With Sobriety comes Emotions but what about dismantling relationships? Let’s talk feelings
A little over a year ago I made a decision that at the time didn’t seem like it would affect my life all that much. And yet here I am a year later completely changed, an entirely different person living in an entirely different world. A world that changed even before COVID 19 had arrived to impact every single life in the world that we’re living in. I don’t consider myself special, unique, or usually all that smart. What I do consider myself as is a human doing her best to survive in a world that at times seems bent on destroying every piece of my soul. So, 15 months ago I left the United States, I left to embark on the journey of healing my body from a miserable, depression inducing illness, I left behind family, friends, a group of people I had become close to. I left with promises to keep in touch, promises to call or text daily, weekly, future plans for coffee, cupcakes, and dinner meetups. I left behind a relationship on pause with the purpose of returning to it.
As we make changes in our life in the thought of healing, growing, positive changes what we often glaze over is the impact that it will have on us. Sure we know that we’re going to change, change for the better! We’re going to be healthy, happy, able to live our lives as we’re meant to live them. What we don’t know is that when we change something, change for the better well all of those other negative things will come out, those things that weren’t so bad when other things were bad. And when we embark on this positive change we have to prepare ourselves for whatever chaos, happiness, and changes that occur as the result of one change. What I am speaking of here is when I left the United States to cure a Fistula with Kshar Sutra treatment I didn’t know I would also be letting go of multiple relationships, friends, family, lies would be exposed, truths would be revealed, and not only would I gain a new physical well being but I would also have to gain a new mental being. What does that even mean? How can I pursue a treatment to heal a fistula and simultaneously manage to lose so many things that were important to me?
There is a saying I’ve heard a few times: We’re never given more than we can handle. We either make it or it breaks us. I drank away my life for so many years, I used alcohol to numb myself out, my dad died, I drank; my life was miserable, I drank; poor me, drink; you get the point, eventually I stopped once I realized I really didn’t want to die, I wanted to live, not only life I wanted and want to thrive. I want to share my story, I want to dismantle the stigma of alcohol, of addictions and share that we can change our lives no matter what obstacles we may face. Here I was a sober woman from a family of drug addicts and mentally ill family members, proof that no matter our raising, our family we can choose what we want from life.
15 months ago I came to India and underwent Kshar Sutra Treatment, I can honestly say it worked, I became fistula free, I met the best doctor who cares for far more than just making money on treatments, and if I ever have a problem similar again or any problem for that matter he’s the one I consult. During treatment my life changed, I lost a romantic relationship the lies of that brought to light. The lies that maybe I knew were there but I was unwilling to face. I’ve always heard the wife, the girlfriend, etc is the last to know what’s going on in the relationship, who’s cheating, who’s loyal, who’s on the side. Sure they’ll have warning signs- I did, but it’s so much easier to ignore them than face them. Eventually though the truth just becomes so much in your face that you have to accept it, you have to go through the pain, the anger, the betrayal, embarrassment, hatred, and soul-crushing feelings that envelope you.
I would love to say that I’ve moved on but how does someone move on when the feelings keep coming back, the anger, the acute embarrassment of living a lie for so long. Here I am over a year fistula free, living in India, in the most amazing relationship of my life, happy, but I would be lying if I were to say my life is perfect. I think what I’ve struggled through these past 15 months the most is the fact that as soon as my life wasn’t what others expected my friends went away, the group of women I considered my best of friends left. My family treated me differently, I was viewed different. I’m not so egotistical that I won’t admit my part. When you find out someone has betrayed you- you change. Your world view changes. Your heart and soul change. You harden. You fear you don’t want to share, you wrap yourself up so that no one else can hurt you. It’s not healthy, you don’t want help, you just want to internalize. My old romance wasn’t perfect, it was actually very far from perfect, it was rushed, cute, it was built on lust and fell apart on betrayal. I thought I was special, I was immune to what society suggested would happen to me, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t immune I was so far away from being immune that it’s laughable to look at my life back then and look at it now and think that I stayed for so long. Once I found out this person had betrayed me in so many ways, I had to look deep, look deep at clues I didn’t want to see, hear words I didn’t want to hear, and see things that were in front of my face that I didn’t want to see before. I stopped talking to my friends for weeks, I was sad, I was upset, I was being told that it was normal, but I had to step up and make decisions. Didn’t they know that I thought I had this life and now I no longer did? Relationships led to hurt and betrayal and it was best to hold myself back. Sure I had just learned how to open up but if this was the cost I never wanted to do this again. Romance, kids, friends, family were just pathways to pain. I’ve had enough pain in my life. I’ve been abused, traumatized, and I was tired of it.
Life has went on; everything I went through in the first few months of treatment, separation, hurt, betrayal has changed me. I was angry, hurt, and betrayed I made things official in my life and left the relationship. I stepped away from my program of Recovery and spurned it, when I needed the unconditional support of ladies, the ability to just be quiet for a time was the time they all demanded me to rush back to the US, that I reach out, that I meet their expectations, I felt all of these things, I was told to do things and I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. Not then. I needed time. I needed time to make foolish decisions, to try and tear my life apart with poor choices. Impulsive decisions, I put my life at risk by staying out late going to dance clubs, flirting with men. And through it all a light came into my life. Yes this is the sappy part of meeting someone who changed my life and made my life bearable, happy, liveable.
A guy, my current partner did not save my life- never think a man, a relationship, someone can save you. They can’t only you can, but what he did do was give me the courage to come out of the foolish self-destructive months I was in. I began peeking out of some of the hurt, the bubble I had wrapped around myself. I would like to say I instantly went back to myself, but I no longer knew who I was. I didn’t want to go back to being a passive woman who lives to take care of someone else who I can no admit I used to be. I liked the idea of being a badass woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. But I’m not. So I settled into being a somewhat angry woman who digs dip for positivity. I slowly began trusting and with the trust I gradually let go of being someone I wasn’t, a person I hated being that was completely not me. I let go of self-destructive adventures and focused on writing. On finding myself again. The relationship deepened. I had no desire to go back to the United States, I knew I needed time to find myself again.
In the U.S people make divorce seem easy, even if the people loved each other it also seems easy on the outside watching them divorce. Emotionless. I hated the person that I was separating from yet I still had this mountain-sized hurt and anger. It wasn’t evaporating, it was stuck inside me. Maybe I could see it clearly because I was divided in half. Half of me was so happy, is so happy. Half of me wonders why. Why me? How can I not be angry? Hateful? So here is where I’m at today. I have been in an amazing relationship with the most amazing man. I love him completely. But I’m not healed. I’m not healed from the past betrayal. I’m not healed from the behaviors I indulged in a year ago, the pain I caused him or others around me. I battle with the anger, the disappointment, the fear. I battle with the knowledge that if I can’t let go of these feelings that they may destroy the place I’m at now.
Dealing with emotions has became my life’s work, it was never the alcohol, the grief of losing a parent, the betrayal of cheating and lies, it’s always been me. Dealing with who I am, letting of what I’ve been taught to be, who to be, what to be. I’m none of those things because I can only be me. I’m angry, I’m sad, I have anxiety, I have amazing days, and I have days where the thought of getting out of bed is scary. I have moments where I take a million photos as I feel so happy, free, and in love with me, and those around me, and I have moments where I cry. No one talks about the PTSD of relationships. The PTSD of narcissism, of cheaters, of liars, of self-denial, of self-hatred. WE should. It’s okay to feel anger, it’s okay to cry it out, but we have to talk about it. It’s safe to keep everything inside, to stay afoot length away from creating bonds with those around us, it’s safe to talk the bare minimum but it creates loneliness. Lonely at never having another true friendship, relationship. I used to think I struggled with my emotions so much this past year because of the grief and PTSD of a relationship but it’s so much more than that, it’s the loss of a life I used to have. People I used to be close to. Things I used to do and the places I used to go. I have to own my part in it.
I’ve changed. I don’t trust as easily, I don’t smile as much, I’m not as calm as I used to be. I’m prone to anger for those closest to me to witness, I used the anger to keep me from loving too hard, too deep, as a defense from hurt. What would happen if I let it go? What happens if I admit that I’m afraid to be friends, to be family, to be too close. I’ve let my partner in, what would happen if I let others in. Thankfully, I can say I have let people in, I’ve made amazing friendships, a partner, I’m afraid of the family bit but as they say things happen as they’re meant to and half of it is admitting where you’re at. There is no quick fix, no anti-hurt medicine, but there is a life to live and today I’m releasing the hurt, anger, and fears to the universe because I’ve held on to them long enough. I’ve been hurt, I’ve been cheated, I’ve ignored, I’ve been naïve, but I’m far from an innocent. I’ve done things to others, and I know who I want to be. Do you?