I often feel worse after going to a meeting. I come home more alone and ashamed. I come home isolated. This is my husband’s observation (side note – when things aren’t going well, it’s very hard to communicate).
One of the problems is that I really do feel “less than” in AA meetings. Part of the healing that happens in a 12-step meeting is identifying with others who are like you. The experience of accepting others who have done what you’ve done helps an alcoholic to let go of the self loathing that makes you want to get drunk. If they’re okay, maybe I’m okay. I think of this as the geometry of recovery: if A=ok and I=A then I=okay 2.
That’s why it’s good to go to meetings that are specifically for sex addicts – it’s important to be able to identify and relate to other people. Of course, with sexual behavior, that can be a real challenge. Think about it. What would you be afraid of if you were going to go to a 12-step meeting for sex addicts?
One of the struggles I have is that I feel a bit unique. I’m female. I act out in ways that aren’t . . . feminine. No romance novels, no love addiction, none of what I think of as “nice girl” stuff. Of course, feelings aren’t facts, and intellectually I know that’s utter bullshit. There are many, many women who act out in ways that mirror mine but I don’t attend meetings with any of those women. Instead, I’m in meetings with men who are married to women who make me look like a pig. I feel like a fat woman in a meeting with fat men, while the thin women are down the hall in the sanon meeting. It’s all in my head, of course but that’s where my addiction lives.
I wonder if I just let go of some of that fear and just shared in a meeting without worrying about whether I’m going to disgust someone or trigger them. My husband thinks that might be a good idea. Ha! That’s the understatement of the year! He also thinks it’d be a good idea to share about some of my childhood abuse, since he thinks that has a profound effect on my life today. I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been abused a few times in meetings. Ugh. Just typing it feels like a cop out, like a sorry excuse for bad behavior. It feels like I’m telling a great big fat lie, blaming my faults on circumstances that other people have risen above. I hate it. But he has a point that the way I do it now, meetings seem to make things worse, not better.
I said I’d talk about what happened in my life that lead me to this relapse but I just can’t. I’ve been thinking way longer than I’ve been typing, and although I’m usually not very good at recognizing when I’m getting overloaded, I think I need a break. Maybe I’m just avoiding sharing . . . fearful of being judged. I don’t know.
There’s no law against posting twice in the same day, so later today I’ll write some more.