Every time I become ready to learn something new, God brings me the perfect post. I say God rather than my “manifesting” it to get in touch with my fleeting humility. In 2009 I did another fifth step. I came to addiction recovery Nov. 24, 1976, so I have taken a few fifth steps. This one was monumental because I was healed of the bondage of my violent childhood home.
I had recreated in this recent marriage/divorce my childhood dynamics. I cast my husband as the bad, selfish daddy and I was the good, giving wife. The more we became these roles, the more miserable we both became. He acted out his misery by having an affair and leaving me. And I, thank God, went back to AA with my tail between my legs.
I found such an amazing home group that in about 50 members, we have over 500 years of sobriety. It is pretty hard to go off track with that kind of guidance. They, of course, love me in the unconditional love of souls who have received a second life. They love me because they love themselves.
I began exploring the connection between codependency and post traumatic stress disorder–PTSD. I was shocked while reading ‘The Last Tour”, an article in The New Yorker, to discover a paragraph that I completely identified with emotionally. “The Last Tour” is an article about Staff Sergeant Travis Twiggs who may have committed suicide by cop.
“Travis and Willard Twiggs were not in trouble with the law. Willard, thirty-eight, was a former maritime-logistics specialist in New Orleans. He had been working construction, intermittently, since Hurricane Katrina. Travis, thirty-six, was a Marine Corps staff sergeant stationed in Quantico, Virginia. He was a decorated combat veteran with one tour of duty in Afghanistan and four tours in Iraq. In January, 2008, he had created a minor stir by writing, in the Marine Corps Gazette, an article about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The paragraph that rocked me was:
“What is broken, what is lost, above all, with complex P.T.S.D. is social trust, according to Jonathan Shay, one of its most astute analysts. Wounded warriors come home and feel that they can trust no one—not even their spouses. Under the pressure of constant, violent, involuntary psychic contraction (terror, self-loathing) and expansion (rage, grandiosity, mania), character itself shrivels. With loyal, troubled, self-destructive Will, Travis may have felt that he had found the one person he could trust, who would stay beside him to the end.”
I finally understood my life of isolation. Although I have always worked and interacted with others, I had kept my emotional life very barren and devoid of a lot of close companions. I grew up in a family of two parents at continual war. My sisters and I had to choose sides. So sometimes I was on my mother’s “side” and sometimes I was on my father’s “side”. The experience that taught me that I could trust no one other than myself was when they joined sides to reject me. They had designated me the arbitrator and sometimes I had to be put in my place. I was the youngest parent.
So I began my study of PTSD, codependency, ACOA and core values.