To my wonderful, extraordinary friends at gather.
After I wrote my last piece, and that last piece certainly represented the state I was in, something shifted. For ten years, really, or even longer, I have gone through a stretch of continuous surrender, acceptance and the pain and self reproach of being forced back upon myself and my Higher Power, with no outside trappings for ego identity. This is not a state of being that I chose, believe me. Starvation, loss, and more loss, cold, near death experiences....It seemed that life was paralleling my child hood after my father died. A different experience, yet symbolically the same. At times during the storms I could see that it was all for a purpose, but then again, the pain would wrench my heart while I saw myself losing grip on the desire to live.
I have, for many years, been on a solid spiritual path where I sought the truth about love. When thirty years ago, I prayed for God to show me what true love was about, I had no idea of the journey I had turned myself over for.
First I got sober. And for the first eleven years of sobriety, though life was very difficult and I also had given birth to a son the first year, there always was somewhere to go and someone to become. All important, I do believe, right down to my beloved time at Smith College. As many of you know I never went to high school because I was too drunk. However at 11 years of sobriety, the abyss began to open and that is when I learned that I suffered from PTSD in a big way, and though I could remember my life growing up, even the point where my soul's twin...my Dad...died and my mother married a man from Hell. I remembered it all like a movie. Minus the feelings. Can't get away from the feelings and expect to learn about loving. For the past seventeen years, I have hit pockets of "where the hell am I and who put me here" syndrome, but I couldn't see that I was progressively coming home to myself and my higher power. These past seven years, especially five years up to two years ago, were hell on earth.
I did not want to live. I knew loneliness like I had never felt it before. I had always been a loner, as many alcoholics are, especially abuse victims, but this was not just being alone. It was wrenching. I kept thinking about the psalms, all the ones where David kept praying for deliverance. Or the story of Job who, no matter what he did, he was continually suffering, and the people around him judged him for not doing something about it. Of course he couldn't. This was between him and God, not him and the population at large. No one else can see the doors shut, the windows close, the hopes dashed, presenting again and again, that situations like mine, like Jobs, could not be fixed by dogma or by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. I think that that was the most frightening of all. I had no control over my tumbling into hell and knowing I was and being powerless. I just didn't drink. Which was the idea also, for I would not have felt the fire of change, thus I would not have reaped any benefit except bitterness, which is no benefit.
After I wrote the piece I wrote, something began to shift in a major way. I had felt it off and on during the past two years; that is why I joined gather. I could not have written before I did.
I read the responses, and was brought to tears by the unconditional love that my friends here extended. I think that this also played a big part in my accepting that maybe, just maybe, the night was beginning to dawn.
I found myself wanting to go to town. I found myself riding a horse. I began to look forward to an AA meeting, to taking a walk, to going to therapy, to talking to friends, even though I do not have deep friendships here. I also made contact with someone from my home town and she is going to pull a gathering together of old friends who were deep friendships years ago. I believe that perhaps it is time for me to look into my home town of Belfast, Maine as an alternative to here. That I can trust love now, because I can love. I always could love, but not without thick plexi glass between you and I. And I had many judgements and my compassion was conditional.
God runs a tough boot camp. But now I am beginning to feel the effects of having lived though it to the fullest. Though I don't know if there will be dark times coming and going for a while as I heal, I do believe that I am healing. And I believe that my trip through the dead forest was truly a blessing, not a curse. I am not bitter. I am however ready for good things to happen, such as financial relief, and everyday needs being taken care of. Oh, and I even have long distance phone calling now. So, my friends who have talked with me before, if you call and leave your number...I can call you back. I am giddy. I love you all. You may never know the depth of that love, but I do.