Tuesday, February 02, 2010

SAVING GRACE - LONG

I feel almost embarrassed to even write about this as it happened 30 years ago now. However, it often comes to my mind and I feel the same way about it. I feel it as if it were yesterday. So I guess as it is fresh, I can try and express it.

Toward the end of 1979 I found myself attending Al-Anon meetings. I had been introduced to it whilst I was in a psychiatric hospital and it was recommended I attend.(I had a heavy drinking partner.) I started to attend and was soon befriended by a woman named Daria. I looked up to her and trusted her. I was 21 at the time and I think she was late 20’s. She seemed to know an awful lot and seemed very together. To me, who was not at all together and a very poor judge of character. She had a lover, Maureen, who also seemed to know everything. Our relationship went on for a while and I eventually trusted them enough that I invited them to dinner with my parents. I thought as they were so wise and insightful, they would see. They didn’t. It was a disaster for me. Nothing was said but a short while after this, I was told not to call them again. No explanation, nothing. I was devastated. To my mind, they had discovered how evil I was and quite rightly closed the door. I soon fell out of going to the meetings. I was too ashamed. I also realised that these two people had decided, based on one visit, that I was the problem. That my parents were good and kind people who had a wicked son. You see, Daria and Maureen knew everything about abuse, about family dynamics, about addictions. They never wavered in their judgement of people. They were dangerous. I didn’t know that then.

These two set my healing back by years although I did learn from them. I learned that people who do not doubt their own rightness are dangerous and damaging people.

At one of these meetings, I heard a person share their story and heard a father’s behaviour described that was just like my own father’s behaviour. I was so desperate for an explanation of my father’s hatred of me, that I jumped at the diagnosis of alcoholism. That was it! He was an alcoholic! He didn’t hate me, he was sick. Trouble with that was he wasn’t. He didn’t drink like that. It gave me hope though to think it and also enabled me to pretend that one day he would ‘sober up’ and stop hurting me. (Funny how my hope was not that he would love me and accept me.)

Daria diagnosed most people as alcoholic. Including me. I do recall one moment of sane thought in my own head when we went to get a wheelchair bound woman to take her to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and Daria had persuaded her that what she really needed was AA! I thought that was wrong. Of course, I didn’t say so. I ignored the evil voice in my head, as I thought it was at the time.

Although Daria and Maureen's judgement and condemnation of me, led me along a very tortuous path, and in the wrong direction, I cannot really say I have not made the best of it. I learned a great deal and I am here now, content and happy. I wouldn’t be here now without everything that happened prior to now. I know that.

That does not mean I believe it was all meant to be. I cannot envisage nor accept any ‘higher power’ that would want a person to suffer so. However, I DO accept, and know in my bones, that there is a power greater than myself that helped me to get here. This power KNOWS me. Knows how I feel, how I think, and knows the truth of me and offers me unrestricted ‘love’. It guides the way. I have been open to this most of my life. Meaning that I often followed those feelings I had and it eventually led me right.Strangely, my deep conviction that I was bad, stupid,  and always wrong was my saving grace. How weird is that!?

It was my saving grace precisely because I always thought everyone else knew better. I was therefore open to new ideas. I read voraciously. I went to countless self help sessions. Many hurtful happenings came my way. I was easily taken advantage of and the pain of being hurt and wondering what I had done to deserve it, was simply appalling. My attitude toward myself led me to dangerous places and dangerous people. I NEVER saw the malice in others. Never saw motives that were selfish. In this way my belief in my innate badness was extremely harmful. I was often deeply humiliated.

Yet it DID in the end, save me because pride did not prevent me embracing new ideas and eventually I met the right person, the therapist I saw for for five years. He showed me the way. he did not ever tell me what was wrong with me. He did not ever tell me what to think. He just gave me the knowledge that there were other ways to think. He also ‘re – parented’ me. I am still friends with this man. He is a good father figure in my life. We speak on the telephone occasionally.

I was foretold that I  would meet Roger and that he would change my life. At the time of being told, I took no notice as it didn’t make sense. It did make complete sense eventually and the prediction was accurate. Roger enabled me to change my life.

I do not believe this spiritual power is anything lofty or airy fairy. It doesn’t require fancy garb or litany or creed and dogma. The spiritual help we receive comes from REAL people. People who are every bit as real and alive as they were when modern convention deems they were alive in a body. They are just no longer in a physical body and are in a different dimension. One from which they reach out to us and touch us in ways we are not generally aware.

When I went through my rebirth two years ago, when I went through the agony of finally accepting my loss and realising that I was not evil, that I was not abused because I was defective, that those who abused me were defective, I became free.

I also became acutely aware that people known to me, who were now supposedly dead, not only knew exactly what was happening to me, they cared about me and they UNDERSTOOD me. It was very clear to me. No I didn’t have visions. I had people, living as we understand it, relay their messages to me.

That day, in my room when I screamed out that if they really did love me, they had to reveal themselves NOW, because I was truly about to die or go insane, the telephone rang! On the other end was a long term friend who without needing to be told, caressed me with her words, told how good I was and how it was not my fault. She spoke to me as if I were a child and I let go. I finally let go of all the rotting, putrid, pain inside me. It hurt like nothing I had ever felt before. I howled like an animal and rolled around on the floor. I roared and retched ‘with great gnashing of teeth’ until I finally went limp and quietly wept until I slept.

It took weeks to recover but slowly I did and I came out my shell and spread my wings. The way I dress changed. Out went the dowdy colours. In came vivid and alive colours. I have become more creative. I am much less afraid. I look forward to my days and I wish for a long life whereas before I just endured and wished for a short one.

Physically, I am not good. It is hardly surprising. However, I can truly say that dealing with 24/7 physical pain is MUCH easier than dealing with the anguish I used to heave to deal with, day in day out, for most of my life. How can one live with so much tension and stress and not have it take its toll upon the body. How can one starve oneself for years and not have it come back to bite you? I did so many harmful things to myself. I was into self harm in a big way.

Scientific studies have shown that people with my background have a far greater susceptibility to the diseases I have. I am not surprised that my heart is damaged and my spine and bones are weakened and that my muscles do not work as they should, that my whole nervous system is buggered. I still feel I got off lightly. It could be much worse.

It is often said that the abused grow up to become abusers and quite rightly it is pointed out that it is not true. Some go on to abuse others as they were abused. Yet I have realised that I never met an abuse victim who does not abuse. Including myself.

No I did not go an rape or molest children. I did not physically attack others. No. I heaped abuse upon myself. I cut, I bruised, I punished myself day in and day out. I starved myself. I poisoned myself. I allowed others to abuse me. I made poor and dangerous choices. Only luck kept me alive and out of jail. I shudder at how easily I could have become just another weirdo’s dead victim.

I know that it is not true in my case that the abuse of me  did not lead  me to abuse. It did and it ought not be ignored. It is important because I am important and it is important I recognise this so that I never resort to self abuse again for the sins of others or even for my own. It isn't those who harmed me I needed to forgive. It is myself. I have done just that.

It is easy now to see how I am blessed. I know others who did not make it. Yes, I worked my balls off to get here, I was willing to walk through the valley of death. Yet I know, deep in my being, that I didn't do this alone and for that reason I do not take all the credit. I may know I was not at fault, that I did not deserve what happened to me but I also know I am not special. I was not chosen. I was not saved for any reason that has to do with me. I do not understand why I am where I am but to think it is because I am somehow on a mission or chosen is to belittle those whose suffering caused their demise far too early or their sanity to go. They are just as deserving as I.

I am therefore grateful and yet remain mystified.

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