I’m following a really great blog of someone who is on their own recovery journey and with permission I wanted to share their latest post. For anyone who is struggling with sobriety and recovery, I urge you to take a minute to read this. I think most of the people who follow my blog will already have seen it but I wanted to make note if it for myself anyway.
This morning I went and signed on at the Jobcentre. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack whilst I was sitting, waiting to see my advisor. I’ve been trying to work out why I felt nervous and sick.
I had done what I said I was going to do by this appointment so I didn’t anticipate being ‘in trouble’. I think the whole set up of being put into a one-on-one meeting with someone whose job it is to judge how much effort you are putting into finding a job, automatically makes me feel inferior. I felt lower-status and that makes me feel inferior and child-like.
I hear what I’m saying. It sounds like I need a kick up the arse and to get over it. I’m not very good at being told what to do. I admit it! I grew up with little-to-no boundaries from my mother. I could pretty much do what I wanted as long as she either; didn’t find out or it didn’t reflect badly on her. I left home at 16 and moved in with my 20yr old boyfriend. I used to hitch hike to school and more often than not, my form tutor would pick me up and give me a lift home. I felt like an adult.
I still attended my classes and I got good grades so people left me alone. I had an affair with a much older teacher (not at my own school and that’s not strictly his job title but I don’t feel comfortable revealing exactly who he is on here incase someone from my real life does happen upon this blog) whilst I was living with my boyfriend. This went on for several years and again, made me feel a lot more adult than I really was. He was 25 years older than me. I know that my mother knew what was going on but she pretended she didn’t. It came to an end eventually and he never got discovered. I know for a fact if she had tried to stop me I would never have listened but I can’t imagine her ever putting her foot down like that. It’s weird, I was terrified of my mum. She was not an easy touch. I was expected to act in a certain way at home and as long as I appeared to have the right attitude towards her and my stepfather I was afforded a ridiculous amount of freedom.
I briefly moved back in with her when I dropped out of drama school but it was bad. I couldn’t deal with being parented after not living at home for a few years. I wanted privacy and total freedom so I quickly moved out. I was working a few small jobs cash in hand and signing on for the dole. I felt in control of my own life and I loved it. Living alone meant I was able to continue secret relationships in privacy and I began drinking and casually taking recreational drugs in my own home.
Since then (1997), I have lived with my ex-husband for 6 years and now with Rob for 3. Apart from that I have lived alone with my children. The boss of the household! My home- my rules! No-one to answer to. No one to disappoint or to expect anything from. I find it hard to live with another adult. I easily slip into the parent/child state.
My first husband moved in with me directly from his mum and dads. I was very dominant and played the parent role. I didn’t question myself, I just continued to do things the way I wanted to and expected him to go along with my way of doing things. He was malleable and I moulded him without really knowing what I was doing. We didn’t argue much but there wasn’t much respect from me. Looking back I know I was difficult to live with. When we split I felt enormous relief at being free.
Rob is the complete opposite to my ex-husband. I had lived as a single person for 7 years when we got together. For the first 2 years of our relationship he unofficially lived with me. I ran my own home and basically tried to bully him into doing things my way. I’m talking about things like housework, mealtimes, insignificant things really. If he made a mess or tried to change the furniture layout it would be a huge battle. It would make me shout and cry. Any change that wasn’t my idea became an argument. When we had Fable I found it near impossible to be led by him. I have been a single parent for most of my adult life so ‘letting’ him make any decision felt so alien. I resented the hell out if it. Jim always followed my lead with the kids so if Rob had a different view to me on something it felt like a criticism. I felt judged and belittled. I felt like my power had been stripped.
When we moved into our own new home together I had a hell of a shock to the system. I was suddenly reliant on him for money which I hated. I still do to be perfectly honest. I hate asking him for money. The house feels more like it’s his than ours too. Instead of being the parent, I am the child when in actual fact I should be neither. We are equal partners. He has never made me feel less than, or inadequate for being reliant on him. He reminds me that most couples go through periods of supporting each other. This is what real life is like but I struggle with it.
We have been through so much together in 3 years. I feel like I have grown so much in the past year. Rob forces me to look at myself. It can feel relentless and uncomfortable and often makes me want to run away. I get angry and want to lash out. I have never before stuck at anything that makes me question myself so thoroughly. I am grateful to and for him. It’s pretty rough going being my partner. I want to make it easier for him.
I think what my point is in writing all this, is that I don’t like feeling like a powerless child and going to the Jobcentre this morning put me into the lower-status person in that situation. It make me anxious. I want to be the adult/parent in the room as opposed to the out of control child. None of my important relationships growing up had any equilibrium. I never felt like I had any control over my own life and being made to feel like that now makes me freak out. I think I learned that being alone was the only way I could achieve control over my own life. It was the only way I could do whatever I wanted. I could create my own boundaries with no-one to answer to. My relationship with Rob has been a steep learning curve in finding the middle ground. I think it’s the first time I have ever tried truly tried to have an equal relationship and we’re not there yet. At least, I’m not. I have to find a way to feel ok with him supporting me. Maybe getting my own job and being able to contribute will help that?
I went to AA straight after the Jobcentre. It was hard to sit through. I still felt like I had rocks in my chest. A woman who has been going for the same length as time as me (4 weeks) spoke about how she hasn’t managed to get through the week without drinking. How after each meeting she has gone and bought a bottle of wine. She just isn’t ‘getting it’. Frankly, it was a relief to hear someone share who isn’t 5/10/15 year into their sobriety. To hear someone talk about their demons in terms of right here, right now. I could relate to this woman in way that I hadn’t so far with anyone else. I felt bad for her. She looked defeated. I also felt like she might be the wrong person for me to try to connect with. I don’t feel strong enough to be that much of a support to someone in the same boat as myself. So far, no-one has mentioned how to find a sponsor. When I went to NA, straight away 2 women offered me their numbers. That hasn’t happened with AA. I need to find out more about that.
I got home this after to this…
Daddy bought her the one thing I said I didn’t want in the house; a ball pit. He warned me before we walked through the door that he’d done something that I was probably going to be pissed off at. I felt myself get worked up. I was so glad when I saw this even if he’d gone against my wishes 😉
Look at my view too!