Posted by: innerpilgrimage | July 23, 2013

My First Mandala: Hoping I Have the Inner Awareness to Actually MAKE It to an ACA Meeting Today


      This weekend has proved (or proven, if you grammatically roll that way, too) that I am way off the rez when it comes to mental clarity. I lost my keys. My son who is three states away is having car trouble. I have not made effort to get to meeting of any sort. I have been manically shopping used stuff. I am generally a mess mentally, and I am getting bad sleep.
      Well, the keys were found, though not without drama. I was wretched to my son, blaming, being nasty, being 100% sure that I had lent him my keys. Absolutely crazy until this morning, when I looked in my spouse’s car and found them. I think they dumped out of my purse when I hurled said purse into the back seat. I’m not a purse person. I just am not. Well, I do have this funky bag, but the last time I walked in the rain with it, the bag started smelling like unwashed sheep. It’s been hand-washed, so it shouldn’t smell wretchedly sheepy the next time, but that is not the point. I was trying to control that which I had no business trying to control. I still don’t recall how or when I found or lost them. But I have them and I am being mindful of them–just for today. However, I have had absolute wretched behavior which I am completely in admission that I have been simply horrid to live with. A control freak, not in acceptance of any damned thing.
      I am worried for my son, who is 20. I know he can handle these problems, though he needs a hand held sometimes. I vacillate from trying to shove him out of the nest (as my parents did) or riding in to rescue him. The powerlessness of being three states away is so agitating. I want to fix this, and I am afraid it will affect his ability to work. The thing is, he has options. He has a repair, however, on his car–one which he has to learn to afford. We can’t do it, though we did get him AAA and sent him a little money to cover asking for rides home or getting a taxi home from work. Having done the important stuff (giving him tools to do for himself), I suspect the next important thing is to let him learn to figure out how to afford the repair on a vehicle which has apparently been very gentle so far on him in terms of financial outlays. This I cannot own. But boy-oh-boy, I want to.
      Am I looking outside of myself for a cure, still? I fear I am. It’s a big anxiety, that every time I walk into a 12-Step room, I find myself having too many expectations. We really are neurotics helping neurotics, and I am an isolater. I hide for two reasons: I am afraid people will hurt me, and I tell myself that no one wants to hear my crap. The difficulty is that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, a prayer for a miserable self-imprisonment. All of my energy is put in retreating, and I am right where I was when I was compulsively overeating.
      I just don’t believe the lie that acting out any of my addictions can fix a damned thing.
      On the manic shopping front, as I abandon my self-help library, I am picking up art books and “happy daily thoughts” books. Right now, I have the two OA ones, a couple of Hazelden daily readers, and the CoDA daily reader. Right now, I am considering purchasing another daily reader based on today’s entry for it: Positive Quotes for Every Day by Patricia Lorenz. I’m also looking at two art books, one about making gifts (which has a very Molly Katzen quality to it). The other is called Raw Art Journaling (by Quinn McDonald), and I’m interested in the nature of the journaling projects she has come up with. I’m a big fan of word art, and flipping through it really got me thinking. With art books, I will buy one if 51% of what’s inside is something I would like. The last book I was really deeply inspired by was, oddly enough, Twinkie Chan’s Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies., which I bought because all of the wearable projects were amigurumi cute. Though she only has the one book (so far), she does has an etsy page from which she sells yarn goodies.
      Yes, I get VERY distracted by “the shiny”. I love making amigurumi, and I actually just recently made, without a pattern, both a to-go coffee cup with button eyes and a happy ami cupcake from hope and intuition. Right now, I am obsessively seeking out base patterns for paper cup java sleeves. I’ve been manic, trying to figure out if I have to increase rounds upward on the paper cup. That . . . is not sanity.
      Another mania has been trying to make perfect mandalas–which is really against the freaking point of making mandalas. I’m not making them to be monetized. This isn’t art-for-hire. I am really pissed off at myself that I keep considering the last piece of art I went out of my way to make–a Keeshond puppy in a lifesaver ring–and it was rejected by people who weren’t paying me. It makes me angry and offended when someone says, “Well, do anything,” then WHEN I DO . . . I get a response of, “Well, that really wasn’t what we wanted. Can you . . . ?”
      No, I $%^&-ing well cannot.
      So, I stopped making art. And I get paranoid when people ask me to make art, whining that I am talented. I? Am not talented how people expect. It takes me hours and hours of blood, sweat, toil, and tears to put anything on paper. When I am asked to make art? I say no, because I expect people to want me to make changes. I get suspicious and defensive the minute anyone starts talking to me about drawing them something. Getting art from me is a magic surprise, one that strikes randomly like a bolt of rainbow lightning. I suppose that’s others’ opportunity to practice “letting go”, because I will not make art for hire. I refuse.
      That’s probably the only boundary I have, though it’s harmed me, too. I don’t even make it for me. I don’t want to be like some sort of weird little rodent with my art, but perhaps I should. My art belongs to me. I am SO sick of everyone looking at me and wanting me to monetize it. I have enough white hairs. I actually do, too; I have stopped plucking them from my scalp and am trying to resolve to age gracefully on the outside even as I exist in astrobright cartoon color–which IS something I do for me.
      I just considered I also recently did something for me, despite initially doing it for someone else. Not too far a drive from where I currently live, there’s a mountain. Now, I stopped hiking years and years ago, because of evil Swiss hiking boots which NEVER softened up and always left heel blisters which stung and because of the enforced march quality of my family’s hiking outings. It wasn’t enjoying the journey; it was getting to the destination, turning around, and being dirt-covered and burst-blister-heeled. So, the desire to hike up a mountain really has lost its charm.
      Until yesterday.
      Getting to the trailhead was a beautiful drive through aspens which were taller than I have ever seen them. The trail itself was a narrow root-and-rock shaded footpath. The trees towered, dozens of meters above my head. Fallen trees were around, and the birds were loudly chirping, cheeping, calling. Turf squabbles, calls for companionship, and likely just tweeting for the sake of it. I was filled with wonder by the beauty of it. I could have gone farther, but my spouse (who was the reason we went), decided FOR US that I was the reason we had to turn around–because he was worried I would be a martyr until I decided to be a brat on the way down.
      Ugh, if there’s ever a time when one realizes, post-recovery, how addiction affects the lives of loved ones? This was one of them. I feel frustrated, like no one wants me along yet everyone wants me to DO something for them. I feel angry when that happens; I perceive that I am lied to when people say, “Oh, yes! Jess, we want you along! We want you to be part of this!” then I get complained at for what I didn’t do. Whuh . . . ugh.
      Just had a recovery moment. I do that to people. I probably shouldn’t show them how to treat me like that if I hate it so much.
      Well, uh, so I drew a mandala, which really wasn’t much. It was considered a “Stage Zero” mandala, which is generally a mandala of light. I made a border in indigo. The center was blank. I got inspired to make another one with a lotus flower, floating in a dark field. I do find some people’s mandalas to be amazing, especially the ones which honor nature. I am also a huge fan of labrynthine mandalas. Always loved making mazes. Does this mean anything? No. Sometimes making mazes is just making mazes. I just really loved making mazes of varied complexity, just like I loved making word searches. Just like I used to love drawing on driveways in chalk with friends, making these imaginary fantasy locations and games to play with once we were done. It’s been so long since I made artful landscapes to indulge the vivid fantasy worlds of childhood play. No expectations, no demands, nothing but being in the evolving moment.
      Nostalgia for that . . . is it dangerous to my recovery, or perhaps is it the narrow footpath up to a sense that a Higher Power really is part of my life. That creation, art, beauty, joy, fun, and childlike wonder is part of my life. How odd that I miss that part of childhood, even as I don’t miss hiding in closets, storing myself where I could be yelled for (and not get in trouble) and where I wouldn’t be underfoot or in the way of someone else’s irrational upset over their own unmanageable lives. But there’s no real place for victimhood here any more. I survived using whatever I could to keep my mind from completely cracking under the weight of expectations I could never meet. Expectations which I have carried for decades. I logically know they don’t serve me today. I feel the pain and loss when I act on them; I feel the fear and lack of trust of the world which makes isolation the only “sensible” choice. And I physically feel bitter and sour. I feel the physical muscle pain that I can only describe as what a wrung-out dishtowel would feel if it had feelings. I sense being twisted, drying out in this gnarled form. I want to flow again, like leaves on the wind, like water down a mountain footpath during monsoon rains.
      I want to be natural, and I feel every single social myth I consumed poisoning me from within.
      So, that mental clarity isn’t fast in coming, and I have so many different mental judgments that I need to cast off, to shed. I am coated with these hard-edged expectations, and I am weary. I can’t focus at all. I need real help, and I hope someone will reach out to me, so I can grab hold and stand again in the light. So that I can do that for someone else in the future.
      My name is Jess. I am sick of saying, “I am this addict and that addict” because it makes me feel worse. I don’t feel I am making any progress whatsoever, I don’t feel supported or wanted in group, and I am really hurt and lonely. That said, to be loved, one love. To be accepted, one accepts. I have to reach out; I am just so tired of reaching then feeling like a liar when the sunshine and rainbows and pink fluffy cloud thinking that I spew at meetings comes back to haunt me. Foodwise? I am still abstinent, but I am mentally brutalizing myself because I am not underweight any more. Sex-and-love-wise? I mentally brutalize myself for aging, for not being able to sustain eternal youthful femininity and fertile desirability–which of course objectifies myself as a prize to be fought over and won, to be bought and sold. Codependency-wise? Oh, now if there was ever a wagon I hopped on? That I leapt from. I wanted people to notice, and I am sitting like a pissed-off little budgie with feathers fluffed and ruffled because no one in 12-step seems to care.
      So, for anyone in a 12-Step group? Reach out to freaking newcomers, please, EVERY DAMNED DAY. Just a quick acknowledgement that you know they are alive. And when I finally get off my ass and back into meetings? I will learn this lesson, to SMS or text or email or phone and say hello to just one. Just one.
      Oh, and as another aside? The lack of sponsors in the groups I have attended so far is causing serious damage. I have no accountability, no guidance. No one to reach out to me even as I reach out to them. I put my hand in yours, but you gotta hold on, too–don’t shake my hand out of yours, please. I am very close to just abandoning 12-Step, which is sad because it works for me. I just don’t feel part of the fellowship. Of any fellowship, and that is a VERY lonely place to be.
      That said . . . EVERY single thing I just said applies to me. Everything. Be the change I want to see in the world. Be the change I want to see in program. Together (and I am part of that “together”) we do get better.


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