Thursday, February 18, 2010

Remembering

"Came to believe that a power greater than myself
could restore me to sanity."
AA Step 2

Sweetie and I actually got to spend some together time alone on Valentine's Day. First things first, I took my new computer to the Apple store for a "well-baby" check. The sight of a "Security Warning" error message spelled out in big red letters upset me so badly the night before that I almost took myself to the emergency room. Saner minds prevailed, however, mostly because the tech support was shut down and I was able to soothe both my worry and the computer's warning by simply turning the machine off for the night.

After a short, but direct, lecture from Akman, the Apple tech who knows more about computers than I will ever hope to know in my lifetime, I promised to 1) never download anything I don't ask for without first getting permission from someone with MAC after his name, 2) back up my hard drive on a regular basis so as not to lose precious information and 3) immediately sign up for my one to one classes - which like post-natal nursing care, gives a new iParent information on the care and feeding of her new computer.

That settled Sweetie's Valentine was much more amenable to talk of love ... people love. We held hands as we walked into the book store. He smiled when I asked, "Can I buy just this one little book?" And I smiled as he generously shared his hot, salty French fries. I ask, does love get much better than that? He "gets" my desire for brand new books even though I don't have room for one more book on the shelf and I "get" his love of greasy fries even though we both know it's not the best choice for his heart.

Following that we went to a movie. I don't have a problem going to a movie by myself, but there is something special about holding hands with the person sitting next to you (a person you know!) We chose to see Crazy Heart after hearing so much about how good Jeff Bridges played the role of a country singer on the down side of the slippery slope of fame. We were not disappointed. Though I must say I found myself squirming in my seat as he lit one cigarette after another and drank himself to sleep at night. He looked disheveled most of the time and I could almost smell the stale odor that must have surrounded him.

As I watched "Bad Blade" continue the downward spiral of alcoholism yet still be attractive to a certain kind of bar fly and then fall in love, I had one of those "been there, done that" moments. I couldn't help but remember a man from my past who rocked my co-dependent world for about 6 years. I won't give away what happened in the movie, but there times I wanted to shout to the woman, "NO! Quick, get out while still you can!" At the same time I had a sad kind of feeling that happily-ever-after didn't necessarily mean that the man and woman would ride off into the sunset together.

When I first met my "Bad" boy I was pretty naive, in and out of depressive episodes, looking for myself in all the wrong places and a sucker for a man with a twinkle in his eye and smooth words on his lips. I didn't see alcoholism or drug addiction. Instead saw someone that "needed" me. I heard someone say, "you matter." A deadly combination.

At the time my John Denver tapes were laid aside. I lived my life to the music and philosophy of Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefers. I've never been to Margaritaville but I have downed my share of Jose Cuervo. Come Monday, Changes in Attitudes, Let's Get Drunk, and Stories We Could Tell became my theme songs. The life I'd known for 20 years as a wife and mother with all the benefits of such narrowed to a small apartment where I tried to find myself and save someone who wasn't sure he needed saving.

Then one day, my therapist used the word "co-dependent." She suggested I find a 12-step meeting. In the days before blogging, but nonetheless living the lyrics, ".... if you ever wonder why you ride the carousel, you do it for the stories you can tell..." I followed her advice, never knowing that my life was about to take another turn (or turns!).

I could say that magic happens in the rooms where the 12-steps are practiced. But it is not the kind of magic that happens when a fairy Godmother waves her wand and says bibbity bobbity boo. It is the kind of transformation that happens when a person puts everything on the line and works like hell to dig him/herself out of a deep dark hole. The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (and its follow-on groups) are as much a way of living life as the 10 commandments or the Golden Rule. They are the basics of living with yourself and your fellow man. In the mean time, if you work the program the way it's meant to be worked, you stop drinking, drugging, and, in my case, depending on other people to fill you up.

All the steps are important. But if I have to pick one that really, really made a difference in my life, it is Step 2. Believing in a high power - something greater than myself - meant that I could trust someone/thing other than ME to take care of things. I didn't have to do it all. What I had to do was give up my need to control every situation so that I could handle the outcomes. Oh sure, there was more to it than that, but that one thing was the stronghold of my "recovery."

Back to the movie, as I watched I remembered the bad, the ugly and then the good that shaped that phase of my life. I haven't been to a meeting in years. But I hold the people I met in those rooms in high esteem and affection. Gratefully, I grew to a place where I could let my bad boy go and, in doing so, I freed myself to love the way I think it is meant to be.

I haven't seen all the Oscar-nominated movies for 2009. But I'm going to throw my vote into Jeff Bridges' ring. His performance was believable enough to trigger long-forgotten memories, and gratitude.

If you or anyone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol I highly suggest taking that first step. AA/Alanon meetings are held all over the world. There is bound to be one in your neck of the woods. Know this .... you are not alone. All you have to do is ask for help. Here is the website.

Wishing for you a life of sobriety, hope and love,
Merry ME

1 comment:

Aurora said...

Dear Merry,
Oh my goodness. New books, hot french fries and an abhorrence of cigarette smoke! Will you two adopt me?

Then I started to read the rest of your post. Wow. You spoke right to how I used to behave - and have watched someone I wanted to rescue behave.
Very wise words on your part, and true.

Coincidentally, I was reading Marianne Williamson (Course of Miracles) book today on love and change.

And had just been so very grateful to how Spirit had and has changed and does change my life, always there when I was willing to be open and listen and change.
God IS my partner. It's all about perception and willingness, combined with effective action. The result is living love.
And this spiel comes from a former atheist:)

I'm so glad to have found you via Sorrow's blog.
I am no longer committed to being broken and thinking things are hopeless while stubbornly refusing to change.
Self-esteem is no longer just a word.