Sunday, August 30, 2009

Out Of My Comfort Zone---Trust

I called my new Al-Anon sponsor for the first time. I walked in the door from shopping, picked up the phone and called her before I could come up with any excuses to not call her. I told her that I called her before I could chicken out again.

Trust is such a difficult issue for me even today. Right now it is even difficult to find the words to express my thoughts on the topic of trust.

In Al-Anon, I used to pre-think what I was going to say when it was my turn instead of listening to what others say on the chosen topic. Recently I called myself on this and as a result I often seem to stumble (at least to me) through what I want to say. I want honesty rather than perfection and approval. This is one way that I am stretching to trust myself and the group. I want what I share to come from my heart rather than from my store of knowledge. I don't want to continue to hide behind my knowledge.

I have to trust that when my sponsor asks me how I am that she really wants to know or she wouldn't ask. My automatic response was that I was doing fine. I know I am lying when I say the word "fine" anywhere in relation to my feelings. I learned in Al-Anon years ago that "fine" means (Pardon the language coming up.)

Fucked up

When I first heard that, I thought how true when I am in the middle of my emotional garbage. So when I tell you that I am doing fine, that is what I mean. When I am working on my incest issues, this is how I really feel when I can admit it to myself. That is the honesty that I want to have with myself and my sponsor---to be able to admit what I am really feeling.

As an incest survivor, for years I used the illusion of control in my life to feel safe. I have to trust my sponsor not to do or say anything that will hurt me. On an intellectual level, I can talk myself into sharing my issues with her. On a feeling level, sharing is more difficult. You would think that writing on this blog would make that easier but it doesn't. Sharing with you is different than sharing with my sponsor on a one-on-one level. Anyone with a therapist probably knows what I am trying to say.

My sponsor has me reading an Al-Anon book called Paths to Recovery - Al-Anon's Steps, Traditions, and Concepts. In working Step One - "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol---that our lives had become unmanageable." - I can easily say that I am powerless over alcohol. I can admit that my life has become unmanageable. Asking for help has been the difficult part for me. When I have to ask for help, that need brings out shame. Some part of me says that I need to be in control all the time, that I should be able to fix my own life, that I should be able to protect myself without help from anyone else. All of those thoughts come from shame and low self-worth. Some part of me equates powerlessness with being out of control.

Am I still talking about trust or has my ego steared me away from what I don't want to talk about. The bottom line is always how much do I trust myself. If I don't trust myself, how can I trust anyone else? I really want to be committed to doing this work rather than going to the kitchen and stuffing myself with food to get back into my comfort zone. I have been overeating this past week instead of facing my feelings head-on. That is something that I very much want to change. I will move forward through this one step at a time.

I hope that what I have written here makes sense. Right now I am too close to the feelings to know if all of the words are what I intend for them to be. Am I making sense to any of you?


Colleen said...

Yup. You make sense to me. I use the word 'fine' too. And I overeat when my incest issues are bugging me. And I do not like feeling powerless. I like to be in control. You are not alone. Hugs.

Patricia Singleton said...

Thanks Colleen, I could use the hugs right now.

miruspeg said...

Patricia I sure needed to read this post today and so pleased I was drawn over here.
You make absolute TOTAL sense!

I hope many people read this post because it comes straight from your HEART and would definitely help many incest survivors on their journey.

This post resinated with me mainly in the first 3 paragraphs as when I am in a group I pre-think what I as going to say when it is my turn instead of listening to what others say on the chosen topic.

Hopefully next time I am with a group I will have your courage and speak from my heart rather than knowledge.

Big hugs to you and sending you loads of love and light.

Patricia Singleton said...

Miruspeg, would you believe that I didn't intend to post it today. I was going to post it next Sunday but my fingers sometimes hit the wrong buttons and the article gets posted sooner than I planned. I guess someone was smarter than me and knew that you needed it today. My God definitely works in mysterious way.

I thank you for your words. I wasn't sure if what I wrote was what I was trying to say or if I was still in hiding from the feelings. Thanks for the hugs and light. They are much needed today.

VICKI IN AZ said...

Perfect sense.
I like how you said if you don't trust yourself how can you trust anyone else.

I also really relate to overthinking what I want to say. I think you expressed so well how that keeps us from listening sometimes, or in our need to be perfect or at least in control. Maybe that is one reason this article feels so vulnerable for you, because you have let go of some control and just let us in. I could be wrong but it kinda felt different that way, more vulnerable.
As always you shed tremendous amounts of light.
Sending you courage, love, and my Trust in you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Vicki, again, thank you. Today I could use some courage, love and trust. Feeling vulnerable, I should say, allowing myself to be vulnerable seems to be a little easier each time that I do it. It is still just as frightening but I know there are blessings in allowing that vulnerability to come through.

I am truly glad that you started commenting on my blog and yours. You have a wonderful written voice of your own.

angrysoberdude said...

How did you pick your sponsor? I have not had a sponsor in over 18years. I tried a few times but it never took. Two years ago the man I asked to sponsor me screamed at some people at a meeting because they asked him to stop harrassing an individual in meetings who was having a hard time staying sober. I got up walked out of the business meeting and never talked to him again.


Patricia Singleton said...

Joe, it was hard for me to choose someone that I could trust enough to share all of the details of my life with and someone that I could be vulnerable and open with.

My first sponsor back in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) in 1989 was a man. I should have chosen a woman but I didn't trust women at that time. He was in AA and ACA both. He later got married to a wonderful lady who was in AA, ACA and was also an incest survivor like me. She became my mentor and best friend as well as sponsor until she was murdered 3 years later. Then after being very angry with God for awhile, I asked another lady to be my sponsor but I didn't work with her very long before I quit going to 12-Step meetings.

When I started back to Al-Anon last year, I didn't get a sponsor until just recently. The lady that I picked, I told her two weeks before I really asked her that I was thinking about asking her. My reason for asking this particular lady was because she has over 20 years in Al-Anon and I like how she works her own program.

I narrowed it down to 3 ladies to ask. The reason that I asked the one that I did was because she knows me from my first time in Al-Anon 20 years ago. She knows about me growing up with alcoholism and incest in my family of origin. She is ok with me working on the incest issues in my Al-Anon group. It is difficult for me to know the difference between my alcoholism issues and my incest issues from my childhood.

Also, this lady know me well enough to know when what I am saying is bull or if I am being honest. She gives me space to work my program my way but not too much space that I am in denial or running away from my issues. She does what she tells me to do with her own sponsor.

The hardest thing is to trust her not to use what I tell her against me. So far she hasn't. Just a small part of my wounded inner child expects to be hurt. The adult part of me is willing to build trust.