, I fight tooth and nail to stay in my comfort zone of my old relationship routine, even though I know that I can learn so much from him, because (for me) the hardest thing to do is to let go of my old ideas. Surrender to a new (if not more frightening) approach. Its that old axiom- Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? For me to thrive in this new situation, I need to learn to be less uptight, stop judging, and get off my self righteous pillar and join the human race. Be truly open minded and do truly safe things that for me feel very, very risky.
Because he seems too good for me, I find it almost impossible to believe that he feels anything for me. it seems unbelievable and so I interpret much of his behavior as a slight or attack even when there is no harm meant by it. This is making it VERY difficult for me to develop feelings for him normally and to let go and trust.
You know how it is, that if you have been bitten by a dog, afterwards, when you are in the room with different dog, even if you KNOW the dog will NOT bite you, you still feel afraid? Well that's how it is with him. I anticipate rejection and cruelty ALL THE TIME. (Because he's totally out of my league!) Because this is what I grew up with and this is what I 'know'. I do not understand at ALL why he would be interested in someone like me, because I think I am not good enough for him. After all, I was not good enough for all the other men that rejected me, so why him? Its SO hard, adjusting to good fortune, when you have had nothing but pain, rejection, betrayal and loss beforehand. Without wanting to sound dramatic, this is my first ever real experience of a kind and loving relationship with another human being. I expect either indifference or cruelty from others, not kindness and concern. I have a (predictable) persecution complex and I interpret most things that he does as a form of put down or exploitative manipulation, even though he is not being harmful. I know intellectually that I am safe with him and that he will not hurt me, but letting go and surrendering completely to the process of learning a new way of doing things is really, really tough.
Basically he's a safe person who feels risky, as opposed to my old flame who felt safe but was actually very risky. It is SO ego puncturing to have to 'eat my words' and backtrack on my old belief system and admit I was wrong. Its the biggest example of having to eat humble pie that I've experienced.
I thought I was a tough cookie who could do whatever they needed to do to get well, but this is really hard work. I can see that I'm not nearly as open-minded and fearlessly surrendered as I thought I was. I feel like a total beginner.
The truth is that I owe my life to this person. I am amazed on a daily basis at his patience and generosity with my reactive tantrums and willful kicking at the traces of his suggestions. I think this is the first experience I've ever had in my life of a consistent loving influence in my life. He hasn't given up on me yet, even though I expect rejection constantly. Its just SO hard to trust when your fear is running riot, despite intellectually knowing you are safe. Its the toughest obstacle course I've ever tried. It seems to require total death of the ego. Which is pretty tough to do. Or perhaps I'm just a self righteous old so-and-so whose Pride won't let me be truly teachable.

What I suppose I'm trying to say is that I was CONVINCED I was a worthless unlovable person and a TOTAL failure in relationships in every sense. Such as trust issues, too damaged by previous abuse to ever be able to function fully in a relationship. Toxic shame I suppose. Yet here I am with a chance to have a relationship with one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. It has blown my mind, and I still don't understand it. I fight the idea daily that he sees me as some sort of 'charity case'. I don't understand why I fight his new ideas that will help me grow either. But the point is, not only has he saved me from death, he is wiling to help me see a better way of doing things, and he is able to support me in ways that feel totally miraculous at times.

So Dave don't give up on the idea of a 'true partnership with another human being'. Sorry if that is/sounds patronizing.
It may not come in the form you recognize. I know mine didn't. Mine was the scariest thing going, but its is the very best thing in my life today.
The more wonderful something is, the more terrifying it is allowing yourself to fall for it, hook line and sinker without worrying about being played for a fool. I want to act 'cool' and just stick my big toes in the water, so that I am not utterly vulnerable. But that doesn't work. It leaves me out in the cold. Still not trusting.

I don't know why this set of circumstances presented itself to me at the time I needed it most. And although I have no way of proving it, I sincerely believe I was looked after because so much of my recovery has been a very imperfect attempt to be of service to as many alcoholics as I can. To help as many people get sober and stay sober as I can, and to carry the message to as many suffering alcoholics as I can, whether I want to or not. Because that's what I was taught (by a wonderful old timer) to believe the BB asks us to do.

Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our CONSTANT thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.
Chapter 2. There is a solution. page 20

Keep on the firing line of life with these MOTIVES and God WILL (not might) keep you unharmed.
Chapter 7. Working with others page 102

Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be
Chapter 7. Working with others. page 97

if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could NOT survive the CERTAIN trials and low spots ahead.
Chapter 1. Bill's story. page 15

All I know is that when you do the right things, the right things happen.
And doing things in a superficial way just doesn't work. It has to be done with integrity. Or with 'depth and weight' as they say in the BB.

So that's my experience with the loss of relationships and what God has in store for us 'if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.' p63
Of course, I have no way of knowing whether this is what really happened, but I consider my good fortune to be nothing more than a gift from god, and I am SO glad I was taught from an very early point in recovery that my life depended upon my ability to practice 'CONSTANT thought of others and how I might help meet their needs.' Which is what I try to do every day. It is my AA life insurance policy.

Sorry for going on like that daave, but your post just brought all that stuff up for me, I wanted to share it with someone, and I thought it might give you some inspiration about what good things can lie in store for you down the road. This is better than the best thing I could have imagined for myself anyway. The LAST thing I expected.

I get the impression that your recovery is what I call very 'service orientated'. Which I consider to be a very good thing. So I'm just saying, keep doing what you are doing, and let your higher power bring the right things into your life. In Gods time. The universe knows exactly what you are doing, even if none of the other people you know pick up on it, so keep doing the next right thing, whether you want to or not, and 'god will keep you unharmed'. That has been my experience anyhow.
I can see now that I really do not know what is best for me. I am comfortable in the familiar unavailability and pain, and scared to death by the unknown territory of a 'real' relationship.

Good luck Dave. Your higher power knows exactly what you need (even if you don't) and WILL look after you.

PS Have you heard the AA motto 'Behave better than you feel'. -Thought you might like it..
Thanks for taking the time to read this (!). Sorry for rambling or repeating myself...

Sober Chick said...

Although difficult . . . Setting him free sets you free ;)

James Baker said...

Hi Blogger!I like your blog! Keep up the
good work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my site:
games center
It pretty much covers games center related issues.
Best regards!