False pride has been my most besetting character defect. I like to think even today that I am absolutely recovered. I like to think all my intense emotional trauma has been talked out, written through, cried and screamed out of my lungs and gone for good. God knows I have worked on my sobriety by spiritual, emotional, and 12 step work at a very deep level. I have learned to take responsibility for the way I feel and to find the root and process it, rather than blame some silly event of person in today.
I have learned the difference between the three types of healing and malady “emotional, spiritual, and 12 step/character defect” recovery. By receiving the solutions to each aspect of recovery separately and at different times my recovery has been educational and worth sharing. I harp on the emotional recovery because it’s my most recent form of deliverance. Emotional recovery involves processing feelings and events of the past. It involves core issues and core healing.
But in the last two years I have realized by the anger I have felt and the
memories that have risen that something was buried deep deep inside me. And here it is in a nut shell. “Daddy why won’t you encourage me and let me know I have value to you? Daddy why won’t you just once say you love me? Daddy why am I always your “bad girl” and never good no matter what I do? Daddy why do you treat me like I am gross and ugly? Daddy why do I disgust you so much just for being me? Daddy why have you taught me to be ashamed of my body? Daddy every time I show you my report card or come home excited because of an accomplishment you have nothing to say?
My father taught me who I was at an early age and the picture was far from pretty. He laid upon me a shame that was so painful and hard to live with that I nearly killed myself trying to numb it. The sexual abuse I encountered by another family member paled in comparison to the rejection and emotional unavailability I felt from he man I always loved so deeply. I have been angry and processing it in incriminates for a couple years now. I pray God it is finally coming to a head by me sharing this with you.
There is a scientifically proven narcissistic phase of child development when children believe everything around them is about them. If mommy and daddy are not happy it’s because of me…I think. By the time I was a teenager I had subconsciously given up on my dad’s love and encouragement. I don’t know why I took it so hard ladies…I don’t know why.
When I turned 16 I used to stay out all night drinking and drugging. My Dad would leave me ‘shaming-notes’ hanging from my bedroom doorway on a long string of tape. He would tell me how let down he was by my behavior. He let me know he was so disappointed and ashamed of me. I was dirt I thought. I believed I was the worst and dirtiest crust of scum that ever lived because that is what my father taught me. The first time I got sober by a spiritual experience in a church I remember I felt the need to make amends to my father for (me) being such a piece of shit(so I believed at the time). But now I realize he was the piece of shit who was incapable of love. And for some reason he projected all of his negative self image from his own sinful life, onto me. I was a small beautiful and innocent child so precious, so beautiful. How could he treat me that way. Why?
During my first bout of sobriety by spiritual experience I attempted to make amends to my father by apologizing for being such a horrible daughter. But my feelings overwhelmed me in an onslaught of tears that ran so deep Niagara Falls couldn’t have competed with the waters flow. I remeber I was so ashamed of my tears. I still believed that my emotions were wrong and bad. If I was crying it was bad and I should stop it! That is what I believed, it’s no wonder I relapsed after several years even after such an extrememe spiritual experience. I didn’t know how to process feelings so even though God gave me eternity I still needed to learn about feelings.
He laid on a small innocent child the shame that no man can bear. He laid on me the realization that I was bad and wrong and had no place on this earth where I fit. He fit me as a child who thought every man, woman, and child alive were better than me. I had an insecurity complex that fit me for failure. How was I to go through life as an inferior person. I hid my body, I hid my personality, I hid my art, my creativity, my intellect, my beauty, my humanity all hidden. Little Lori hid behind the fact that she had to fear and hide who she was because surly if she was open and acted like herself, perused life goals, expressed her interests she would either get back-handed or made fun of. I pity him now. And it has taken me a long time to get to this point.
Even the first ten years of my sobriety this time when I emotionally processed all kinds of traumatic issues my relationship with Dad, I thought was the only healthy part of my child-hood. My therapist said the deepest and most painful issues usually are buried the deepest and they come up last in sobriety. But my pain and anger toward him was buried by the love and admiration I had always felt toward him. I had no idea it was at the core of my feelings of insecurity, and my hurting soul. sleepless nights. I spent time in jails, hospitals, detoxes.
THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING.
Therefore my feelings don’t make me a bad person anymore. My therapist taught the group of recovering addicts how to communicate with each other on an empathic level so we may heal. We talked out our issues. We brought all our intense feelings and thoughts before the group. We no longer kept repressing and harmful secrets. We journal. We learned that crying IS A HEALTHY EMOTION. Not something bad to hide away. If your hurt you let your tears flow instead of festering. Depression is anger without enthusiasm so we screamed the anger out.
We put our perceived abusers and negligent care takers in the empty chair. Then we tell them as if they were sitting in that chair in front of us just how they made us feel. We write our abusers letters “The Fuck You Letter” is what we called it. You do not send the letter it is for you to get out what you were never capable of saying as a child.
Sisters in recovery I resent my father and need to do yet another fourth step and pray for him. My part in this is; to understand that he is sick but not before I cry my tears. My father doesn’t share much. Mom finally convinced him to show encouragement by the time I was about 30. Too little too late. I promise to pray for him and ask God to help me forgive him.
I could say my part is self-pity but I will not stamp my precious pain from acts that are real and wrong as a “character defect”. I refuse to further condemn myself for the wrong acts of others toward a child.
The damn of my heart has finally broken lose and I feel such a relief. I have been emotionally constipated for a long time. It’s OK. Sometimes it takes a long time to get out our deepest fears and wounds but if we stay sober the tears and memories and feelings will connect…and if we are open minded we will realize why we suffered from anxiety. Why we have been depressed. And if we work hard and allow our selves to feel the pain and let it finally flow out of us. Work the steps. Esteemable acts build self esteem and AA is a perfect place to build self worth. We have an ongoing opportunity for service and the comfort of being around people who “get” us and can relate when we share. Get a home group, chair meetings, go to the jails and institutions with the group and share “what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now.”
In the following article I shared the process of guilt over neglecting my own daughter when I was using. For that I have been deeply ashamed. I did a ninth step with her and we went together to a healer. We have come a long way