Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feeling Like a Crustacean

I am a very selfish person.  I am very self-centered and self-absorbed.  I spend all of my time hovering inside the confines of my own head.  My recovery, as it is, is very self-focused, self-driven and decidedly narcissistic to date.  I go to meetings, and I write in a blog, I go to sessions with my T, I frequent forums online that allow me to express what I find so hard to express in any way other.  

I attended, with the very lovely and very talented one, an anniversary open meeting for a local Al-Anon group.  The speakers were a couple who'd had 80 years in program between them.  Firstly, it was wonderful to go out with my wife, even under the current strains, but mostly I knew that I wouldn't feel uncomfortable in that setting, short of the uneasiness I feel that I know that there are people there that she has told about my idiocy and my hurtful behaviors.  But even in that, I knew, and know, that they are not there to judge me, and that as long as I continue to try to reach out, that I will even feel comfortable with that.  But the speak said something, and I heard him loud and clear.  He spoke about always having felt different, always having felt uncomfortable in his skin.  I heard that loud and clear.  But then he said something I really heard, and that was that he was an entirely selfish person.  Totally self-absorbed in the context of his own pain.  It felt like an arrow in my heart, because I heard my own feelings being expressed out loud.  That is me, and who I've been for my adult life.  Wrapped up in the real agony I've been feeling and gradually having everything else obscured to it.  I don't see anything or anyone else, for the thundering sound of my unresolved fears.  

I am trying, in the moment, to slow down and sit with my feelings, so to speak, because I feel a great deal of guilt around this realization.  I am struggling to do the one thing I really need, and that is to comfort myself with the realization that I can do a million little cumulative things to change myself and my actions.  It is pretty hard to even contemplate forgiving myself, frankly because I don't know how to do that.  But that is what I need.  


  1. "always having felt different, always having felt uncomfortable in his skin."

    It's powerful stuff, isn't it? And even crazier when you think that its only financial cost is an optional $1-2 per meeting.

    I've come to think of that "different/ uncomfortable inside own skin" as the core symptom for all 12 Steppers. I've also recently come to call that (as short hand) "the shame core," based primarily on John Bradshaw's ideas. I'm hard pressed to think of 12 Steppers I know from any arena who don't share that trait.

    Put another way, certainly there's some good reason why the same basic treatment (12 Steps in the context of 12 Traditions) can help alcoholics get sober, gamblers stop gambling, anorexics start eating, control freaks learn to "let go with love," etc etc. I mean, that's not very intuitive. Like germs or penicillin: the ills or indicated treatments can look quite different on the outside until you can figure out what the root problem is.

  2. Added Dr. Bradshaw's work to my Kindle. I am struck by your intuition on the common thread that binds us.