Carson

Yesterday, I talked to Carson. In addition to all of his other problems, he’s in a bad place financially. If things don’t start working out for him soon, he’s going to be homeless. He told me that two nights earlier he got really drunk and then took a handful of sleeping pills, nearly overdosing. Yesterday morning, he woke up staring at the rafters of his celling and thought about hanging himself, so he took another sleeping pill and went back to sleep. My afternoon phone call woke him up.

My response? “That sucks and all but, can I come over and fuck you?” I didn’t use those exact words; I’m not a monster. I put it a lot more tactfully, but that’s what I meant.

Later I was thinking about what a selfish asshole I am. This whole time I’ve been thinking that Carson is bad for me, looking at him like he’s my version of a bottle of booze — a bad habit I’ve picked up but know I’ll eventually be strong enough to put down again. But he’s not a substance, he’s a person and I’m just as bad for him as he is for me. Worse, maybe. I’m not a healthy person right now, and I’m only going to drag Carson down. There isn’t much further he can go.

My typical pattern is to have sex with someone first, then maybe develop a friendship with him later. With a little recovery under my belt, I flipped this formula around with Carson. We hung out for a full two months before anything sexual happened between us. I care about Carson. I wish I could be a positive force in his life and boost him up, but I’m too fucked up to help.

This needs to stop. I need to get better before I can attempt another romantic relationship with someone, and I need to stay away from Carson. If I can’t do it for the sake of my health, I need to do it for the sake of his. I am powerless over the disease of sex and love addiction, though.  Knowing I need to stop some behavior has never before been enough to make me stop. I need to rely on God now more than ever.

Thy will, not mine, be done.

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Acceptance is the Answer

From page 417 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.

One Day at a Time

Yesterday, after work, I went over to Carson’s place. I acted out with him. It was physically, and somewhat emotionally fulfilling. He is a good lover. About ten minutes later, while we are lying in bed naked, he got a phone call and went into the other room. Moments later he came back handing me my purse and my sweater, “Sorry sweetie, you have to go, my friend is here.”

Thirty seconds later, I’m semi-dressed (tights and panties stuffed into my purse, carrying my sweater) and being ushered out the back door, while some other girl is waiting for Carson at the front door. I was thinking, Am I really still doing this shit!?!?

I could care less about the nature of Carson’s friendship with this other chick. He says that they are just friends, but she likes him. He, probably rightly, thinks it would be awkward if we met. He could be lying or he could be telling the truth. Carson isn’t my boyfriend and so it really isn’t any of my business. What’s at issue here is the indignity of having to sneak out the back door carrying the undergarments I didn’t have time to put back on, because one of his more respectable friends dropped by unannounced. This isn’t the way I’m meant to be living my life.

Driving home I decided that this thing with Carson had ran it’s course. I had my fun and was ready to get back on track.

This morning, though, I found myself wondering about Carson’s plans for tonight. Thinking about how much he would like the green dress I was planing on wearing for St. Patrick’s Day. Ugh! I hate this disease so fucking much.

I am taking good care of myself. So far, I have had a healthy Saturday. I went to yoga in the morning and then went to a meeting. Today is day five in my 30-in-30 (one meeting a day, for 30 days). Later today, I’m going to a mediation workshop. I know that I won’t be able to see Carson tonight, even though I want to. He has a friend in town and I’m sure he will be hanging out with him. So I know that for today, I won’t act out. Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow.

Leigh and The Fun House

A few years back, I had just ended a relationship, of sorts, with Anthony. I was still obsessively hung up on him and hoping we would reconcile so I wasn’t ready to start dating again. I was, however, quite ready to start having sex again. I turned to my old friend/foe craigslist.

At the time, I was very into the dominant daddy/submissive little girl roleplay dynamic so I searched for “daddy” under m4w in casual encounters. I had plenty of choices. I don’t remember what the text of Leigh’s ad said, but I do remember he posted a charming picture of his penis.

I met Leigh the next day for coffee. He was a few years younger than me and a recent college grad from a fancy private school. Leigh was very good looking and seemed normal enough. He told me where he lived and I knew the apartment building. It was a nice place. He also brought his adorable puppy with him, a black lab. All of this made me feel safe.

Since there were no red flags (and since he was hot) I agreed to meet Leigh at his place the following evening. His place was nice, and he also had a cat. I usually have pretty good instincts that tell me when I’m in danger, but the fact that Leigh was an animal lover with two pets (he also claimed to be a vegetarian) perhaps gave me a false sense of security. Wrong or not, when I picture a serial killer, I don’t see a vegetarian with pets.

We had a couple of glasses of wine and then started making out on his couch. He took off my clothes, put a blindfold on me and then led me to his bedroom, where we proceeded to have sex. At some point he also tied my hands behind my back. I met him knowing we were going to engage in D/s play, so the blindfold and the restraints, while maybe not a good idea, were inline with what we had discussed before hooking up.

The sex was good. Maybe a little too good. I asked if he was wearing a condom. He assured me he was. It didn’t feel like it, though. I began to get a little paranoid that this guy who I’d just met was fucking me without a condom. I asked him again and he got mad at me, said I wasn’t being a good sub.

Eventually he untied my hands and flipped me on my back. Bad sub that I was, I took the opportunity to remove the blindfold. Surprise, surprise. Not only was this stranger who I had just met on craigslist inside of me without a condom, he was also holding a video camera.

My immediate impulse was to knock the camera out of his hands, which I did. Then I demanded that he erase what he had filmed. This asshole had the nerve to get pissed at me, claiming I had broken his camera (I hadn’t). He then attempted some smoke and mirrors bullshit while he fiddled around with the camera, claiming to delete the video, which I still don’t think he actually did. He also was pissed that I had “ruined” his film. He apparently was planning the big reveal for a more dramatic moment. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I’d had a throw down with a sex partner over a camera. You can read about the first time here.

At this point, I was in a situation that any sexually adventurous young woman could have gotten into. I had met Leigh in public, felt safe with him, and agreed to go to his apartment the next day. I had even let a friend know where I was and texted the address to her before I went. I’d been responsible enough and there were no warning signs that this guy was a creep. Here’s what separates a “normal” sexually adventurous young woman from me, a sex and love addict with unhealthy boundaries: I didn’t get the hell out of there. I stayed and continued fucking him (but made him put on a condom).

He was pretty rough, which I was into, but he was also into slapping me in the face, which I wasn’t into. He slapped me so hard that the next day little purple spots, broken blood vessels, decorated my eyelids.

When the sex was over, things started to get really weird. I was in his bathroom, sitting on the toilet, peeing, when all of the sudden he bursts in and just stands there, like an idiot. “Um, do you mind? I’m trying to pee.” He continued to stand there with a huge grin on his face. “What the fuck are you doing? Get out!” I screamed. No reaction. “Please leave!” I told him. Leigh leaned over and kissed me full, on the lips, then finally left. What a weirdo.

When I got out of the bathroom, I found Leigh standing over my purse, with my cell phone is his hands. He was going through my text messages. “Wow, you really have a lot of Daddies, you little slut!”

“What the fuck is wrong with you? Give me my phone back!”

Leigh went into grade school mode, holding the phone above my head, just out of my reach, laughing hysterically as he continued going through my texts. This was a grown man, a college graduate with his own apartment.

I was not in the mood for this childish bullshit. I went to find my shoes, so I could leave. But I couldn’t find them. This motherfucker had hidden my shoes. I used to do this same brilliant move to extend playtime with my cousins when I was five and it was time for them to go home. “Where did you put my shoes?” I asked, exhausted.

“Why would I put your shoes anywhere?” Um, because you’re a psycho, I thought.

We got into an argument with me searching his place, demanding that he give my shoes back, and him insisting that he hadn’t hidden them. The conclusion of this was him reaching under one of his couch cushions, and thrusting my shoes at me with a, “Here! They’re just where you left them!… under the couch cushion.”

At last, it was time to leave Leigh’s fun house. He walked me to my car and kissed me good night. He told me he’d had a nice time and wanted to see me again, acting like we’d just gone to dinner and a movie. I would have been sick enough to see him again, if he had ever called me. But he never did.

Shake It Out


Just a quick post to let you all know I’m still here, fighting against my demons. I’m mostly winning, but as the name of my blog suggests, I’m doing so imperfectly. I’m working on some longer posts that I will publish soon. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the video and the lyrics to Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out.” The lyrics feel both apropos, at the moment, as I try to shake a devil off my back; and inspirational, as I try to remember that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Note: The actual Florence and The Machine video won’t imbed so I am replacing it with a beautiful choral cover by the Capital Children’s Choir.

“Shake it Out” by Florence + The Machine

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around

And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so empty
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah…

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found a devil in me
Looking for heaven, found a devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Family of Origin

I spent Christmas in the city my mother grew up. “Springfield” is a smaller city a few hours southeast of here. When my mom lived there, the population was around 40,000. Now it’s at least eight times that size. Even though Springfield doesn’t exactly qualify as a small town anymore, it still feels kind of backwoodsy to me.

My mom was the third of four children born to hardcore Catholics. She has an older brother and sister, and a younger brother. My mom left Springfield when she went off to college. I want to make her seem cooler than she was and say she moved to the big city and never looked back, but I don’t think she had any hard feelings towards the place. Growing up, we spent a lot of weekends and holidays there at my grandparents’ house. Her younger brother, Ned, also left Springfield after high school. Uncle Ned and his family move around every few years for his job, but they currently live on the other side of the country.

Christmas was with my Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz, my mom’s older siblings. They both still live in Springfield. Looking at these two, it’s evident that my addictions/issues/compulsions/whatever they are weren’t born in a vacuum. I don’t know if it’s genetic or environmental, but these two have the same thing as me.

My Uncle Michael married his high school sweetheart right after he graduated from college. He went on to have a successful career in a esteemed field. He was married to my Aunt Beverly for 25 years, but they never had kids. One day he came home from work and she was gone. According to my uncle, in preparation for this departure, she had charged up all their credit cards, and drained all of their bank accounts. She then moved in with a boyfriend she had secretly had for several months. This happened when I was in high school. I was close to my Aunt Beverly before this happened and I’d like to think my uncle’s account was exaggerated, but I have no way of knowing for sure. After she left my uncle, I never saw or heard from Aunt Beverly again.

Less than a year later Uncle Michael was already in a serious relationship with this woman named Lauren. They’ve been together ever since. I don’t even know where to begin with this bitch. My uncle is one of the most respected men in Springfield, not to mention highly educated and professionally successful, and she treats him like he’s some idiot schlub who spends all day lounging around on the couch in his boxer shorts, scratching his balls. She is emotionally and verbally abusive and he just takes it. They never married (he’s proposed and been rejected several times), but he bankrolls her entire existence. They own a couple of different houses. While I’m sure she didn’t put a cent into any of these properties, her name is on all the deeds. I don’t even think they live together the majority of the time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she also has a boyfriend. He has also completely adopted her family (she has two grown kids and four grandkids). He financially supports them as well. While he makes a good living, Lauren and her family are draining him dry. He is really close to her grandkids and considers them his grandchilden. And they are sweet kids. It’s not their fault their grandma’s a cunt.

Part of me is a little jealous of Lauren’s family. Uncle Michael and I were never particularly close. When I was a kid, my mom told me that Uncle Michael doesn’t like children, basically telling me not to take it personally that he always ignored me. He loves Lauren’s grandkids, though. Now that I am an adult, we are closer, but he’s much closer to Lauren’s adult children. I think one reason he doesn’t end things with Lauren is that he is so attached to her family. The bigger reason, though, is that he is terrified of being alone.

My Aunt Liz has been married for close to 40 years. No one in my family likes my Uncle Kevin (including me), just like no one likes that bitch Lauren. They  never had children. My Aunt Liz is the kindest, most generous woman I have ever known and her husband is the most misanthropic, curmudgeonly man I have ever known. Like my Uncle Michael does for Lauren, Aunt Liz completely bankrolls Kevin’s existence; although on a much smaller scale, since Liz makes a modest income. Kevin has rarely worked since they have been married. Even though Aunt Liz is the sole breadwinner in the family, Kevin wears the pants. He verbally abuses my aunt to the point that she has next to no self-esteem. He routinely calls her fat, and cheats on her; at least he used to when he was younger, doubt he has much prospects or even the ability to get it up these days (he’s older than her, and has got to be closing in on 70).

I’ve always been pretty close to my Aunt Liz. She’ll call me up and tell me about some shit that Kevin did to her. Nothing makes me angrier than my loved ones being mistreated. “Throw! That! Bitch! Out!” I want to scream into the phone, but I usually manage to be a bit more polite. I tell her that she deserves better and that she doesn’t have to put up with this. The next day, she’ll call me up and tell me she was just having a bad day. “We don’t always get along perfectly, but I really love your Uncle Kevin. He’s my soulmate.” I don’t believe in the idea of a soulmate. I think there are potentially thousands, if not millions of people one could connect, fall in love and live happily ever after with. But if I did believe in this silly notion, there is no way that that asshole Kevin is my sweet Aunt Liz’s soulmate.

I stayed with Uncle Michael over Christmas. Aunt Liz was supposed to join us, but she ended up getting pretty sick. On Christmas Eve, I dropped off some cookies I had made for Aunt Liz and, by default Uncle Kevin (would never make that twat cookies on his own). I called her up Christmas morning to see if she was feeling any better. She said that she had had a rough night, that Kevin had been mean to her. She was about to eat one of the cookies I had made and he said to her, “why don’t you go take a look in the mirror before you eat that.” That bitch! When I was over there he stuffed no fewer than one third of the cookies that I had lovingly made for MY AUNT into his gaping maw, and she didn’t touch any because she wasn’t feeling well. Then she goes to have her first one and he has the balls to shame her for it. On Christmas Eve! Who the fuck does he think he is?

Then she said to me, sounding more depressed than I have ever heard her sound, “single people might think they are lonely, but the pain of being alone in no way compares to the loneliness and pain someone can feel being in a relationship.” Merry fucking Christmas! Later that day, I told my Uncle Michael what she had said (the people in my family are far too polite to criticize Lauren and Kevin to their faces, but have no trouble throwing shade behind their backs) and he agreed with her statement so emphatically that it became clear he was no longer talking about Aunt Liz and Uncle Kevin. Merry fucking Christmas, again.

I was depressed as fuck after these conversations. It’s one thing if someone just wants to park him or herself in a shitty relationship and just deal with it for the rest of his or her lives, but I can see that the stresses of these relationships are killing my aunt and uncle. Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz are both compulsive overeaters (as am I) and severely overweight, to the point that they are having major health complications (don’t judge me for the cookies, I really didn’t give them very many). My Aunt Liz can barely walk half a block and my Uncle Michael would react by visibly stuffing food in his mouth every time Lauren would berate him. They also both self-medicate (as do I), one with pills and alcohol, and the other with pills and marijuana. Also, they both seem so fucking sad.

Clearly, like their niece, these two are love addicts. They also abuse food, alcohol, drugs, and have issues with depression. Looking at both of them, I see how my life could go, and that scares me, because neither one of them seems to be leading a particularly pleasant existence. It also pains me seeing two of the people I love in such pain. I don’t have many parent figures left in my life, and I fear that if they don’t find healthier ways of dealing with their issues they won’t be here for too much longer.

One thing that separates me from my aunt and uncle is that I don’t get trapped in toxic long term relationships. I have had exactly one long term relationship in my life (you can read about Peter here) and the experience was so traumatic that I haven’t been able to commit to anyone since. I don’t know that bouncing from one toxic four month relationship to another toxic four month relationship is necessarily any better than staying in one awful relationship for years and years; but it feels a lot less lonely, just like my aunt said.

When I was driving home from Springfield, I noticed something. Despite the depressing time I had in Springfield, I felt okay. Not great, not awful, but okay. When I was constantly dating and acting out with men, I only ever felt elation or agony. I would feel elation at the beginning of a new romance or sexual relationship. This feeling of ecstasy was usually short lived and quickly replaced by intense agony. Agony that he didn’t seem to be as into me as he was at first, agony that he wasn’t responding to my calls/texts quickly enough, and agony at realizing that he had lied to me and he wasn’t who I thought he was. I will take feeling “just okay”, to feeling agony, any day.

As I pull myself back on track after all the slipping I did this past couple of weeks, I need to remember this.

Twenty-one Days

I had a therapist tell me once, years ago, that it takes 21 days to form or break a habit. For some reason, this statement popped up in my brain the other day. Breaking bad habits and forming new ones is a big part of my recovery, so I decided to look into it.

I googled this factoid and found a myriad of self-help type websites that said “experts agree” or “research has shown” that it takes 21 days to make/break/change a habit without citing the actual experts or research. I even found an iphone app. It’s $0.99 though, so eff that (yes, I really am that cheap).

With a little more digging, I found that the 21 Day Habit Theory was first introduced by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. He was a plastic surgeon who worked with amputees and found that it takes an average of 21 days for the phantom sensation of the lost limb to cease. Later, he applied this finding to work with his plastic surgery patients. He found that many of them maintained their negative self-image even after surgery had given them the results they sought. He found that before surgery, he could use this same 21 day period to help patients improve their self-esteem, through visualization, to the point where they no longer wanted surgery. It doesn’t seem like this discovery would be in his best interest, except he published a bestselling self-help book in 1960. His theory was that it takes the human mind about 21 days to adjust to a major life change.

In the five plus months of my sobriety I’ve broken many bad habits. Here’s a list of a few of them. I’ve replaced them with some good habits, writing this blog, for example. But I’ve also replaced them with some bad habits. Sure, I don’t come home from work and waste the rest of my evening online on dating and sex sites, but I do come home and waste the rest of the evening in bed watching tv. I’m not going on dates with three or four men a weekend, but I’m also hardly leaving my house on the weekends.

I know a lot of it has to do with the season. It was easy for me to work out and take yoga classes during the summer, but now it’s cold, dark when I wake up, and dark by the time I’m home from work. I don’t want to do shit but turn on the heat, eat fancy cheeses and chocolate, drink wine and curl up in bed. But this isn’t taking care of myself. So I’m going to apply this 21 day habit theory and do some form of physical exercise for 21 days. Hopefully, after 21 days, it will become a habit that I automatically do without having to force myself or work up special motivation. Not only will regular exercise benefit me physically and mentally, it will also get me out of the house. I’ll let you know the results of this experiment in about three weeks.

Are there any habits any of you want to change? Have you ever successfully used the 21 day model to change a habit?