SafeTrip4 – Day 1


it is kind of day one and a half. so the flight was uneventful, i sat on an aisle seat in the middle section of the plane so i don’t have to interrupt anyone or be interrupted as people want to go to the toilette. when I landed in Singapore I was welcomed by two of my good friends who live in Johor Bahru, Malaysia (it shares boarders with Singapore) we had a nice short road trip to there house. we had a nice chat and caught up, then it was bed time. I slep relatively well.

I was up at 5 am which is the usual time i wake up in this part of the world do to Jet Lag. showered, said my prayers and started doing work. then when everyone was up we had a really nice breakfast together followed by a leisurely walk in their neighbourhood. then my friend drove me back across the boarders to Singapore.

I had some errands to run that involved embassies and government agencies and phone providers. To summarize it all, i was very lucky, i got most everything done within the time frame I had anticipated.  finished, got back to the place I am staying in by 4 pm and I was hungry. I plugged my phones to charge (yes i have two of them) and left the house phoneless, with just some cash in my pocket. i took a slow walk to the food court, had a meal cause I had eaten nothing since breakfast then a bit of shopping and walked back to the house. it was probably the first time in a long time I left the house without phones. then i had a nice down time relaxing before i hit the road again to attend a meeting.

I made it to the Monday meeting, it was good to see some familiar faces and a lot of new ones. more people are attracted to recovery. I caught up with a friend after the meeting then got back to the house and slept.

I had a good four hours of sleep and woke up at 4 am. Had a couple of calls with sponsees and recovery partners, did a bit of work, then had a call with my sponsor while walking around the stadium for half an hour, I did about 5 thousand steps during that time. now i am sweaty and sticky doing a bit of work, typing this, then i will go have a shower, say my prayers and get on with my day 🙂

Step 12: We tried to carry this message


Step 12: We tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.

You might already know from my earlier posts that I was a phone counsellor and my plan was to work on my counselling skills so I can help others and eventually open my own counselling practice.

Shortly after I came to SLAA I was able to clearly see that counselling as profession is no longer what I am going to do. To refresh your memories I had at that point of early recovery decided to stop working as a phone counsellor and I also said goodbye to therapy. I knew at that moment that what I needed to do was to focus on my recovery. I haven’t lost sight of my desire to help others but I knew that it will have to take a different form from what I had originally imagined.

I found a sponsor, set my sobriety date and started working the steps. Recovery story is really fun, I am enjoying working on my recovery and I love how my sponsor helped me work the program. One of the things my sponsor always stressed was his view on sponsoring others. His criteria is that an addict need to be sober no less than six months and is well into his 9th step before attempting to Sponsor others.

I was really eager to sponsor others to help them work the program, but I adopted my sponsor’s view or criteria for becoming a sponsor. So I waited. When I was close to six month sober and by then I had started my step9 and made progress on it. During one of the face to face meetings I raised my hand when the chairperson asked “for those who are willing to sponsor to raise their hands” and on that day I was approached by my first sponsee. I had met him for the first time at that meeting. We talked and I agreed to be his sponsor. And we started working together.

Given that this was the first time I sponsor someone through this program I decided to focus on the one sponee and not raise my hand again. And I did that for a few weeks till I got a better feeling of how my relationship with this sponsee goes, and how much time commitment it requires of me.

A few weeks later, in one day during outreach calls with other fellow addicts I was told almost the exact phrase “I would like you to be my sponsor but you are not available”. While I stopped raising my hand, I had never actually told anyone that I am not available. I answered to these two members that I am in fact available. And then my sponsees increased from 1 to 3. I felt that it was appropriate based on the progress of my recovery as well as the time required of me with my first sponsee.

I started working with my three sponsees and continued to make progress. I made sure I always remind my sponsees of the same thing my sponsor reminded me off. That I am not doing them a favour, I am working on my recovery by doing my step 12.

Then again weeks later I was having a conversation with another member from the fellowship. He had a sponsor but wasn’t making progress and he communicated that if I wasn’t so busy he would have asked me to be his sponsor. We talked about it a bit more, and agreed on a rhythm for our interaction and the sponsorship started.

Finally I got a phone call from another fellow addict who newly returned to the fellowship wondering if I can be his sponsor. That last one took a bit of thinking from me, I need to pray about my motive because he is gay. I needed to purify my motive and make sure that I am not putting myself or him at risk as a result of this relationship.

I will post almost nothing about my sponsees but I do plan to blog about the lessons I get from working with them.

Happy Naw Ruz


after 19 days of Fast, Naw Ruz Marks one of the Bahai Holy Days and the Bahai New Year. there are 9 Holy Days a year that Bahais observe and work should be suspended. during my active addiction I always acted out on days leading to a Holy days with the intention to stop on that holy day. i never did.

so the Bahai Calendar is a 19 Months, each Month 19 days which comes up to 361 days, the 4 (or 5 during leap years) days balance are called Ayyam-i-ha and are placed right before the last month which is the fasting month. these days are of significant spiritual importance to the Bahais. many years I acted out before these days hoping to stop when they come. many years I prayed to stop but I don’t think my prayers were sincere. (did I say my prayers today? i will after i finish this) then I act out during Ayyam-i-Ha hoping to stop during the Fast. but I don’t, then i act out during the fast hoping to stop by Naw Ruz. I still didn’t.

Today 21st of March I am 8 Months sober. which means I was fasting all the days leading to the fast, I enjoyed celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha, I had a wonderful spiritual high from the fast. and now I get to celebrate the Bahai New Year and celebrate 8 months of Sobriety. on top of that 21st March is the Mother’s Day in the part of the world i come from so i also got to celebrate mother’s day with my mom in the morning.

Thanks a lot for those of you who kept me company during these days. and thanks everyone who read this.

I will stop my daily posts for the time being and will get back to my normal pattern of posting when there is something i want to share about.

have a lovely New Year everyone

 

Fast Reflections Day 18


I had the BEST Sleep so far. as in I actually slept enough. oh and did I mention that I had the best night of sleep? I have enough energy to repeat the same thing over and over again as you can see, oh the wonders of good night sleep. 🙂 alright I will stop.

the funny thing is that I still got up a few times, first time because I had a wet dream and I needed to clean up. I was almost acting out in my dream. Gosh that was a good reminder. I am in fact a sex and love addict. won’t mention much about the dream itself. nothing that exciting anyway. so got that out of the way and while trying to get back to sleep I sensed that my kids needed to go so I took each of them to the toilette for a midnight wee. then I got back to bed. my little girl got up a little later to sleep in my arms. I love my kids and love their little arms wrapped around my neck (occasionally choking me).

in due time I got up to help make breakfast with my mom and mom in law, started eating, kids got up, you know the story…. after the kids went off to their day care and preschool I went to get ready and after I finished I decided not to go to the office and work from home today. it worked out well as we got a call from my daughter’s day care that she has a bit of fever, so I was able to go get her. it was a mild fever so nothing to worry about much. I worked for a bit and since I am fasting and I won’t be eating lunch I took my lunch break in bed. I napped. I KNOW RIGHT? even more sleep. this must be the best day ever.

after my nap I kept working again. at work I got REALLY mad at somebody. I WAS RIGHT. but I was also aware that there are for more important things than being right. I can’t have resentment. and I need to watch for my character defects. the good news is, I was able to vent the situation with other people and see to proceed further without losing it at someone. the only thing that I did to imply that I was mad was telling a colleague that “I find your response unprofessional” and when he kept going on I said “this conversation ends here” and I closed the IM window. I needed to pray about it and direct my attention to someone I can help. Thank God for Steps 11 and 12

after finishing work I didn’t have to drive home, I just had to leave my office. I spent a bit of time with the kids, fed them some of their dinner and then took my mom and went to another family for a community break of fast. we were the only ones who turned up. it was really cool, we got to catch up and have a bit of a quality time with that family. when I got home, I was able to hold my baby girl for a while, change her and hold her some more before I handed her to her mom for a feed and started typing this.

more reflections to come.

 

Fast Reflections day eight


so you get the pattern now, early morning, I wake up early to have breakfast with my mom because we are the only two fasting in the house. my wife isn’t fasting because she is pregnant. today however, she did wake up to have breakfast with us because she wasn’t supposed to have any food or drinks from 7am onward as preparation for her C-section.

it was nice to have her join us for breakfast. we spend a bit of time talking and then I had a snooze before the kids got up. then I greeted the kids, left them to my wife and the 2 grandmothers to feed them breakfast and get them ready for day-care/preschool while I got in to my office to get some work done. I am taking only half days off this week so things don’t pile up. so I did my part in the morning (workwise) then I got ready to take my wife to the hospital.

let’s go back in time, I came to SLAA in June 2014, I started working the steps in July. while I was sober prior, I had set my sobriety date to 21 July. I took step three shortly after. step three says: “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God”. the day after I took step three I discovered that my wife is pregnant. we have two kids and we had not planned to get pregnant again. we were preventing it. but God had another plan for me. This pregnancy was the first one that I was completely sober today I am almost 8 months sober. that is so special for me.

I took my wife and drove to the hospital, talked to a number of people, answered the same set of questions at least three four times. listened to an unnecessary list of “Potential Risk” blah. but eventually we were in the operating theater for birth. I was feeling emotions of connectedness, gratitude and love I had not experienced before. I was overwhelmed by tears unlike the birth of my two other children. then an angel was born. she is so adorable.

Sahar

I love children, I love holding them, and I love infants even more. I was holding my baby girl, and it felt like the most amazing thing in the world. I am so blessed and loved. I am so lucky. very grateful for recovery.

I got home when it was time for me to leave the hospital. the kids were still up which is late for them, I gave them cuddles and let the grandparents help them to sleep while I ate a late dinner to break my fast. then ran one last errand and came home. since the start of the fast I have been typing my reflections the following day. but this time I couldn’t wait to tell the world about the amazing sensation I had holding my baby girl.

more reflections to come.

 

 

Fast Reflections Day five


Friday was a very special day. every Friday I host a SLAA Skype meeting at 8 PM NZ time. but this Friday was different. I was supposed to meet one of my sponsees so that he can take his step5. He is the first person ever to ask me to be his sponsor. and it was going to be the first time I am hearing someone else’s step five. I worked with a couple of friends from the fellowship to stand in for me and host the meeting in my absence.

for the non addicts reading this, step five says: admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. as his sponsor I get to be that human being.

so I had asked him to photo copy is Step 4 inventory and give it to me prior to us doing Step 5 so I can review it. also I read chapters 5 and 6 of the AA big book as well as the reading on Steps 4 and 5 from the SLAA big book to prepare. I was praying and hoping to be helpful. I also talked to my sponsor about it and asked a few questions to make sure I am ready.

I met my sponsee at the agreed time and place and started going through his work. as we started talking we realized that there is a bit more work he needs to do on his step 4 before we proceed further with Step 5. I was praying in my head the whole time asking God to channel through me what would be helpful for him at this moment. we went for a walk till it was close to sunset and then head somewhere eat dinner. we chatted and had lots of fun talking about our addictive patterns and identifying with each other stories. It was really good. given that we didn’t go through all his inventory and he had a bit more work to do, we finished earlier than anticipated. It was clear that he is still willing to keep working the program. I was pleased for that to be the case.

after I said goodbye to him I called a friend who was hanging out in town close enough to where I was. so I met up with him and a few others and spent a couple of hours talking, laughing and singing by the viaduct. it was such a lovely evening. then I drove home, had a bit of chat with my mom and wife, tried to join my wife in watching a bit of TV but then I was too beat to follow what’s going on. so I went to bed. 🙂

more reflections to come

#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: 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.