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#264628 - 12/01/08 02:27 PM chronically disgruntled... legacy of abuse
Sans Logos Offline

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5796
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
seems another aspect of this dis-ease has revealed itself in my process of recovery.

i like many survivors have had my share obsessive compulsive behaviors:
relationships [no i didn't forget to mention sex, that's never been an issue for me, but rather the need to be validated, however that has played out on the stage of my sexuality]
*[__________________]* fill in the blank
just to name a few of the more obvious ones. i am grateful that i have addressed each one of these and have put them to bed.

last january after 23 years of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse i made a decision to reintroduce it back into my life. this decision was not made in the context of any type of turmoil or tension emotionally, psychologically or otherwise. the decision was made in a challenge to unlock that door. so much energy was being poured into keeping that door shut locked, bolted, nailed etc. i felt in order to truly move beyond the 'ism' of OCD in the realm of alcohol that i needed to look deep into its eyes as a stronger and better equipped person. there was initially a period where i wrestled with the best way to include it back into my life in terms of quantity, but nearly a year later i am gratified that this formerly OC behavior is a thing of the past. how do i know this is true? because these things have ceased to become issues, and my relationship to them has returned to what it was prior to them becoming issues, as if they did not exist. the stressors that created conditions for their apprearance have dissolved grin

now, all those things listed above are the topside expression, the visible manifestation, of the deeper infestation.

did the disease OCB just go away? no way baby!

what i have come face to face with is the recognition of the disease at its factory level deep in the far reaches of the labyrinth of egoity.

as i look at my own self-history past the apparency of the visible manifestations of the disease, glaring at me now are the other faces of this disease:
self as chronic point of reference
chronic dissatisfaction
chronic search for affirmation

i could not have recognized the fact that i had been living my life, making all my decisions within the context of these, had i not addressed the most recent one, shame. yes, in a shame cycle these would have merely further indicted me, and caused me to keep focusing on, and dancing with the disease in its physical manifestations.

a lot of times there is a sense that what i say here lacks resonance of the community at large, but i realize too that this is another form of 'me-ism' that has kept me inside my own bubble all these years. we are all in different places and stages in life, and i fully get that i am outside the middle track of survivors who are at this point trying to reconcile the warring forces that need to be reconciled in the early stages of life. i myself am currently dealing with fundamental questions that one wold most likely not deal with in life stages where the ego is still fascinated by life's potentials and alternatives.

at any rate, here i find myself, confronted as the result of a self-history shaped and formed by an ongoing, lived and carried moment to moment, self-idea compulsively hunting for verification and validation; caught in rituals of self-contraction which loop back and forth between reactivity to rejection and retaliation.

there is my fundamental OCD:

the ritual of rejection and retaliation. an obsessive compulsive thought principle dominating my life and formerly manifesting itself in physical behaviors. and the sorriest saddest part of this legacy is the ultimate surrender that is inherent in the notion that his ritual/dance has so dominated my life all these many years, that i have forgotten who to be and how to live outside of its tether.

like my abuser, i cannot say no to it, because that would presume that other options were available, and in truth, for me, there were none then.

and the biggest knock on the noggin is that there existed a 'me' PRIOR TO the aforementioned one who arose to use these defense mechanisms for surviving. the never ending onion.

..........hmmmmm, back to pondering my freedom,


Edited by Sans Logos (12/01/08 06:46 PM)
Edit Reason: added the red parts
Ron Schulz, MSPC, NCC

#264647 - 12/01/08 07:21 PM Re: chronically disgruntled... legacy of abuse [Re: Sans Logos]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO
Glad that you have discovered that you have some control over alcohol now. I too have made it to the point where I can have a cocktail with a dinner out and it does not drive me to polish off every bottle in my home bar. In fact, I have kept a $50 bottle of some high-end vodka sealed for almost two years since I bought it in my home bar, and only use it for a decorator item these days. But I am not ready to try and see if I have some control over crack or IV cocaine yet.

I still remember my first several relapses after my last trip to Hazelden. I was clean for 8 months and had my drug-of-choice stuffed in my face and I had absolutely no control over it. My blood pressure immediately surged and every cell in my body screamed YES on the mere sight of a few rocks in my allegedly sober roommate's hand. One hit and all control was lost, and in just a couple of hours I went through $200 worth and was trying to get more. Or another time when I got home from work after a week on the road and another 6 months clean only to have a crack dealer in my own house pull-out a cue ball size rock and ask if I wanted any. Even now, after 9 years off of coke today, I have no desire to see if I have more control over it than I did on December 1st of 1999, the last time that someone that I was close to from St. Paul's allegedly sober community fell off of the wagon and stuffed my drug-of-choice in my face at his house.

It took moving and leaving no forwarding address and having an unlisted phone number to stop people from just showing up at my front door to see if I needed any. It took breaking off contact with anyone that wasn't supportive of my goal to stay clean, which included almost everyone that I knew. It took finding some new friends who had nothing to do with my former crowd and their desire to abuse drugs at all costs. It took several years of on & off CSA recovery to begin to value myself enough to want to stay clean. It took an awful lot of effort to stay off for many years. Today I am a year shy of 10 years off of my drug-of-choice and own a nice house in an upscale suburb, instead of living hand-to-mouth in the worst part of town wondering every day where my next hit was coming from.

You are right that OCD follows us around. We fix one aspect of it only for the disease to attach itself to another aspect of our life like food or gambling addictions. I weigh 140 lbs more than I did when I first entered Hazelden in August of 1996 even though I have tried very hard not to overeat. I too have struggled with these:

-self as chronic point of reference
-chronic dissatisfaction
-chronic search for affirmation

I am very good at seeing the worst-case scenario and not as good at seeing positive ways to resolve things for as many people as possible. I very much enjoy my boss's accolades for a job well done and cringe or react in a confrontational manner when someone finds my effort lacking. I have begun to move beyond the after-effects of my shame but still struggle from time-to-time with the symptoms. I have tried very hard to give other people the benefit of the doubt and tried to help protect the rights of others as a result. After many years of living an isolated life I have begun to see that I enjoy more of an extroverted social life, and I try very hard to help both myself and others try to break through isolation.

And yes, I say I a lot too. I got this from my work on boundary issues in my later recovery. I am still learning how to say we enough and how to think more of the needs of other people too. But I have made a lot of progress and am much more outgoing than I once was. My social fears are in my past and I even start conversations on the street these days instead of averting my eyes and trying to appear menacing or trying to appear like someone that you would want to avoid.

I think that what you are describing is one of the struggles of advanced recovery, and yes, there are other ways for thought to proceed besides those old and familiar obsessive/compulsive strategies. You are already outside of the mainstream because you are progressing into advanced recovery with its own unique set of recovery issues.

The struggle to discover and embrace the person that you were meant to be, free of the negativity of our history and its effects on us, is the challenge of advanced recovery for all of us. Freeing ourselves from our negative thought processes of our past is one of the steps that must be taken enroute to to finding ourselves and our freedom.

You can do it, Ron,


"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark

#264868 - 12/02/08 04:55 PM Re: chronically disgruntled... legacy of abuse [Re: Trucker51]
Sans Logos Offline

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5796
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
hey mark thanks for the hefty reply! and i hope you enjoyed your celebration last night whistle

After many years of living an isolated life I have begun to see that I enjoy more of an extroverted social life, and I try very hard to help both myself and others try to break through isolation.

that right there is both the apex and the foundation, the thread that runs from top to bottom of OCD. isolation as a covert process crept up on me narrowing my perspective by judging certain possibilities as valuable insofar as they would contribute to supporting my agenda of acquisition. and in the judgment stage, would rule out the potential for building relationship bridges, increasing interpersonal connections. instead, walls of exclusion were being constructed, keeping me safe from the attack/effect of outside influence. i stopped making choices that would expand my sphere of connection, and kept painting until i painted myself into a corner.

now i'm waiting for the paint to dry......

but last night i did something totally uncharacteristic of ron. at the urging of an inner voice challenging me to do something spontaneous, i walked over to the neighborhood watering hole just to hang out and have a couple of beers, and generally see 'who i would be' in a situation beyond my control. i actually had fun, played a game of pool and exchanged useless banter with strangers. i even shared laughter. it was time well spent, and enabled me to relax enough to trust the safety of the moment.

fancy that........and look, the paint is almost dry......

see you in the next thread,


Ron Schulz, MSPC, NCC

#264927 - 12/03/08 01:17 AM Re: chronically disgruntled... legacy of abuse [Re: Sans Logos]
blueshift Offline

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
I once believed myself to be an alcoholic and have attended a fairly good number of AA meetings. At some point though I just found that I no longer needed to drink to get drunk and there's no doubt in my mind that the work I was able to do on my CSA issues was what made the difference for me.

That's not saying I wud recommend someone who has had serious problem drinking and years of hard earned sobriety under their belt going out and drinking again, cuz "better safe than sorry" as they say, but I know in my own case it was my abuse issues and not alcoholism that was making me drink alcoholically.

Of course I still have other compulsive bhaviors 2, but I got the alcohol and nicotine beat and those were the most destructive of my compulsivities.

I do need to work on my compulsive (dare I say it?) masturbation. I'm in a situation now (yes!!)where it is no longer needed and can only get in the way of satisfying sex with other people.

I think that one is based on my wanting complete control where sex is concerned and my fear of sex with other people, but I seem to be able to overcome that pretty easily once I really establish a fair amount of trust in someone.

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