Not a sum of my parts
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
I'm sure there are a lot of folks who are checking out this blog for the first time. maybe you're one of our regulars who've been here for a while. Perhaps you’re just curious why we're talking about Adoption AND Child Sexual Abuse AND Addiction AND Recovery from all three of these traumas. Why not just talk about one?
The answer is...
I'm not just one of those things.
I'm not only those things.
Neither are you.
I am not one thing at all, I'm all those things and more, combined together at various stages of my life.
In this age of instant info I know there's a lot of emphasis on people wanting to know what they want to know about what they need to know when they need to know it. It’s like the prayer for patience, “God, grant me patience, and I want it right now!”
I hope that some of what you find here will be that kind of immediate and helpful information. I also hope that there might be some information buried in these words. I hope that if you're not sure if you need it right now, even if it might not be part of your experience current, that you'll still have an open mind and take it in.
My friend Tom told me that the things he and I talk about are the same topics he hears later in one of my YouTube videos or reads here on the blog. "It's almost like you're rehearsing!" Tom is right. (Don't tell him I said that)
Isn't all this just kind of a rehearsal? My writing, and videos, breakfast lunch and dinner, my work at the office or taking the dog for a walk. The therapy session I have tomorrow, a one-on-one chat with my 12-step friend, an intimate talk with my son, daughter, wife or mother. Everything that I did yesterday is a rehearsal for today. All I do right now is worth paying attention to, being mindful of every breath I take.
What's coming next is beyond my scope, until, of course, I arrive. I don't have control over what comes of all that happens today. I have an interest in it, and I have some concern or I have some awareness of what might happen, but all I actually have is right now. Right now my only real hope is that some of the things that we're talking about here today will make sense tomorrow.
My friend Joe is very supportive of what I do here to explore the many compounding traumas in my past, and although he's never been adopted he's taken the time to think about these issues. He told me that even though he doesn't really understand what it's like to be abandoned by his birth mother he can still understand the feelings and affects of abandonment. Just as important, it helped him understand other people in his life who have been adopted and struggled with some of these issues.
It's also why I write about addiction. I know that some people that read this are struggling with addiction, are in recovery, or perhaps are just trying to find out what about recovery is attractive and why they might want to pursue it. I also hope that people who aren't addicts or alcoholics might be be reading this, perhaps family members, friends or employers.
Child sexual abuse can be one of the hardest things for me to write about, and the most difficult for others to read and examine. Imagine the amount of compassion that one can have when they open their minds to information about somebody else's troubles in that area of their life. I know that it hurts just to think of it. I know it can be painful. Just take it in long enough to ask yourself "Is this going to help me understand somebody else in my life, maybe even someone that I haven't even met yet?"
All the experiences that I've had throughout my recovery, the abuse, during the addiction and throughout the abandonment, are a part of who I am, but they do not define me. It wasn't the suffering I endured that made me who I am, but the deep love of others for me, and my ability to love and to persevere through the suffering. I became who I am not in spite of the traumas, but through them.
What's important to me is to recognize the things that happened to me in my life are only a part of me, and the recovery process that I've worked through has brought me to a place that I can be more than the sum of my parts. I can be more than the sum of these many experiences. I can be more than just abandoned and abused. More than just the person who's recovering. I can be whatever I'm meant to be, the next day, next week, next month, next year, or maybe just the next hour or the next minute.
It's important for me to share these 3 areas of my life. These are the things that began it all, started me on these travels of becoming who I am, and brought me to this place, but they're not the only things that will define me.
Because I'm not just these 3 things. Because I'm many things.
I also know that I am not everything, so I don't try to to do this alone. I don't have to have all the answers. I can reach out for help. I can reach out to people like Tom and Joe. People like you. I can reach out to my higher power, beyond myself, because I don't have all the answers.
It's called humility. I don't have a lot of it, but I'm hoping that of all these things that I'm becoming, humble is one of them.