I have been clean for twelve months and six days. Call it a week. Tonight, a week ago, I confronted my ex-boyfriend, about the night he and a friend of his raped me. I did it in an email, and I was apprehensive about sending it – I first sent all my friends and supporters a teary-eyed Whatsapp message, saying I was about to do it – and eventually I did.
And then the next few days were filled with the celebrations of hundreds of friends, colleagues, strangers in meetings and on social media all making good with the noise. I felt the love. I felt the milestone reached was good, big and important. But while I had the smile plastered on my face, I was waiting for a response from my ex, though I’d made it clear I didn’t want to hear from him.
So far, he’s honoured my wishes – but I can’t say I am not a little disappointed. While I was fearful of a venomous and vicious attack in response, I was also hoping just to get some acknowledgment for what happened that night. But nothing.
I want to strike out – I have an urge to send another email – an angrier one, calling him spineless, a bastard, a sick and twisted rapist. I want to call him a coward for not responding. For not acknowledging my pain, and my confession, and my healing.
But I guess that is the next lesson – for what is any of this but a series of lessons from which I must grow, and learn? In my letter, I very carefully worded it to fire as little anger and hatred at my ex as possible – the point of confronting him was not to make this wound any bigger. I did not say “You raped me!” – I said, instead “You held me down, and I was violated.” because in the language we use, the healing has its foundations. And at the end of that letter, I offered him forgiveness.
This next lesson is the realisation the conversation is over, finally, and that forgiveness only has meaning if it is unconditional. I did not offer forgiveness on the condition that he acknowledged his crime. I did not say “I’ll forgive you IF you say you did it, and that you’re sorry!”
No. I said “I forgive you.”
And that has to be enough. Because it is. My higher power forgave him long before I did, and that forgiveness came unconditionally. Therefore, to truly live in this new-found freedom I have claimed, my forgiveness of him is unconditional. My friend Susan counselled me that forgiveness sets me free, and allows me walk lighter, and live life abundantly. How right she is!
I grow. I learn. Sometimes, I stumble – but what’s important is I pick myself up, and I carry on carrying on. Each day free from drugs, addiction and that night.
© Dave Luis 2013. All Rights Reserved.