Sunday, 1 November 2020

When I made the decision to get Sober, I also made the decision to delete Tinder. Before I deleted it, I went back for one more man. I just couldn’t leave him behind. I’m going to call him Anonymous. He’s Anonymous because his anonymity needs to be protected. I swiped right on Anonymous because his bio said he’s working on himself and looking for friends. I thought to myself, “I’m also working on myself and need some friends. He can be my friend.” Swiping right, and then going back to give him my phone number were good decisions.

When I first started talking to Anonymous, he was 60 days sober. I was not. I was super drunk and going through what would be my last episode of undiagnosed and untreated premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I wasn’t in a good place. He told me the things he does to work on himself. I’m at a place in my life where I’m super attracted to people who are working on themselves. I’m learning that working on oneself looks different for everyone. He and I seem to do basically the same things; lots of physical activity, work, and just being a good human and being the best version of ourselves we can be. Being sober is a huge part of being the best version of ourselves.

Since getting sober, I’ve been talking to Anonymous a lot. I feel safe when I talk to him. I feel valued and unjudged. He is a busy man, but makes time to talk to me and make sure I’m ok and staying sober. I text him more than anyone else in my life.

Currently, my freedom quest has me in a place where I’m rebuilding my village. Since becoming free, I’ve watched as my village has become dismantled, one villager at a time. I’m not complaining about it. I’m thankful for it. I have been praying and have given God control of my life. I didn’t do such a great job with it, so it’s His turn now. He’s shown me that I did not have a village of reliable people. These village people certainly are not healthy enough to maintain the type of positive friendships I need in my life right now.

I met Anonymous last week. We made plans to go kayaking together. Even before kayaking happened, things started going wrong. He almost couldn’t make it, but did. Then, more things started going wrong. As each thing went wrong, he just rolled with it. I kept waiting for him to become angry, but he didn’t. He just fixed each thing as it went wrong, and then we went kayaking. We had such a great time. I flipped my kayak over and injured myself, but he did not poke fun at me. He was genuinely concerned. He laughed of course, but not until I was laughing about it. It was pretty hilarious. I laugh every time I tell the story, and I hope he does too.

After our very adventurous kayaking trip, we went about our day and resumed our normal texting routine. Anonymous is the first friend that I’ve made since leaving my abuser and dismantling my village. Letting him know me has been scary and exciting all at the same time. It’s exciting because I made a friend who appreciates me. It’s scary because I am still completely broken from my marriage. The whole time I’m texting him, I’m wondering: if I’m sharing too much; what he’s thinking about what I’m telling him; if he will use it against me later; when he will discard me.

This week, all of my insecurities escaped my brain and were released into text messages to Anonymous. My words were mean and not nice at all. I accused him of judging me, which made him angry. Of course, he wasn’t judging me about my financial problems; why would he? I’ve told him much worse things than my bank account balance, and he didn’t judge that. He saw my house a mess and didn’t judge that. He’s only shown me that he can be trusted and he is a judgment-free zone. My brokenness got in the way and hurt my friend.

The next day, Anonymous was supposed to come over to help me fix an electrical problem and a hole in the wall that my dog made. When I was reaching out to people to help me with my wall, Anonymous is the only person who was willing to make time in his busy life to ensure the girls and I have a safe home to live in, that won’t catch on fire. Something came up the first time he was supposed to come, but we rescheduled pretty effortlessly. Instead of patiently waiting for him to process his anger and deal with things happening in his own life, I sent another mean and insensitive text message to him.

His response was almost immediate, and it sliced through me like a super sharp knife. He wasn’t mean in his response but pointed out my own selfishness and self-centeredness. If you’ve ever had that experience before, then you understand the brokenness I felt as I read his words and realized that I am a terrible friend. I didn’t know before that moment just how much I have been hurting those around me with my insecurities and selfishness. I allowed myself to be overwhelmed with insecurity and pushed away my only friend.

I had not been to an AA meeting in a few days, so that night I went to a Zoom meeting. Anonymous had been telling me for weeks that I need to get to in-person meetings, and I need to get myself a sponsor. He told me it’s important to have my chips. I haven’t been to an in-person meeting yet, but I did find a regular Zoom meeting that meets every night. They even send out chips. My white chip is in the mail. I asked for a list of women so I can find a sponsor. Using that list, I found a sponsor. I will meet with her for the first time tomorrow. Next week, on my days off, while the kids are in school, I’ll attend my first in-person meeting. I’ll make sure to go every day I’m off work while the girls are in school. It’s going to be scary, but I’m going to do it. Like the gym, my anxiety-reducing supplements, and talk therapy, in-person AA meetings, and meetings with my sponsor will become part of my routine. I am willing to do whatever it takes to heal and be a better human being.

Maybe if I had listened and taken his advice sooner, I would have discovered my selfishness while talking to my sponsor instead of hurting my friend. I don’t know if he will ever speak to me again. I have to find a way to be ok with that. It’s up to him, and the ball is in his court now. There isn’t anything I can do to change what I did. I can’t go back in time and not send those text messages, though I wish I could. I can’t go back and consider what my words may trigger inside my friend. We are addicts, so our past lives are full of trauma and hurt that we are healing from. If he does decide to speak to me again, I can't promise to not make future mistakes, but I can promise to learn and grow from them to prevent making the same mistakes again. Like Anonymous, I am serious and dedicated to my recovery and becoming a better human being.

I have apologized more than once, and that’s all I can do. I know it isn’t enough, and an apology won’t fix the hurt I’ve caused. I keep comparing myself and this situation to the behaviors of my abuser. I did not accept his apologies because I knew they were meaningless, and he would do it again. The difference between him and me is that when I said I’m sorry, I really meant it. Now that I know I have some pretty huge character defects, I’m working on it. I never want to be in this place again. I do not enjoy hurting those I care about.


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  2. I'm proud of you. No one is doing this perfectly. Keep one foot in front of the other. You GOT this because God's got you!