Dear Brother, I am sorry


I wasn’t putting this off but I certainly wasn’t rushing to get to it. and now that I am starting and though it was a spontaneous decision I still feel a flood of emotions go through me.

Dear Brother,

it is funny I am writing this in English as you wouldn’t really understand this had you been alive and reading it. the fact that you passed on gives me the freedom to write in whatever language I am comfortable with. I am sure you know I am in Egypt now; our baby sister isn’t baby any more. she just got married. I MISS YOU. your picture on my phone, on the walls and everywhere around me is a constant reminder of how empty your place is.

you weren’t always there. even though you were always present. you still are. in our minds, conversations, thoughts and most certainly hour hearts and emotions. I still think that one day you will call me, or open the door and show up. you will introduce me to some random strangers you just met and called them friends. you will make silly jokes that I don’t understand. or will act funny why you really want to smoke a cigarette and don’t want to do that in front of me. I still feel it might happen. part of me is not willing to accept that this is it, that I won’t see you in this physical realm any more.

I am also sure that you know that I have recently identified as a sex and love addict, I am working an imperfect recovery, had 11 months of sobriety up until last week and now I am not sure if I am still sober or not but I am still working the program. and you my brother are on my step 9.

throughout your life I had issues with you, was embarrassed to bring you around or introduce you to my friends. judged you harshly despite your willingness to do every bit possible to gain my approval. I was (and largely still am) consumed by my plans, my selfishness and my lack of capacity to regard you or consider your feelings.

I am writing to say I am sorry, truly sorry for every time I hurt you, caused you sadness or ignored your feelings. I am sorry for my uptight, self-righteous attitude. sorry for being condescending, arrogant and foolish.

I learned much through your death, learned that you really spent your time where it matters most. spent your time loving people, serving them, caring for them. you are deeply missed by everyone who got to know you for just a little bit. if you can offer any sign that you got this message I would be eternally grateful.

I love you

 

#step9: the Amends that didn’t go my way


I just realized that I never mentioned this in any of my posts. as a child I was molested by my older male cousins. they were also kids at the time, 2 and 4 years older than me which was a big gap when I was 10.

The two of them made it to my Step 4 sexual inventory list, which naturally led to them be on my Step 8 and I became willing to make amend to them. You should probably know that what I need to apologize for was more than 20 years ago. also that we’ve been friends (close friends almost) for about 15 years or so.

anyway, as part of my step 9, I initiated contact with each of them trying to coordinate time so we can talk. Generally before every Amends I try to take a bit of time in a quiet area, say a bit of prayers and then make the call. I had that luxury with most of my amends and with one of my cousins. With the second one however, he called me unexpectedly.

Let’s take a couple of steps back. The day I was talking about was one of the roughest in terms of recovery. It started with a bit of resentment that I needed to deal with and look at myself. I was dealing with strong cravings throughout the day. Also I was exploring vine (the social media app) and I stumbled across a number of inappropriate 5 second clips which I didn’t immediately turn away from, but I eventually uninstalled the app because I thought I can’t handle it. And while going through all that combined with a busy work day my cousin called at 5:30pm!!

I felt that this was the will of God for me. I got to take the call and just make the amends. And here is how it went.

Me: ——- a bit of small talk — Him: —— some small talk back—– Me: so I needed to talk to you about something. It has been a long time ago and probably a bit weird that I bring it up but I want to apologize about this incident (and described the situation in question) Him: Man don’t say that, why do you bring it up Me: well I know but I am working on a program that requires me to look into my past and apologize where apology is due, and I feel that I owe you an apology for this. Him: Oh come on it is not such a big deal, it has been forever and it is really not called for to bring it up.

Then the conversation carried on in other direction around our families and our lives and this and that.

I hung up the phone and wasn’t very pleased with the answer. first thoughts were: “Not a big deal?” Of Course it is, it messed me up. (I felt invalidated) then immediately after that I was thinking “I was the one who was molested” he didn’t even say sorry.

I know I know, if you are an addict who is working the program properly you will immediately pick up on the fact that these thoughts are not in line with the spirit of step9. I had to pray about it, share about and talk to my sponsor about it. And now I am sharing it with you. share your thoughts, and please be gentle 🙂

#step9 – my ex boyfriend replied


In response to Letter to my ex boyfriend

Dear —–,

thank you for your words. I am quite sure that you will be able to open the doors of confirmations even wider – day by day – through your struggles to grow within the Love and Guidance of Bahá´u´láh.

May you always be happy and full of servitude.

Thank you,

——

Step9: letter to my Ex Boyfriend


Dear —–,

Thanks for being open to this. As mentioned in my earlier message to you, the purpose of this letter is to apologise. It is really hard to put together an exhaustive list of situations that may have caused you harm, So I won’t.

That being said I want to admit to and apologise for my attitude and actions. In our relationship and interaction I have been self-centred, inconsiderate, fearful, resentful, dishonest and self-righteous. On many occasions it was all about what is convenient for me, what was right for me and what was fun for me. To a large extent your feelings, circumstances, efforts and all else was secondary, and I am truly sorry for that.

You are under no obligation to respond to this. Though if you do, I will listen with a humble attitude and do my best to make things right.

I would also ask that you keep this confidential.

Thanks
—–

Step 9 – Making direct amends wherever possible.


Shortly after I wrote the title of this post I had to go back and find the date of when I actually completed my Step 8. It was the 17th of December. It took me close to 3 weeks before I made my first amends on the 5th of January. My first was my sister. My sister and I are friends and she made it so easy for me. She was really cute about it.

Those of you who read my “first challenge” post know how worried I was about making amends to my wife. Anyway two days ago was her birthday. Since we started dating and her birthday has been a multi-step surprise with a wow factor. She almost always left blown away about how I planned her birthday. This year, I just couldn’t plan anything. I was in an utter state of confusion about my feelings, emotions and about her and us as a couple. So I couldn’t put on a show. It would have been just more of the old me. I also considered making amends to her on her birthday but I wasn’t sure that is the right thing to do. So I spent the whole day of her birthday reflecting on it.

The only thing I prepared for her birthday is a card with the palm print of my kids on it. Then I took the card and drove to her work place to surprise her while my mom looked after the kids. I picked her up and we drove to a nice area and we started walking around. Up until the moment I opened my mouth I wasn’t sure if I’m going to make amends or not. I started by stating that I didn’t get her anything for her birthday but this (pointing to myself) and stating that it is not all that to brag about. She knows I am working the steps so I refreshed her memories of what step 8 and step 9 talk about. I told her that she was on top of the list of people to make amends to. Then I went on sharing my character defects and specific scenarios where these character defects have caused her harm. I apologised and cried as I saw her cry. It was such an intimate loving conversation beyond my wildest imagination. I asked her, what I can do to make it up. She said, “You are already doing it”, “I can see a change in you as you work your recovery, it is not always a good change but it makes you real and makes you more human, so keep doing that, and I am proud of you”. To hear that just made me realize how fortunate, how lucky and how blessed I am to have her in my life. (Please remind me I said that when I come complaining about her in the future).

I did tell her about step 10 and that if she sticks around this won’t be the last time I am going to say sorry but I am willing to keep making progress. We hugged each other in tears and she told me that this was her best birthday ever. We had a nice dinner afterwards (it was a difficult task in NZ, not many places open late) then got home to watch a movie. Guess which movie? “Thanks for Sharing“!! I was scared to death but it went alright.

I would like to confirm that I didn’t share too many details about my acting out. I just talked about the character defects caused by my addiction (or causing my addiction) and how that caused her harm. She didn’t ask and I didn’t feel a need to volunteer information. At this point it felt like the truth might set me free and send someone else to hell and that falls under “injure them or others” in my current understanding. I might gain a different understanding as I progress through recovery, but for the time being I feel aided by my Higher Power to do what I need to do and I follow that guidance.

Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts.

 

Step 9 – First challenge


I didn’t think I will be posting another entry so soon. But here I am.

You all probably know that I completed step 8 and that I am moving to step 9. My first homework was to prioritise the list. I needed categorise which amends are going to be direct vs indirect. Which amends will be made immediately vs deferred. I thought this was an easy task. I prioritised my wife, parents, sibling and children. They are all to be direct amends and as soon as possible. Then the list went on.

I was hoping to make amends to my wife first. I talked to my sponsor about it and the challenge appeared clear. Before my wife and I got married I had told her that I have same sex attraction. I remember at the time telling her “I am bi sexual, and I had a boyfriend”. It took her a while to get comfortable with that fact. And then we got married. I progressively started referring to my sexuality as “gay” rather than “bi” as I really have no attraction to women whatsoever.

Anyway, if you’ve read one of my earliest posts “I am a Sex and Love Addict” you’d know how I came to SLAA in the first place. my wife pretty much knows as much as that blog entry, she knew about my journey, the support group I wanted to start and the fact that I identified as a sex and love addict after my first SLAA meeting. I have been going to meetings since and I am working the steps so she knows when I am in a SLAA meeting, when I am talking to my sponsor, having outreach calls or even out of town for a SLAA camp. She noticed that I have changed and she attributes this to my recovery. The one thing she doesn’t know, is the extent of my acting out. She doesn’t know that I was unfaithful.

I want to do this right. I want to be rigorously honest yet at the same time I was planning to make amends to my wife without completely revealing the details. I have considered that telling her I was unfaithful qualifies as one of the things “when to do so would injure them or others”. Today on my call with my sponsor he questioned my logic. He doesn’t want me to mention too many details but certainly feel that if I were to hide the fact that I was unfaithful then I am not being completely honest.

I don’t know what to do. The only decision I made was to move my wife to the deferred amends and pray about it. I am outreaching and sharing with others asking for Experience, Strength and Hope and if anyone who reads this has something to offer I welcome your thoughts.