Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Unexplored world

Daniel and I went to a convention this past weekend for a 12 step program Daniel is a member of (I won't mention the name of it, because it has Anonymous as part of it's name). Daniel has dealt with extreme addictions in his past, and has been clean for 8 years. I have never had an addict in my family, and besides caffeine and Mythbusters, I have really never been addicted to anything personally. It's like trying to walk in someone else's shoes: you really can't. I like to tell myself I'm reasonably smart and well-read, but when dealing with what I have had no contact with in the past, I fell like a dunderhead.

So the whole day Friday, Daniel acted like a caged bear wanting to get their. Yes, he is wonderfully charming most of the time, but when he wants to get somewhere he can get a bit (understatement) cranky. I had to use my zen voice to calm him down a dozen times to keep him from going spastic. Especially in Lexington traffic; we were going down Versailles Rd just as Keeneland was letting out of its first day of the meet. However, I kept him from going into a killing rampage well enough to get us to Bardstown.

The first thing I felt when we got out of the truck was this overwhelming feeling of love and goodwill coming from all in attendance. During the process of the weekend, I don't think I had ever been hugged that much at one time in several years. Total strangers (to me) would come and hug me out of the blue, no matter the race, age or gender. There was an atmosphere of total and unconditional acceptance. All of these people had dealt with addiction, either as a recovering addict or the partner of one. Everyone was an equal to the other. I felt a complete sense of welcome, but also the feeling of being distanced because I could not share their life experience. Most of the spouses or partners of the recovered addicts there had been with them in the trenches of the illness. I had met and married Daniel at the point of being clean for several years. I did my best to be as open and attentive as possible.

Saturday was full of seminars on various topics dealing with addiction and the aspects of the program itself. There was only two I could go to, the -Anon meetings. Once again, I met wonderful people there, but only myself and another person there had met their spouse during the clean time, not the raging addiction. It did help to share my feelings of inadequacy and ignorance on how to handle situations that come up dealing with the addiction. For example, the needle pit scene in Saw II. He freaked, then dealt with it. I freaked because of seeing him freak, and not knowing what to do. Everyone at the meeting was very understanding. Between seminars, I was either cross stitching in the hospitality room, or napping ( since Daniel was so keyed up he didn't sleep at all Friday night, nor most of Saturday night).

Saturday night there was a banquet, a speaker, then an auction/dance. As I did Friday night, I went to bed when I felt the fatigue hit me, and let him alone to roam. I did this because these people were his people. They shared his experiences. It would have been a terrible injustice on my part to make him go to bed and miss this camaraderie. He thought it was very unselfish on my part, I just considered it reasonable. It was also practical, since I was rested enough to get him home on Sunday.

I hope we get to go to another convention in the future. Yes, I love swing parties. However, outings like this I think are more enriching to us both, and we need fun for the body as well as nourishment for the soul.