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Sometimes being an RA survivor sucks…

Being a ritual abuse survivor sometimes really sucks. Firstly, it is like I attract trouble – namely with members of the opposite / same sex. Its like I have an unconscious sign on my forehead saying “flirt with me”, “like me”, “desire to have sex with me”. I do believe that as abused people, we exude an energy that can attract demonic forces. I mean the portals were opened when we were kids, so we can become like magnets. I am not saying by any means that an RA survivor deserves any abuse, or wills it to happen in any way, but I think we are more susceptible to things happening to us or around us, and so have to be ultra vigilant. The problem is, the host is married and we just seem to find ourselves in situations where flirtation arises or there are chemical feelings. These people could be RA survivors themselves or most likely have been sexually abused. We tend to attract each other. Husband gets jealous (naturally), and as our host is Christian (and 76% system is too) it conflicts with our spiritual beliefs and desires (to be like and of God). For example, I just went for a run earlier and a guy was checking me out. It always surprises me when this happens, because I have had an inner belief for a long time that I am ugly and unattractive, yet there is this great longing to be desired and found attractive – validated. I have no idea whether I am or am not attractive/ unattractive. In contrast to the ‘beauty’ images we are force fed in mainstream media, I don’t think I fit this bill. I am certainly not a ‘pretty girl’, sometimes I don’t even feel like a woman. Ha, ha, the description of me sounds so bizarre, who knows what the reader is imagining. But I think I felt so worthless for so long, that I don’t know what is true anymore – or if I ever knew. My self image has definitely improved and I don’t hate myself as much as I did many years ago. I don’t sit in shame and self loathing near as much as I used to. I understand when these feelings arrive nowadays that they are emotional memory. But the point is, there is still a huge part or parts of me that unconsciously desire to be wanted, sexualised, attractive in men and women’s eyes. It is about power and prestige. And that is what can get me into trouble. Because some people can pick that up, demons certainly do and like to exploit it. And I wonder when it will stop – of course, I know the more I get healed and integrated and die to self, the less these things will become an issue. Probably the older I get the less it will happen too. I wonder what age it is that as a woman you stop being desired by others – 45? Also, sometimes when I argue with my husband, it is like my brain shuts down. I get so, so tired and just want to go to sleep. I can’t communicate and shut down internally. I have to wait some time until it passes. It is a feeling of complete heaviness and as though I am dead inside. The ‘me’ who I think I know is gone and I just switch into operation mode – whatever that is. Sleep sometimes helps to bring me back to normal self, sometimes I just have to wait it out.

Oh, Easter is a crappy time of year too as most RA survivors can relate to. I realised the other day it is a highly sexualised time of year for me – likely linked to my abuse and the rituals that went on. Tomorrow it will be over and that is probably when I will come out of this funk. For now, I just have to keep myself distracted and busy and it will pass as it always does. Just can’t get stuck in it. Thanks for listening. (Tina).

 

 

DID and gay alters

Gay Alter on the scene.

Last week, the host of this blog discovered me – Grace. I am 36 and gay. Female. Of course it is a problem as the host is Christian and married lol! I used to be out for a while, when I was with a woman for six years. I wasn’t out all the time, others would come up who liked men and well, who responded to pretty much anyone liking them. Yeah, desperate, no boundaries, I know.

I went away for a few years, because that six year relationship and break up kinda screwed me over and I just needed to retreat for a while. I am only back because I have been woken up by female student where I work, can you believe. I know it sounds terrible and I wouldn’t do anything (we could lose our job),  but she is so alluring and beautiful and I feel a chemical reaction pulling me toward her. I became quite obsessive last week, fantasising about her. Host is freaking out because feels like she is having an affair and I contradict her Christian beliefs. She won’t let me engage in sexual fantasies about the girl because to her this is like having an affair with her husband (who by the way, I can’t stand and he reminds me of the Father – i feel sick just writing this).

It is a complicated situation. We spoke to T about it and she said that I was out because I needed something. Yeah, I can tell you what that is but it is not appropriate, besides that I need company – stimulation, art, good conversation, writing, a couple of glasses of wine (can’t do that because of the alcoholic thing dammit). I would like to write a play – not sure what about. Being stuck in one freaking body might be a good start. Majorly challenging and wouldn’t recommend it.

Anyway, that is why I am writing today because apparently it is ‘good therapy’ for me. We’ll see. Host runs around like a mad woman most of the time, so busy, might be difficult for me to get the time but I guess I have to push for it.

We have started boxing too and are going to fight soon. Not everyone is into it, but most people think it is pretty cool and happy to work hard for the chance to get in a ring. I just want to go to work with a black eye <grin>.

Thanks for listening.

 

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What it is like to be dissociative compared to the movies?

I saw ‘Split’ today (dir. M. Night Shyamalan, 2017); featuring James McAvoy, who plays up to 23 different alters. Two of his alters wreak havoc and kidnap three young girls, in preparation for the reveal of a new alter, named ‘The Beast’. The Beast is a demonic manifestation, that feeds (literally) on innocents and is hell bent on taking over the system in order to take the body to a new level; in terms of its internal bodily and mental powers (reminds me of the two Swedish MK Ultra women in the documentary, ‘Madness in the Fastlane’). The film is a gross exaggeration of dissociative identity disorder and has caused some uproar in the DID and mental health community for its misrepresentation of DID.

The manifestation of alters in the film is very extreme and I think very unrealistic (although brilliantly acted by James McAvoy). The purpose of this post is not too write a film review, nor contribute much more to this discourse, but I will say that M. Night Shyamalan’s work in general is very focused on promoting the Illuminati agenda and so any film he makes, should not be taken as a direct representation of anything ‘real’, other than pushing the NWO agenda and getting bums on seats.

Of course, I cannot speak for others with DID, so I will attempt to describe what it is like for me to be dissociative. I don’t really feel like I ‘split’ as such, rather I just seem to fade away. I do feel co-conscious most of the time and therefore don’t really lose hours of time, which is a relief and probably why I am so well functioning. An example is yesterday: I woke up feeling out of sorts. I felt like my little parts were close to the surface, perhaps from having bad dreams (but I couldn’t remember them). I went to a boxing class and tried to push on, despite feeling ‘odd’. Another way to describe this, is that I didn’t feel connected to self. I had to do some sponsoring with an AA friend, which went okay, but I felt a little irritable and not as connected to her and what I was doing than perhaps I would have been another day, another time.

I had planned to go on a bush walk that afternoon and did. It took three and a half hours; my feet hurt so badly by the end and I was so glad to get back in my car and head home. I probably wouldn’t do this again by myself, but it was good to be in nature and have some alone time. The walk didn’t bring me back to self, so by the time I got home, I had fully dissociated and my little parts had come out. They talked to my husband and just said hello and cuddled with him on the couch. We watched a movie and then I went to bed after that. The movie was ‘Girl on a Train’, which is a terrific film, but not very appropriate for the little ones to watch. Besides the sex in the film, they enjoyed it, because it is an interesting story about memory loss and piecing your past together. I went to bed feeling disconnected from self, a little scared and mostly just confused and small. I woke up with a headache, after more bad dreams (which I can’t remember the content) and gradually came back to me by the evening.

DID is not a big stage show for me. Most people would not know I had this; perhaps I might act a little different some days, but I guess I would be considered moody, if anything. My husband, therapist and spiritual adviser are really the main people who have seen me switch or who have met my parts. The whole idea of DID is that it is a protective mechanism and designed to keep the trauma / pain hidden. ‘Split’ is sensationalist and promotes a satanic agenda, rather than offering an in depth look into this amazing coping mechanism. It also suggests that trauma and pain is a good thing, as it grants people the ability to access more parts of their brain, plus elevates them to a more superior level than the average Joe walking the streets (or the ‘sleeper’ as said in the film). Don’t get me wrong, trauma and pain actually do this – but at what cost? I believe it is God that has the ability to transform and deepen our ability to connect with ourselves and others.

I am glad I saw the film and didn’t find it as triggering as I thought it might be. I do get a thrill out of watching films with DID/ multiples as central characters, even if it is unrealistic. I made sure I talked to my parts before watching the film and told the little ones they couldn’t watch it, but I know they did. Everyone watched. Did we relate? Maybe a tiny bit… 🙂

 

 

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How I used to dissociate.

I was cleaning up my office yesterday and discovered something I had written about eight or nine years ago – this was before I fully realised I was SRA and had DID.  It was also at a time when I was drinking and using alcohol as a coping mechanism. Thankfully, this is out of my life now.

To dissociate now is different from what it was then, which is a blessing. It was very intense in the past, but that was also because I didn’t really understand what was going on and I had not been diagnosed properly. I didn’t realise that being triggered was emotional memory and my parts being activated. So, how did I dissociate in the past?

Well, there were different sides to me – I was disconnected and angry. I had a need to be destructive; wanting to have it all, but end it all at the same time.

I felt scared, untrustworthy, fearful. I had a fear of others trying to control/ manipulate me or hurt me.

I would get choked up, unable to speak or communicate, I would feel violated. My mind would race at one million miles an hour and I escaped into it, attacking myself, becoming slightly catatonic; wanting to thrash about in rage and say really horrible and nasty things to my partner, but unable (thankfully) to say the words aloud and / or even move.

I felt different, a heightened sense of being ‘other’ (obviously that was me in parts, but I had no idea I was multiple then). I was acutely alert, yet found it difficult to retain information. Scared – mostly scared; ill at ease. Scattered, as though I couldn’t think straight and I struggled to breathe properly.

Ready to snap. I felt angry because of the confusion of wanting to shout out in absolute rage for it all just to stop, but not sure what it was that needed stopping.

Thoughts would dawn on me in terror. “Oh God, I think my mother was involved”. How could she have been? That is such a terrible thought to face, such a contradiction to who I thought she was. I fear that I am making it all up and wonder why I would do such a thing.

I had an absolute fervent desire to get to the top of this mess, but unable to switch off this sabotage button that gets triggered. (Again, I now know this was not a sabotage button; it was parts being activated – I just didn’t have the language for it yet).

Then I recorded, what it was then that triggered me:

  • Expectation
  • Alcohol
  • Mistakes
  • Stress
  • Being out of control and / or in the moment
  • Sex
  • Touch
  • Emotions
  • Being vulnerable
  • Having too much fun
  • Loving too much
  • Letting myself go

Its sad to read my triggers above – no wonder I was so miserable all those years back! To think I walked around like that for years with no clue as to what was really going on. Even though I was seeking help and therapy, I just had no idea as to the depth of the trauma and the pain. I was also just so disconnected from self. I guess I just did the best I could, but reading the above gives me a little bit of compassion towards who I once was and why I acted in the ways that I did. Sad stuff. 😦

Praise God I have now discovered (even if I am still amnesic) more of why I am the way I am and that I am seeking the appropriate recovery and help.

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How I remembered my abuse. Part Two.

When I met my first girlfriend it was a very confronting time. Not only was I confused about my sexuality, but I had never met somebody where the sparks flew so quickly. It was dynamic, alive and fun. We lived in each other’s pockets, talked every day, I had never met somebody whom I related to so much. She listened to me, engaged with me, her thoughts on the world were unique and she was very intelligent. I was hooked and fell in love quickly, but it scared the hell out of me. I remember crying a lot, but being with a woman, was different from a man. She kind of nurtured me through these emotions and I felt safe to start to express a little of how I was feeling. A few notable things happened during our first year together:

  • I started experiencing nightmares: and I woke up feeling utter terror at times.
  • When we were intimate or vulnerable, I would shut down soon after – meaning, I would feel as though I was trapped in a black hole and couldn’t get out. It was like being in a vortex. I would sometimes pick a fight after being intimate or vulnerable too -the experience making me feel on edge and wanting to escape. I also got really tired at times, which I now know was dissociation.
  • I started to go to counselling for these issues, but found it very hard to make headway – sometimes even walking out of sessions when things got too ‘close’ or feelings got too intense. Things were incredibly difficult when I didn’t feel in control.
  • We went away for a summer holiday and it was really fun and relaxing. One day I went along and got a reiki massage. I had never done anything like this and it was a weird experience. As the woman laid her hands over my liver/kidney area and then later my heart, I started to cry. I had no idea why. I recall her saying to me, ‘has something happened to you in your childhood’. I shrugged and said ‘I couldn’t think of anything’. She told me it was my last life and that I would need to release this in order  to move on.
  • That night, my girlfriend and I got drunk. We were dancing and hugging and then I started crying, completely out of the blue. I started heaving, I couldn’t stop. I lay down on the couch and spaced out. There was an empty glass of wine in front of me. I felt like I wanted to smash it against the wall and asked my GF to get rid of it. She also needed to take me to the bathroom as I regressed to a small child and was so, so scared. Eventually I fell asleep and the next day was awkward. I didn’t know why I had responded that way and didn’t have any language to talk about it.
  • A couple of months later, we went to a crystal shop and I bought two crystals – one for anger or depression and the other one for healing (or something like that). I remember getting weird vibes when I wore them. One night, I wore the healing one to a party we were going to. I didn’t really want to go that night, I was feeling anxious for some reason. We met a woman there, who had a really cool name and it turned out that she was an author of three books. We asked her all about them and so she told a very confronting story about how her mother sold her to a Barrister when she was about 14 years of age. She talked of her sexual abuse and a couple of things she said, really connected with me. I felt very strange, I excused myself and went to the bathroom. The room was spinning, I was so scared. Apparently the author said to my GF, ‘I think your girlfriend has been sexually abused. She may not be ready to deal with this yet’ and recommended the book ‘Courage to Heal’. Soon after I asked my GF if we could leave and we got in the car and I bawled my eyes out. I had never cried like that in my life. I couldn’t stop and wept myself to sleep. It was so, so sad. I knew something had happened to me, something bad, I didn’t know what it was or who, I just felt like a fog had been lifted and that everything I had ever known was a complete and utter lie. And so the journey to recover my sense of self and identity began.
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How I remembered my abuse. Part One.

I recall a story a previous therapist once told me. It was about a brother and a sister. The sister did not recall her sexual abuse history and although had complications with some emotional aspects of her life, was in part, mostly successful and incredibly well functioning. She was a psychologist herself. Her brother however, remembered all the abuse and he was non-functioning and had gone insane.

If you had of asked me ten years ago what my childhood was like I would have said ‘fine’. I may have told you that my father was an angry man, used to berate us at times and call us ‘worthless pieces of shit’ and I might also mention that he used to beat up my sister. But apart from that, things were okay. I was pretty mono-syllabic about the whole thing. The truth was, I didn’t really remember much. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I just seemed to hit a brick wall when it came to thinking about my past. I didn’t even really go there. I didn’t think it was necessary.

In my early 20s, I started to notice a niggling of depression. I didn’t really have a reason as to why I felt this way, I just felt empty and sad – when I paid attention that is. Most of the time I just kept myself busy and would always take the edge off by a drink or a drug. By about 23 years of age, my relationship with men started to get a bit weird. I ended a 2 year relationship in a very selfish way (another story, another time) and was promiscuous, working weekends in a nightclub and drinking and drugging till all hours of the morning on weekends and even some weeknights. I fell into a sensuous relationship with a beautiful Spanish man, the whole time thinking that I was not good enough to be with someone so gorgeous. He noticed that when I got vulnerable, I ran or would completely shut down. This was just the beginning of it. I couldn’t handle the intimacy; the feelings; the sense of falling in love – and so I sabotaged the relationship. I knew then that I was going to become one of those ‘crazy, psycho women’ with men, and so decided then and there that I was just going to date women. And I soon met a dynamic older woman, who was to turn my life around.

 

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My recovery journey: a part of my story.

In 2015, I was asked to share at my home group AA meeting. Generally one just gets up and shares from the floor, unscripted – using the basic three step approach of ‘what it was like’, ‘what got you into recovery’ and ‘what’s it like now’ to frame the share. At that stage of my journey, I thought it was beneficial to write down my journey and whilst probably a little formal to some, I took the risk as I felt it was the best way I could express myself then. It was also incredibly cathartic writing out my story. I hope you might get something out of this too.

Thanks for the opportunity to share at tonight’s meeting. Before I get too deep into this, please be warned, I am just a garden-variety drunk. I haven’t been in car crashes, or prison and I have only taken hostage a couple of ex’s, but… I did damage my confidence, shatter my soul and roast in utter remorse and disgust. Lest, you wish to identify….

I remember little of my childhood, but I do remember feelings of inadequacy, confusion, sadness and terror that seemed to plague me. This is because I learned how to dissociate (leave my body) from these feelings at a very young age. What I do know is that there was abuse and there was lots of terror and at nine years of age, one evening, I wrote a letter to God to spare me of my life. I woke up the next morning, alive. He didn’t listen. Even at such a young age, I wanted to escape and so four years later, at age 13 when I picked up a drink and took drugs, I finally got my relief. I was a drunk at my first drink, but I didn’t know it. I couldn’t tolerate it then, at the end I couldn’t tolerate it either, but there was lots in between where I could. The stuff made me feel powerful, in control, strong, invincible. I liked to drink by myself before school, a few nips here and there. Anything to take the edge off. No-one guessed it, it was my little secret. Perhaps I was playing the game out that was played to me as a kid ‘ the everything’s a secret game’. Yet I was hollering for attention – the rebel, the loud mouth, the tough chick – no one can touch me/ hurt me attitude. Don’t get too close, you won’t be able to handle what’s on the inside. “Friendships” founded on creative relationships, refuge sort in keeping busy, meetings, meetings, meetings.

Thankfully I liked arty stuff, which kept me interested enough in life to keep holding on. I put on performances, made films, did spoken word, alcohol fueling the occasions, but nonetheless getting wasted then was fun and productive.

I went from small town Perth to London, to Melbourne. The big city in between too big for me and the first time that I experienced a niggling of the depression, emptiness and despair that was later to consume me. I was 21, I had a life ahead of me, yet I couldn’t see past 30. It didn’t matter, I was going to make it, I was going to be successful. A break up in London, a few weeks before saw me sitting on a chaise lounge drinking straight out of a bottle of vodka. I screamed at the boyfriend in drunken rage, desperate to pin my problems on him – ‘you’re just not smart enough’. He looked at me strangely. He was a laywer after all and I didn’t even have a degree. I didn’t know why I couldn’t put the bottle down that night.

Fast forward, I am in Melbourne. My nightly routine is a bottle or more of wine, best when I am by myself because I don’t have to share it with anyone. But everyday I wake up and I ride to Uni (keen to get that degree) and sweat it out. I sometimes even use the University’s sauna or pool to detox. I want to feel good again, fast. I hate leaving even a little bit in the bottle from the night before because it means I have to drink it the next day and I know if I start, I have to open another bottle and then another one. I go on detox diets and the first time is good, I am clean and sober for a week. I feel fantastic by the end of it. I pick up again. The next time I do it, I am on edge and break the detox, drink red wine but refuse to eat to at least honour part of the regime….

I am obsessive, I work out I am a control freak, but after a conversation with a lover, we figure my performance studies degree is the therapy I need. I consider AA. No one has ever told me about it, I just know about it and in the back of my mind I have a feeling I am going to end up there one day. Not yet.

The depression grows. I move faster, I drink more, I get in a relationship, this time it is serious. 6 years serious. I do post graduate studies in film producing. Sometimes I feel like a robot, I wake up and say I am not going to drink again but by afternoon I change my mind and head to the bottle shop. I get a job on a big international TV series in the production office. The dream gig, I watch as the driver and runner move from their lowly jobs to Visual effects junior producer within months. I stay in the same position, downgrade to photocopying endless scripts and struggle with stress. I hate myself more and more and the voices in my head tell me how utterly worthless I am. My attitude stinks. It is everybody else’s fault I don’t know what to do. I wonder if I will ever be happy. Drinking makes me feel safe and warm and like everything is going to be okay. Something happens, a fight, and I decide to go to AA to stop drinking. I cry at my first meeting. Everyone is very nice but strange and they are terribly honest. I last three weeks and a bad day after work, means I find solace in the bottle. I feel better and forget all about AA and being honest.

The relationship exposes me. I realise I can’t handle intimacy. I seek help from a therapist, but anything to do with my past is like a black hole. I know something has happened, something is wrong, but I can’t access it. I am determined to fix myself, get better, sort it out, get over it, but the more I try, and the more I drink, the less I am able to fix anything.

I have affairs every six months or so. I get reckless, I tell myself. I need an out. I feel no guilt, I feel nothing. I start to seek answers. i am convinced I am having an existential crisis and google what that means over a bottle of wine. I start meditating and yoga. I study law of attraction. I start to will money, that will be my answer. I have no money, I overspend on wine as I refuse to buy in bulk (a cheaper option), because I know I am going to drink it too quickly and I don’t want any hint that I may be an alcoholic. I yell at my then partner, ‘you’re just so negative’. But it was me that could only see black, and I was dragging them through the tunnel of no light.

I flip from one creative outlet to another, this time I decide to set up a business online marketing. I need clients and I find one, I don’t know it yet, but he turns out to be my future husband. It is an odd world, a carpet factory out in the burbs, (I’m an inner city girl thank you very much). But we both like drinking and he brings out a bag of speed, which means that we can both drink longer and all of a sudden the hole starts to shrink, or at least appears to and because I have no boundaries, I have an affair, ditch the long term relationship and find myself making marketing videos for a man who is radically different to me, but makes me laugh, and I can indulge and he buys me dinner and I just want to feel good, you see. But again, the high doesn’t last and so I need to fix myself again and this time I head overseas to study – if I change my thinking everything will be okay. The course is amazing, but I remember one night I whispered scared to a friend I had just met, ‘please help me stop drinking’.

The second last day the trainer tells a story of an alcoholic woman and I realise that is what/ who I am and I am embarrassed and ashamed but because I have just learnt hypnosis I decide to go into trance and sort it out. It works. For three weeks. But I return home and go into the old environment. Working part time in a fine dining restaurant, with two superbly functioning alcoholics. I start to experience anger and irritability and I hear the voices again. The voices whisper that I should kill myself. I am too scared and ashamed to tell anybody. I wouldn’t know where to start. I think I am making far too big of a deal of this thing and I don’t understand why I can’t get control of my life, because after all I now have a masters certificate telling me I am a certified neurolinguistic programming practitioner and can solve all your problems, so surely it is easy for me to solve mine, right??!! I pick up a drink. The waiters are happy. Its okay, I control it. Some days I drink more than others, but overall I seem to have a good grasp. The suicidal whispers go away but the ideation is there, though I remain tight lipped.

I am still travelling to the burbs and drinking with my yet unknown future husband, but I don’t want to be there and I don’t know how to get out. We drink whisky, I yell at him that it is all his fault. I wake up with a pounding headache and say that I am off to AA. I turn up to the Box Hill meeting that Saturday afternoon and I hope no-one talks to me.

I spend the next five months in and out of the rooms, testing the whole ‘ am I really an alcoholic? thing, only to admit defeat on the 2 April, 2012. It doesn’t mean I delete the big “F” off sticker I have on my forehead, but it does mean I get a sponsor, do the suggested things and start to do the steps. I am so desperate to get rid of my crap and have a psychic change, I would have done anything. I have to go for coffee with other sober women. I have to share. I have to experience these really uncomfortable feelings and I have to stomach the shame, the guilt and the remorse that I had repressed, that was starting to come up. I slept a lot. I went back to study a post grad in teaching. I got back into the old relationship, thinking it was my drinking that was the sole cause of its erosion. It didn’t last. I started hanging out with the man from the burbs again, he was getting sober too, so at least we had that in common. I couldn’t be by myself, and besides, he made me laugh and was very positive about the whole thing. Living Sober, one day at a time, easy does it, its progress not perfection. I felt like such a loser. I didn’t know whether I could do any of this stuff and I didn’t know whether I even wanted to live, but I was too scared to kill myself. I just fantasized about it. I kept doing the suggested things, and everyday I got up and said the third step prayer and thought about my day and I shared the crap that I was housing with my sponsor through the steps and on some days I felt a real sense of joy and peace, kinda like the early days of drinking and drugging, when it was okay, but this time it was better, because it felt more real, more sustainable. This too shall pass, they said and I dipped again. I asked my sponsor if I would always feel like a ‘depressive loser’. She told me not to pick up the first drink and to get to a meeting. Getting up the 30 days was the hardest, but once I did that, I thought that 90 was that bit more achievable, when I did 90 I could do six months and when I got six months, I thought I could go for a year. Once I got a year, I thought I would give anther year a go and so on. My sponsor told me I needed to start passing the program on to others.

But first, I did my head in thinking about who God was and if he was real and I wrote lots and discovered that I thought he hated me and that I was evil and if he didn’t exist then it would prove ‘they’ were right and that ultimately there was no such thing as hope. People talked about living sober and being grateful and I beat myself up because I was such a selfish bitch because I couldn’t feel any gratitude. The voices in my head got louder and at eight months living sober I hit a real depression. A mild anti depressant helped and then therapy started outside of AA. I knew I had to go in all guns blazing. Later, I also started prayer ministry.

One day I did the drill, the third step prayer, the thinking about my day meditation on page 86 and then Jesus appeared. I was on a beach and he was there and he started walking and I followed. I kinda knew who he was, having been raised a Catholic, but in that vision all I knew was that I needed to follow. Soon after, I had a desire to go to Church. I couldn’t believe it. I hated religion. Thankfully I lived in East St Kilda and the Church God led me to was progressive; the people were warm, creative, smart and talked about having a relationship with God. There were no rituals and instead my understanding became about faith and spirituality, not religion.

And so my journey since has led me to being baptised, has led me to renouncing my old way of life (which clearly wasn’t working for me) and wrestling with the demons that come with living sober. I should mention that during the second year of my sobriety things did get better. I got a job at a Film School and started to put my training and experience to better use, I finally gave my heart to the sober man in the burbs and we got married, something I never ever thought I would do. I now have money, but it doesn’t rule my thinking, and we have a house and I am a pretty responsible in all my affairs. But the whole living sober thing is dependent on a few things – it requires me to take action. Like going to the bottle shop was taking action, this time, it is a meeting. Like drinking myself to oblivion was an action, albeit a passive one, praying and service is what I need to do instead. I need to take inventory and get involved with AA, speak to my sponsor, because over these last three years, I have tried to do it otherwise but I end up slowly going insane inside my own head and not telling anyone about it. My default position is suicidal ideation, depression and negative thinking and self talk. When I first came into AA I heard a man share that he had come to realise that there is a part of him who wants him dead and I recall thinking, ‘that’s a bit dramatic’, but I too have a part that wants me dead. It is called the disease of alcoholism.

Through my therapy, I have come to discover that the voices inside my head are the parts of me that split off from the trauma I experienced as a child. And so I have accepted for the time being that I am a multitude of parts, and rather than relying on the quick fixes to get over this, I accept that the journey of AA and my journey with God, is this slow and daily and sometimes really painstaking process that involves suffering, but that sees me being born again in a new image, in His image. And when I accept that and surrender to it, the pain goes, momentarily and I feel free. I have to repeat this process daily, otherwise I revert back and I forget what Living Sober means. Thanks for listening to this part of my story.