Routines and change

Morning all, Young Master Duke has taken over the whole dratted bed, and I’m settled in with coffee. My beloved Shuggie Lump is in the dining room, plotting and scheming to watch all of SG-1 in as short of amounts of time as possible. We are okay. Today’s post contains child abuse from the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Yesterday, I snuck out into the garage for awhile with Duke. We had the big door open, and were focusing on avoiding drowning while enjoying the fresh air. We did our best to just be. It worked. Today’s agenda involves some more of the same. On rainy afternoons, settling in with a cup of tea, and listening to the rain. Today’s plan also involves restoring a lace tablecloth and finishing the restoration of an afghan. It’s overdue, and they are moving to the wilds of Arkansas within a few too short days.

Yesterday too, I had a nasty flashback to my childhood over 40 years ago. My parents learned at one point, that beating your children was starting to be frowned upon. They had tried to hide the beatings, by leaving marks and bruising in areas that aren’t to be discovered naturally, but an investigation proved that they were still doing it. Eventually, they changed their plans to include locking me into a shed about the size of a shower stall while they were at work.

I was talking with a friend when the flashback hit. I was remembering the day I bought my PPE. I mentioned the shed, and the fact that it was the first thing I’d ever fired my PPE at. The hole was a through and through. It was my small revenge for what had happened 40 years earlier. I’d been locked in there with no food, no water, no toilet, and nowhere to sit. I learned to pick a lock at that time, from the inside, and learned how to lock myself back in.

That said, it wasn’t the worst physical abuse that left scars on my soul. It was ‘the least damaging’ stuff that still freaks me out. I gave my daughter up for adoption at birth to break the chains of abuse.

How I deal with flashbacks is routines, in part. I have set routines that I have written about many times before. When those routines get interrupted, the flashbacks come easier. Or, when I start talking in a recovery setting about something that seems innocent to others, a flashback will come. I haven’t related on the blog about the worst abuse, it went quite a bit more scarring than being locked in the equivalent of a shower stall, but it was still there.

Routines are safe, just like mathematics, they are a predictable outcome without having to watch people like a hawk to see if they are going to cause harm. It’s part of the reason I don’t like most humans. I can’t trust that I won’t get hurt. Being a survivor of the past, like many many millions before me, means that I don’t always know or have the skills to handle life on life’s terms.

I turned to working a program of action to leave the disease of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. It was those twelve steps that saved my life. When the pandemic hit, my routines had to change. It was rough, and I’m glad I got through. However, today, I have learned to get through the best I can.

Today, something as simple as testing my blood sugar, doing my stretches while waiting for my coffee, or taking a nap as a routine has helped me with the familiar to deal with the videos playing constantly in my head. Writing helps too. Change is scary as hell. However, I will muddle on through.

Huge hugs my friends, I thank You for reading. -L