Clarity, Maybe Grace
June 14, 2010
Today, I’m sharing on clarity. There is so much more clarity in my thoughts and actions, and in my perceptions these days. And that is all due to the work I’ve been doing in my program and with my therapist who specializes in addiction and Twelve Step work.
When last week I felt the nausea I get when I get seemingly too close to someone or feel trapped or claustrophobic by actual intimacy, I didn’t panic. I made calls and shared my insecurity. I’m learning that there are a lot of automatic responses — defense mechanisms — my body goes through when it mistakenly believes I’m threatened. These physical and mental warning signs are vestiges of a nervous system overworked by pornography, abuse, neglect, and sexual anorexia.
If I linger long on those responses, which are completely unconscious, I can get lost in a torrent of hypothetical questions — am I ever going to be normal? Am I not right for the person I’m with? Is she not right for me? What would’ve happened had I never been exposed to porn, alcoholism, or abuse? I’ve said before that I’m very good at intellectualizing things.
But intellectualizing is not unpacking; it’s examining without dealing with the history that led to these unsolicited emotions and insecurities. Today instead, I work my program and am learning to investigate how I got where I am and how I can live better than I ever have before. When my insecurities rise back up, when my addiction pings me, I can be gentle with myself now. I am able to actually feel the feelings and deal with them, even if they’re unpleasant, even if they remind me of the damage in my past. I have tools now which give me more clarity and insight. I am less defensive and more compassionate, not only with others, but with myself.
I know better where all this pain and insecurity comes from and with the help of my fellowship, my therapist, my sponsor, and my God, I can make my way through my addiction and its related symptoms and emotions with insight; maybe even some grace.