7+18 – old issues resurfacing

20:17. Not feeling well. I have issues I need to examine. Some old stuff has been churning up and I don’t want to face it. I faced it back then and I was done. Why do I have to face it again now?

I do a quick internet search now for “buddha on facing old memories”

and, scrolling down a bit, end up with these two quotes:

“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.” -Buddha

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

I have to say that those two quotes are in fact the crux of my suffering, because:

  1. I care far too much about too many people, *and* (this is the key problem:) whether or not they care about me.
  2. I can’t stand myself.

It sounds harsh but that’s how I feel a lot of the time.

The old stuff that is coming up is manifesting in my body. I often have a feeling as though there are invisible hands around my neck. I don’t understand exactly why. It might have to do with an incident I mentioned on a sobriety friend’s blog, but which I had been thinking about even before that.

When I was in my late teens, my recently-ex-boyfriend showed up drunk in the middle of the night, in a rage, stormed into my room, ripped the covers off, shouted things at me I can’t remember, and nearly strangled me. In front of my parents, who stood frozen in the hall.

I froze too, which I hated myself for, and yet in retrospect it had perhaps been the right thing to do because I didn’t end up (physically) hurt. But I can’t seem to forgive myself for the fact that it happened at all.

He was five years older than me, but I was in fact an adult at the time, being 18 or 19, so I can’t blame my age. He came from a horrific childhood and he was an absolutely amazing person in spite of it.

My parents calmed him down and let him stay on the sofa till morning. I was appalled that they did that. I who thought of myself as so accepting could not stand that they allowed him to stay in our house. I was not as accepting as I liked to think.

But they had done the right thing.

In the morning I called a halfway house and asked them if they had a place for him. I don’t remember the details but I suppose he had been evicted from somewhere — and I needed to find him a place to stay. They did have a place.

One of my parents and I drove him there. I remember seething with hurt and anger the entire time, from the back seat. He’d scared the living daylights out of me and I couldn’t understand how my parents could be so nice.

But it had been the right thing to do. I’m really grateful to my parents in retrospect.

I never heard from him again, except for a letter of apology and amends that he mailed to me, months later, which to be honest hurt terribly all over again.

But last I heard, he was still sober. All those years later.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I didn’t even mean to write it.

I think what hurt is that I missed him so much. I wanted us to always be friends, even though I knew I couldn’t be with him (I had broken up with him, which he didn’t want to accept; hence why he showed up drunk in a rage).

I truly loved him. I was also massively attracted to him in all kinds of ways. But after our breakup, he would not be friends with me. It was all or nothing.

I believe I felt rejected.

I know that’s ridiculous and selfish. But the heart can’t be reasoned with very easily. (That’s where spirit has to intervene, instead. For example in the form of a Step 3 prayer. But I didn’t know anything about all that, then.)

You can’t be friends with someone you’re in love with; at least, it’s not healthy to be (since then you will not move on). But I selfishly, unconsciously, wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

Some part of me didn’t want him to move on. I believe that’s why I felt so angry and devastated that he, in my unconscious view, forced a total severance of all ties — by trying to force the opposite. I was then morally forced to say goodbye. He knew I would never call him unless he called me first, and after we brought him to the rehab, he never ever made that call.

He did the right thing. The less selfish thing.

He then did another right thing by writing me a letter detailing all he had done wrong and apologizing. For me it came out of the blue, months later. Reading it all, I felt so much shame inside myself that it had happened in the first place. That feeling that somehow I had caused that awful scene to happen.

I know it was partly my fault, for reasons that are too complicated for me to explain here now, except perhaps, in short, that I was attracted to his darkness; I suppose I wanted to be his “saviour” as well as his “saved.” (Both of us from past pain — though his was far, far worse than mine.) Though I know ostensibly that even if you are willing and/or have skills, you can’t heal anyone who doesn’t ask for help. Neither can you be “saved” if you’re not ready to be.

But in spite of being partly at fault, outwardly I blamed him entirely. (Hands-around-my-throat feeling as I type this now.)

I hated him for sending that letter, which caused me to relive all the stuff in our relationship, just as I was beginning to feel okay again. And perhaps the reason I hated him for that is because I didn’t truly want to let him go.

In fact, he admitted to and exposed a lot of mud within himself, never blaming me, in that letter, for any of it (though he certainly had shouted a lot of awful things at me that final night), and I rejected that work he had done, in my mind, focussing only on what I perceived to be the selfish act of mailing the letter instead of keeping it to himself. Remembering only the awful things he’d shouted (which I’ve now forgotten — though I’m sure they’re buried deep within my consciousness).

I feel awfully about it. I feel like a shit person.

How could I have been so fucking awful?

(Hmm. Was that what he’d said?)


This is in fact the only way to get sober and stay sober, from any addiction.

It’s useless to blame the other. We have to look for the cause in ourselves.

If you are reading this and haven’t done the 12 steps or similar work it may be hard to understand how difficult it is to expose these issues within ourselves, even *to* ourselves, but far, far more so, to another person, or even online on a blog like this. And I’m still not doing a good job of it.

But he did that in his letter, and in fact, all these many years later, I think he may actually have done the right thing in sending it. It brought, once again, closure.

But I can’t shake this feeling. I don’t know why. I might actually have to get some help.



23:23. Writing does help. Feeling ebbs. And… I need to get back to re-working the steps. It’s not just for sobriety from wine. I need to get sober from all kinds of stuff. Mainly, from striving for meaningless achievements, and from craving outside validation. We’ll see how it goes…

xo n/stl


12 steps free online: https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf (note: feel free to substitute AA Big Book “God”-related terms for whatever suits you; I use “Tree” and “it” rather than “God” and “He/Him,” for example)


~sobrietytree.home.blog/sobrietytree.com – 7 months 18 days alcohol-free. working on awareness. wishing for the return of the pink cloud, which seems to have floated far, far away.








30 thoughts on “7+18 – old issues resurfacing

  1. Trauma gets locked in our bodies and talk therapy only gets us so far. Try to find someone who specializes in trauma and healing on all levels: body, mind and spirit. I’m all too familiar with that dark hole of self-loathing- feels like you’ll be stuck there forever. Try to remember you won’t. These times challenge us to be gentle and compassionate with our tender souls. Sending a big hug your way, my friend. And lots of love.💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Elizabeth, this thing you say about the trauma getting locked in our bodies and finding someone (or some way) to specialize in healing trauma on all levels (body, mind and spirit) makes so much sense. Your kindness and gentleness is soothing for the soul. Thank you so much, and a lot of love back. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What wonderful support this post has generated! I second the book recommended by drgettingsober. It’s a fascinating read and has been an enormous help for me in understanding the effects trauma has had (and still does) on the way I respond to certain issues/triggers/life events. I had to go outside our conventional mental healthcare system to get the help I wanted and needed. Another good book is “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” by Peter A. Levine. Love you girl!💐

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ooooh. I have to say I love the title of that second one. I have some associations with tigers. Also glad to have your seconding of the first recommendation as well. Kindred spirits and all so it must be good. Yes I am absolutely amazed, humbled and so very grateful for this amazing support… and crazy, I almost made this post private about one hour after publishing it. Actually I did make it private for a short while then decided WTF say my truth and released my attachment to outcome. Such amazing rewards for that I could never have predicted. Life (and people) are wonderful, much of the time, if we don’t expect too much from it. Thanks so much dear Elizabeth, love you too sweet gal :))) xoxoxo 😘🙏❤️

          Liked by 1 person

  2. “I can’t stand myself.” I know this sentiment well. I also know that currently, I like myself far more than usual. It ebbs and flows as I suspect yours does. Like the Buddha says, give yourself kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It wasn’t until someone suggested that I might have PTS (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that I even looked up and started to research what it was and also the effects it has on you. I followed it up with my therapist and she agreed that it is a part of me now. I am by no means a professional but what you went through above I can relate to along with the fact your parents did what they did at the time. I want to reach through and give you a big hug because, hopefully I’m not off track here, it’s okay to be mad with them also. Which is possible while we still love someone at the same time. What you went through was horrendous and the fact that they then opened up their and your home and let him stay the night afterwards is actually a really big deal. There is so much to this post but I don’t want to write another post and take over. XOX

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tears are running as I read this so I think I needed desperately to hear it. The way you right it is so compassionately for all sides and I just want to thank you from the depths of my heart.

      What you said about PTSD makes sense and it’s really helpful to hear that your therapist and you agree it is a part of you now. I have some other hurts as well and part of this journey will be accepting that they are a part of me and that I have to accept them and not keep trying to reject them. Yet also finding a way to feel safe (or safer) while continuing to attempt to express myself truthfully.

      Thanks for the hugs and for your deep understanding. It means more than I can say. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Nadine – firstly I want to give you a big hug and send you lots of love 💞💞 I so agree with the comments so far but I’ll add my thoughts too – going a bit professional now. The sensation of the hands on your neck is a traumatic memory that is sitting in you unprocessed. There’s a wonderful book called The Body Holds the Score – about trauma and it’s effect on us, check it out. Also your parents were kind to him – but in that moment you needed them to protect you from him -so I think there is the trauma of the assault (and freezing is one of the ways we protect ourselves when attacked if running and fighting are not options – it isn’t weak it’s self protective) and the attachment wound of how they responded. They sound amazing people but you needed to be unequivocally put first in this kind of situation to experience being unconditionally loved and protected to have the sense of ‘I really matter’ – which may connect to you not liking yourself very much when this is triggered for you? (I think my blog may have triggered this – sorry ❤️). I think their kindness to him (and maybe they were often putting others first?) unintentionally led to you not feeling good enough or loved enough to be protected and comforted. I’m not blaming them – not at all but you didn’t get what you needed from them that night which was the double whammy. Trauma is not the event but our psychological response to it which is mediated by whether we have others to help us process it, to comfort us etc. You are worthy of comfort as much as anybody else – more love and hugs and I hope this passes soon for you 💞💞💞

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This comment means so much to me… what a gift… I read it earlier and did not have time to reply properly but tears were flowing. I think you’re right… my parents were kind, and I am truly glad… but at the time I felt invalidated. And yes I think they often put others first in some ways, but through not fault of their own… or at least small fault of their own, themselves being a product of their nature/nurture… your comment honestly triggered some deep reaction in me of feeling validated and having my pain acknowledged… similar to reading FG’s comment my internal reaction was profound and liberating. Thank you so very much… and no your blog didn’t trigger it at all ❤️ I loved it, it helped actually for me to get a bit further I think… these old things have been resurfacing recently for a number of reasons.

      You are wonderful, doctorgettingsober… thanks so much for the words and hugs and love, I felt it. Very healing. 💞💞💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you your words mean a lot to me too -you’re doing some healing and it’s painful which is why I think we do some, then come out of it and be more ok for a bit, then somethings back for whatever reason and we do some more – you’ll be back to yourself soon with a bit of a lighter load xxxx💞💞💞

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree it goes in waves… and I will put that book “The Body Holds the Score” on my reading list or at least search it online, sounds really good. Blogging about it released something in me that night, which was cathartic in itself, and the responses from you and others here, whom I consider friends though have never met face-to-face… it brought me such peace yesterday, which remains this morning. Thanks so much again, and as I’ve said before, I think your clients are very fortunate. 💕🙏💕

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I could write a lot here dear friend, but I won’t….. but this made me feel so sad to hear you say you can’t stand yourself, and then the harshness toward yourself in how you felt in the aftermath of that terrifying event. And the physical manifestation on you now…. I agree with a previous commenter, that while your parents did a beautiful thing for this person, at that moment, perhaps you needed your protectors to protect, to show you that and restore some sense of natural order…. you were an adult but so young…

    So much love xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again tears… dearest friend… thanks for showing up here… means so much, and again it’s like a verbal hug…. and our usual care-bear stare full-on. Many many thanks ❤️xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, such great comments here and I’m not sure I can say anything new! Such inspiration to maybe it is PTS to the idea of you needed protectors to protect, to show natural order. I really believe both wholeheartedly. I know I am a hard one as I don’t really blog much ( I get nervous ) but I am truly so glad I went to WordPress awhile ago and you were there. I needed someone, and you were there! Please know how loved you are, because you are such a loving person! I feel age wise we connect, kids and crazy schedules we connect. You do pretty awesome for them! They are so lucky to have you! Don’t hate yourself, everyone else thinks you are pretty amazing. Love to you!!! ❤ Hope you feel better dear!!! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jackie, I do feel a kinship with you, and you’ve been so so so supportive of this blog, honestly it has helped me a lot to know there is someone out there for whom it might work sometimes, just as I’m so grateful that there were blogs out there that seemed to speak to whatever I needed to hear, when I was searching… and I was like you, and still am like you (nervous about blogging) and it’s all just a process and a journey, and we have to sometimes start small, I started by commenting, as you do (which took getting over major social anxiety fears, in my case)… know that whatever voice you have inside you will be perfect for someone out there who is searching for it… just as you have shown me that even I with all my flaws, can be right for one person at one time or other… maybe that makes it worthwhile. But even more worthwhile is the catharsis from writing it, which helps me/you/other blogger/commenter move through our own stuff, and then amazingly, when we are fortunate, find ourselves supported in return, as you do here so selflessly for me (and yes, I know how it feels to try to comment when it seems all has been said. Yet each voice is different and brings something new, and is a gift). Thank you dear Jackie, for your sunshine and positive words, which buoy me up. Love to you. Feeling much much better. With much gratitude 🙏💖❤︎ 😘🙏🌷💕

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Nadine, my first thoughts on reading this were, finally, that’s the trauma that’s been hinted at at so many times. You can’t underestimate the impact that the incident you experienced with the hands round the neck can have. it was a massive thing to have happened but I’m not going to say anymore, DR GS has said it all brilliantly. I’ll just add , It’s happened, it shouldn’t have done, it was wrong, you were wronged, you’re blameless (alwaysthemost difficult thing to really believe!) and now it’s time for healing.
    Jim x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jim ❤️
      But this wasn’t the original trauma actually. This guy was a good guy. And I do feel I was partly to blame, if anyone was at all, that is. Takes two to tango and all that.
      But I love your support and your feeling words of strength, thanks again xoxoxoxox


      1. Ok but forgive if I disagree about being partly to blame. Hands round throat, only way I could see justification for that is if your life is in danger.
        Blimey I’m getting a bit judgemental, sorry but I’ve heard too many people make excuses for violence and abuse. His actions, his responsibility. Otherwise we can end up with the old rapists argument “well she was wearing a short skirt your honour, leading me on she was.” No excuse for violence that isn’t self defence. You should not have had to experience that. That’s it. Sorry, I’m ranting but it’s because I’m on your side and don’t want to think of sharing blame for an action in which you are blameless.
        End of second sermon of the day 👍 Jim x

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Gosh Nadine, I decided to look back further at others’ posts, at around the time I started blogging and stumbled across this lovely little group. I joined the party late so to speak and I’ve been quite caught up in myself since I gave up the booze. Now I feel I want to hear more about others’ journeys to guide my own.
    I read this post and I am truly in awe that you were able to share it. I’m also really thankful. I know there are stories and circumstances I need to write about but I’m still very frightened to do it. Here I am, advising others yet I struggle to be open myself. Does that make me a hypocrite or just scared of what people will think?

    This really is a process isn’t it?

    Reading your post at this stage in my journey (and all the fantastic comments and support it generated) has triggered something for me. I’m grateful you didn’t keep it private, I too am going look up the book recommended by DGS and maybe one day (maybe!) I’ll be as courageous and brave as you have been.

    Thank you so much. Sorry you had to go through such an awful ordeal. Thinking of you
    Claire xx 😘 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Claire…. very strange to re-read this post now… I was a in a bit of a dark place then. I feel weird that it exists, but, here it is.

      I don’t think you seem caught up in yourself… you seem concerned for others since you joined. You certainly don’t seem in any way like a hypocrite, and I think it’s very normal for most of us to care about what people think to some extent.

      In my case at least, it’s when I care more about what the critics think, than what I know about myself or about the feelings of our truest friends, that things can go sideways.

      Each day, we can choose whom we pay attention to: those who truly care, and show that with their actions, or those who say they care yet do things that prove the opposite.

      I think I had a pretty big critic in my head here, possibly-self-generated, perhaps the one that was putting its hands invisibly around my neck, reminding me of a time when someone was threatening to harm themselves or me if I did not comply with their wishes.

      Taking time to retreat a bit from the zone that felt threatening has been immensely helpful. I have been feeling very cheerful and well lately, aside from the normal stresses of everyday life. Since this post, I poured my energy into a lot of creative stuff, which generated joy inside me again.

      I appreciate your kindness very much. You’re a lovely part of this community. Thank you for commenting, it means a lot. 😘🤗❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Each day, we can choose whom we pay attention to: those who truly care, and show that with their actions, or those who say they care yet do things that prove the opposite.”
        This is where I am right now. I have a choice. I choose to surround myself with others who lift me up and who don’t need to be persuaded to accept me.
        I’m glad you are no longer in the dark place and life is cheerful and full of joy again.

        Liked by 1 person

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