Sunday, March 19, 2006

Recovery work

The counselor I have been seeing says that it is common for adults, somewhere between 35 and 50, to have to deal with the stuff they pushed away as children. I am, apparently, right on schedule. I spent my adolescent and early adult years whining. I spent the next two decades being "over it" and moving on with my life. Now, the counselor says, some part of my psyche has decided that I am ready to face my demons and so here we are.

Then the counselor asked me to list the ways and times in which I had to behave in age-inappropriate ways as a child. When did have to take on responsibility that I should not have had to? Then a couple of days later someone on the recovery board asked people to describe in what ways was addiction a famiy disease. I started out pretty matter-of-factly sharing my experience...starting when I was four.

A whole lot of feelings came pouring in. I pushed them away on Friday and Saturday because I had to be a teacher and a mother. Today though I went to my office and just had a long cry.

My pre-school experiences with my father, though certainly emotional and physically abusive, are nothing compared to the experiences of the children in the system. I am realizing though that at some level that just does not matter.

If I were in an accident now I could say, "Wow...that could have been so much worse." I would feel relief along with all the other stuff. A pre-schooler though could not. If it was the most horrible, frightening thing that ever happened to her, then it was horrible and frightening. When she grew up that little-girl fear of car crashes might always be there.

So I was afraid in my home, whenever my mother was gone and my father was not, for as far back as I can remember. I learned to retreat into myself, to hold perfectly still, in order to be safe. I learned that at the same time that I learned to walk.

Now this is not a pity party...I don't want anyone to say "poor thing." What I am going to say next may surprise you.

I am today deeply, deeply grateful that the universe sent me Evan, a child with an addiction. Because of my responses to him and his addiction, I had to face my own demons. I have had to deal with the little-girl fear.

My counselor is right. Now I am ready to do it.


  1. Anonymous6:22 PM

    I'm where you are, but in different circumstances and for different reasons. I wish us both the best of luck!

  2. I won't say "poor thing" to you but I am so angry when this happens to kids.

    Your last lines don't surprise me a bit.


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