Contact Info --

Email us --



Our Other Blogs --
We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.

11/06/2012

Truth Telling

Working with our therapist, Judy, Friday, she suggested a new strategy for me.  She called it "truth telling" and described it as coming out of Buddhist cosmology.  I have this troubling on-going issue.  It is distressing for me and is hurtful for sue and t.  The concept of the truth telling technique, as I understand it, is that when I feel betrayed in my ongoing obsessive thoughts that t and sue called 9-1-1, and had me hunted by swat teams, and jailed twice, and convicted of two very stigmatizing crimes, and forced into mandatory participation in A. A. for over a year, and costs of over $10,000........When that happens I need to stop.  I need to recognize that I know there was no malicious intent on their part.  I need to recall that they did not know what would happen when they called 9-1-1.  I have to realize they did not want me put in jail, or to be treated as I was, or to be charged and convicted or any of the other things that occurred.  I need to remind myself they did not develop A. A., or have anything to do with its being mandated for me.  Now the twist in this is that Judy recognizes I do feel that...that I can't prevent my mind from having those thoughts and feelings.  She knows I recognize intellectually those thoughts are irrational, but that my dilemma is, they occur repeatedly daily, obsessively despite my knowing they are irrational.  She asked in this "truth telling" technique that I simply do not say them out loud.  She reminds me that if I say them out loud, they will only exacerbate our relationship issues, and that makes all three of us feel immensely worse.  So I have undertaken truth telling and therefore belying my obsessive internal thought process.

I struggled with this much of the weekend.  I can do it easily enough.  Like most of my various changes the last two years the things I change center, not around doing things, but about not doing something.  It is easy enough for me to just not say those things out loud, but somehow too, this easy exercise had me  in emotional knots.  As the weekend progressed I went on to become ever more morose.  I was thinking that I have no pride, no honor, only self-hatred, weakness, shame, etc.......my self-concept the last two years.  Sunday came and for the first time in three weeks it was not a day long shouting and screaming match between sue and I.  We were tentative but pleasant.  I was pensive and plagued with internal monologues like the one I described.  As we progressed on to late afternoon, I felt like I had to do something to change  the way I felt....I needed to find something to divert me from, or blast me out of, what I was thinking and feeling.  Our repertoire of  "things we do" has become pretty limited, but we do go to movies, and there were some that have recently opened (or are coming up soon) that we have been interested in.  I suggested we go see the movie "Flight" at 5:30.  Fortunately t and sue were amenable.

As we sat in the theatre watching the twenty-seven minutes of previews that preceded the showing of Flight (yes that is right 27 minutes of previews!) I was mulling over my internal monologue.  I began consciously chanting to myself there was no maliciousness intended when they called 9-1-1.  They were afraid.  They didn't want to hurt me.  All the harm I experienced had nothing to do with what they did.  They were afraid for me and for themselves and tried to get help.  They didn't want to hurt me.  This became a mantra like........ cyclical.  Suddenly I had this warm feeling....this sense of freedom.  For the first time in two years a terrible burden felt as though it was gone, and I felt a warmth for t and  sue that I haven't had for two years.  It was an amazing moment!

It was short-lived...the movie began and I focused my attention on that.  This movie's occurrence in my life at this moment was, at the least, amazingly serendipitous synchronicity....or maybe something more magic...who ever knows.  "Flight" is a story of a commercial airline pilot who makes a heroic landing of a jetliner which saves most of the plane's passengers and crew in a situation in which any other pilot would have lost everyone on board.  The rub was that when he did this he was drunk.  The movie turns out to be the story of his coming to eventually deal with his alcoholism......in prison.  There are many graphic scenes about his alcoholism, drug addiction, and myriad related life issues.  The unique thing about him was that his professional functioning was above reproach...it was superior to his sober peers. It was his health and personal life that was an ever worsening disaster.  My life was like the one depicted in Flight in so many ways.  I was watching the behaviors that t and sue dealt with in me.  I was watching someone rationalize that his life was good...after all look at how well he functioned?  At the end of the movie, in prison, at the end of his first year of sobriety, speaking to an AA meeting, he talks about  how wonderful it is he is free for the first time in his life, and for the first time he begins to discuss the quandry, "Who am I?"

These two experiences, the pre-movie revelation about my feelings regarding sue and t, and then this powerful film and its relevance to my life, left me shaken...but in a positive way.  I kept thanking t and sue last night. They were trying to care for me and for themselves.   I needed to thank them.. They didn't try to harm me.  They didn't mean to betray me.  I feel devastated by what happened and feel betrayed. That is not their fault.   My feelings are my feelings....nothing more nothing less.

When I was in graduate school in counseling psychology I volunteered for a suicide drug crisis hotline agency as a crisis interventionist.  Once I did an outreach to the home of a very poor hispanic migrant worker family.  The mother in the family had a psychotic split, and the result of the outreach was our driving her to the hospital to stop her from chasing her family up and down the street with a knife while she rambled incoherently.  (I am amazed, as I recall this, that she didn't wind up in jail...but I digress:)  I visited her several times in the aftermath and will always recall her looking at me and calling me "her big chicken" (in her state of mind that morning when we came to her home she for whatever reason decided I was "big chicken" and the name stuck for the rest of the times we talked.) As we spoke she would frequently repeat "crazy is crazy" no mas o menos, a mixture of Spanish and English meaning crazy is crazy no more no less.  My feelings are my feelings....crazy is crazy.....no mas o menos.

I am grateful for my sobriety.  It occurs to me that however I got it it is worth it.  I am sorry for what my family had to suffer through with me.  I am devastated by what I went through on the way.  I hope that will get better.  If not there is a great deal that was gained in the exchange and the harm that was done was not done by my family.  They were not punishing me.  They were trying to survive, and wanted good things for me.  My god!!!!!!!

Now I am on to the next day and dealing with more.  I awakened happy in this new realization but seemingly unable to let myself be, I am now onto mulling over how empty life feels now.

The wild thing is ("crazy is crazy no mas o manos") that I felt relatively good about myself two years ago, when I drank, before there was jail and police, and convicitons, and treatment, and AA.  I apparently was alone in that perception ...but then I didn't have to deal with me drunk:)  Now I feel terrible yet, now I am, and feel, healthier.  I enjoy really sleeping.  I enjoy no hang overs.  I can remember the ends of every evening.  I don't have to ask what awful thing I did at the end of an evening when I wake up the next morning.  We could no longer support my drinking financially what with our changed economic realities and the legal expenses this has cost us. So there are many good things in the transition.

Maybe someday I will feel like a man again.

In ten weeks and 2 days I will be sober two years.  All of the health benefits I mentioned, and more, have come to me, and my family never deals with me drunk.  That is good.

I never feel as though I celebrate being alive.  I used to like to feel that I enjoyed my life and thrilled at what a gift life was.  I ate really well.......Now there is gastric bypass surgery and I am way healthier....there is no celebration.  I drank. I firmly believed alcohol was the aqua vita of Roman mythology, and felt the spirits literally and figuratively in my drinking.  I am much healthier and feel much less alive.  I used to smoke.  I chose to end that one.  I felt smoking was a continual momentary pleasure that celebrated life.  I am impressed with how spiritual native American mytholgies are about tobacco.  I am much healthier now...I have not smoked for 12 years.  I will live longer.  I save lots of money.  I have way fewer health issues.  I am  much less happy.

It is amazing that through all of this I still have sue and t.  They are hurt by my feeling less than animated by my "new life."  sue has posited numerous times, that if the absence of these things in my life makes me unhappy, then I must not love her.  If I loved her enough she would be all I would need to be happy.

"Truth telling" not only intervened into the external dynamics between sue and t and I, but effected a much more potent change in my emotional experience.

If I am so much healthier, then why don't I want to be alive like this, why don't I feel like a man, how do I manage to feel like I have my life back, or a new life, or whatever it is that is the mythical "recovery?"

Tom

Crazy is crazy no mas o menos

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:50 AM

    You've worked for and received the great gift of a second chance: A new healthy lifestyle and the love of 2 women. I don't understand why you can't embrace and enjoy life. Why does being sober make you feel less of a man? As the old saying goes, "you can't go back home again". Things are different, rather than yearn for what once was, look forward to redefining your life. You need new 'healthy' addictions to replace the one you say you have lost. In other words look outside your self and realize how truly lucky you are at this time in your life.

    Joyce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely it is because of what Tom says above: Crazy is crazy no mas o menos

      I am not sure it is for us to question why

      J xx

      Delete
  2. You will, Tom. As you heal, and you are, the new patterns will become ingrained and make a solid platform for you to launch into finding your new joy. No sense in jumping off a rickety dock, you will get farther faster from a solid diving board.

    ReplyDelete
  3. themonkeysjourney thank you. Those are comforting words. I hope you're right. I am trying to hang on through this, but not feeling at all like it is worth it most of the time. I won't go back to drinking. There are times when I question if the alternative is worth it.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with themonkeysjourney you learned these 'patterns of behaviour/coping mechanisms' over many years and you cannot unlearn them overnight, just day by day, until you realise that they are your new reality and the old one has gone. I am in awe of how well you are doing against such difficult odds. You have indeed wonderful helpers in T and Sue.

    You were instrumental in helping me to forge my own 'new reality' when I visited you back in 2008 and I can only say that without your wise words and your 'push' I would not be the much happier and more secure person I am today. Thank you.

    Hil

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. weirdgirl2:00 AM

    I echo themonkeysjourney's comment too...

    these things take time.
    you have come so far already. so very far.
    and this was a huge breakthrough.

    be gentle with yourself.

    fond regards
    weirdgirl

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hil, thanks for writing. It is good to feel that I made a contribution to someone feeling better. I rarely hear anything like that.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
  8. Miranda, I am sorry your comment went away. I was glad to receive it. My undergraduate degree was in English with a cognate in literature. Coleridge was and is my favorite writer......my ultimate piece being Kubla Kahn. A huge writer and my favorite opiate addict:) Today I am sure he would be imprisoned, required to do step work at NA meetings, and stop all that silly writing..it distresses his family:)

    I also read and enjoyed The Rime of the Ancient Mariner several times, but that was so long ago. Perhaps I will look at it again in the light of insight it might provide re: PTSD. Thank you for the suggestion.

    I appreciate your writing. I hope there was nothing terribly wrong that led you to delete your comment.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your response. I just got worried that I was intruding. But I do think AM is a great poem, and though it's not labeled ptsd, it's clearly about the inability to let go of memories and responsibilities. When I read your post, I suddenly remembered the moment when the albatross falls off the mariner. And then I remembered that even after that, the mariner still returns to the trauma. And he never loses the need to tell the story. I will be interested to know what you think. And yes, KK is a great poem, also about memory: could I revive within me/her symphony and song.

      Thanks again for writing.

      Miranda

      Delete
  9. weirdgirl, thank you once again and always, for your support. I hope, more than you can know, that you are right.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
  10. Impish18:07 PM

    Tom, I, too, think that you will move out of this to a happier better place. It's a very difficult thing losing something you loved so deeply that it affected all parts of your life. It's one foot after another time, and you are doing it, and succeeding. My best wishes go with you.

    ReplyDelete

Something to add? Enter the conversation with us.