I sat on the top of those stairs today.
Normally I RUSH by them in an attempt to forget they are there. But in a rare moment I had the house to myself, with the dog. And I felt drawn to them and to sit there.
I noticed the surroundings – the tapestry I describe as the LARGEST thing covering the wall is actually quite small. The bannister which I distinctly remember leaning on and being taller than me, is now only up to my ear if I sit up straight. I am a lot bigger now than I was then.
And it’s only five steps down to the landing, which has always mentally felt very far away.
I couldn’t sit there for long – as soon as my heart started to race and the fear closed in I got up and moved. But I tried to sit there – and what I found out was its a lot less large and dominating than I thought it was.
I also had a call with A today. And instead of lying to my parents, I told them I needed a private hour to call my counsellor and I needed my space protected. I called her from my old childhood bedroom. It was an interesting combination. Part of me wishes we could hold sessions in that room where so much happened… because I was very aware and focused and tuned into her.
It was REALLY hard to sit there and talk and there was one moment, where I talked about realizing my Dad wasn’t the saint I had pictured him to be – that he can be quite rigid and dismissive – where I was legitimately afraid that they were outside the door listening in. I actually managed to access anger – legitimate real anger where I felt like I was myself.
I have a pit in my stomach now. I don’t think they listened but I also haven’t left the bedroom yet.
I told A about the conversation with my Mom and how I’ve been trying to access my emotions but I’m not sure if they’re mine or hers or someone else’s in the house. That’s how codependency works, isn’t it.
We also talked about how in order to make my goal – I would have to not drink for the next four nights. And she asked me to change my goal to something more realistic. And my IMMEDIATE thought was “I have failed, she doesn’t think I can do it. I have failed her. Well fine I won’t have any goal now.”
She talked me around and through the massive resistance I was feeling. Telling me adjusting goals as circumstances change is a part of life. And I told her I wanted her to pick the goal and she actually said No way am I doing that! with a wry chuckle. And I was like why, and she said you tell me PD. So I did – I know that she won’t lead our conversations or pick goals for me because then I’m accountable to her and not myself and I will ‘perform’ acceptably for her and not focus on me.
My resistance to forming my goals was really really strong. Choosing new ones felt like I had failed at the old one. And what if she got mad? Or didn’t like my new goal? I kept wanting to ask for her approval. Her validation of the goals mattered to me. But she wasn’t going to let me ask if they were good enough. She wasn’t going to give validation until after.
Eventually she said “PD, regardless what happens my love and care for you will not change. I am here if you are successful. I am here if you are not. My feelings towards you do not change regardless of if you are able to accomplish your goals here. Can we just start with one? A realistic, but ambitious, goal.”
Eventually we (I) came up with the three.
- At least one hour for myself Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Don’t drink on Thursday or Saturday
- Continuing to bear witness to what’s going on and spend some time checking in with myself.
She had me name those days – in number two. I am interested to see what happens. My immediate instinct is to fail purposely to see how she handles it… which is interesting.
It was a good session. We got through a lot. And I see her Monday and Thursday next week so we will be okay. More than halfway through.
What has been really interesting to me is all of you and A telling me I’ve made such good gains and I should be proud of my efforts in MO this time and me being unable to see that. All I see is “what a total failure”. We can be our own worst enemies, huh.