Memoir as Therapy

Since I’ve been feeling better the last month or two, I’ve gone back to working on my book and have found myself capable of writing quite a bit. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve written about 30,000 words, bringing my total up to roughly 40,000, which I figure is about half of what the full book will probably be.

I talk to my therapist about it a lot. I’m writing in Google Docs and have shared the manuscript with her so she can read it. Last week she started asking me about the therapeutic value of it. I thought it was beneficial but it’s only been in the last few days that it’s really started to hit me.

I’ve finally gotten far enough in the timeline that I’ve been able to use my journaling and, to a lesser extent, this blog to guide my writing. That means that I’ve started to get to some very dark periods in my life. The chapter I’m on now is covering my time in NJ, between rehab in Florida and me leaving for the west. The chapter before that was when I was in rehab and the one before that was my breakdown that led to rehab. I am facing myself at my worst when I’m writing about these periods and it’s starting to take a toll on me.

I started noticing it on Saturday when I was doing the rehab chapter. I recovered a bit and yesterday started in on my time immediately after rehab. I did not respond well to that at all. I am looking at myself when my addiction had turned me into a monster and it is very, very ugly. I’ve been in contact with my therapist and will be going to my third Refuge meeting in four days tonight.

It’s not unlike the time I’ve spent doing my 1st truth inventory for Refuge Recovery and, in a way, what I’m doing is basically a much more thorough and in-depth truth inventory. I’m guessing that I will ultimately benefit from doing all of this but it sucks shit at the moment.

I’m a bit torn too. I’ve got some great momentum going. I could probably be completely done with my first draft in about a month if I continue at my current pace. When I’m actually writing, I’m feeling ok but when I’m not and I start reflecting on what I’ve written, I feel very not ok. So, I’m taking a pause on writing until I see my therapist on Thursday. I’m hoping I’m feeling better by then.

I’ve no doubt that I’m at the most difficult part of the book right now. Once I get into treatment in Portland, the material will become less intense. I’ll still have to deal with my two relapses at the beginning of last year. They will be difficult also but they’re shorter than the time period I’m dealing with right now. Finishing up my time in NJ and then capturing the fucked up shit I did in Utah is going to be unpleasant. I need to work out a plan with my therapist to get through all of this safely and maybe leverage by Refuge Recovery mentor, as well.

One thought on “Memoir as Therapy

  1. I’m glad you’re taking a break.
    I think it could be beneficial in the long run, though revisiting such things is probably best done when you’ve got support right there.
    I’m in awe too (yeah, I am)
    Love, light and glitter


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