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#171102 - 08/05/07 01:15 PM progress is possible
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Hi everybody,

Every so often, we hear good news from someone who has come through some difficult stretch into a place of relative calm. This time it's my turn to post an encouraging report.

My partner and I are just concluding two weeks of "vacation," a word I put in quotes because a lot of that time was actually devoted to other activities, obligations, and people. Half of that was at home together, where we are still getting used to each other in a new way. Despite having shared space for over a year, it's different now that we're really living together.

And I suppose this is an odd way to report on huge progress, but it did not happen without struggle (hints of Frederick Douglass, for the U.S. history buffs out there) ;\) We had a couple of really intense days at the start of our vacation-week-at-home: comfortable intimacy followed by an urge to be distant; coming closer than usual only to rebound further apart.

Neither one of us is really very good at being trusting, and even after all this time we still have a tendency to run for cover if we feel threatened. This time around, though, we have gained enough trust in ourselves and in our devotion to each other that we were both willing to stay with the painful feelings and keep on talking it out.

Anyone who has been reading my posts over the past while has no doubt seen that one of the absolute most painful issues between the two of us has to do with my partner's disappearances/non-communication. In fact, during the first part of our "vacation," when he was out of town and I was at home, I was putting myself through a lot of torment from not being able to reach him when we had planned to talk. We addressed that issue when he first came home, and it seemed OK--and then damn if he didn't show up as promised (or even a couple hours later) just three days afterwards.

I was ready to call it quits, vacation or no, cohabitation or no. Somehow, I didn't simply holler or get withdrawn, my two standard modes of expressing anger and disappointment. I managed to tell him how I felt, and why it made me so sad and discouraged when he acted this way.

Now, it is not the first time I did that. I am sure I've used the same words to explain my reaction before. But this time, he seemed to hear me differently. What he said back to me was much less defensive, and much more sympathetic, than what he has said before. He seemed to understand and accept that for me, anyway, it's not only the absence or lateness per se that bothers me, it's also the chronic unreliability that plagues me so. He seemed to get it for the first time how much this calls into question every other commitment that he makes to me, and how destabilizing this is overall. As he put it, it's a sort of faithlessness he's expressing from this behavior--and he doesn't want to convey that attitude toward me.

So, despite the tough moments we had early on, the rest of our vacation has been really lovely. For my part, I have backed off on wanting to be together 24-7 every day we've had at home. We've had a couple of solid stretches together, which have been very wonderful, but it's also been fine to be apart. We both have simply kept on talking, kept on connecting, even in spite of the landmines that seem still to be in place from our old, past relationships.

It was "work" in a sense, but it is a sign, I think, of our deepening intimacy. I don't think he ever reads this site (yet), but if you happen to come across this post, mddh, let me tell you again how delightful it was for me to have this time with you, and how happy I am that we are together. You are the love of my life and the man of my dreams. Thank you for being my companion on this stage of our journey.

Hoping this news is encouraging to those of us who are struggling--you know I have had my down times (and no doubt will again....)

Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#171107 - 08/05/07 01:30 PM Re: progress is possible [Re: honey girl]
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Thank you for sharing this encouraging post Honey Girl... It is wonderful to sit back and realize when we have made progress, yes?

Best wishes,

S-n-S

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#171521 - 08/06/07 09:27 PM Re: progress is possible [Re: sweet-n-sour]
Agape Girl Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 120
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Keep the wheels turning....sounds very encouraging to me for sure.

I hope you celebrated in your own special way, we all can use those random sometime silly celebrations. The smallest gesture can mean the most to someone.

always,

_________________________
AGAPE'
means selfless love of one person for another
without sexual implications
(especially love that is spiritual in nature)

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#171848 - 08/07/07 11:59 PM Re: progress is possible [Re: Agape Girl]
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
HG,

Soooo glad to read this! You know, I've seen some progress too, though tiny little things, that I sometimes forget about, and sometimes they seem too few and far between, BUT they are progress and I've often thought of buying a little journal book to keep a list of them so I can look back at them and SEE the journey taking place.

Small steps but very significant.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#172706 - 08/11/07 11:59 PM Re: progress is possible [Re: honey girl]
thecoopstah Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 589
Loc: massachusetts
Progress is possible huh...???

Is it though...we carry this shit forever.....

Coop

_________________________
" You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have "

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#172710 - 08/12/07 12:16 AM Re: progress is possible [Re: thecoopstah]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Oh, very definitely possible, Coop. The past will always remain a part of us. It helped form us into the men we are today to be sure, but it is still possible to change the future from what would have been to what can be in spite of the past.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#172813 - 08/12/07 01:09 PM Re: progress is possible [Re: WalkingSouth]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Hi, Coop (and everyone else),

Yes, it really is possible.

Of course, as John says, we always carry our past with us, for good or ill. But it seems to me that recovery means being able to carry the more painful components of that past with more ease, as though the burden becomes lighter (or at least easier to balance). Through recovery, it doesn't have to seem as though you are carrying the weight of the world any more.

And maybe my original post didn't give enough substance to the other indicators of progress I have been privileged to observe in my partner.

He started his recovery about 2 years ago. At that point, he was frequently overcome with episodes of rage that he didn't really understand; he didn't have a lot of stability in his life in general. Everything was on a boom-bust sort of cycle: he'd go all out on something and then be wasted for days trying to catch up. He was deeply into compartmentalization in his life, making sure to keep people and activities quite separate. His relations with all his family members were under great stress. He had been given diagnoses ranging from ADHD to depression to bi-polar disorder (?)--or maybe all at once. He was taking at least two psychotropic medications, and he was smoking pretty heavily too. (Fortunately, he was really committed to sobriety, so at least that was a behavior he had under control--although I did witness at least one "dry drunk" episode. Not pretty. And, his sponsor did frequently admonish him that he had a lot of emotional maturing to do.) He had a crushing inability to stay on task and to meet commitments, and this was causing him a great deal of difficulty professionally. Self-sabotage was a way of life.

When he'd get really bad, way too tired and strung out, he'd come out with the most horrible, ruthless self-hatred. Like acid poured directly on his heart. It was terrible to listen to that, and it would take a long time to be able to coax him into believing that he didn't always feel that way--and that he didn't deserve to think of himself that way either.

At this point, one may wonder--and I certainly do now--what the heck I saw in him that made me want to get involved. I don't think it was the level of drama, but maybe I'm a little into denial myself. (anyone know a good emoticon for a rueful smile?) Anyway, he was, and still is, astonishingly gifted: funny, smart, hugely talented musically; curious, socially aware, interested in politics and the wider world. And somehow I was always convinced that there was a pony in there somewhere, underneath all the *&%^.

Two years along, much has improved. He is much, much calmer on an everyday basis. Much more stability and consistency are present, in all areas of his life, including but not limited to his life with me. He actually has a home, and can be involved in creating one, more comfortably and joyfully than before (or at least that is what I gather from him and from one of his children). Connections with his family are indeed all improved. His work is better and better all the time, and he is coping with more simultaneous pressures better than ever. He's quit smoking, for the second time in a year, and this time it's going very well. He's been off the medication for several months, and that is fine too. We can make plans and keep them, or adjust on the fly if need be.

Earlier this summer, when we were traveling together, we wound up going back to the same town he lived in when his CSA occurred. I didn't realize how near and immediate some of that still is--at least one of the perps is a "pillar of the community" there even today. But, as challenging as it was for him to go there, I think that doing so for him helped to reaffirm that all that is past. It is a reality for him, always, and yet the trauma itself is not being reinforced any more.

This is not miraculous. It is the outcome of much hard work, in therapy and with his F & F. One important element is his really stubborn faith that things can get better. Sometimes it's been (and still is) hard for me to believe in change, too. But that's an important part of the process: to be willing to accept that things can be different, and you that don't have to stay stuck with what you know. That can bring its own set of anxieties! But that set of problems is probably preferable, or so I have decided, and so it seems that my partner has too.

And it's not always steady or consistent day-to-day. We had a very unpleasant row the other night about the same old thing. But we refrained from being really nasty, and we were able to move on, with little harm done except a night of poor sleep. The insight we got from that tiff, by the way, was that sometimes it's possible to get stuck on being angry, even if that's not where you want to be after a while.

So, realizing that everyone's path is different (!!), it is still important to know that there are good results and good stories to share as well. Every day that you keep on trying to live your own true life is a day regained from the abuse you endured; every day you do that, even an hour at a time, means you are getting stronger overall. There will even be days it doesn't cross your mind at all, perhaps. Oh, wondrous day! Really, though. It can become a part of your past, not the most constant presence of your past.

Thanks to everyone for helping me and us to get to this stage.
I am more grateful than I can say--except for trying to contribute to the process here myself.

Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#172824 - 08/12/07 02:15 PM Re: progress is possible [Re: honey girl]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
HG,

I just wanted to quote something you said that really jumped out at me.

Quote:
But it seems to me that recovery means being able to carry the more painful components of that past with more ease, as though the burden becomes lighter (or at least easier to balance).

That is one of the most profound things I've read here in a while. Thank-you.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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