SLAA Retreat – Day three


So by the time I finished my post last night, the Quiz time had finished. While the quiz was going, one of the members came to me and asked me to search online for the bedtime story, the velveteen rabbit. Once the quiz finished, he told everyone that it is story time. People went off to get in their PJs and grab their blankets and got comfortable in the living room and then he started telling the story. It was really nice to listen to and the way he read it was wonderful.

Shortly after the story I was in bed. I had really deep sleep though I woke up with a bit of back ache. I also managed to sleep till almost 8 am. I had a nice warm shower and got ready for the day.

While I was preparing my breakfast, a gentleman was in the kitchen and started talking to me and we had a chat the turned into a full on conversation. He’s been in the program for a couple of years, he attended a few meetings regularly and then stopped and then came once and stopped again and he decided to show up to the camp. He learned a great deal and felt like he has to keep working the program. While we chatted he opened up and shared about our lives, something touched him in my story and his tears started flowing. It sounded like he felt so lonely and isolated. Feelings I often experience and relate to.

We had our first session for the day which were on steps 10/11/12. The sharing was very helpful. Then we had our morning tea and the same gentleman asked me if we could chat a bit more. We got into a private corner and started sharing again. He was straight, I have same sex attraction, so our acting out activities are not the same. Yet we found a lot of commonalities in our patterns and our feelings. It was a great chat. We agreed to stay in touch and outreach. We live in two different cities but this fellowship isn’t limited by geographical boundaries.

We had a final session before lunch were we each had a chance to get current and thank the organisers of the camp. It was wonderful. I felt like I was on a family holiday. While it was intense emotionally and I felt exhausted at the end of every day, I felt home. I was loved and loving others in return, I was accepted and accepting those around me and looking forward to a future of continued recovery.

I wrote this on the plane back to Auckland, I am now at home, had dinner with the kids and they are sound asleep 🙂 have a good day everyone.

SLAA retreat – Day two


Today was the second day of the Wellington SlAA Retreat. I am really tired but happy.

last night I couldn’t sleep till 1 am cause another slaa member in our room snored really loud. so me and another guy had to look for another room. then I was up at six am. my clock is set up for the time my kids come into the room. when I couldn’t stay asleep I just got up and said my prayers and started having breakfast.

we basically had sessions that deep dive into every step and we got all the way to step 9. there was a fair bit of sharing for up to step 4/5 and then the sharing got a bit light. I guess because less people had experience in the later few steps. it was wonderful.

we had a nice outdoor lunch and the sun was out the weather was great. then we had an hour and a half of afternoon break and a few of us went for a drive and a walk, the nature was gorgeous. Below are some more pictures I took.

Dinner was a great gathering of friends, wonderful team work and collaboration effort. and after dinner two of us went down to the rive and started throwing rocks in the water. it was great. felt like little kids again. I loved it.

when I got back they had a social night organized, it was NZ quiz. didn’t work for me at all, very quickly felt out of place. (I am not kiwi by the way) so I decided to take a bit of time to myself in a corner and post this. I will go to sleep soon. (I hope) cause I am beat.

SavedPicture-2014112921205.jpg

SavedPicture-20141129211951.jpg

SavedPicture-20141129211716.jpg

SavedPicture-20141129211720.jpg

SavedPicture-2014112921176.jpg

SavedPicture-20141129211655.jpg

SLAA Retreat – Day one


I am now attending the SLAA Retreat in Wellington. A few of us flew to wellington and hired a car to the retreat location.  the first day had only one session, we basically arrived, had a light meal for dinner then went straight into a meeting. the first meeting was just about getting current and sharing how we are feeling, and how we are in relation to the camp.

after the meeting some of us took a walk down to the river and I took a few shots. not the best picture quality but they were too beautiful not to share. 🙂

this is where I am spending the weekend with other SLAA members

WP_20141128_020

this is the river down the hill

WP_20141128_019

the other side of the river down the hill

WP_20141128_014

A single change, multiple benefits


For a while now I have been doing the night duty with the kids. They wake up occasionally between once and 4 times a night. I get to be the one who calms them down, tucks them back in bed if they leave it and come to our room etc. As a result I am really exhausted and not restful in the morning. I basically assumed I have the right to sleep in in the morning. When the kids wake up early in the morning they are looked after by my wife, she prepares breakfast and starts the morning routine. On regular basis I am generally woken up to a grumpy wife and whining kids.

The thought pattern every morning is like this: “didn’t I do enough over the night, waking up multiple times?”, “don’t I deserve a bit of rest to make up for the interrupted sleep?”, “don’t I deserve to wake up to a happy family?” and the resentment builds up.

Yesterday I did something slightly different. Kids came into our bed around 6 am as per the usual routine, then the whining started, and I could see the cycle starting with my wife about to snap at my daughter. I got up and started giving my wife a shoulder rub. It distracted her from the snapping at our daughter, but the little girl kept crying. After a minute of quick rub, I took my daughter and got out of the room, calmed her down and started making her breakfast. Shortly after, my son got out and joined in the breakfast fun.

This gave my wife a chance to get up with ease and get dressed and ready for work without a rush. She had a restful face and she greeted me with a smile and a kiss, thanking me for the shoulder rub. I certainly missed the extra hour of sleep I used to get but I didn’t miss the whining and grumpiness, I also didn’t miss the resentful me I manifested every morning.

Let’s see how often I can keep that going.

 

#SafeTrip2 – Day five – I am home


On my last day of the trip I went to the morning face to face meeting that takes place every Saturday. I was feeling shame and humiliation that kept me humble. I have always shared things that looked good and sounded good. this time I new I needed to be vulnerable and share my imperfect work. it was a burden, but I am glad I got it out. after the meeting some of the members went for coffee and it was good to catch up with them in an informal setting. then I went to my hotel to pack up.

I checked out and went to visit family that lived in Singapore, we got out, ran some errands and then visited with some friends who came to catch up before I fly. it felt great. I was so glad to have been sober during that time. then as the evening approached I was on my way to the airport.

at the airport I did a bit of shopping, then hung out with a colleague who happened to be flying back on the same flight. so she kept me company till we took off. it was good.

on the flight I sat next to a young female fresh graduate on her first business trip. we exchanged a short conversation and then I was in deep sleep before the flight took off that I missed the first meal. I watched a couple of movies when I woke up and then it was breakfast time and shortly after I landed back in New Zealand.

I was happy to be home, happy to see my kids, my wife and my mom who is visiting us. I was warmly welcomed. while I was so tired I still went to the face to face meeting that afternoon cause I needed to be with other SLAA members. I needed to check in back into the country and announce my return. I also got to share about how I put myself at risk on my last night of the trip.

it was a full day hence the delayed post. kids took for ever to go to bed and I am tired but I feel alright. 🙂

thanks for keeping me company during my second trip sober by the grace of God.

#SafeTrip2 – Day Four


I am sober by a miracle!

So since my last post I had my breakfast and got ready for work and off I went. The work day went well. Many of my colleagues weren’t present because they were tired from the party the night before and decided to work from home.

There is something I forgot to tell you about the work function the night before. We played games and one of the games was to take a few pictures of people at our table doing different funny things. One of them was “a picture of 8 people at the table acting as if they were caught naked”. There was a table that I originally wanted to sit on because it has my boss and a few others that newly became in my team, but it was too full so I ended up somewhere else. The men on that table went to the bathroom, stripped to their undies and took the picture. Also another colleague of mine who I acted out with a few times was in the bathroom at the time, so he joined in the picture. I was so glad I wasn’t sitting on that table.

Anyway, back to my day at work, it was productive despite the last minute meeting cancellations from people who didn’t show up. While I am walking around the office I bumped into that colleague I acted out with. He started talking about the party, showing me the picture and explaining what happened. While the conversation lasted only for a minute and a half I was slightly aroused, so I kept the chat short and continued to where I was going.

I went to the SLAAONLINE.com chat room and shared and I felt comfortable, I was attributing the comfort to having done step five. I am still a sex and love addict, I will get triggered but they won’t kill me. So I am alright.

Later on I attended the NZ SLAA Skype Meeting. It was helpful and I shared. Then when it was over, I took off, ran a few errands then met a female friend of mine for dinner. Great food and lovely company. Then she walked me to my hotel.

I got to my room and decided to treat myself to a bath. While in the bath I started thinking about going to a male grooming studio to do a boyzillian. I have been wanting to do this for a while but recently I decided it is not appropriate given my stage of recovery. When I was doing my step five with my sponsor I told him that I won’t do it. Yet while in the tub I thought it is a very legitimate idea. I started looking for available studios at this hour, called a few until I found one that was open. The way I was searching reminded me of the way I was searching for a fix when I acted out. This time I didn’t waste hours but still the feeling was the same.

When I realized that my addict was at play, I called another SLAA member to outreach, he didn’t answer. So I went ahead, made an appointment and the place happened to be so close to the hotel and very affordable. So I walked over.

The guy had the wax on the burner and the process started!! It was painful! And as the process went on I realized that I am at risk. The guy was obviously gay. He wasn’t making any advances or anything but still it was a risk. I started talking about my wife and my kids, I started praying in my head that nothing happens. And nothing did. So I walked out of that studio with a lot less hair and a lot more humiliation. I felt so humiliated by my actions. Which was probably a good thing, cause I was getting a bit too confident with the sense of serenity I had and the sobriety I am clocking.

The SLAA member called me back just as I left the studio, I outreached. I sent a message to my sponsor and told him what happened, he asked me to read Chapter 3 of the AA big book, reminding me that mixing it with milk doesn’t work. And I went the hotel and slept.

This morning I had an outreach call with another SLAA member that drew a parallel between my overeating the night before and what I did last night. He talked about breaking boundaries trying to figure out what “safe” boundaries can I cross without getting in too deep. He also talked about himself when he did this and how eventually we’ll break a boundary that isn’t safe. It was a very interesting thought. I need to pay attention to it.

I am thankful to have remained sober. I am still feeling humiliated and humbled by my action.

Tonight I fly back home. Will write to you then 🙂

 

 

#SafeTrip2 – Day Three


Not sure how to describe yesterday from a recovery point of view but I will tell you what happened anyway.

So I went to work, had a couple of long meetings then I went with a colleague to a costume shop to rent our outfit for the evening function. We ended up dressing up as Julius Caesar and Mark Antony as part of the movie theme Cleopatra. Then I got back to the hotel because I was tired. I tried to nap and I couldn’t so I went down to the pool and did a couple of laps and got back to my room to get ready.

The function was kind of fun, but I wasn’t as into it as I used to be in previous years. Maybe cause I was still tired. And maybe cause was not actively trying to pursue someone or hoping to be pursued by someone. Not sure. But anyway. I played along, had some fun.

At some point towards the end I was really tired, and slightly displeased cause I wasn’t attracting as much attention as I did in previous similar functions. I wasn’t nominated for best costume, I didn’t win any of the lucky draw prises and the event didn’t follow my plan. So I started noticing myself feeling slightly resentful. Lucky for me I didn’t act out BUT I did something else I wasn’t supposed to do. I have been on a sugar free diet for a few weeks and I am not eating carbs either. Last night after a certain point I went looking for the dessert table and just started eating one piece of dessert after another. Then when I went back to my table I felt a milder version of the same guilt I felt when I acted out in the past after periods of abstinence.

I got back to my hotel room, said my prayers and went straight to bed. I didn’t want to sleep but I really needed to. I am not as restful as I would like to be but I will take it easy today. I am looking forward to the SLAA NZ Skype Meeting this afternoon.

Alright, time for breakfast. Thanks for reading.

 

#SafeTrip2 – Day Two


Yesterday was a long happy and tiring day. I had breakfast, got ready and went to work. Long large meeting took place and I was very present and actively participating. Not anxious over what might be waiting me afterwards nor was I trying to secure a liaison through various means while pretending to be present. It felt great.

During the meeting I met two ladies that I had had resentments towards before. For some reason I forgot about them when I was doing my resentment list. And to my pleasant surprise, I didn’t feel any resentment. I felt comfortable and easy. With one of them we chatted throughout the meeting and exchanged ideas about what was being presented. I talked to my sponsor about them this morning and he suggested that it is worthwhile I do a resentment work on them even though I feel okay now.

After the meeting I had a long catch up with a group of colleagues. It was fun. I had a lot of laughter and enjoyed myself. I was able to just let things be and enjoy the present without a preoccupied mind. When I felt tired I simply excused myself and said goodbye to everyone with no intention but to go to my hotel room and get some rest. It was nice, I felt free.

In the cab ride to my hotel, the taxi driver was very gentle, soft spoken, polite and pleasant. We talked and he looked me in the eye with a smile when it was safe to do so while he was driving. And I was wondering, how come he is so nice? Is he flirting with me? Could he be gay? Normally that thought pattern would lead me into a suggestive conversation to find answers to how interested he is to feed my addiction. But this time it was just a reminder that I am still a sex and love addict. I looked straight ahead at the road while talking to him in fear of using in appropriate looks or smiles through my cunning character defects. As we talked he talked about his 20 year old son, I got to share about my family and the conversation was safe and enjoyable. Then I got to my hotel, thanked him, paid, and left.

In my room, I had a nice warm shower, and had a good sleep. I woke up, said my prayers, had my breakfast and had a nice talk with my sponsor. We discussed steps 6 and 7 and after I hung up with him I started reading these steps in the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions as well as the SLAA Big Book. I feel ready to have God remove all my defects of Character. Will continue to pray about it and will read some more to see what is it I need to do to have completed this step.

After I post this, I will head to work for another lovely day. Tonight there is a big work party. I will be dressed up. Will tell you about it tomorrow.

#SafeTrip2 – Day One


I just re-read my #SafeTrip Day one that I posted over a month ago from the same hotel. Gosh what a difference. this time I had someone next to me on the plane, he is a young university student, but somehow I wasn’t triggered. I felt calm and at peace. I landed and took a cab straight to the face to face meeting. I got to celebrate the fact that I am still sober for the day.

After the meeting I had a long catch up with another SLAA member and we had supper together. then I took my shower, said my prayers and went to bed. I had just over 4 hours of really good sleep. then I work up happy and peaceful. I did a bit of work and now typing this. I will say a some prayers after I finish this post, get ready and go to have breakfast and start my day.

I hope you are not disappointed by the uneventfulness of this trip so far. but I am honestly not sorry that there are no juicy details to share nor entertaining insane thoughts. this just means one thing, Recovery Works!! And I can never be grateful Enough.