This post will probably be a mishmash of lots of things. First, I realize that even though I posted twice yesterday I never mentioned what I did for myself. The answer is that I dressed up for absolutely no reason. I wore a pretty floral dress, did my hair and make-up, and put on my pearls. I wore these adorable new high-heeled Crocs I have that are brown with pink insoles. I felt gorgeous all day. Now if only I could find my sparkly silver nail polish!
Today I’m not sure what I’m going to do for myself. I already downloaded the Thompson Square CD (actually MP3), and have been listening to it at my desk and in my car. I will be sharing my current obsession with you later in this post. I also officially put in for a vacation week today. I will be taking a full week to do nothing except relax, have fun, and take care of myself. I’m planning a haircut, possibly a new tattoo, plenty of sleeping-in, and maybe a shopping trip or day adventure somewhere. It’s Friday, though, so I’m going to do at least one more thing for myself today.
This week I have started realizing the real value in focusing on me. This past Saturday I went to my first ever S-Anon meeting. It was a really great experience. In our area SA and S-Anon meet at the same time in the same location. The Saturday morning meeting is one that my husband has decided to go to, and last week I made the leap and decided to go along. Since starting Codependent No More I have a completely different perspective on myself. It shined a light on the fact that I have plenty to work on, too.
So, back to last Saturday. The SA meeting seemed to be pretty packed judging by the number of men I saw coming into the building and slipping into the room where Mr. Mess went. They all seemed to be fairly early, too. Yet, here I was, the lone woman. We were pretty early ourselves, so I wandered down the hall to a table with information and brochures. It seems like this place has a group, 12-step meeting for everything. Everything, I tell you! They have SA, S-Anon, AA, Al-Anon, Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous (never seen that one before), Gambling Anonymous, and maybe even a few others that I can’t remember.
Anyway… The scheduled time of the meeting 9:30 am quickly approached, then passed with no other women appearing. I was fairly certain I had the right room, and I knew I had the right place and time since I was staring right at the schedule on one of the flyers. There was really only one entrance, so I was also pretty confident I didn’t miss anyone. Conveniently, the number for the group contact person was on said flyer. I gave her a call at that number, and the answering machine listed another number (her cell) as the best place to reach her. I called that, and a cheerful woman answered and quickly assured me that she was in the parking lot and she just caught sight of a few other women walking in. Leave it to women to be fashionably late for their own support group!
Sure enough, within a few seconds two women walked in. We made our way to the designated room (the one I thought it was), and quickly turned on the A/C to try and combat the humid stickiness in the air. Not too long after a third woman appeared. It was the one I had talked to on the phone. We started chatting a bit as everyone got settled. Funny enough, I wasn’t the only newbie. There was one other first-timer in the room as well.
Since there were just as many newcomers as old-timers at this meeting, they decided to do a welcome meeting. They didn’t have any extra white books with them, but I had brought my own 12 steps and the women were very willing to share for readings. Another lady came in during the initial introduction and reading of the 12 steps and 12 traditions.
I won’t bore you with all of the minute details, but I will say that everything really resonated with me. Some of the readings had some hard truths that I will have to dig into more before I really know how I feel, but overall it was a comfortable, uplifting experience. Each of the women shared some of their story, what brought them to S-Anon, how long they have been in recovery, where they are on their personal journey, and that sort of thing. Their stories all touched some part of my experience. The other newbie was in tears basically the entire time.
Another woman showed up about half-way through, and shared her story as well. Both of us first-timers also shared, although we didn’t have to. Everyone was extremely supportive. I could tell immediately that this was a group of women who wouldn’t let each other get caught up with the addict. Crying, anger, and other emotions are definitely welcomed, but wallowing, blaming, and focusing on the sexaholic instead of ourselves is a no-no. No one really had to say that, it was just the vibe in the room. We are here for us. We can’t change them. But we can strengthen ourselves, set boundaries, decode our codependent behavior, and change our own patterns. It was empowering.
I got a list of other women in the program with their email, phone numbers, and whether they text or not. I supplied them with all of my information. At the end there were hugs all around. I didn’t know these women, but already I felt connected. They can understand me. They are me, in some ways. All it took was one meeting, and I know this is where I belong. I am already encouraged that I will be going with another person to their first meeting on Monday.
I was resistant to the idea that there was anything I needed to do, since this is “his problem.” Now I know differently. I know that there are things I can do – for me. To get healthy. To have a better response. To feel complete, worthy, and lovable. To stop making the same bad choices, to get off the roller-coaster, to feel at peace. I can do it. I also read something yesterday that I understand in a way I couldn’t have at the beginning of this process:
“I know now that I can’t choose to love or not love DH [dear husband] but I can choose to have him in my life or not.”
It’s true. I don’t have control over what he does. I don’t have control over whether he recovers. I don’t have control over his commitment to getting well. I don’t have control over whether he views porn again. I don’t have control over whether he lies to me. I also don’t have control over the fact that I love him. It’s just a fact at this point. I do, however, have control over whether I accept his behavior and allow it in my life. Everything else is up to me – my happiness, my boundaries, my self-esteem, my mental and physical health. He can’t control those things, either.
So, today I am feeling encouraged and inspired. I am smiling, tapping my foot, and jamming to wonderful music right now. That is how I want to go through life. Speaking of fantastic music, I promised earlier that I would share the song I can’t stop singing along to all day. Here’s the video:
And here are the beautiful lyrics that are really speaking to me today:
Tryin’ to live and love
With a heart that can’t be broken
Is like tryin’ to see the light
With eyes that can’t be opened
Yeah, we both carry baggage
We picked up on our way
So if you love me, do it gently
And I will do the same
I think I am finally realizing this. I have to put my heart out there to possibly be broken again if I want to give this marriage a real chance. That means trusting him to do and take care of things that I’m not 100% positive yet that he will. There’s that control thing again. I just have to let it go.
I’ll let you look inside me
Through the stains and through the cracks
And in the darkness of this moment
You see the good in that
But try not to judge me
‘Cause we’ve walked down different paths
But it brought us here together
So I won’t take that back
I have just as many issues and problems. They aren’t the same because we have taken different paths to get here. Judgment on either of our parts isn’t what’s going to bring us closer together. I have to be just as open about my stains and cracks. Pointing out his flaws won’t really do either of us any good. I will work on mine and he will work on his.
We may shine, we may shatter
We may be pickin’ up the pieces here on after
We are fragile, we are human
We are shaped by the light we let through us
But we break fast ’cause we are glass
True and very profound. We are shaped by the light we let through us, so I’m going to let as much light through me as possible. I’m going to stay positive. I’m going to remind myself that I am human.
We might be oil and water
This could be a big mistake
We might burn like gasoline and fire
It’s a chance we’ll have to take
And there it is. This is a chance that I’m taking. I’m all in on this hand.
- Is S-Anon for me? (ifhappyeverafterdidexist.wordpress.com)
- Doing the Prep Work for Your 4th Step (doublewinners.wordpress.com)
- Why I am an atheist – Danielle (freethoughtblogs.com)