The six-year and 11th month has revealed much about me personally, and admittedly these revelations, I am finding, accepting, are hard to handle. The Friday night meeting in the laundry room was pretty spectacular. Lucky for me, our fellowship has an abundance of six to seven-year old’s and when I listen to others share about their revelation, I realise I’m not alone in such discoveries. There is hope in that for me. Not necessarily that I’ll come to pass through such things, but that such things are not out of the realms of recovery. Learning to cope with life and the healing of our past in the clearness of honest reflection, is a serious bitch. I have to believe that if it is being revealed to me, there is a reason and I’m hoping that reason is cathartic.
It’s somewhat curious, what anyone of us focuses upon given Our pasts. Sure, there is overlay and commonalities, but our roots seem to be very individualized. For me, it is genetics. That which I cannot change and have to learn to accept. Accept all that this entails and how my life has been thusly affected and how I chose to cope or have chosen to cope in the past. When we practice this program one day at a time, after six years and eleven months one gets pretty good at it, it literally becomes the operating system by which I live and process.
Genetically speaking, my development as a human being was delayed, or perhaps better written, different than my peers. My body doesn’t produce testosterone. Now I know this is a very individualized point, which doesn’t effect and affect many human beings, so bear with me. I have a very vivid memory of sitting on the bathroom sink counter at my friend’s house watching him shave his peach fuzz and looking in the mirror at myself wondering why I didn’t have any? Now, this is the early ‘70’s, so we all had long hair a leftover cultural attribute from the sixties, and I looked way more like a girl than a boy. And it probably didn’t stand out too much to the world, but it sure stood out to me.
Sure, it is combined with the attributes and traits I already had acquired and haven’t quite yet learned to deal with, but nonetheless, this honest acceptance aspect can bring about some psychic shifts which I have not experienced before. I suppose it’s these physical manifestations that accompany these revelations which bring the point home! Usually right in the depth of my heart! Many have taken my breath away. I feel sunken to my core, unaware I could feel such feelings, much less survive them.
Besides alcohol, because honestly for me I could not drink all the time and maintain certain life skills, I’m just not that good at it. But the revelation that I can disassociate like a psychopath, well now, that is a serious skill to have in one’s carpetbag. The issues come to pass upon reflections of past living and how such a skill deployed has impacted choices and behaviours. It isn’t a pretty picture when one’s primary coping skill has been to be delusional. When I could not handle reality, I’d make my own. It seems somewhat ironic that the leader of our country behaves similarly. Of course, I’m not leading the country. I’m just trying to get a grip and move forward. This may be an innate skill, as I have many memories as a child of using this ability to escape highly emotional environments in which I did not know how to cope. Admittedly I tried the fight, flight and freeze, none of which worked as well as fantasy, imagination unleashed. I could be in the middle of a room surrounded by big people doing whatever, and I would not be there, completely oblivious to what was happening. This acceptance can be daunting at times, given what I know now about my past.
The major difference which mostly affected my path was libido and its corresponding cultural attribute of attraction toward others. Ask any gay or lesbian about this decade of development and you get a sense of this issue. I did not have any interest at all, but I also did not want to stand out as being different. This was extremely hard to handle emotionally, knowing I was different but not knowing why. This propagated that early childhood skill of disassociation to reality to continue through adolescence. As did the consumption of alcohol of course. These two choices to cope with reality obviously impacted my development, which was already being influenced by my genetic anomaly. I found myself a sentient being, being on the wrong planet and not wanting to be discovered. For fear of consequences of the unknown, yet proffered as; shame, ridicule, ostracized from the pack, odd, weird, etc. So, like any good human, I learned to adapt, overcome and improvise. The chameleon attributes of hiding in plain sight, which worked good enough for social settings but fell far short to help the emotional turmoil during these frightening experiences, which of course found their peace with the early childhood skill set and the consumption of alcoholic beverages to cope.
I suppose, at some point of my development, during emotional duress, in my deepest darkest of places I have been, I decided when it got so bad, I would simply choose to leave and hope the next time around things would be different for me. I sort of recall coming to this choice pretty early in existence. From what I can tell, by observing others, most people seemed to plan for the future, my plan seemed to be I’ll just kill myself when it gets too difficult to cope.
I’m guessing my self-abusive behaviours must have to do with worth and value, not as you see me, but as I see me. And I’m pretty sure I learned what I gleaned in my adolescent years of development. During those years, people would look at me and size me up and apply their expectations upon me and expect me to rise to whatever it was that they expected. Unfortunately for me, I did not work like that, the more I was pushed, the deeper I would escape within, into my fantasy world, because reality scared the shit out of me. Consequently, I figured I wasn’t worthy of living in reality. I have never felt like a person that belongs here. I cannot think of a time in my life that I felt like I belonged in that moment. I feel like an observer. Not part of, not a participant in, but someone seeking to interact with as I can, it is such a strange awareness of self.
And I must admit, I’ve been to that place quite frequently throughout my life. And of course, I can recall every one of those bus stops I have ever stopped at and was ready to leave only to have those moments interrupted by outside influences, curious that is… in introspection. Seems whenever I was there; razor blade in hand, gently caressing my skin ready to bleed out, or sink into the warm water and suck up some H2O into my lungs, or pondering if this fall would be enough to snap my neck, or how much brain damage could I survive with that nut stem driven into my skull, and many other bus stops along the decades… someone else would show up, literally out of the blue left field? I would notice that too as such an odd occurrence, but it did change the moment and alter the path, for even sitting at that bus stop felt shameful.
Those adolescent years of development have been my cross for what seems like forever, I’ve been dragging that heavy wood for some time. I cannot help the fact that I am what I am, and I am not what I appear to be. I also could not put it upon the world to see me as I was, because I was the one hiding, not wanting to be known. Deep down inside, of course, that is exactly what I wanted! To be accepted as what I am, yet too scared and frightened to actually be me. It had become so easy to simply drink and disassociate. Now, drinking has been put to rest, but the disassociation skill is still in service to me. And this is the one that causes the most dissonance within my being. It’s almost like I have a fear addiction for what it affords me in escape, that better world to live in. And of course, every time I come back to reality, I find myself sitting at the bus stop, waiting for the intervention, which doesn’t happen anymore, so it is put upon me to make that choice.
Somewhere within this human vessel, I am. This human vessel is limited, disabled, not functional at normal human interactions, yet seeks that which it can interact as, and that is difficult to find.
I think here of the anecdotal blind person, whose other senses have been heightened to compensate for the loss of the one sense. I too was born without a primary sense, the sense of attraction, but the compensation is a heightened emotional awareness, an empathy or empathic ability. For most of my existence, I have been able to tap into this knowledge base when needed, always at a safe distance from reality mind you and achieve and glean what I can from the safety of my inner world. Only in recovery have I practised human expression, working to communicate verbally through utter disabling emotions, emotions I may not be able to label, but that often render me mumbling and stumbling through tears and snot bubbles to express the depth of my feelings to others. In other words, coming out.
I seriously lack confidence being me. I have no idea what I am good at anymore. And I have so much to learn about simply being responsible for myself that this often becomes that daunting choice at the bus stop; should I stay, or should I go? My past is riddled with poor choices, which of course impacts every choice I consider making in this day, and that triggers my primary coping mechanism of fantasies. Six years and eleven months and I’m still an alcoholic practising alcoholic behaviour. Wonderful…The Friday night speaker shared about asking for help, something not too many of us are readily willing to do, and even if we do, accepting what is offered is yet another hurdle in our development. Again, with the shame…
For me, I am just unaware and apathetic. I guess my non-recovery friends could see all this as just the struggles of life as we all know it, certainly, my XXY tribe has the unique perception of sentient developmentally delayed existence (of course many of us would argue we developed exactly as we were supposed to), and in all reality I have. I have developed to this point. Now ridiculously self-aware and struggling in how best to cope with all that I am aware of, seriously this isn’t just any teddy bear picnic. My recovery friends seem to have a pretty good awareness of this aspect within themselves, albeit as I have said rooted in something individual to them.
On a quick side note, the number of friends I have in recovery that I did not know were in recovery, friends I would consider very close, friends I have tripped with and drank beyond reason with and shared whatever with, truly astonished me. And I know we all get here when we do, nobody could have said or done anything while I was still out there, but after you all became aware of me being in the rooms, you all who reached out, Thank You All!
When I was younger and developing, I would listen to others for assistance in human behaviour, I was pretty desperate to fit in, and thus I was pretty suggestible, simply because I didn’t know any better. I was and still am in many ways ignorant to social interactions, which my XXY tribe can tell you gets us labelled with Asperger’s, but that isn’t it at all.
I’ve heard, read, and listened to so many people trying to relate to what worked for them, trying as best I can to use their wisdom to help me. My apathy knows no bounds. My ability to disassociate is my Jedi skill. I know what the right thing to do could be, I work a morning program, I plan my day ahead, and then I find myself just not giving a shit enough to do it. Even though when I do, do it, I feel good? Apparently, I’d rather feel bad. And this awareness I think we can all consider as not necessarily a good thing. Many at this point would say, do it anyway. Remember my adolescence here and that particular trigger. My self-motivation needs to be something else, something I occasionally have, but for the life of me the only one I could ever identify was trying to prove my worth and value to my parents for having me, (many XXY are terminated even in this day and age), and now they have both passed on and I’m basically hanging out in limbo, as apathetic as is humanly possible. But upon further reflections and a seed planted by one of you, I do have my own experiences to share, which could be helpful to another human being similarly affected by existence.
And that is a cause and that is all I need. If I am being helpful to other’s that is a coping mechanism that I know works for me. Sure, it is a distraction, but it is also a distraction with benefits. Working with those identified populations always worked well for me, brought me a sincere sense of purpose without all the usual human interactive stuff that I have no awareness of, no sense for.
I know exactly when I turned off that road; I was out to dinner with a girlfriend in Loomis, we were having a nice meal at a nice restaurant when my pager went off and I asked to use the restaurant’s phone, I came back and told her I had to go. She replied; “you care more about your clients than you care about me.” And my reply to her was; “of course I do.” Apparently, I was unaware that was not a good reply, I honestly did not understand and for the most part, still don’t. Yet, it was another seed planted to show me how much I did not comprehend about human interactions. So I left that career path in search of something to comprehend and ended up in Our rooms some 15 years later.
Of course, now I am 60 and my hay days were close to twenty years ago in that field, and the consequences I have rendered from my bottom are still active for another year and I am responsible for all of it.
Luckily our chips read; “to thy own self be true” and I’m still discovering what I am and what I can be.
I was responsible today.