Then and Now: Recovery Mountain, Adventures on Lovesick Cliff


You know when you start and then save a new Word document, Word wants to name the file after the first few words in the doc? Well, when I started this blog entry and then saved it, Word wanted to save the file as, “When I tell myself that I can”, when the full thought was actually, “When I tell myself that I can’t survive rejection”. O the irony! And I went on with my blog…”I have survived it in the past. And am in better place because of it”. Blah blah blah. I guess they’re both kind of pep talks to myself – one suggesting that I can take a leap of faith and accomplish anything, and the other suggesting that I can take a leap of faith and make an inelegant crash landing but survive anything. Both pep talks are profoundly annoying, especially when I am feeling the way I am feeling right now – which is like a deflated clown. I am suffering the clear-as-mud love that, despite it’s muddiness, I know in my very marrow is a love so certain, so forever. Each facet of his being, whether it physical or spiritual, was an ensnarement from which there was no release. But I did not wish release. I wished to stay entrapped forever with him for all eternity, our hearts, always as one. LOL! I totally stole that from “sappy love poems” courtesy of a Google search. Love poems deeply embarrass me. They remind me of the cringe-inducing gems written by my past emo boyfriends, probably in my eyeliner. I’m a much bigger fan of psychotic emails. More on that later.

She’ll be coming ‘round Sheh Nay-Nay’s Recovery Mountain when she comes! She’ll be coming ‘round Sheh Nay-Nay’s Recovery Mountain when she comes! She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain, coming ‘round the mountain… . It occurred to me that I am presently coming ‘round that harsh and unpleasant part of the mountain again, Lovesick Cliff. My first time ‘round these here parts was a holy nightmare. My very first few blog posts dramatically detail it actually – remember CM? Me neither, really. Ha ha. I just mean that we’re as close now as we were then, which was never even remotely close. He’s not in my life, my heart, or my thoughts at all, no hard feelings. There was truly no love lost. What weren’t lost but very gained in that relationship were, although très tragique at the time, invaluable lessons in love and respect. Kind of like a “Don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone” relationship, like the relationship you have with a urinary tract infection. Godspeed.

I don’t know if I am a hopeless fruitcake. I know some of you think you can answer that for me, but unless you’re a trained professional, back off, bitches. I have said this before – I don’t know if I am nuts or if I am just terminally sentimental. My therapist says it doesn’t matter because, for me, they’re interchangeable. When I was Googling “sappy love poems”, I found this: “People who are sensible about love are incapable of it” (Douglas Yates). Lovely, isn’t it? So, does that mean that the more senseless you are, the more capacity for love you have? Yeah, that’s wishful thinking. But if it were true, I know a few people who fit that bill. (Kiss kiss to you, Bambie! And me, too, of course). Last week, I took an impossible leap of faith into love and neither accomplished anything nor inelegantly crash landed. I am not writing this blog from somewhere over the rainbow, nor did the life-and-love-affirming little butterflies in my stomach get the shit kicked out of them. I need to be a little vague to protect the sexy.. I mean the innocent… but I do have a tale to tell of love and recovery. This lesson is invaluable and dear to me, as is this person. I talked to Nelissa a few days after that impossible leap and was terribly upset, heartbroken only by the tiny but powerful alcoholic voices in my head that scream “you’re worthless” in a million cruel ways, especially when I am feeling vulnerable, which is like, always. Nothing actually happened that I should have been upset about – but tell that to the vicious, and quite creative, voices in my brain. Anyway, Little Miss Optimistic let me cry, then lovingly pointed out all the positive things that surrounded the leap, and then told me to write a gratitude list about it. She’s so annoying.

In an attempt to illustrate that, despite the internal voices’ taunts, I have grown to trust my emotions a little bit, and am even learning how to express them without fear of Death by Rejection, I am going to share an email I wrote during the WORST emotional crisis of earlier sobriety. I’ll then share my gratitude list, which I’m sure is going to be super sugary, so consider this your barf bag alert.

THEN: My Virgin Voyage ‘round Recovery Mountain, Adventures on Lovesick Cliff

This is the email I sent Nelissa in March that actually inspired the creation of this blog. I was at the tail-end of my brief relationship with CM. Nelissa asked me a simple question: Did I see him that day, and yes, I did see him for a couple of hours. The following email details my experience of those couple of hours. Names changed, again to protect the innocent, and edited for content because my mother reads this.

“I did see CM today. We made plans for today yesterday but when I texted him to ask when I should head over, he said he was sick. It sent me into a complete tailspin. Even my body is screaming for me to bow out of this ill-advised romantic endeavor. I was so excited all day to see him, (I haven’t seen him in one week but I feel like it has been six years and like we’re soul mates in a passionate endless timeless love affair) that when I got his text that he was sick, I basically went numb. I was SO <insert every inappropriate emotion imaginable> that my soul shut down. I felt sick to my stomach and violent  – I was so angry that he was being so selfish and cavalier about seeing me, or not seeing me, especially after the screwy conversation I tried to have with him YESTERDAY about what he wants in this relationship and how I’d like to see him more often. I knew I was being a complete lunatic, so instead was all, “ooooh nooooooooos hunny sweetie! Can I get you soup?” trying to find a way to see him without sounding as pathetic as I was feeling. After about an hour or so of friendly texts (all the while I’m a seething psycho foaming at the mouth), he invited me over and voila! All’s right with the world – I can ignore the fact that I nearly had an actual literal broken heart that could have required immediate medical attention. Blah blah. Went to his house, poor sweetheart is actually sick and he kept falling asleep from the cold meds. Blah blah. He falls asleep with his every limb wrapped around me, as always, like we are two puzzle pieces, perfectly matched. But when he gets up a little later, I convince myself he is using me and thinks I am horrible and boring and ugly but since I am always readily available, he’s just pretending I am someone else when we hang out. I contain the rage – how DARE he treat me this way, the womanizing, egomaniacal motherfucker doesn’t see how good he has it with me, how happy I can make him, and how devoted I would be (not to mention the bl<censored>bs) — and this is ME we’re talking about — I hate everyone but he is so special and gorgeous, how the fuck can he take this and me for granted – shallow ASSHOLE!!! I get ready to leave, still containing my apocalyptic fury. He gets his shoes and coat, and kind of shuffles in his cold meds stupor… and why the FUCK is he being so distant and mopey?!!! I leave, am devastated and furious, meet “Helen of Toy” for a movie, tell her very casually I’m having boy problems, and then he texts me “Thanks for coming over, cutie. That was sweet of you to visit the infirm 🙂  “. And voila! All’s right with the world. I can ignore the fact that if Massachusetts didn’t require psych background checks before selling firearms, I’d be in lock-down awaiting arraignment on a homicide charge right now instead of sending you an email. It seriously is a wonder that I honestly have not had a nervous breakdown. Please trust that I am completely aware of how deranged, unhealthy, delusional, unfair (to both me and him), risky, distracting, and generally fucked up my thinking is — usually, yes, but right now specifically to CM. I need to walk away – I know this, I truly do. My sanity, dignity, self-respect, sobriety, and maybe any future friendship I could have with sweet (though so unaware of the depth of my craziness) CM.. although I really doubt any relationship with him would be wise. What I am trying to say is this: you texted that you thought I said that I didn’t see CM because he was sick, and no, I did see him”.

I don’t really think I have anything to say about that email – I think it kind of speaks for itself. In fairness to myself, it’s probably more of a tribute to temporary insanity than a reflection of my general disposition at that time, but it certainly reflects that my heart was not connected to my sensibilities’ working parts. At all.

NOW: Gratitude for Recovery Mountain, Adventures on Lovesick Cliff

I am grateful:
* for learning that Death by Rejection is a fictional method of torture created by the vicious peanut gallery in my head. It doesn’t exist. I survived the actual torture of substance abuse for a couple of decades. If not cake, everything else is at least manageable.
* to know that I am learning and will continue to learn to manage the emotions of “everything else”.
* that I have the most loving, sage, and fun sober friends in my life who will hold my hand and guide and encourage me as I walk through and sit with these emotions.
* that I know in my heart that I deserve these friendships and these kindnesses, and know that I can return them because my own heart is full of Love.
* to learn that telling someone I have a hopeless crush on them, making myself so terrifyingly vulnerable, was one of the most powerful and empowering things I have ever done.
* to discover that telling someone I have a hopeless crush on them made them happy, not made their skin crawl. (The peanut gallery at work again. Why would I ever think that??).
* that waiting months and months to thoughtfully question if the feelings I have for him were/are honest, deciding with such delight that they were/are indeed, and then expressing them to him was worth the wait. After that much measure, why hide my feelings from the one I like soooooooooooo much?
* for genuinely believing that the feelings I have for him are not life-threatening to me, as suspected up until about 1.5 weeks ago, but are quite lovely.
* for knowing I have a lot of work to do, and being very happy to know I’ll be coming ‘round the mountain again soon enough with more tales to tell of Love and recovery.