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12/02/2010

Rebound

I suspect that it will turn out for a while, perhaps quite a while, that if and when I do have a brief good time, I will pay for it with a dark time. Yesterday I awakened in tears and was extremely sad and angry throughout the day. The research I read on the Internet indicates that a first time, sudden, violently precipitated, incarceration, initiated by family, generally results in post traumatic stress reaction that takes about a decade to recover from, if ever. Yesterday was exactly one month out from that event having occurred in my life, and I feel unimaginably far from even beginning to recover.

I so wish it wasn't this season of the year. My happiest memories are of early winter and Christmas. Yesterday we had our first snow. That has always been an event that has excited me since my boyhood in the very snowy region of upstate and northern New York where I grew up. I have always marveled at those who grumbled and even became depressed at the advent of snow again each year. Yesterday as I watched the flakes fall there was no feeling. I was just numb. Teresa put up a new Christmas tree we bought for this year and some decorations in early November knowing she would have some disability after her knee replacement. I now wish they were not there. Each Christmas commercial, catalog, and each decoration I see just reminds me this will be my first Christmas in 40 years without liquid "Christmas Cheer," giving and receiving presents, or any sense of joy or excitement. I suppose it shouldn't matter, but the reality is I feel horribly hurt by it all. I wish I could just go to sleep and awaken to find it the middle of January. Who knows perhaps the courts will grant me my wish.

I am now seeing a therapist. She is way into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy usually discussed by the acronym CBT. She has been very effective in her "nailing" me with her logic to obliterate my fallacious, unreasonable thinking. I discussed in my last session my wish that perhaps I could drink very moderately in the future without getting intoxicated and becoming abusive. She asked me, "If I gave you a gun with 1000 chambers and told you there was only one bullet in it, and asked you to spin the chamber and point it at Teresa and pull the trigger would you do it?" I of course responded, "Of course not..............never." She pointed out that for me to drink now would be for me to take the same sort of risk, which might well work out fine....but what about if it didn't. I pointed out that I've lost all my celebratory rituals in my life. She told me no I hadn't. My celebratory ritual(s) now was being with Teresa and Sue. And, if I don't stop drinking I'll lose them. She is very good. I couldn't resist pointing out to her the irony of the BDSM community's use of the Acronym CBT (cock & ball torture) and the mental health treatment community's use of CBT as cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapeutic reference certainly belies the extreme effectiveness in its getting right to the "root" of the issue at hand. It is reminiscent of my favorite Lyndon Baines Johnson quote. When questioned about his amazingly effective leadership style in Congress he quipped,"Grasp them by the nuts and squeeze firmly. Their hearts and minds will follow." It turns out that old LBJ was perhaps the fore father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

I want desperately to continue my life and love with Teresa and Sue. It hurts terribly knowing that the only way I can do that is to not drink. It's not nearly so much the absence of alcohol that makes me sad. I don't have alcohol cravings. I do have huge positive associations with the concept of "aqua vita." Aqua vita is the Latin euphemism (literally translated as the water of life) for wine and all alcoholic spirits. It references a mystical belief that the ritual of drinking alcohol is a communion with life. The Christian communion ceremony was derived from the political necessity to encompass and sublimate classical pagan roman theology in the new Christian state religion adopted in 325 A. D. under the Emperor Constantine as part of the work that came out of the Council of Nicaea.

Our Therapist has very powerfully described, much to the great joy and glee of Sue and Teresa when I told them of it, my "choice." I have to choose to give up drinking or lose Teresa and Sue. They are quite "on board" with that reasoning. She has said it is psychologically implausible to give up drinking forever. She thinks I should just promise them that I will not drink for a year (what the heck...it's already been a month.) And then at the end of a year figure out where we go from there. I have either to lose my "religious ritual by which I believe I celebrate the the joy I take in my life" (likely erroneously....I seem to be wrong about anything I've ever felt or thought). To add to it all, I now wear an alcohol monitor on my ankle that monitors me continuously all day.....everyday. Should I ever have any alcohol at all, I will be immediately apprehended and jailed indeterminately. So there is my "choice." You see my life is really entirely in my control.

What I have is the absence of choice. It is like the "option" given you when a hold up guy says at gun point, "Give me your money or I will kill your child and besides that just for kicks I will kill you too. it is your choice. It is not my responsibility which you choose." My long adherence to the values of self-determination in my persoanl life and my professional advocacy career are now dead. The key choices in my life are taken away from me by my family, the police, the courts, the mental health treatment community. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." has become a fallacy and a sham.

I am so glad to still have my two loves. I don't want to mislead you. They have been horribly hurt and traumatized by my behavior. They are recovering from huge traumatic stress of their own and are trying to hold onto what (if anything) can remain of "us" in all this. They did not suddenly decide to have a palace coups one day and emasculate their Dominant. It was an entirely unintended act. They've pointed out to me repeatedly that no matter how much harm is created, if it results from well intended actions, then harm doesn't matter.

My choice is clear. I may have them or I may have what I have viewd for the last 40 years as the central theme of feeling joyous about my life (even at times when it caused me to not feel, or act, at all joyously.) The concept that there is anything approaching D/s in our lives has clearly become a tragic joke other than that perhaps I am slave to them. There is no one who has any investment in my happpiness. I quipped, sardonically, talking with Sue yesterday that I now wear my collar on my ankle. The only choice I have in my life are between horrible and extremely life damagingly loss and pain or absolutely fatally wounding injurious pain. I have been reminded, as I have supported T through her recent knee replacement, of the incessant medical ritual of "rating your pain from 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest." Behind this door you may select pain level 8. And behind this door is pain level 10 and death. There are no other options. That is aside from the parallel track, and independent variable involving what pain and trauma the legal system will eventually inflict on me.

So today I am neither as happy as two days ago when I posted, nor am I as totally dysfuctionally agonized with depression as I felt yesterday. I am not happy and suspect that happiness is not anything that will ever be in my life again. My only options are to try to minimize the acuteness of my unhappiness.

"What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been."

Tom

11 comments:

  1. 'There is no one who has any investment in my happiness'

    I am nothing if not outspoken and opinionated - you of all people should know that Tom.

    I too have suffered from depression.. and a major breakdown.. and mental illness. One of the most important things I had to learn on my journey back to a reasonably stable mentality (cheeky grin) is that *I* - and ONLY I - am responsible for my happiness and my sadness and how I wish to handle both.

    My hope for you is that one day you too will come to accept your responsibility for happiness and sadness and in the long run be a more contented person.

    And I am thinking - perhaps it is time now - that I tell my story - over on the Journey - of my darkest days... and my journey back.. shrug.. maybe

    hugs to all

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  2. sweetsassyT11:59 AM

    Morningstar...I hope that you do. It is one people need to hear. Have you noticed how many young people are in the lifestyle at very young ages. They suffer. They need your words.

    Tom, sorry for that. I am sorry that the people in your life define a thing as the way to joy and happiness. I have read here often, and do not think you are of the religious nature. However, I do find you a spiritual person. There is a book by Bruce Wilkerson called, "The Vine". It is short and worth the read. Regardless of what being you worship believe or nature response you wish to aspire, the facts in the vine sustain them. Nature sustains them. You have been taken down and out for a reason. You were in a spot, and you need to rise to a higher spot. The weight loss was part of the healthy journey, but until your mind losses all the excess too you aren't there in the health and spirit you seek. You have found a wonderful therapist. That in itself is inspiring. They are few and far between. I am sorry for the pain in this journey. But, I assure you, like the phoenix rises from the asses so shall you. Trust in that. Peace to you and your lovely ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tom, I have suffered from bouts of depression all my life, I'm a recovering substance abuser (one of which was alcohol) so I'm not just talking out my nether parts. Two things...It is cyclical, your feelings will change given enough time. Also, you've given the alcohol too much power. It's a liquid, not a companion.

    Morningstar is right. You are the only person responsible for your own happiness or sadness. T and Swan can't "make" you happy, only you can achieve that. It comes from within you. You implied you have no choice anymore. You have choices to make, just not the one you want.

    I hope you choose T and Swan. I think that's the most likely place to find your contentment.

    I'm rooting for you, all of you.

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  4. Anonymous3:23 PM

    Hello Tom,
    I've followed the blog for years now and I don't think I've ever commented before, but today I feel compelled to.
    You do indeed have choices, and your choices are what led you to this point. You chose to drink to excess knowing that it was like playing with a loaded gun. You are choosing to speak with your therapist and you are choosing to write and process your thoughts on the blog.
    However I have to say that researching on the internet to find that 'incarceration initiated by family' results in 'post traumatic stress syndrome'? that's an excuse and a way of making this problem all about you. It is not. There is a strong thread of self pity running through your recent posts, and I don't say that as a judgment but as a statement. My sympathies are with T and S. There are few things more terrifying than confronting a drunk, enraged man especially in your own home. I believe that T and S have probably saved your life by calling for help. I believe that they are struggling with their own feelings around your behavior. It might give you a focus outside your own spiral to look clearly at them and what they have been through over the last months (years). I wish you well through all this Tom.

    To Teresa and Sue, I wish you both strength and peace throughout this process and I believe you did the right thing over the last few days. I can only imagine what this has been like for both of you, and I hope you also have the support you need.

    I have never been an alcoholic, alcohol doesn't have any magic or super powers for me. I am surprised at the lengths a person will go to to make excuses for their consumption - and I hope in time Tom will see that his crutch isn't needed. He'll be able to walk proudly on his own two feet :)

    Wishing all three of you peace x

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  5. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Lurker for years and infrequent commenter ...

    You ironically said ... "You see my life is really entirely in my control." and then "What I have is the absence of choice."

    It's difficult when you are at the bottom of the pit of despair, but the tenor of one's emotions is often a direct result of the perspective of the mind. Put simply, it's a glass half full/half empty situation.

    Here's a thing to mull in a quiet moment - is the absence of choice *really* the absence of control?

    I've never thought so. I think that little bit of personal (and bloody minded?) belief has draged me from many a dark pit.

    I don't know you (of course) but suspect your central core is intact, just bruised, shaken and not a little shamed. And understandable so.

    It can be a wiggly route back, but we never stray far from our true selves, whatever we may think in the darker days.

    Take heart.

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  6. I think you are precisely the type of individual who could benefit from this:

    http://www.smartrecovery.org/

    I have known someone in the past who successfully stopped drinking, using the tools found here. There are great aids here for family and friends also.

    Peace
    Tapestry

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  7. Impish17:10 PM

    Glad you like your therapist. I'm a big believer in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It works, and it doesn't take forever to see results. I do hope your therapist is intelligent because, and I say this in all love Tom, you are an absolute expert in rationalization and pretzel logic. You'll lead her a merry chase. Hang in there: life, family, the whole game is worth it, and you know you are man enough for the fight. Don't give up, and don't be afraid to look inside.

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  8. Damn. Hugs to you.

    .....and as usual I wish I had something better to say....

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all...

    Master JB and butterfly

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tom, I truly wish that I had something to say that would help you. I don't. All I can tell you is that we read here and we feel for you all.

    I think that Kelly's words hold some truth. She said that alcohol is a liquid, not a companion. Your companions are T and Sue. I too hope that you choose them.

    Good luck

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  10. Sometimes we are faced with decisions that we don't want to make. Forgive me if I sound like a broken record in talking about my breast cancer (again)... but I was faced with the choice of losing my breasts or losing my life. I never asked for that. I didn't want to lose my breasts - they were one of the most sensual and pleasurable parts of my body. I miss them terribly. But I chose life. I spent many hours mourning them - but at some point the mourning ended and I moved forward. It didn't make sense to choose life and then waste it by being depressed and in mourning forever. I had to find other things to make me happy.

    You have lost soooo much in the last year. It must be hard. I thinks it's important that you take time to mourn the loss of alcohol. Feel sad, angry, coerced... whatever. Then I hope you choose Sue and Teresa. I hope you choose life.

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  11. wandering traveler9:46 AM

    my heart goes out to you all in these very challenging times, truly.

    two things come to mind that have given me great comfort through my own challenges:

    1. just because i think it or feel it, doesn't mean it's true. thoughts & feelings are like birds & clouds blowing around the sky. be the sky.

    2. i ALWAYS have choices. if i think i don't, i'm caught in a story in my head and not interacting with reality.

    count me among the many, many stranger/friends sending you all best wishes - mine for peace, clarity and grace to flow effortlessly into your circumstances.

    ReplyDelete

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