Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 2, 2010

Just Between Us . . .

      There is a song by Rush entitled Entre Nous. I think about the Twelve Steps and realize it is a wonderful song that can be applied to the promises of recovery, of our diversity in our individual journeys being a gift.

      I take hope in the chorus of this song:

“Just between us
I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show.
Just between us
I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between
Leave room for you and I to grow.”

      The “differences we sometimes fear to show” are so much a part of our addiction, aren’t they? How many hours have I spent molding myself into someone else to please them? How much of my life have I spent being so afraid of being different, imperfect, unacceptable, useless? Recognize the differences that make me special, unique. Recognize that desire to create, to give, to make things good, to make a positive difference in the world. Recognize I build, I learn, I have empathy. Recognize that I possess the spiritual gift of real and unconditional love. Recognize that as I have been given this love freely and with no need of reimbursement so I can give it freely–that I am asked to disseminate it.
      I was reading, recently, about enmeshment. It’s a Venn diagram of two circles nearly overlapping one another. Very little of each circle is independent of the other. There is no room to grow within enmeshment. One is so deeply entrenched in the other person–in trying to not be different–that the boundaries are so deeply broached that one is strait-jacketed into that relationship. With addiction, the overlap is the same, though it looks as though the enmeshment is within one’s self. The addicted self, desperate not to feel or experience the grief of a life so far out-of-control as the need to be in control of everything internal and external cannot be met, is in torment. The real self is enmeshed with the addict self, exhausted and unable to get away from the tormented self because both selves are housed in the same body.
      I envision the enmeshment of the addict self and addict self as a lunar eclipse–the addict self starts to cover the bright white light of the real self. It dims us, taints us, until it covers us nearly completely. Our personal eclipse can last years or decades or even our whole lives. Recovery begins when the sliver of the real self fights to extract itself, pushing it aside just far enough to get real help. In recovery–whatever it looks like for an individual–the addict and the recovered self separate. The recovered self becomes its own entity, and its awareness separates it from the addiction farther and farther. It is still there and can eclipse us again. Unlike an eclipse, we can do a sort of magic. A daily awareness of the need to recover and the active effort to recover combine to keep the shadow of addiction away. And, if I am ever eclipsed again by relapse, I can seek recovery again and shine bright again.
      When I am released, I am able to begin the process of working our boundaries. I have real room outside of enmeshment to grow. I have space to reach out, to become as deeply involved in the real as I want to be. While it is true that I still need that fantasy time so I can embrace the playful nature of the real self, the fantasy world that addiction imprisons me in is not the same place of fantasy. One is based in creativity; one is based in fear. It is my choice to turn toward one and turn away from the other.
      I like that I have room to grow, that I am one to myself, solitary but not alone. And the relationships I do have, I can choose to create bonds with others. While some are healthy, some are not. But as I continue in recovery, I am able to recognize what is safe and what is not. There are some friendships and even familial relationships to which I am bound. Ones that I have trouble breaking . . . though offhand I cannot come up with any reasons. But I know I have trouble breaking them–whether or not that comes from a place of addiction (being enmeshed with them and craving their acceptance over my sanity) or recovery (seeking forgiveness and giving forgiveness).
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. It feels like only a little growth, but it’s something valuable. Sometimes a simple thing–like the steps have been for me–can make all the difference.

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