Then Everything Will Be OK
I was twenty-nine years old when I got to EHA. I had one daughter (eight years old at the time), one failed marriage and one heck of a hateful attitude.
I was angry at God, my mother, my daughter, my ex-husband, my supervisors at work, my ex-boyfriend, people who were happy and people who seemed to have a handle on life and living.
I was angry at God for not giving me the “goodies” in life. My mom, for not letting me move in after I “got rid” of my husband. My daughter, for being my responsibility. My ex-husband, for not living up to my expectations. My supervisors, for expecting me to work and do a good job on the job. My ex-boyfriend for refusing to marry me and rescue me from this horrible life I created, happy people for being happy when I was always angry and people who had a handle on life and living because I had lost my grip on it a long time ago and I was not living and I knew it! I had no hope, no hope of ever having any hope. I had no hope of my life ever changing. And since I had no hope my life was full of fear. What was going to happen to me? Since I was so immature, I could not stand still with the fear. I turned fear into anger. To me, being angry was socially acceptable. Being fearful was not.
Emotional illness is a progressive disease. So my anger progressed. And I always took it out on my daughter. Ignoring her, being cold and unloving to her. Criticizing her for every little thing and blaming her for how my life turned out. At one point in the middle of my rage (my anger had progressed to rage) I put my hand on my eight year old’s neck, pushed her against the wall and screamed at her face, “I wish I had the guts to kill you!” I heard the “voice” in my head (my own voice, mind you) tell me to go ahead and do it. I will feel better and she deserves it. My disease was really progressing now. Then I heard another small voice in my head (it was not my own voice) say, “But what if you do?” At that moment, I saw the terror in my daughter’s eyes. I pushed her away. And for one more night of many nights, she lay crying at one end of the house and I lay crying at the other. This was no way to live.
I learned about EHA from the church I was attending. For me, church was a method. Just one of those things I’ll do with the hope that some day (if I don’t die first) I’ll get what I want out of it. Peace, happiness, love, riches, world acclaim. You know, just the “little” things in life. That night I was floored by the whole experience. Three women from EHA shared a little about their own lives and the three of them, what they shared, equalled the total of who I was. One woman shared about growing up with feelings of worthlessness and uselessness. And for her those feelings started at the age of seven. I could relate to that. Another shared about all the things she did to overcome or to run from the feeling of impending doom. She shared about being so depressed she couldn’t move and about having so much anxiousness that she could not stand still. I related to that too. The last woman shared that she had so much anger and rage in bringing up her children that her crazy head was always telling her ways she could “get rid of them”. I really related to that.
Every one of these women shared that it was what they learned in EHA that allowed them to live free of the sick and angry feelings, thoughts, and actions they were doing. When I heard that, I got my hope back. I heard it three times that night. I knew after hearing these women that there was a way to change. There was hope for a different way of life. And there was hope for a happy life. There was hope for me and for my life. I went home that night and had what I call my first bipolar experience. On one hand, I was elated that there was a place for me and that this 12 step program worked. At the same time, I felt doomed and fearful because this program really worked. And I had no idea how it worked, what it was going to take for it to work for me or if I was going to be okay once I got to EHA. The ego plays many tricks when it’s threatened. Only my sick mind could tell me the answer to all my problems isn’t good for me. My sick brain has a way of putting fear in front of everything new. And fear always stopped me. But not this time.