Contact Info --
We were at the end.
Too tired and too sad and too broken to go on.
All of us; heartbroken; but unable to see a way through yet one more day -- one more battle.
And, then, these pretty little charms arrived in the mail. Today. Ordered weeks ago, by our T, for Christmas. But of course, by the time they got here today, it seemed impossible -- meaningless. Because they were custom made, just for us, they were not returnable either. One more disappointment to add to the misery that engulfed us.
It may have been just that bit of mystery and magic that saved us. That caused us to bend a bit, swallow our pride, notice that we were in real pain, and reach out to one another.
We backed away from the edge. Took a deep breath. Hugged. And turned, once again, to face our lives together. Saved by a gift from T. Merry Christmas!
Life is too strange. As I drove home from my therapist's office Friday (ironically the one year anniversary of the 9-1-1 call that in my reality started all this) after completing a difficult session with my therapist mostly focusing on my work with the first chapter of the PTSD workbook she has suggested it might be helpful to work through, what in my rear view mirror should appear but the flashing lights of a police car. I pulled over and it turns out that the Smart car I drive had six month out of date license plate tags. Typically we receive those license expiration notices each year, the renewal form is sent in, and we receive the new license tag in the mail to affix. Reconstructing events, I would have been in jail last January when the expiration notice would have come out for this year. Everything was in great turmoil here and nothing much typical was occurring. The license was never renewed. None of us realized it. And so I was cited. I held it together quite well during the traffic stop I thought, even thanking the state highway patrol woman for the ticket. Internally I was freaking out. I have been told any police contact beyond superficial socialization (like a socialize with cops a lot) will violate my probation and I will serve my sentence. I am required to report any police contact as soon as possible to my probation officer, or the failure to report it is an additional violation. I drove home (I was about fifty miles away....our therapist has moved) and phoned them immediately. The probation office appeared to be closed so I left a voice mail for my p. o. It turned out she was on leave so I left a voice mail as well for another officer as her voice mail away message directed. Then Sue and I left for the license bureau to go renew the plates. Of course we arrived at the license bureau just as they closed.
I was (am) terrified that I will be arrested and serve a year in prison. Sue and T feel certain that my thinking that could happen is absolutely nuts. Sue had her session with the therapist yesterday who concurred there is no real reason to imagine this could violate my probation. Now I feel like I am being told once again that I am just stupid, and paranoid, and crazy for even imagining the "system" could ever be that unfair. This is the same "system" that sent men out to shoot me when they were called because an IM comment led to concern I might harm myself.
It doesn't matter that when I was in jail I met people serving out terms for probation violations more minor than this.............I am told that everyone in jail lies, and how do I know what they really were in for. Who knows.......certainly not me? Increasingly I believe I know nothing and I truly am insane.
I was depressed, freaked out, and afraid all Friday night and Saturday morning. We got up Saturday, had breakfast, and Sue was off for her session with our therapist. I went over to renew the license tag which was not difficult....just the usual wait in line and fee plus a $20.00 late fee (which will combine with the $125.00 fine for the citation to "cap off" the most tremendous year of legal expenses in my/our history). I affixed the new tag and settled in to wait and wonder if the police were going to come and get me. I had to go do my required AA meeting at 1:00. I had exercised before that, and had had enough interaction with sue who came back from her therapy session acting as though she was angry with me, to glean how ridiculous she thought it was for me to be feeling afraid there would be any further consequences from the ticket for the expired license tag.
I came back from AA, and remembered we had discussed all week going to see the new movie Anonymous. I found where it was showing on line, and we decided to go in time so we could come home and see the Ohio State University football game that night. We went, and all three of us loved Anonymous. It is not a movie we imagine will have lots of mass appeal. It is complex, cerebral, and esoteric, but the three of us are steeped enough in theater, history, and literature background and interests, that we were enthralled. On the way home we found a restaurant the three of us had not tried together before, and we all really enjoyed dinner together. (By the way if any of you are part of the debate that is growing up around Anonymous, we happen to think whether the hypothesis that Anonymous is built around , whether Shakespeare really wrote the works commonly attributed to him, is valid or not, is meaningless).
Then we came home and that evening watched one of the most exciting and nail biting Ohio State football games ever. I was thrilled and whooping and hollering over the last minute victory OSU pulled out. Sue watched it with me and was right there as well. She has converted to become an avid Buckeye fan in her time here, and I felt really happy and close with her (I am giving up ever again trying to interpret what sort of feelings she may be experiencing.) I had forgotten about the police. I just said to myself, Sue, T, and our therapist all think it is absolutely ridiculous to think the police could come for me for an expired license tag. I was just sick and wrong to even be concerned (as usual), and so forgot my fear, and had a good time.
We went to bed last night and I expected today we would continue to build on the kinds of positive steps I thought we both have been feeling really happy about the past couple of weeks, as in Sue's post "Small Things" that precedes this post.
Then Sunday dawned. I have come to dread Sunday's. Even before all this happened this past year, Sue has had a pattern for several years of being depressed and angry many, and in some periods most, Sundays. I am accustomed to awakening to her being withdrawn or angry, or some mixture of both, on any given Sunday, but last night felt so wonderful, especially in contrast to how Saturday had begun, that I had imaginings of a pleasant day together today possibly loving, maybe even playing some, watching football, having some good food, taking a walk, and being happy together again, as we had last night.
I woke up this morning and thought we might begin relating with some love making. She was stiff lying next to me. She had little emotional response and no physical response. I tried a few times to get her to tell me what was going on with her and was always told it was nothing. We did finally make love........or she basically tolerated my fucking her while she was with me, as is all too often the case anymore.
I tried again to find out what was wrong..............what had happened................what I had done................what could I do..............our usual 20 questions game. Finally she shared that she had had a difficult session with the therapist yesterday. The therapist had explained to her that in dealing with me right now she was effectively dealing with a hurt, raging child because of my history as a child abuse victim, which has linked to the events of the last year, and that needs to be the basis of her response to me. She told her that if parents of severely behaviorally disturbed children tantrum, the parents are taught to lock themselves in the bathroom, with food and books and blankets and whatever makes them comfortable, until the sounds of the child raging outside stop. Then they can try to relate to them again. That is essentially what she suggests metaphorically for me, in that I am a raging child in a man's body. That if in any way I discuss that I have problems because she called 9-1-1, I am being abusive, and she has to end the communication, or go to another room, or leave. That I am going to keep telling this "story" as long as it works for me, and that she should not listen to it. That if I continue telling it I will destroy our relationship.
I was momentarily angry, but then quickly felt too crushed to maintain anger. This is not some story I have made up or that I go over and over because it pleases me, or gets me some sort of proverbial "cookies." It is what happened to me, and I am hurt to the point of being broken about it. And yes my worst pain is mostly about feeling betrayed that it was initiated by the people I thought I could always trust to not harm me, and that does absolutely tie in with my feelings about my parents who harmed me when I thought they were the most important people in my life I could count on to take care of me.
I became a mess. I tried to talk to her and got a classic "talk to the hand" straight arm move body language along with the equally classic, "I cannot discuss this with you." I told her how devastated I felt. I sensed from her reaction that that is expected, and perhaps desired, and is just part of the process that she is implementing. I feel manipulated and crushed. I got up and tried to watch the Sunday morning talking heads doing political banter on TV, something I usually enjoy almost obsessively, and I couldn't follow the conversation. I tried watching Sunday morning football commentary and I couldn't follow that either. I even, in the aftermath of watching Anonymous last night, went to a website and began reading Shakespeare on line. I just feel at this point like anything I can do that will get me through the pain of being alive another minute is something I can do to try to pull myself forward. Finally I couldn't stand being here any more. I went out and drove around in the car. It is a nice day out.........................bright sunshine. Somehow moving aimlessly about in that capsule in the sun felt OK....better than sitting at home. I tried listening to radio and finally I did find something I could relate to..............the mindlessness of AM radio sports talk .............I despise AM radio.............but it was all I could seem to follow the thought pattern of.
I came back home. Sue was out. I called her to find out where she was....was she OK.......just out shopping.
I have no one I can talk to about this or who will take how I feel seriously, or not discount it as a crazy story I have concocted to get attention, or to work out my childhood trauma, or whatever. I feel desperate. I am just trying to kill time until I feel like being alive again.
It struck me I could write here. There is no need to respond. I just need to feel I can say this and that someone else will see it.
Unlike chess, in life the game continues after check mate.
One thing that we've been told over and over and over is that alcoholism is a disease -- like any other, and that is an interesting and somewhat helpful notion. Except that -- It is the only disease we know of that you can get yelled at for having (and I have done my share of that yelling, to my shame). It is the only disease for which the sufferer is subject to arrest, trial, enormous fines, and incarceration. There is no other disease that is "treated" by forced participation in bogus religious brain washing, ritual, and practice against one's will. I know of no other disease that exposes the victim to ridicule, humiliation, and public censure like alcoholism.
This sums up so perfectly so much of my frustration and anger in life right now. It's the only disease that I know of that is openly regarded as a moral failing by the masses with everyone saying "Well, you did it to yourself."
There are more thoughts on that... but I haven't had my morning coffee yet.
Nikkiana thank you for commenting. It has been good having you here the past couple of weeks. It is good to have a friend (I hope we may presume to use that descriptor) who shares the double stigma of the feeling many in the poly community have towards those effected by alcoholism and the way the typical recovery community responds to polyamory. It is a double bind. How interesting that in your Internet search under the keywords " alcoholism" and "polyamory" our Blog popped up. I'd be honored for the notoriety were it not that dealing with this is such a nightmare
AA's founders coined the concept that alcoholism is a "disease." They proclaimed it in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the bible of AA. This "disease concept" is at best a hypocritical paradox that AA uses to leverage people struggling with alcohol and or drug dependency under its tent, and into the treatment centers with whom they are parasitically linked with our courts. I have been declared to have the "disease" now for 10 months. The 12 step treatment paradigm is that there is only one treatment and that is God (always followed with, "may you find Him now") in order to achieve remission of the incurable disease you must "turn your will and your life over to the care of God, make a searching and moral inventory of yourself, admit to God and yourself and to another human being (i. e., your sponsor) the exact nature of your wrongs, and be entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character, Humbly ask Him to remove your shortcomings, make a list of all persons you have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all, and make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others, and continue to take personal inventory..................and on and on...... (paraphrased from the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.)
Firstly, is it any wonder that society has a view that alcoholism is a character disorder which results from godlessness, character defects, and sin? This is the "treatment" that is universally performed by alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers all over the U. S. and to a good extent world wide. It is the treatment that is mandated by the courts. In my case acquiescence and public profession of adherence to this, is the only way I have to stay out of jail for the remaining 459 days of my probation. WHAT OTHER DISEASE DO WE TREAT WITH A REQUIREMENT THAT WE CONVERT TO AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS CULT OR GO TO PRISON?
My circumstances are not rare or unique. In our mid-size large urban area there are literally hundreds of these organic cells ("meetings") of this cult called Alcoholics Anonymous, with literally thousands of people in them. Many have been converted. It is not at all uncommon in the groups I attend to meet people who have literally decades of sobriety who after 15, 20, 25 and sometimes even 30 years of sobriety attend AA meetings several times a week, even daily.
As you hear people talk of how they came to AA new folks arriving generally reveal that they are there because of a court mandate. Occasionally there are folks who are there as a result of an ultimatum of an employer to get to treatment or lose one's career. There is this myth that AA purports during the ritual readings of AA's sacramental dogma at the beginning of each of its meetings that AA IS A PROGRAM OF ATTRACTION NOT PROMOTION. They purport and have said so often that people come to AA because they wanted help or because they saw what people who were in AA had and wanted that in their own life, that AA participants come to believe it. I have made a point of talking to A. A. participants who mention that AA is a program of attraction not promotion. I ask them how they first came to AA. Almost universally these folks tell me they came to AA to stay out of jail, or to keep their job, that they didn't want to be there and were angry about it when they came. They see nothing about that that is inconsistent with the "AA is a program of attraction not promotion" principal. The truth is AA IS A PROGRAM OF COERCED RELIGIOUS INDOCTRINATION into a late 19th and early 20th century evangelical Christian sect called Buchmanism. Buchmanism still exists microcosmically as a sect that is based in Kentucky, but has spawned this huge state mandated religion called 12-step based alcoholics or narcotics or insert whatever other addictive agent or behavior, anonymous. It was a Buchmanist subsect called the Oxford Group that founded and promoted AA.
If alcoholism is a disease, something which I am not convinced of, then why would it be treated in this fashion? Why do we not have requisite religious cults to which cancer victims must convert to save themselves from their defects of character and enable them to be forgiven for the sins they have committed to cause them to have cancer, and once forgiven, why do we not have them start the whole confession, forgiveness, penance do-loop over and over again for the rest of their lives as the only possible way they can be cured. In AA it is not enough to quit drinking to be cured. You must instead become a convert. Why should being in remission from cancer be thought of as being well.......why should they not have to attend weekly, even daily, religious revival meetings, and why should their failure to do so not result in their being jailed? That is how alcoholism and addiction are treated.
The difficult thing for me is that I begin to question whether everything that they tell me in treatment is suspect and untrue....the fruit of the poison tree dynamic. If they can ethically and rationally espouse this dogma, then is it likely everything they have told me about drinking is just as much a lie? I have said I am not convinced that alcoholism is a disease. How can I be when it is these folks and their adherents who espouse that explanation for addiction?
How do I know that were I to ever have a glass of wine again I would of necessity then go on a huge bender and drink myself to death or become a violent murderous criminal or whatever other horrors they have told me? This problem is tough, and there are no reliable partners from whom to learn about it or to try to get help. The ones there are all rely on the drivel that is AA that has become the basis of modern "science." It is as reliably scientific as is the scientific reasoning upon which creationism rests.
The treatment of addiction is lies...told over and over and over and over so often and with such authority, and foisted through a multibillion dollar network of treatment centers, treatment programs, treatment practitioners, and 12 step cult groups which operate primarily via court mandated participation, that our culture has come to believe this whole nonsensical mythos.
So Nikkiana and sue it is not difficult to imagine why it is that we have these stigma-laden attitudinal and dynamics to deal with. I just hope that I will be allowed to continue bluffing my way through participation in the cult long enough to have my freedom restored to me in 459 days.
Unlike chess, life continues after check mate.
Call me "Pollyanna."
It is seeming though, in the last few weeks, that I am having more and more trouble achieving enough lubrication to make it work well. The dryness is, surely, uncomfortable for me, but I am thinking it is starting to be an issue for both of us... the slip and slide seems to be out of business.
Probably, I'm going to need to deal with some kind of artificial personal lubricant product. And that's a challenge. I don't know much about lube. I avoid lube. It is icky. Slimy. Gross. Back in the day when we were still able to pull off vaginal fisting, we bought an inexpensive, store brand version of KY Jelly -- and then used it by the quart. It was yucky, but it worked in that situation and got the job done.
Today, getting to some kind of pretty good sex is a tricky business. I need to really be able to focus. I need to be able to feel subtle cues and subtle shifts in muscle tension and friction. Sticky, gooey, slimey glop is a real distraction in that process. It makes everything way more difficult. And... it irritates my girl parts.
Sin wrote on her blog today about the breadth of purposes that the writing there serves, and she wondered what it might mean that her comments seem to have dropped off. Is there disapproval in the silence? Are people tired of hearing about it? What is going on? I know the feeling. When one writes this type of blog, a mixture of sex and daily happenings and mental meanderings, it is hard to know where to pull the curtain -- and easy to feel the weight of judgement.
One new recommendation from our therapist is that we acquire and go through a workbook about post traumatic stress together. So, Master ordered us three copies -- they will arrive next week, and we'll begin that study together. She is the one resource that we've acquired in this passage that truly does seem to be positive and helpful. She is utterly accepting of our family. She works to understand our dynamic. She gives every sign of being honestly and sincerely in our court -- appreciative of our efforts to love in a unique way in a world that is not always supportive of different relationship styles. We are coming to understand, with her help, that while we are certainly dealing with the aftermath of the events of last fall and last winter, there were underlying issues resulting from childhood abuse that set the stage for that to be the "perfect storm" in our lives. She is clear that nothing that ensued in terms of the interventions and involvements of the legal system was appropriate or helpful -- and has set herself to help us find a way to deal with it and move forward in spite of all of that.
We were touched by many of the responses of our readers to our latest crisis. The gentleness with which some touch our lives here is remarkable and a gift that we have no way to ever reciprocate. Some of you seem to understand that we don't need lectures, reprimands, "I told you so's," accusations, judgements, or blame. Some of you really do seem to have an instinct for being tender with us. To find that there are people who will simply stand with us; hold us; give us their support is ... There just are no words. Thank you.
Of course, the flip side is that some just cannot seem to resist the snide comment. Some cannot stop themselves from taking sides and trying to stir up battles between the three of us. Some are quite certain that they know what we ought to do, and they are just peeved when their unasked for advice goes unheeded. Some are clear that we are people of low character who deserve what has happened to us. Some, I am sure, are praying fervently for our ultimate downfall. And, what is more, those are the folks who insist that when we object to their consistently negative input here, we are the ones who have it wrong. They are quick to suggest that we "suck it up," or quit being here, or take it private, or only write what THEY would write, or... Everyone of them is an expert it would seem.
We are not experts. We are ordinary people with ordinary lives who have fallen into an extraordinary mess. No doubt, there is some significant part of the "blame" for the mess that belongs squarely on our shoulders. That would be the opinion of those who are sure that we "made our own bed." What we have learned, in the last year, spans a whole range of disciplines. We've looked into what the science says about addiction, and trauma, and the workings of the brain. We've picked up the tarot, and tried to figure out "The Power of Now." We've gone together through all the facets of the rehab program, and that continues. One thing that we've been told over and over and over is that alcoholism is a disease -- like any other, and that is an interesting and somewhat helpful notion. Except that -- It is the only disease we know of that you can get yelled at for having (and I have done my share of that yelling, to my shame). It is the only disease for which the sufferer is subject to arrest, trial, enormous fines, and incarceration. There is no other disease that is "treated" by forced participation in bogus religious brain washing, ritual, and practice against one's will. I know of no other disease that exposes the victim to ridicule, humiliation, and public censure like alcoholism. We may find our way through this in time. We may survive all the impacts that have come about as a result of our family's encounter with those who "protect and serve" in our community. We may manage to come intact through our required association with the AA cult to which we have been sentenced (in absolute denial of the constitution of the US). We may. Time will tell.
Whatever becomes of us, our world will be forever different. We will have learned a great deal about ourselves and each other. We will have learned just how strong we really are. We will have fought and raged and cried and laughed. We will have learned who our friends are, and we will have learned that some only seemed like friends when things were good and easy and sexy. We are a long way from the end of this road. We've only just begun to find our way out of the murk. There is not going to be much lightness here for the foreseeable future, but for those with the strength to bear with pain and growth, I bet there will be something to see in time.
We are some better. Things have settled. The weekend insanity seems to have passed on, and we are tired and tentative. It feels as if each of us is peering out from behind our protective cover, like shy and timid forest animals.
We are a little befuddled by the suddenness of the storm that crashed over us; brought on by seemingly small things; convoluted and obscure and senseless -- and no less painful for all of that.
We survived. Again. Intact. Still all here; altogether. It seems a miracle -- and what is that we wonder...
So the blackness is gone from this place again. We are, still, The Heron Clan. A bit older, and no claim to wiser. A lot more battered and beaten up. Walking a path that makes no sense to us; that leads to where we cannot know; that seems fraught with hazards and barely imagined risks. We are feeling clumsy, unsure, and awkward -- and so no graceful herons in flight; we'll stick (for now) with the image of the funny, rumpled baby heron. He seems to epitomize our current ruffled state.
We've shared as we are able here. Not fully, to be sure. There aren't enough words to paint the picture of this passage in its entirety. We write as and how we may here depending on our capacities in the moment. Some of our days are better than others. Sometimes we are stronger and wiser than others. Sometimes we see more clearly than others. We are not very sturdy. We are tender. We are touchy. We are easily wounded. We'd be grateful for gentleness and kindness. Negative, judgmental, critical and confrontational messages are not helpful to us. That is the honest truth.
Tonight, the fall has arrived with a great stomping line of storms. It is blustery and rainy and cool. We are tucked in warm and safe. He and I took a walk when I got home from school. We debated about what to do for dinner; then ordered pizza delivered, and enjoyed our simple meal together. We are sitting watching the Republican presidential debate -- because we remain political junkies. The cat is curled up on the middle cushion of the couch, purring contentedly. The dishes are done. The bills are paid. Except for our various and sundry aches and pains, we are in pretty good health. There is not one thing about our life right now, in this moment that is horrible or awful. Around the country and around the world, there are plenty of people who suffer and struggle in fear and desolation and pain. We know how truly lucky we are. We are coming to hope that the hurts of the last year may fade away in time. In time...
Criticisms lodged here by various commenters set off a firestorm of bitterness and depression.
I can't imagine what people think their negativity achieves.
I am so tired of it all.
If it were up to me, I'd delete this whole blog.
He won't allow that.
I do find it difficult though to follow your reasoning. sue has responded to morningstar's input that I should discuss how hypothetically I would have preferred for sue and t to have handled their interactions with the police about me last October, November, and January. sue explained that we decline to do that. We can't change what happened in any of those incidents right wrong or in between. Nor can we change whatever harm resulted or enhance any benefit that ensued either.............for any of us. We could though revisit recriminations, that we all have had months of to no end, and that we work to find a way to end. God knows I would have had those events handled differently if I had been able to control sue's or t's decisions. How could my expressing that yet one more time help us...............or do anything but further wound our family. It would achieve nothing for any of us. You feel that would have value. We disagree. We have enough real issues to live through without wallowing about in hypothetical actions we wish had occurred.
Having said that you believe it would be helpful for us to do that, you then go on to decry my reliving what happened to me (or as you put it, what I "perceived" to have happened to me...............which makes me wonder whether you question if I know what happened). Why is it that it would be helpful to replay what sue and t did in light of what I wish had happened, but it is harmful if I relive what actually happened to me? I re-experience what happened to me when I was in police custody and in jail several times each day. These were not hypothetical events. They were real. The feelings and thoughts that well up when that occurs to me are not mere unhappy memories. They are experiences that repeat in my consciousness and push other thoughts and feelings from my mind when I am awake and asleep. It would be wonderful if they would stop. Can you really believe that I am so stupid that I wouldn't stop thinking about them if there was some way I just could? Gosh why didn't I think of that! Perhaps you have the new cure for post traumatic stress. I shall have to ask my therapist next week, "Gee, why didn't you just tell me to stop thinking about it and move on."
You go on to posit that by now I should be enjoying the "quiet treasures" of sobriety. I had quiet treasures in my life. Many of them are detailed in posts here over the years but they were before my sobriety. There have been none since last October 28. You suggest that I should enjoy these quiet treasures despite the horrific way that sobriety was forced on me. That reminds me of reasoning that perhaps someone who has been violently mugged and robbed should somehow enjoy the opportunity to experience the quiet treasures of poverty. I hope I have quiet treasures in my life again. They have not existed since the end of last October.
As for whether I will drink again I am working on that by deciding I will drink again ........just not today. The decision to drink in the future quiets a huge internal debate that I have, and helps me feel not quite so humiliated and subjugated by having no choice whether or not to drink.............other than prison. The decision to not drink today assures my continued sobriety.......................and as painful as it is to acquiesce to any of the 12 step mantra......"one day at a time."
I'm glad you are so joyous in your sobriety. I want my/our life to be joyous again . If that joy is in sobriety fine, I will perhaps get past what has happened to be able to enjoy life even without freedom to decide how I live it. I find myself thinking of an interesting reversal of the mind techniques alcohol rehabilitation professionals recommend you use when you are tempted to drink. They tell you that if you are tempted to drink again because you are thinking of how we enjoyed drinking at times in the past, you should "complete the tape," that is we should remember the horrid consequences that befell you, that brought you to alcohol rehab in the first place, and remember too, that will happen to us again if we return to drinking. I am finding myself these days imagining my life going forward as it is living in sobriety, and AA meetings, and aftercare meetings, and step work and ...............................that I need to play it forward....to complete the tape. If this is the life I have left, I think my thoughts on my death bed are hardly going to be that I am grateful to have lived.
Much of our inner-circle jargon is borrowed from the larger culture, and tweaked to serve our purposes. That is not true, however, of the word "compersion." Compersion is the gold standard of poly loving. It is understood to be the feeling of pleasure experienced when one's love finds pleasure in another lover. There's a lot of good writing out there about the theory and practice of compersion -- like this.
I've mostly avoided discussions of the how to's of polyamory; choosing instead to share what the practice looks like inside of our household. There's no "poly for dummies" lurking in the archives here. I've particularly eschewed expounding on the idea of compersion because, frankly, I suck at it. THAT you can find in our archives -- over and over and over.
To be fair, although it is sometimes true that compersion is paraded out in poly circles as a "should do," most of us understand that compersion may or may not be the first response to the appearance of a new love in the life of a partner. There are poly people who claim that they do not experience the emotion of jealousy. Others, though, acknowledge that compersion develops over time as the underpinnings of jealousy recede. We know, intellectually, that jealousy is often the over-arching emotion when a person is experiencing fear, loneliness, anger, and uncertainty at the start of a partner's new relationship. I seem to drag through that development phase really, really, really slowly -- irritating the crap out of Master in the interim.
Now, I am finding that there's a new wrinkle in my uneasy dance with compersion. I've come to ponder the possibility that if He were to find a new love -- a new play partner -- then maybe He would work out some of His current ambivalence about His Dominance there, and so be restored to me. Yeah. Compersion with a selfish bent -- "find another lover and work this thing out so I can have more of what I want from our relationship." Maybe that isn't really it (compersion). Or maybe it is... Maybe that's what all those proponents of the "compersion" miracle keep trying to tell us -- set the partner free to love fully, and that love will come back to you. Enlightened self-interest.
"You've been very clear that you do not wish to hear from anyone unless they are supportive and encouraging, and that any opinions short of unconditional positive regard are not wanted."
No. Kate. You have it wrong.
Support and encouragement are, of course always welcomed. We have been through a very long, very difficult series of events, and those who find it in their hearts to hold us up are treasured. Is there any human anywhere who doesn't appreciate being treated kindly when life seems challenging and dark? We are no different, whatever you might think of us.
We do not, however, limit the participation here to only those commenters who are "supportive and encouraging." Not everyone that comments here sees things exactly as we do, and there are surely those who hold ideas and opinions that vary from our own. If the hallmark of that "unconditional positive regard" that you find so objectionable is a reluctance to confront us and offer differing opinions, then some of our longest-standing, most reliable commenters seem to be lacking in that quality. They have no problem at all suggesting that we try something different, or encouraging us to investigate another path, or asking us to consider things from an alternative perspective. We really don't have a group of rubber stamp friends.
What we do have is a group of people who understand the notion of respect. These are decent people who understand that nothing is served by mean-spirited and abusive commentary. They come here as visitors, and they behave like visitors. They mind their manners. They consider whether the things they want to say will contribute in some positive way to the dialog, and if the answer is no, then they don't say it. They do not call names. They do not try to set us against each other. They don't take sides. They own their own opinions, and they offer advice for what it is worth (taking no offense if we choose to not take what is offered).
I really don't know why this is so hard for some people to understand. This is our place. We created it years ago. We've kept it going with some 1200 posts to date. We've poured our hearts out here, and we've nurtured this through a lot of ups and downs. To us, this place is important and valuable. It is a refuge; the place where we can safely pour out the confusions and worries and hurts along with the joys and triumphs and giddy moments. We do defend it. We reserve the right to have it be what we choose to have it be. And... we fully understand that some people may not want to "play" inside of those constraints. That's OK. No one should feel compelled or required to be here. There are probably hundreds and hundreds of blogs out there. If somewhere else seems more congenial, then we will wish you well.
There are a few cyber denizens who seem drawn to our blog, and perhaps others. They cannot seem to manage to say anything positive, or even polite. They must find fault. They are driven to be insulting. They are disrespectful and ill-mannered. They seem convinced that we somehow NEED them to point out our faults, failings, and pure fuck ups -- that their clear perception of our imperfections will, all by itself, endow us with the magic to turn everything around and convert us to the right path.
I imagine that these people would not accost some total stranger, out in a public place, and lambaste them with obnoxious and abusive nastiness. Consider -- who among us would walk up to someone in a crowded grocery and begin to rail at them about being enormously fat and slovenly and disgusting? Doing that would create a scene-stopping social crisis. The target of such rudeness would be entirely justified in taking whatever actions were available and appropriate to protect themselves and end the assault. We have commonly agreed upon social norms that almost always prevent that sort of scene from happening -- in real life. Here, though, on the Internet, it seems that some forget (or choose to ignore) the customs of civil interaction. Most often, here, the worst and rudest commenters will not only break all the rules, but then they will insist that it is their right to do that. "How dare we react negatively to their abuse?" they will wonder incredulously.
That sort of thinking just causes me to shake my head in wonderment. So, I am afraid, Kate that you will continue to be offended and disappointed in our recalcitrant insistence on having things our way here in our place. I imagine our opinions and attitudes will continue to annoy and irritate you. Maybe you will keep on coming here for some unfathomable reason. We won't move to stop you... And even when your opinions differ from ours, as today's so clearly did, we'll respect that. Just keep it civil. I don't think that is too much to ask.
Today, He was at pains to assure me that He did not want to hurt me with the words He wrote... and I told Him I was fine. I was not hurt by His words. I've been hurt by the things we've been through in the last year -- we all have, and I am impatient for the hurting to come to an end, even as I know that we have still got a long road to travel before we are able to feel that we've healed from what has happened.
It is very likely that there will be more posts here in the coming months and years that will be difficult to read -- the stories that we've told to this point represent only a part of what has transpired. The bits and pieces of what we each experienced are still becoming clear; we are still figuring out where each of our separate perceptions match up; we are still identifying the gaps in our shared experiences and knowledge. We are only now beginning to be able to really hear each other; really feel for one another; really reach out and try to support and comfort each other -- and we are just beginning to reach the point where those overtures feel welcomed.
As always, readers here are invited to look in on us; invited to share the struggles and triumphs; invited to spend a bit of time in conversation with us about the things that we are engaged in. We're going to live this part of our lives, as we've done most of the last eight or so years, right here in public. Reading what we come here to share will give a clear and unvarnished picture of our good days and bad days, our love and our struggle, our pain and our hope. Those of our readers who sit comfortably with us as we flail and scrabble -- thank you. Your calm and gentle presence is a balm to our weariness and fear. Those who come and read and then go silently on, you are welcome here. We will assume that your kind thoughts and good energies are holding us up as we work to heal. And those who react with frustration, confusion, judgement, blame, anger... You will assume that you know what is and is not. You will assume that you know what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong. There's probably nothing that we will say that will convince you that you might not have it figured out...
Tonight, I wanted to respond to the comments that were made on Master's post. I am not going to defend or explain, but I want to try to cast things in a different light maybe:
Beyond that, your continued positive affirmation that there is a way through this, that health and healing are possible, that we may all find ourselves in a better place in time is more important to us than you can know. I hope that you know that, while we may not implement all of the suggestions you make, we read what you write and give it real consideration. Thank you.
morningstar, I think that I understand that your "what was the alternative" question is well meant, but it isn't helpful or germane. What was done, back a year ago, was done. As Master puts it, we were each "naive" in our own ways; we were each blind to the consequences we were bringing to bear; we were each and all wrapped in our misconceptions, our misunderstandings, our ego trips, our fears and frailties. Looking back is about fixing blame, and I think we've finally found our way through the maze of blaming and bitterness. More important, for us now, is the question of how we can change -- change ourselves and change our lives together so that all of us get more of what we want and need than we did before. If we'd known more, known better, been better -- we might have made different choices and maybe avoided this crisis (maybe).
As for that selfish thing... Our household; our family is dealing with addiction. Addiction is selfish. It moves always to maintain and sustain itself. Addiction does not care about anyone or anything beyond the next fix, drink, or hot fudge sundae. We believe that there is hope for us to recover from the effects of addiction and that is the work that we are doing right now. Your observation simply highlights your inability to empathize with the struggle to overcome the impulses that drove Master to drink too much. Perhaps that lack of empathy points to your superb impulse control. Maybe you have never struggled to resist the urge to gamble, the urge to shop too much, the urge to overeat, the urge to spew nastiness across the cyber universe at total strangers who never did you any harm...
It is, in my opinion, easy to look casually at the story of our family over the last year and take sides -- easy to designate victims and victimizers, and think that tells the story. It is also intellectually lazy. We are a group of three complex humans. We have long histories and unique personal stories to tell. You, and all who read here, see bits and pieces, but cannot know the whole. I'd think that, knowing that, one might be cautious about making judgements.
I experience it differently. As Dominant and submissive, or Master and slave, we are really not "the same only different." Even as He has gone into a quiet period regarding sadomasochistic play and "active" D/s or M/s, I still feel owned. Absolutely. The "fun" stuff has fallen off, but I am still operating to take care of Him, meet His needs, do the things that are part of my pattern of service. I cannot help myself -- and He cannot help but expect those things to continue to be done... I still manage His medications, take care of the bills and finances, maintain the household files, keep things around here relatively neat and tidy, fix the meals, handle the laundry (with lots of help from T), maintain my career so that I may make a financial contribution to our household, keep myself readily available to meet His needs sexually, offer what I can of emotional support, act as His exercise buddy... Somedays, I wish it weren't true, but there it is, and what is more, even when my inner brat is pouting and insisting that it isn't "fair," it remains immovably in place. I can't change one jot of that routine -- and believe me, I've considered the possibilities.
And here we are. We've lost. A lot. We've recovered. A bit. We've got work ahead of us, and we're not always happy about what we're faced with. We are taking the good with the bad. Learning to live a new life with new rules and new goals. It is all very new and still pretty fragile. Watch carefully. This should be a learning experience for us all.
I have always found October to be the most evocative of months. I love fall and the transition it brings in weather, smells, colors, shorter days, return to school, football, and the soon to follow holidays. October has always boded what for me has seemed as a wonderful awakening, that I adored until now. I used to love fall on the campus during my ten years in and around college. Even after finally finishing my last graduate work, I used to take a day off in October and go spend a day on the campus to enjoy the atmosphere, the fond memories, and be with students who were living through their own college days.
In two weeks it will be the anniversary of a weekend sojourn we made last October to a state park lodge on Lake Erie. I was as happy then as I've been in recent years. We three spent the weekend being together, reveling in the nature offerings that the park preserves, visiting my old haunts from when I lived in Northwest Ohio, dining in favorite restaurants and just being happy. It was like life somehow said that I would be granted a "last-supper-like" delicious interlude so that I would have a contrast as my life descended into the nightmare it has been since.
We returned home. Sue posted about our glorious weekend. We resumed what was then a new routine for us, and particularly for me. My career had ended suddenly and sadly four months before. I was staying home alone weekdays since sue had returned to school from her summer break. T was of course at work in her career. I was passing my time on the Internet, doing household errands, exercising, chatting with sue on line, and yes, drinking (that seems now like it is some sort of horrendous confession........like saying I was murdering children or some horrific crime against humanity.)
The following Thursday Sue and I were chatting on IM while she had a few minutes break while at school. I made what I thought was a meaningless comment. It was the sort of passive aggressive remark lovers sometimes exchange when they are cross with each other. Sue decided it meant I was going to kill myself and called 9-1-1 thinking she was trying to save my life. What ensued was the beginning of a nightmare that has been life since. Sue was genuinely afraid, and swears that she had no idea that when one calls 9-1-1 it means you are summoning the police. From many conversations with her, she had no idea what calling 9-1-1 would set into motion, but she never imagined police, and what ensued. Apparently she thought somehow some sort of psychiatric crisis intervention was being summoned. I did know absolutely that 9-1-1 meant she had called the police with a complaint about me as being dangerous. I left the condo not wanting to be here when they came for me. We live in a very right wing, repressive, conservative Republican, devoutly fundamentalist Christian, suburban, strong hold. I feared police coming here and encountering BDSM paraphernalia might well have dire legal consequences for both she and I. At least t lived in a separate condo next door providing her a shield. I don't know which of us was more naive, Sue in not knowing that when you called 9-1-1 you were calling the police to intervene into a crisis (or that if it wasn't a crisis, police would certainly aggravate it into one), or me for thinking that if I was not here when they knocked on the door, they would just go away.
A half hour later I was in a nearby Wal Mart parking lot, under arrest in handcuffs. They interrogated me, harassed me emotionally and physically, and wanted to search my car, which I refused. When some additional police arrived as this melodrama played out, they told me that they had been patrolling our condominium complex searching for me with rifles and flak vests with shoot on sight orders, if they found me. They joked about how they had frightened several of the "old folks who live there while they were taking their morning walks." It was clear that they wanted to charge me and take me in, but I was 61 and had no previous police record. I didn't fit any profile they were used to seeing. Had I been black or Hispanic I would have been gone I am certain, but I was caucasian, educated, apparently middle class, had a nice car, etc. Eventually I was able to get them to see this as just another example of how women (or "bitches" as all women were generalized in that discussion) were guilty of always victimizing poor unsuspecting "guys" and bringing their life to grief. Amazingly, after we all grunted and scratched ourselves in masculine solidarity against the great feminist castration conspiracy, they took my cuffs off, told me I needed to end my relationship with sue, and let me go home relatively unscathed. So the last year's sojourn into criminal justice and alcohol rehabilitation began.
I was enraged. My adult life began in the anti-Viet Nam War movement, druggie, hippie, counter culture of the late sixties and early seventies. If there was any credo I lived by it was, and is more so today, that never, no matter what, do you call the police. You don't deal with the police. You avoid the police. You don't ever support the police. Police are evil, harmful, despicable, hired thugs. They never help, anyone or anything. If you have any sort of a bad situation one thing is certain. If you involve yourself with the police things will get immeasurably worse. It is a betrayal that you wouldn't even visit on your worst enemy to call the police on them. My slave, my great love had called them on me!!!!!!
I was enraged and felt crushed by the betrayal! I was devastated. That devastation on top of the losses of my parents and my career, and my body's dramatic changes and the two serious and medically difficult surgeries in 8 months that involved, and t's mother's horrible illness and disability and her imminent death all combined I quite frankly became insane.................and yes...............I drank! I drank to oblivion. My drinking, had become increasingly problematic. The gastric bypass surgery I had undergone changed entirely the way my body processed alcohol. It enhances the effects of alcohol immensely. No one seems to know for sure the exact extent of this, and there are likely individual differences in response, but there is some research that indicates it may intensify the intoxicating effects of alcohol to 6 to 8 times the effect on normal people. I did not know about this altered affect of alcohol. And I was drinking, drinking a lot now... I was absolutely not dealing with the pain I was in. T spent that next weekend..........Halloween, about 50 miles away at her Mother's taking care of her in the aftermath of her stroke. Sue and I joined her for dinner and trick or treat on Halloween. On the way back home I launched into another of my horrific enraged tirades against sue for calling the police. I was convinced they were going to come get me and take me away. The following day in a drunken enraged stupor I became threatening of sue and she and t, who had returned here from her mother's, joined her in a motel room feeling it was unsafe to be at home with me, called the police.
My memory is a blur. I recall coming to semi-consciousness in our living room. I'd been passed out on the couch. Five police surrounded me. I don't know what transpired. I was carried, handcuffed and screaming, to the police car. I was devastated and sure this was the end of my life. I still wish it had been. I was taken to my first ever experience in a jail. I was booked, and stripped and thrown naked with a weird quilt wrap like quasi-garment into the cell that would be my home for the next four days. The first two days I was in solitary. They later explained to me that I was not in solitary. I was on suicide watch, which meant I was locked down with no human contact 23 hours a day, and let out in the middle of the night to shower and exercise when there was no one else around but a guard. If I had been in solitary I would have been locked down 23 hours a day, and let out for just one hour in the middle of the night for shower and exercise. It was a discrimination without a difference. It was cold typically in the 50 degrees range. I was naked. I was not allowed to have anything on my feet. I was not allowed to have soap, towels, or even toilet paper. There were no blankets or bedding. My cell had a metal slab "bed" with a one inch thick pad that really provided no "padding," a sink, and a toilet. The lights in the ceiling stayed on 24 hours a day. There was no window you could see out of. There was no clock. The first morning I was arraigned. I was dressed in prison orange pajamas hauled in chains to court. I was allowed rubber thongs on my feet which were of little use. It had snowed. It was better than being barefoot but not much. I had little understanding of where I was or what was being done. In court I asked where I was, what I was charged with, who had charged me. The prosecutor made of this that I was dangerously violently mentally ill and a risk to the community. I had a defense attorney who was a public defender who stood at my side. We had never laid eyes on each other before and she said little or nothing other than telling me where to stand. My bail was set at $20,000.00. I was charged with inducing panic and domestic violence. I was taken back to jail in chains still of course, stripped naked again and put back in my cell.
After another day in solitary I was evaluated by a very elderly lady who was supposedly a mental health professional of some ilk. I am a mental health professional. What she did would not have constituted a mental health evaluation anywhere else. She pronounced me no longer a suicide risk. I was given the same orange pajamas I was dressed in for court, and I was now allowed soap, toilet paper, rubber sandals, a sheet and a blanket, and to spend non-lock down time in the day room and meals with other inmates................my first contact with others other than those I was chained to for transport to court that first morning. After four days I was released pending trial. Eventually, after $5000.00 to an attorney, I went to court the end December. I agreed to a plea bargain dropping the domestic violence charge, and pleading no contest to inducing panic. I was sentenced to 6 months but released in lieu of 6 months probation. The terms of the probation were misrepresented to me by my attorney, apparently due to his ignorance of the practices of this court. He'd never practiced in that court before but had been referred to us by teresa's work. They have an employee assistance program (EAP) which offers referrals to legal services and mental health services. They referred us to this attorney. Accessing him via the EAP we paid about three times what his service would have cost us, if we had simply contacted him directly. That was how we wound up with an attorney who was ignorant of the court we were being heard in. The same EAP did however refer me, and eventually all three of us into the care of a psycho-therapist who has proven wonderful.
I had not intended to write the great American novel here this morning. I had intended to further update where we are now, not describe our path here, but I seem to have unending finger twitching on my key pad. I will try to summarize the long story from then until now....at least for today. I did not do well after all this. I continued drinking. I raged. I was suicidal. I didn't want to live and prayed each day I would not face another. Finally I became suicidal and violent with sue and t in mid January and was taken to jail again. This time I was in eight days and charged with aggravated menacing and domestic violence. The same attorney did as marvelous a job this time, as he may have been somewhat lack luster the first time. I did not receive a violation of my probation despite this offense which is indeed miraculous, and I am sure due in large part to his skill. I plead guilty to domestic violence. The Aggravated Menacing Charge was dropped. I was required to do alcohol rehabilitation and thus to participate in AA, and subsequently to do a year of rehabilitation aftercare, and on-going psycho-therapy all at our expense of course.
We have all of us written here about our experience with AA and rehabilitation, which are interconnected. They are essentially intertwined programs of religious indoctrination. They have helped literally millions of people. If you are willing to, or the only way you are able to survive your addiction to alcohol, or whatever substance is to, shift your addiction to obsession with magic and religiosity, and the dogma of a cult, AA may serve a to provide you a lifeline. I am not orthodoxly Christian, nor will I be, particularly not upon the requirement of a court. If there were ever to be any thought or opportunity for that conversion to occur, this experience has ended that. I do have to pretend to have been converted fully however. If I fail to behave as if I have been gloriously converted to sobriety, by the grace of God, I will go to prison for a year. I have 26 weeks of my aftercare program yet to serve, before I will have completed the program. Aftercare monitors my twice weekly attendance in AA meetings (and writing reports on each one), and requires a weekly hour and a half long Aftercare group meeting to discuss how our higher power is keeping us sober. I am so far thankfully managing to successfully bluff my way through this. I receive accolades about my progress in my recovery.
Soon I will be awarded my nine month AA sobriety coin. I will receive numerous joyous congratulations and hugs. The grace of God will have saved yet another poor drunk. I will stay out of prison another week. sue and t will be glad I am not drinking. Life will be good.
This is a life I despise. It is daily continual coercion to achieve goals that are not mine, and never were. The only place where this life and my aspirations intersect is where I get to not go to prison for a year, and where I will no longer be required to play this game the end of January 2013. The only other intersection is that because of this my two, t and sue, remain with me and we keep our family in tact. That means there might be hope of some semblance of happiness again some day.
As all this progresses I feel better than I did at first. I no longer wish I had not awakened each morning, although I do still find most of my first morning thoughts involve my remembering that I am a criminal, and a drunk, and could well be in prison or jail by nightfall. I feel physically better not drinking of course, and I am doing well with my exercise and diet regimen.
T and sue seem generally OK. They are glad I don't drink any longer. On the other hand they wish they had "me" back. They have been told by the so-called treatment professionals I will be OK again..............someday
So the big thing lately is that I am supposed to recover my Dominance. If you read here, you have read that discussion. I am supposed to spend my life in an intensive program to never drink again, the goal of which, my sobriety, is the goal of my two submissives, the courts, the police, my probation officer, my rehabilitation professionals, everyone in AA, my fellow aftercare participants,..........................everyone, BUT ME. I am to spend a few hours every two days in meetings focused entirely on that topic, and particularly how I can, and will be, saved from alcohol by the grace of God, and only by that grace, in that it is the one, and only, way I can be saved, and joining in group prayers to that end. I must pretend and fake adherence and adoption of this farce, or they can, and will, put me in prison for a year. This active program will continue through next April. Beyond that I will still be on probation for nine months after that and be expected to at least continue with AA meetings throughout that period, and to never deviate from sobriety even once. If I fail, I go to prison...........a year. Beside that, if I have any contact with police, e. g., if I would get a traffic ticket, I would go to prison for a year.
NO I DO NOT FEEL DOMINANT! THIS IS NOT A LIFE I CHOOSE. I AM CONTINUOUSLY SUBJUGATED TO RUTHLESS RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION. THIS IS ALL AT THE INITIATION OF MY SUBMISSIVES TO WHOM I AM SUPPOSED TO BE FEELING THAT SOMEHOW I AM DOMINANT.!!!
That is how it is for me now. I am alive, and that feels like not much of a gift. I am out of jail and that is what I can manage for now. To achieve that, I am required to pretend I have accepted a religion I believe to be false and evil. Were this religion not evil, it would not be a party to this coercion and brain washing. I am not willing to go to prison for a year, to stand up and express my real feelings. I will complete my program and my AA until I am free again.
So it goes, day in and day out. To be Dominant I would lead a self-determined life. My current life, my "now" personifies of the antithesis of self-determination.
The simple answer to that question is, as it turns out, not all that simple...
Yes. For me, things are back in place, or perhaps more accurately, I feel as if I have snapped back into place. Habits that were formed over years and years of service to Him, and anticipation of His wants, needs, and moods, and intense observation of His every response and reaction -- have all resurfaced. My late snappishness and bitterness and hurt have mostly dissolved away. I can feel myself quieting, waiting more gently, softening. That feels good and right to me.
And no... the place I once occupied in His world is unalterably changed, so there is no real way to go back to that same place. I think I will still have a place to be in His life. I hope I do. I just don't know, yet, what that place will be.
Lest my uncertainty be misunderstood, let me be clear... He and I are better, I think, than we have been. It feels like there is healing happening -- real and tangible healing. The anger and frustration that were the currency of our days for so many months are dissipating. We are better... but not the same. Not the same.