When you’re 42 years old
with two young children,
celibate for the last two years,
yearning for human contact
but trusting no one…
When there’s just $35 in your checking account…
and your AC has been broken for two weeks
and there’s a wiring problem in your house
necessitating running extension cords
from your refrigerator and freezer
to outlets in another room…
When you’re feeling
tired, angry, and lonely,
but you’ve made a commitment to sobriety
to try to claw your way out
of this pit you’ve fallen into…
When the only direction you can go is up,
but you’re so damn depressed that breathing feels hard—
HOW DO YOU FIND THE STRENGTH TO CLIMB?
Friends, that last question is not rhetorical. I quite literally want to know how YOU, you who have made it through tough circumstances and who have come out stronger, how YOU did it. I need some hope. Please share your experience, strength and hope with me.
There’s a moment after hitting rock bottom
when you realize that you’re not dead.
Maybe, as you look around at where you are,
you wish you were dead,
but you’re still alive nonetheless.
Resistance will make you hurt worse.
Regret will keep you stuck in this place.
When you’ve stripped away everything
that you used as your former identity
and you find yourself, naked,
standing on rock,
it feels vulnerable, uncomfortable.
You look up…
and the light of day seems so far away.
The good news is,
you don’t have many decisions to make;
it’s very simple in this naked place
of bare, cold, hard, rock bottom.
There’s only one direction you can go—
I’m tired of living in terror,
so I’m turning this over to you.
I have no idea how you’ll help me.
I know that faith can move mountains,
but that I need to bring a shovel.
I’ve got my shovel.
Today I was a student*,
and I felt so grateful
that for once
I didn’t have to prepare the lesson.
I love it when my only job
is to be open to new learning.
I think I’ll be a student
*Today was Day 1 of Nikki Myers weekend-long Y12SR training. I am so grateful to spend the next two days with other yoga teachers who are interested in learning about sustainable recovery from addiction, and who want to apply this learning to bring value to countless beings walking the path of recovery.
Are you he,
the one who procreated with me
and then left,
blaming me for everything?
Or are you one of his minions,
currying favor with him,
by feeding the thought
that I’m the crazy one?
don’t you have anything better to do,
than to scour the internet
looking for proof
that his lies about me are true?
I am a woman
making my way back on my feet
after a devastating loss.
Are you his new victim?
Do you believe the story that he loves you?
He told me he loved me once.
But when all was said and done,
it was easier to blame me for his pain
than to man up and work on himself.
You can troll all you want.
He can say that I am “whining” online.
But I will not stop speaking my truth.
And someday you might discover
that the things you criticize in me
are the disowned places in you
crying out for your loving attention.
When you feel ready to access those places,
you’ll stop pointing your finger at others
and go in the only real direction
that you haven’t yet explored…
Yesterday in a text message my ex-husband accused me of “whining online.” If you look at my post yesterday, you’ll see I talked about some challenges I’m currently going through: his underpayment of court-ordered support and the subsequent need to take legal action, as well as my need to secure new health insurance. Admittedly I was a bit startled when he referenced my online activity—choosing words that confirmed he had read my post—because it got me thinking that he or someone else is trolling this blog, stirring up adversity and feeding the story that there is something wrong with me. I speak this out into space, because I’m discovering more and more that abuse and shame can’t exist out in the open. Our secrets make us sick, and I won’t keep it a secret that the man I once loved is deciding to take liberties with the agreement he signed his name on, and justifying withholding funds from court-ordered support for me and his children with his twisted logic. I speak this out in the open, because unfortunately, underpayment or no payment of child support is the norm in our society, and those who have a legal responsibility to provide support to their children and former partners somehow manage to dodge the law and dodge the consequences that the law would mete out if they were caught in a timely fashion. I speak this out because I want this trend to change. I realize that if it has been this awful for me—coming from relative privilege (education, resources, community, job)—how must it be for the population of underprivileged single moms out there who don’t have access to the same resources? Finally, my words are my power. By speaking my truth I know who I am. I will not back down. I plan on fighting a good fight, for myself and all moms everywhere who struggle to know what their future will hold in a time of such volatility and uncertainty.
And to you trolls out there, whether you are he himself, or his new intimate victim, or one of his “friends,” keep reading. Enjoy my posts. Have fun. May you be safe, happy, healthy, peaceful and at ease. And may the pure light of awareness shine upon you and lead you to the realization that what you do to another you do to yourself, so that you can begin helping instead of continuing to hurt. When you feed a story like this, it helps no one. I stand with my hand stretched out in friendship, and you can take it at any time. The choice is yours.
I struggle with the parts of myself
that feel unacceptable—
the anger, the sadness,
the fragility, the meanness—
and I realize I just want relief,
I want to feel better.
Then I realize
it doesn’t have to be a struggle.
Could I accept all these different parts?
Could I listen to them,
learn from them
what they’re here to teach me?
Again, I need patience.
There’s no going back to the old way,
and I cannot see
more than a few steps ahead…
can I just relax into this process
of making my way
one day at a time?
Grace brought me serenity
in the woods today.
I was surprised to come upon
some paintings on the trees
with plaques freestanding
about human strength
going through the twelve steps
finding light in the darkness,
as a group
to provide support
to one another.
I thought of my own fellowship,
a weekly meeting
of souls who gather
to share their experiences,
to listen without comment
to the experiences of others.
We left the grove of paintings
and walked our regular circuit
in the almost freezing dusk.
Periodically I’d hug a tree,
and as I leaned against its length,
I looked up at its branches
and told it a bit of my story.
The trees listened and stood tall
and radiated their silent strength.
Back at the car, fingers numb,
children hungry and ready for supper,
I found myself looking forward
to my CoDA meeting
at the church tonight,
being with adults
who listen and hold space.
Then my son cut his finger
and had to go to urgent care;
he hopped in the car with his dad,
who was just back from work.
I stayed home with my daughter
and remembered the paintings
and the words in the woods,
grateful for the
provided me earlier,
grateful for the fellowship
in the trees.