A book needs to be written about mid and advanced recovery and what to do once you’ve determined your worth and decided to never allow anyone to treat you poorly again (Susan…hint…hint).
I describe this phase like Pygmalion. H. Higgins plucks the poor Eliza Doolittle from a life of utter poverty and teaches her to pass for a “refined society lady.” Trouble is, once she’s there and passes, she has NONE of the tools or emotional/intellectual resources of that kind of person. Inherently, she is poor. She may look refined, but underneath her spirit she is raw and gritty.
So often I have questioned “Am I making a healthy decision?” or “Is this how a normal person feels?” and come up empty-handed. Inside my head I still think insecure thoughts. But my behavior seems different.
Also, my relationship, as it stands right now, it quite plain. Lacking in any real drama. I love my new man. He loves me. We have fun. It’s not dull. Just plain. That’s it.
And then it occurred to me: THAT’s IT! That’s what normal is. And that’s very probably why no books are written about it.
Normal means, peace. Plain and simple. We tend to read books about conflict. Not peace.
I was put to the test, however, a week ago. My lovely S threw me for a loop and really tested my new value system and tested my level of sincerity for recovery. He did something that I have already determined (as per my values) that I do not want in my life. We talked about this. It was no surprise. He knew when he met me that I cannot have this particular “stuff” in my life. Last week he got involved in this “stuff” and I found out.
At the onset, I was incredibly hurt. I thought “here we again. I have not gotten any better. I’m still dealing with this same crap.”
But then it occurred to me: i may still be dealing with the same crap. But I DO NOT have to deal with it the same way.
I remembered my values.
I remembered my WORTH.
I waited until I calmed down to talk, thus not creating any drama.
Most importantly, I made a decision. If he cannot respect my values, then that’s OK. But I will have to lose him because this particular value is MORE IMPORTANT than the relationship– than putting up with what he wanted to do.
I was INCREDIBLY SAD. I did NOT want to lose him. But i was willing to take the risk of losing him because my values are very important to me. Some I can overlook. But not this one. That is the crux of overcoming love addiction. To save yourself at all costs over the relationship. To be willing to lose the relationship if it means being true and good to yourself.
We talked. I told him very respectfully that I understand his need to incorporate certain things into his life. I originally thought I could “handle” it or I could “accept” it, but i cannot. What this mean, I said to him, is that I must go if you want to continue to live that way. No threat. No ultimatum. No drama. It is what it is.
LUCKILY (and there’s that little residual addict talking), he said, I will not lose you and that “this lifestyle of mine is not as important as keeping you in my life.”
I was blown away. WOW! I actually stood up for myself and peacefully set limits and boundaries and my man did NOT run away or leave me or play any dumb tricks on me.
He stayed. And i was willing to end it all for the sake of MY WORTH. No hysterics. No desperation. No sense of demise or self-hate. But rather, a sense of great pride. We BOTH won. Not just me.
I have come far.
So…we will see. I cannot say that everything is perfect now. Every is perfect for the time being. But that’s not to say that something else won’t crop up and test me. This is life. This is what, I believe, it means to be normal. You will ALWAYS be put in circumstances that test your strength. SOmetimes you’ll make huge progress in the decisions you make. Other times you will fail.