Sometimes I wonder if recovery is just about hurting yourself less. I wonder if I will ever get things all the way “right”. Will I ever get the pleasure of something big without some part of it accomplished in a way that harms me? Will I ever have pleasure without pain?
On the up side, I finally feel the whole weight of my actions, the helpful ones and the ones that hurt me. I am a hundred times slower than I was six years ago. This is good because now I generally have the time and the resources to deal with my mess-ups due to memory lapses. Taking forever to do things, being “lazy”, and not giving a fuzzy rodents behind actually helps me reduce the impact of mess-ups. In terms of recovery, I rarely lose much ground in moving forward even with good sized mistakes.
When I say, “it will be okay, there’s enough,” for the first time in my life, that statement is true. I am no longer covering something. I am no longer trying to be more than I am. I no longer spend without thinking. I don’t use a credit card. I never pretend anymore. This week, stubborness almost got me. I recognized the thought process starting up but ran the other way. Today I see that running the other way saved me from repeating mistakes I have been doubtful I could stop making. Running the other way totally arrested a spiral that was one of my worst MOs. I think I recognized the false power hit of that behavior. Maybe my slippery memory remembered the pain and chaos I plunge myself into when I ignore reason, my budget, and my commitment to stay inward facing. Appearances and productivity are seductive little bastards. They pal around with judgement, fear, and shallowness, who is such an asshole. While there is truth to needing to finish my bathroom, but nothing about it in any way should be allowed to topple the entire damn household. Addiction has no rest here.
Or maybe my memory is working well and I remembered what it feels like to feel good. Maybe in that moment of struggle with my stubborn streak, a new me stepped in and said, “no, this is how we do it now”. Maybe I remembered how it feels to be comfortable. It’s possible that my new behaviors around having enough, back-ups, and practical things like 12 rolls of toilet paper, 1 unopened tube each, of my toothpaste, and every form of tape on the market, is finally so part of my new normal, that it literally stops me from doing stupid shit on purpose. I’ve gotten really stubborn about being able to spend $100-160 at a grocery/discount store monthly at the bare minimum.
I’ve gotten stubborn about holding myself to myself when I say “no, you can’t have it now, next time.” I damn well expect it the next time. Often it is something as small as Liquid Gold. I don’t care, I love that stuff, it makes my cupboards look amazing! It also turns my hardwood floors into mirrors. Slippery as thin ice, but gorgeous.
Maybe I’ve gotten stubborn about maintenance of what I’ve got, built up, accomplished. Perhaps there is enough of the small daily things about my life that make me so happy that it isn’t worth the risk that my destructive stubborn streak is bent on.
Maybe my memory remembers that it sucks or has a line to my subconscious that I don’t know about and sometimes stops a headlong rush of planning and doing what instead seems ok, but actually isn’t because I forgot yet ANOTHER thing. I was lazy about some small spending these last couple of days. Turns out, yet another large expenditure needs to be covered. Now, the “it’s ok, there is enough,” is not true without canceling something, and extremely tight budgeting for two paychecks.
I am continually frustrated, grateful, and amazed at my tiny life. I remain with one job because I stubbornly love this life of mine. I don’t love every single aspect of it, but as a whole, I say “I’m so happy” to myself now more than any other time in my entire life. I genuinely have about ten things all the time that bring me joy, comfort, and peace. I don’t want this disturbed. Additionally, all the struggle and the time I have, is perfect for real growth and development. I write out nearly 100% of my struggles. I learn what I am actually doing, not what I think I’m doing, what I really think, and expose my feelings by typing out all this tightness, suffering, and mistake making. I’m basically growing up from 21 to 31 in four years. I swear forty years of life confronts me almost everyday and I feel like I absolutely have to stop in my tracks and deal with it no matter what is going on. I stubbornly cling to the ability to do this. I usually tell myself that normally I would have gone through all this stuff at 18 or 22 or 25 or 35, but I couldn’t at those times, so I’m doing it now. And honestly, this probably is the best time for me to do this, because I finally have the resources and enough know how to do it. I constantly have to remind myself that I couldn’t have done most of what I do for myself now on $4.25 or $12.00 an hour, without health insurance, medication, a computer/internet, a smart phone, and the years spent at my aunt’s building a significant part of the kind of life I always wanted. I have things in my life now, based on that blueprint. That is the only map I have except for Maslow and Erikson. My whole life I’ve thought, “can I please just grow up here?!” Right now I am grateful 100 times a day for this opportunity.
On the other hand, my mess-ups are almost always because I don’t make enough money. In terms of dollars, just $500 a month would prevent mistakes like the two I encountered this week. That’s not a ton of money, yet not having it could devastate my tiny, tight, delicately balanced life. I also can’t save, replace, or expand. It’s almost a catch 22. More money would mean less of other things like time to process, the driving need to process, self-honesty, focus on the basics, and clarity of my thin trajectory. It could also bring more of things I don’t want, like distraction, noise between me and God, demands on me, and a velosity that is too much. Oddly, when I have more, I can unintentionally hurt myself.
So, moving forward, how do I maintain my tiny life, my emotional sobriety; yet make the kind of money I need to be financially secure?
How will I know when I’ve peeled down enough layers that I know myself and can provide for myself safely every single time? How will I know when I’ve built up enough layers in new healthy behaviors that I don’t have to doubt myself? How will I know when there is enough of me to believe? How will I know when I’ve learned enough to stop hurting myself?
Or maybe I will never know enough, maybe nobody ever does. Maybe this is why people have to stick together. I’m going to need people to put up with me, to find me extra hours, to share coffee time with me, or take me out for pie while I continue to untangle the wires of self-destruction.