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hitting the wall
In recovery circles, that is known as the point of no return...when denial lifts and the pain of the truth becomes a harsh reality. When we speak in those terms, many automatically think of substance abuse type addictions. The truth of the matter is that substance abuse, or an addiction of ANY kind, is an attempt to control the psychic pain that surfaces ever so often to remind us that we are not the least bit in charge of the universe.

For me, the wake-up call came disguised as a love affair that knocked me off of my feet. I first met HIM , both of us married, when he came to work at my company from another state. My marriage had always been a lukewarm one at best, and was cemented only by the presence of our 3 year old daughter and a stack of bills a mile high. We had worked different shifts during the entire marriage and pretty much led separate lives. The difficulties of raising a child in those circumstances led me to believe that "if only" we were on the same shift, our family life would be better..that I would be happy. Enter the great crush. I fell hard and fast for his kindness, attention and intelligence, turning a blind eye to his pompous behavior and issues with women. I became friends with his wife and children and our families mingled, but I kept that secret guiltily hidden in my heart the entire time. He was in a loose sort of "counseling" type of position within the organization, and when I finally admitted my feelings he realized that it was out of hand and that I was in crisis because of his weak boundaries. I have learned since then that this a very real occupational hazard for men who counsel women.

That *smack* that you hear is the sound of Poopie hittin' the wall, baggage and all. I began a two year relationship with a counselor, this time a WOMAN, who worked with me to untangle the web of emotions that were running through my head. I was 32 at the time. Up to that point, I had used activity and relationships as a way to numb the pain of my little parcel of head problems. I was the "nice" girl...the dependable one, everybody's friend and saviour. An overachiever at work, I found myself pulling more and more of a load that was gladly tossed my way by co-workers. Who had time to be miserable when everybody counted on you?? I was trying to be perfect.

I cried nearly every day for those two years, sometimes all day. As Bev and I uncovered the ghosts of my past and worked to make them friendly, I struggled to maintain as an employee, mother, wife and friend. I would silently drive the 80 miles to my appointment with thoughts swirling through my head, and leave with a glimmer of hope that someday I would be whole. The trip home was always filled with lots of deep thinking about whatever issue had been dredged up. John Bradshaw, Melody Beattie and Scott Peck were my heroes. I wanted desperately for the pain to go away. As a practitioner in healthcare, I had suffered many losses that I didn't even realize were still haunting me.

I don't remember the content of most of those sessions, only the end result. I became aware that my co-dependent behavior was the cause of most of my misery and I began to change it little by little, one day at a time. The very first time we met, Bev gave me crayons and a blank piece of paper and told me to draw pictures about who I was and what I loved. I'm no artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I found myself pouring my soul into those tiny pictures of water, musical notes and the other joys that defined me as a person. Years later I did the same thing with my daughter and her teenaged friends as they gathered around my kitchen table trying to figure out who they were. They loved it!

By the time I made it through that passage, I was such a different person that the marriage was never the same. My husband, like many men, could not fathom all that "touchy feely stuff" that had changed me so. In short, I changed and he didn't. And it was over at that point, though it took several more years for us to find the courage to end it. He has always seen himself as ten feet tall and bulletproof. Like I saw myself, before.

We are long divorced now, for the most part amicably. Our daughter has dealt with it well, except when she began to see HIM heading for the wall. It has been a rapid spiral downward for the past six months, and I believe that his wall is looming quickly before him. Why am I telling all this? Because somebody somewhere out there is right where he is and right where I once was...on the brink of realizing that there must be changes made to survive. And it helps to know that someone else has been there. Nobody can run away from the pain. All you can do is grit your teeth and muddle through it to the other side where the rainbow is.

Y'all keep the faith. ^j^
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