I am writing this as I am sitting in camp house an hour outside of Wellington New Zealand. staring at the view you see in the picture below and listening to piano Cannon in D.
some of you know that I had a rocky ride with recovery lately, especially if you’ve listened to my latest podcast . So I am lucky to report that I am attending a SLAA Camp this weekend. I shared about attending a similar one last year when I was in a different place recovery-wise. you can read about my last year’s retreat here.
I arrived here yesterday (Friday afternoon) I was still working and luckily the internet allowed me to get the rest of the day in order. then people started arriving. I had seen most of them in last year’s retreat so it was good to see them all again a year later. I felt hopeful. I am really looking forward to be immersed in recovery because I have a questionable willingness to stay focused on it.
we had dinner as a group, Wonderful homemade soup by the camp chef, he rocks that kitchen. and after cleaning up we had a short game of scrabble with a few of the fellows.
the first session commenced at about 7:30, introducing the theme of the camp, “From shame to grace”. the hosting group welcomed everybody, shared some housekeeping points then we started sharing. after introducing ourselves we each shared how shame affected our lives and what we wish to get out of this weekend.
I was the last person to share, I felt dizzy. I felt thrown around with every share. there were bits of me in every share. I talked about how I compartmentalized my life as a result of shame. how I put others to shame to cover my sense of shame, and how I really need to get back to focus on my recovery.
afterwards I joined three others in a game of “500” it was so much fun. we went to bed at 11, I slept really well. woke up in the morning, said my prayers, showered, had breakfast while chatting with the wonderful friends around here then sat quietly listening to the piano my phone while typing this with the view above before me.
the camera doesn’t do it justice.
Recovery is wonderful! the day started shortly after my previous post. Kids got up, we had breakfast and started getting ready to go out. I took my two kids and met my cousin and his family (wife and two children) and went to the Egyptian Museum. it was great fun. then we went out for a meal afterwards and had a good catch up while the kids eat and run about.
I got home, showered both kids and took a shower myself and attempted to put them to sleep for a nap. and I napped. then left the kids to my mom to look after them and I went out at 10 pm to meet two fellow addicts from sexholics anonymous. it was a good opportunity to discuss recovery and share on SLAA and my efforts to start a fellowship in Egypt in Arabic. they asked so many questions, shared what touched them, got current, offered to help keep me company for the remaining time I am in Egypt especially after hearing what I went through with my most recent episode. they are also willing to help review the translations of SLAA literature.
I took a taxi for part of the way there and a taxi part of the way back. I didn’t touch the guy, didn’t engage in inviting conversations, but I was curious. is he? would he? what if he did? …. insane thinking that’s all. but I feel I was only just little stronger spiritually to stick to the thoughts and not follow up with actions.
I got home to find that my son is still up and my father is struggling to put him to bed. I took over then I struggled. he was whining and screaming intermittently till 2:30 in the morning. I was not very compassionate nor patient. I even yelled saying SHHHHH WHAT’S WRONG?? something that I remember judging my wife for doing a couple of years ago when my son woke up upset at night. very humbling indeed. I hope that through my repeated effort to be a loving compassionate father I reduce the negative impact of what my reaction may have caused him.
this morning, I woke up early at the smell of fresh pee. he peed himself, I behaved with a lot less agitation. after I cleaned him up and changed the sheets he fell back asleep just as my daughter woke up. I spent a bit of time with her trying to comfort her from the pain of mosquito bites that bothered her. then I left her and her brother to the grandparents so I go meet my other cousin and run some errands.
my cousin is somewhere finishing the paper work she needs to get done and I am in the car typing this while waiting for her. given how little sleep I had I need to be watchful and remember to rest or ask for help so that I stay sane. more importantly I need to remember to keep saying my prayers which I have been doing daily now.
thanks for your support.
Withdrawal still sucks. or maybe it is the environment. maybe there is way too many gay sex addictس who are hot and available everywhere. I thought the only thing preventing me from acting out with another man was the fact that it takes preparation, planning that is a bit more difficult than watching porn or masturbating. I was wrong. the only thing preventing me from acting out with another man will forever be my contact with my higher power, and right now, that contact is weak.
4th day in a row saying my prayers now, I am awake during the day and asleep at night. which means, I am asleep when it is isolating and alone and there are candidates everywhere and I am awake where I’ve got company and have my kids to look after and my parents to distract me and all sorts of this and that to be done. this is all good.
Yesterday I went with my kids and my mom, my cousin and aunties to the mall. A nice large happy gathering. then we all needed to do a toilette break. I took my two kids to the men’s toilette and as we went into a booth the cleaner went in to sanitize it for us before we use it. (yes such modern shopping malls in Egypt have cleaners at all times, they clean the toilette after every use) I was happy with that because I am always weary of having my little girl use the men’s toilette for obvious reasons. so anyway, we closed the door and all took turns to do our business. I got some change handy to tip the cleaner. on the way out I noticed that his pants zip was undone, I handed him the tip and whispered that his flyer is open. The flyer wasn’t open by accident. he took the tip and touched my hand for half a second too long while a lingering look stared me in the face. it was a very clear invitation.
I had my two kids, what did I do? went out, handed them to my mom so I can go again to the bathroom. I went in, he was cleaning the booth we were using, I walked in and closed the door, pretending that I just needed to pee. while he is in the booth. we exchanged very few words about the fact that he won’t do anything because he is fasting (he somehow finds it okay to plan his acting out while fasting but not do it till after he breaks the fast, not judging, I remember such insanity) but anyway that worked for me. I was probably going to do something crazy in that booth putting myself at a huge amount of not calculated risk (scandal, Jail, you name it, or just the risk of acting out while trying to get back to sobriety). I was Zigzagging so rapidly between resisting the temptation and responding to the invitation. he offered his phone number and I attempted to record it, and we almost got caught so I failed. And guess what the joke is? I attempted to bring up recovery.
I got out of the toilette partially aroused, head spinning, completely not present. the guy was really good looking. I loved him, I wanted to save him, while being naked in his arms in the process. I had my kids waiting outside and a whole gang of family members. I was completely not me. I CAN’T WORK IT OUT. SERIOUSLY!! I thought I was a great parent before I came to recovery, then through the work of the program, I realized what my kids have been missing out on. I was able through working the steps, and through reliance on God to slowly but steadily offer them back the father they deserve, the father I wanted to be. Now I see it clearly. I can’t act out and be that father. I REALLY WANT TO BE ABLE TO THOUGH.
I was shaken for a good hour afterwards, then was able to keep my focus on my kids and the family gathering until my son needed to go to the toilette again. I did try to go to another toilette in the mall, and I asked for direction but you guessed it, I found myself in the same place with the guy there waiting for me to hand me his number. this time it was after the fasting hours have ended. he is still at work and I have my son in my hand. I took my son to pee, the guy gestured that he gave me the wrong phone number (the one I failed to record) and I smiled saying, alright give me the correct one. I didn’t stop or pause as I said that, I was walking with the same pace with my son towards the sink to wash his hands, then dried him and walked away. as if at that point my legs knew where to take me and what the next right step was (pee, wash hands, get out, Simple) but my head still wanted to split out of me and maybe memorize the number by heart using speed memory muscles I don’t even possess. I was shaken again for a bit, I was angry for having my kids and the family. I was angry for having an awareness that stands against what I want to do so bad.
I know why I am a sex addict, I know a little bit about what my addiction could get me into, but I certainly don’t know the full extent of what I could get myself into if I don’t work the program.
Just today I found out about a guy from the fellowship that was named and shamed on the front page of the largest national paper in New Zealand for his acting out. That could be me. The headline would read: “Gay mans has sex in public toilette with a cleaner while having his two kids.”
I will keep posting and please keep reading. I am getting a lot of love and support from friends and people in the fellowship. Even as I tweet the risk I am going through I get a text seconds later from someone who saw my tweet and want to help me remain safe. I have every reason to be grateful despite the trying times.
A special thanks go to my friends N and D who messaged me within minutes of my previous post to check on me and offer help to keep me safe. I owe you much more than I could put in words in here. THANK YOU doesn’t do it, but you know you were a sign of God’s love and grace to me at that point.
I think it has been about 48 hours since the last time I masturbated. I just hope this round of withdrawal isn’t as intense as the first time. I hope the fact that I didn’t have sex with anyone else counts for something. but I got to say. so far I am experiencing scary symptoms that I remember clearly from the last round.
- I am so aware of all the good looking men around me and triggered by them
- I was in a taxi the other day and the compulsion to put my hand where he could touch it as he changed gear was baffling
- I am becoming very impatient with my kids over the last couple of days.
- I have a very strong compulsion to control things around me
- I am growing resentful of my parents for not following my plan
on the positive side, I have been saying my prayers, three days in a row now. I have out reached a few times, and I did run the SLAA Egypt Skype meeting. I also received a first enquirer through the SLAA Egypt website, a sex addict who has been searching for recovery. we got to talk on the phone and we will be meeting to discuss recovery. he is also very keen to help establish the fellowship in Egypt. these are all opportunities that keep me sober. Also I talked to 3 of my sponsees and shared with them where I am at with my shaky recovery and sobriety asking them to make a call around the sponsorship relationship. they all offered a loving and caring hand and none of them decided to fire me yet. giving me an opportunity to still be of service and connect to the program.
I have the desire to act out. but I don’t want to act out. or maybe I want to act out but I know I don’t need to act out. I have no idea how to put it, but you addict reading this will know exactly what I am talking about. I will be checking in again regularly while in Egypt. thanks for keeping me company.
if you’ve already read the mess that is me you’d know by now that my sobriety is heavily questionable. I didn’t have a written down bottom-line list and my sobriety definition was basically around nothing of sexual nature outside my relationship with my wife, which rules out masturbation. certainly rules out flirting with a taxi driver or responding to an ad on Craigslist.
I wrote a long list in my previous post about what I am going through but let’s get one thing very clear. I am struggling because I am losing my conscious contact with a power greater than myself. I haven’t been praying. and I am snapping back into self-reliance.
after the first few ejaculations I wasn’t really that welling to remain sober. I was zigzagging between serenity and insanity. I would really like to go act out. I might as well. but I am struggling.
I can’t work out how to act out and still be productive at work, present with my kids, restful and looking after myself with proper sleep. I can’t figure how to go meet someone for sex and treat them as a person not a bag of meat to rob myself against. I can’t figure out how to go embrace another and completely shot out every bit of emotions associated with this act AND at the same time not cause them any hurt or not be selfish. I can’t figure out how to act out and remain rigorously honest. I can’t figure how to keep the level of wholeness and integration I gathered and treasured over the last few months however little it might be.
I met a man through that hooking up app.. we didn’t touch. well we shook hands for greetings, but that was it. he sat a distance away and I was telling him my recovery story and how I have been struggling lately. I had another chat with another guy from the app and we spent a night chatting about sex addiction, its impact and the wonders of recovery. Yet if the chance to be in bed with either of them presented itself I probably would have had this same conversation fully naked in their arms. how hypocritical. I have been deluding myself into a false sense of control it is insane yet I keep doing it. guess what, powerlessness and unmanageability because I am a sex and love addict. I am even typing this as I exchange messages on the app. CRAZY. I do want to get back to the program, sobriety, my sponsees, etc. but I also want to go off with some random stranger.
for all the times I ejaculated, I had a momentary sense of calm that got me thinking of how this would have been if someone else was in the room and I say Hell NO I can’t do this, run to my phone, clear the cash, uninstall the app then two hours later I am installing it back. GRRRR
by the time I post my next blog entry I am not sure what state I will be at or how the quality of my recovery will be. please say a prayer for me
Just ten days ago I was sober for 11 months. that is probably not the case anymore.
I came to Egypt on a visit with my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old, leaving my wife and baby back where we live. I arrived with my two kids after a nearly 30-hour journey on the 14th of June. I was beat. my sister got married on the 20th of June. that was the primary reason I came down. today is the 2nd of July.
I will put down in bullet points some of the things I have been experiencing, feeling and doing. not in any particular order.
- there is a ten-hour time difference so jet lag was rough on me and the kids. I had little sleep
- because of the messy schedule (mine and the kids) and living in a house where my sister is planning her wedding. I got distracted from saying my prayers.
- my parents and my sister were all sickly and exhaustingly creating dramas and thriving on it.
- Egypt was hot, dusty to a level that needed adjusting to.
- my stuff was cluttered out of a suitcase I felt so unsettled
- my sister was my first child, I pretty much raise her, it was unbelievable to watch her as a bride! I was overcome with emotions.
- I didn’t have much time to spend with my sister cause before the wedding she was busy preparing and after the wedding she was, well, married and then she left the country with her husband 4 days later.
- I have been working since the 23rd of June, from midnight till whenever (anywhere between 7 am and mid-day)
- I haven’t been able to make out reach calls to other addicts.
- I haven’t been able to keep the SLAA Egypt Skpye meeting going due to lack of privacy, kids’ demand and poor connectivity.
- I was only able to attend the NZ Skype meeting twice and not even fully.
- I wasn’t able to talk to my sponsor for the first 10 days for the trip
- given my working hours I have been functioning on 1 to 4 hours of sleep every day and not even at one go.
- work was very busy and full on.
- I have been checking out ads on personal websites
- I have installed and uninstalled a proximity app for gay hook-up nearly five six times
- I have been emailing random strangers and even talking to them on the phone (nothing sexual or explicit) but they are of those sits/apps
- I have ejaculated a few times some are involuntary as a result of a prolonged state of arousal and some is self-pleasuring.
- I am off my Low Carb diet and eating sugars like crazy.
- I am still not saying my prayers consistently
hmmm I will write something else in another blog post shortly
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.
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