Sunday, February 19, 2017

That Used To Baffle Me

I was presented with a few situations yesterday that showed, during and after the fact, both how much I have changed in the past year or two, and also how much work there is left to do. Yesterday was the ten-minute phone call" weekend for the institution where my significant other is. She's been calling between 9:20 and 9:50 every time she's called. Yesterday was the final phone call, and I obviously wanted to discuss where and when we are going to meet when she comes home in the coming week. But 10 AM came and went without the phone ringing. In the past, I would have lost my focus, been worried out of my mind, constructing all sorts of scenarios in my head about why she wasn't calling.
But yesterday, I didn't do that. I went about my morning, walked the dog for an hour, came back home, secure in the knowledge that whatever the reason was, it was not because she suddenly lost interest in me or had decided to call someone else, and it was not because she had gotten into trouble and had been denied phone privileges. The weight of the evidence of months and years of commitment, and of knowing her well enough to know that she simply does not get into trouble on that level in any place she's ever been in, kicked in or stayed in the forefront. I wasn't happy that the phone wasn't ringing, but I was able to be rational, calm, and accepting about it. i didn't go to pieces emotionally. And that is such a huge change for me.
Obviously, I have not spent eighteen-plus years after getting clean going nuts every time there are unexpected developments in every area of my life. I haven't even lost my shit when stuff like this happens in every relationship I've been in. But I am emotionally invested in this one like I have been in no others previously, and my past history has been when I am deeply invested emotionally in someone, the worry/fear/insecurity complex that has always haunted my psyche for as long as I can remember surfaces. I am not totally unmanageable, but I am deeply affected, and I become a mess inside and sometimes on the outside, as well.
And that didn't happen yesterday. I knew that there was a reason why, that I would find out eventually, that there was no real reason to doubt her and that life as I hope it is going to be was not coming down with a crash. And I realized, sometime after 10 AM, how freeing it really was, that I was not tore up and stressing and caught up in my head. And I felt immense gratitude for much--for a faith in God that allowed me to take solace in the knowledge that I was going to be fine no matter happened; for enough faith in Lauren that I knew that was some sort of glitch beyond her control; and for the program of recovery that I have worked well enough to be able to find some freedom from the fear and self-absorption that is the root cause of the disease of addiction.
And sure enough, a couple of minutes after noon, the phone rang. It was an odd number, ostensibly from Utah, but I answered it and it was her. The phone system at the institution had gone down in the morning, and no one had been able to call out for hours. It still wasn't totally right, but the outfit that handles the calling had made some kind of switching in the routing--hence the weird phone number that was showing up on the caller ID--and she was calling. And after the ten minutes were up, and arrangements were confirmed for this coming week, and the expressions of affection were exchanged and the call ended--I felt not only relief, but a lot of pleasure, too.
Because faith is a great thing, but it's even greater when the faith you exhibit is justified.
I decided to attend an AA meeting last night rather than go to the NA event that was happening, for a couple of reasons. One is that I liked last week's AA meeting and wanted to give it another chance; another is that I knew I had to work this morning and I wanted to go to bed early; and a third is that I'm so tired of speaker jam/dances/karaoke events. I don't miss bars/clubs, and can't stand venues where you have to shout to have a conversation, and at least one of the people that are in charge of finding speakers on the current subcommittee that puts on these events is someone whose recovery I'm not a fan of and whose choices of people to speak in the past I have, in my humble opinion, have given a message of recovery that doesn't resonate with me. And I'm glad I went to the AA meeting; the topic was one of the few lines of AA literature I know, "intuitively handling situations that used to baffle us." Time and again over the years I've been clean, I've found that one of the ways I know that I've made the right decision, when presented with options, is when I go to a meeting and the topic is something that is directly applicable to what I am going through that day. That happened yesterday, and I left the meeting feeling refreshed, happy, and ready to go home and chill for a bit before going to sleep.
There was a minor complication; before the meeting ended, my daughter had texted me saying she was going to the gym. I didn't think a whole lot about it, and didn't really think any more about it until I was in bed and realized that it was going for ten o'clock and she wasn't back. I texted, then called--no answer, unusual for her. I called about five more times in the next half-hour--still no answer. And I got concerned, not only for possible safety concerns, but also because she is now on a restricted license and really shouldn't be out after 9 o'clock, anyway, except for work or sports purposes...The gym she belongs to is just across the river, and I thought that maybe she was so engrossed in a workout that she hadn't looked at her phone. I weighed the options and decided to drive over there, because at this point, I was growing very irritated that her recent issues with her license seem to have made very little impression on her, and have resulted in few changes in her behavior--and, truth be told, no change in all in her usually-lousy, since The Fuckboy entered her life, general attitude. Gratitude and perspective don't come easily to many 18YO's, and certainly do not to this one.
I drove to the gym--and did not see her car in the lot. Growing agitated now, I went inside--and discovered that the clerk there is an old, old friend of mine, that confirmed that my daughter had never set foot in there since she started working, at 2 PM.
I started to get agitated. Part of me was angry as hell because I believed I had been lied to--but there was also a part of me that was freaking out, because even when she has been deceptive about her whereabouts in the past, she usually will answer texts and phone calls, even if she lies in the answer about where she is. I started to fear the worst, and the entire drive home, I continued to call, going to voice mail every time, and debated calling the police and making a report, because of the lack of response being so out of character. As I walked in the house, she finally texted a response, and I called her and blew a gasket. She was on her way home, and when she got here, I started to lay into her about not being where she was supposed to be, etc. Which garnered a negative response, as you might deduce.
And in the middle of it, I shut it down. I realized that I was too emotional to make rational decisions, and told her I would sleep on the matter and figure out a response today. I also told her that my freakout was not based in anger, but in fear--which it was. I didn't get horribly upset until I found out she had never gone to the gym, and while I figured it was Fuckboy-related (which it turned out to be) there was a possibility that something bad had happened. And I left it at that.
And as I was writing this, MOTY called me with her own concerns, about an interaction our daughter had with her this week. There will be a discussion later, and perhaps more serious action taken. But the point I am making is that I knew last night that I was too emotionally raw to make a good decision, and deferred it to a later time, once the safety issue had been laid to rest.
And that's something that would not have happened even a few months ago. It's a sign of growth and acceptance in me. I'm not happy that I blew a gasket, but I am happy that 1) I didn't continue to justify it, and 2) I shut it down before I boxed myself into a corner because of it. The situation still has a chance of being resolved constructively. And if nothing else, I can work a full day today without my guts churning wondering what the hell is happening at my own home. And yes, that's progress.

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