Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fear in relationships.

30 years ago, I had had a spiritual experience. Previously, I had quit drinking because of the black outs and three day hangovers. I quit by switching to pot. I was smoking pot from the moment I awoke to when I went to bed. I tried quiting many times on my own but never succeeded. So, one night, I awoke in the middle of the night, and had an amazing feeling of love and of being accepted. I had no idea where this was coming. I thought it was from all the pot I was smoking. This feeling stayed with me for days. After about 10 days, I thought it might be God. To test it, I said the only prayer I knew at the time, the sinners prayer. As I prayed it, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and physically jumped off. I literally felt caught by something. It was a wonderful experience.

Flushed my stash down the toilet and managed to stay clean for two months. I didn't know that I was an alcoholic and an addict. Didn't know the work I needed to do to stay clean and sober. I thought I was cured of my compulsive and obsessive desire to numb. I started attending church with a passion, full of gratitude for what happened. Went to work on a night shift, Saturday night. My friends were having a big Christmas party at work. Lots of booze, lots of pot. I joined in, why not? I could control it now, I've been clean for two months.

The following day, while I was sleeping, my partner was involved in a serious car accident. The police officer said he expected to find bodies when he arrived at the scene. My spouse was unharmed. In my world, where everything is about me, I took that to me that if I fucked up one more time, my God was going to take my partner from me. The relationship I had with God turned from Love and Trust to FEAR. This God had a big stick and he wasn't afraid to use it.

So began a journey into depression, self-hate, anger, frustration. I stayed sober for a lot of years. Fear is a great motivator. As a child, I had a lot of fear about my father. Getting spanked, getting lectured, mostly just having to face his anger, of which there was plenty. God ended up with the same role. Most people in authority ended up in the same role. My partner ended up in that role.

My relationships always seemed to end up with roles and responsibilities. I needed to perform just the right tasks, just the right way, and then I was accepted. If I couldn't do it perfectly, I faced anger. I understand today, that these were my expectations, not anyone else's.

It was a terrible way to spend a lot of years. Not all the times where bad. Not by a long shot. But eventually I ended up drinking, walking away from God, and trying to get away from my family. In the spring of 2006 I ended up in a treatment centre and my life started to change.

One of the best things about sobriety is relationships. One of the worst things about sobriety is relationships. They are a lot of work, for me. I still want to go back into fear driven relationships. Performance reviews. To stop and recognize what I am doing, turn back to openness, honesty, and vulnerability. As I review each day, I can see where I was motivated by fear, and when I was motivated by compassion. We change, slowly, simply, and subtly.

When I told my story at the treatment centre last Saturday night, I was given some gifts. A gift of remembering where I came from and how I've changed. A gift of connecting with so many people at once, being one of them as we struggle to turn our will and our lives over to God's care. Of giving away my phone number to those that asked. Of having someone come up to me and tell me it was spooky how similar our stories were.

At the treatment centre, I shared openly of how pornography and chat played such a destructive role in my life, how that damaged my relationships more than my drinking did. How today, when I say my good night prayer and express gratitude for being clean and sober, the word clean implies the absence of guilt and shame. No more dirty secrets. How good that feels.

Still in prayer about a sponsee. Maybe I should get a button that says "sponsee wanted!" and wear it to meetings?


penni said...

**One of the best things about sobriety is relationships. One of the worst things about sobriety is relationships. **

true true true!!

great post -- it resonates with me on so many levels i wouldn't know where to start :)

keep writing. yours is a voice that needs to be heard.


Anonymous said...

I can really relate to the fear of bad things happening all because of me. I never looked at it as being the least bit self centered untill I worked the steps. Thanks for sharing that.