The mess that is 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

 

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

 

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

The Cute guy at the meeting


Thursday night is the regular men’s SLAA group in Auckland which I have been attending religiously since I came to SLAA with very few exceptions. last Thursday I was a little late to the meeting. (I am generally there well before it starts). so the meeting had started everybody is sitting, someone is sharing. there were 4 new comers that night and as I walk through the door one of them looked towards the door and our eyes met. first thought “he is cute” second thought “I bet he’s gay”. anyway I sat at the nearest chair, listened to the sharing and shared when I was asked to share.

After the meeting finished, at the informal part of the meeting I met one of the new comers and we chatted, turns out he identifies as bi-sexual he acted out with men and women and he was telling me about how he got to SLAA then the cute guy comes and joins. we had a quick chat, they asked for my number to outreach and I gave it to them. then the two of them started talking about watching a movie.

cute guy: “we should go watch Shame
me: that’s a porn movie really
cute guy: It is about sex addiction
me: yeah I know but I can’t handle it, the guy is really cute and he’s naked a lot
cute guy: and he’s got a big cock too
me: aaaaaa I didn’t need to know that (and in my head “oh dear he is gay”)

I left the meeting that night feeling …. actually I don’t know what I was feeling. I was certainly thinking it would be nice to have sex with him. he is still in active addiction and haven’t made up his mind to “Stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction” as he put it in his share. DAMN IT!!  while driving home I remembered something my sponsor told me. He said if you are scared to act out then you are relying on yourself and of course you should be scared because you couldn’t keep yourself sober in the past. but if you are relying on God to keep you sober and remain willing the fear will go away. when remembered that I felt a lot calmer and told myself, “I don’t have to worry about a thing, God is doing for me what I can’t do for myself. I will be alright” and that’s that. got home met the family and all is good with the world. then cute guy sends me a message to say “Shame started” AAAAAAAAAAAAa where was that calm I had an hour ago? it vanished. I replied saying “please don’t tell me about it”

I am not scared but I am kind of intrigued partially interested and maybe grieving the loss of my addiction. oh the freedom I would have had if I wasn’t in recovery. but then again I look at the Freedom from addiction that I experience at all other times and I remember that I don’t want to compromise that. God grant me the serenity

 

 

Maybe …


Maybe it is just the heat, or maybe I feel this way cause I over eat, or do I eat because of the things I can’t defeat

How about just a treat, maybe I will fall standing on my feet, who am I kidding, recovery isn’t an easy feat

All this hard work, all this pain all the energy I could deplete

If I were to give in.

The heat is causing people to strip, shorts and pants barely hanging above the hip! Guys with sexy abs filling me with shame and my tummy size has only me to blame.

Should I diet? Or have one more bite? LCHF or run up a cliff, or maybe some sit-ups and push-ups.

I could go to the Gym, and hope not to lust over he and him. I could make my amends and give up the false pretence. Or I could do the pile of work that has been accumulating, that must be better than procrastinating.

I can’t live life the same way I did. I had a smile I had wit, I had patience my wife couldn’t get. I can’t get lean and pretend to be clean while having sex like a machine. I can’t binge eat and get fat on each treat and be unexplainably depressed I can’t keep lying and watch the time flying I can’t just live life the same way I did and all I feel like doing now is get another hit.

 

Step 8 – Made a list and became willing


Step 8 says: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

The first half of step eight is about making a list. Technically the list would have been made in Step four. The people I had harmed would exist somewhere on my resentment sheet or sexual inventory/general harm. Hey that is easy. Copy and paste did the trick. Then as I continue to pray and continue to reflect on my list I started remembering names that escaped step four. The list grew slightly bigger than when it first started. My recovery tells me that I will find a few more names, as time goes by, that I will need to add to the list and make amends to them all.

As I was putting the list together I started thinking of the amends I have to make, how will I make them and when, what will I tell these people. One of the things that I struggled with the most are people that I had resentment towards and the thought of how humbling and potentially humiliating it would be to go say I am sorry. For some names I might not be that ready, but I am willing.

I talked to my sponsor yesterday and we agreed that I have now completed step 8. I will move to step 9, and start making direct amends. I had an outreach call with another SLAA earlier today and he was the first I told that I completed step 8 and moving on to make amends. As I shared that with him I felt my heart racing. Now as I type this I am getting the same feeling. It is probably the public admission that I am about to take my recovery outside the circle of the fellowship. On some level it is a scary thought. But if that is what it takes, I will do it, with God’s Help.

The Cute cleaner is just a person


I just finished my F2F SLAA meeting and head to the office to get some work done. On the way up I saw a young man in the darkness of the night walking out of the office building to light a cigarette. He looked cute. I hoped he’d make eye contact, or he’d follow me back into the building.

I go up to the office sit at my desk, and then he shows up. He is the cleaner. oh NICE! I am in the office alone with another boy who I would so much like to act out with or obsess about the possibility of doing so. I decided to bookend it and sent a message to a SLAA member by WhatsApp. Then then young man said: “you are very hardworking”, cause I am in the office late apparently. From his accent I knew he is from China. I had lived in China for a bit and I spoke a few phrases in Chinese so I said hello, we exchange a bit of small talk and he was impressed/surprised that I spoke his mother tongue, or maybe comforted by the familiarity while in a foreign environment. Then we started talking about his struggle with English, and how he moved here to be with his girlfriend and that’s when I thought in my head “Oh Loving God, He is not Gay, Thank you”. Slowly I saw more of the person and less of the Fantasy. He really isn’t that cute “sexually” but he is a wonderful person, he left everything behind to be with his girlfriend. He had wealth and career and now he is just a cleaner to be with his girlfriend. A few minutes later, the girlfriend shows up, apparently they are both in the cleaning business and she was in the office with us, so I am not alone, I am witnessing a wonderful couple work hard to start their relationship that I would have previously ignored with the hope of “getting some”, regardless of what impact that might have had on him, her, or their relationship

How grateful I am to be sober today. Thank you God.

The Accidental Withdrawal


Withdrawal is a topic that came up over and over in SLAA meetings, it is even something experienced lightly for a very brief period when I first started working the program.

I have been sober for 9 weeks now. It is fair to call out that I am not doing a full withdrawal as part of my program. I can’t believe I am sharing this on a blog but, well, it is a relevant piece of information and this is a recovery blog about a sex addiction anyway. So here we go. I am still enjoying sex with my wife on somewhat regular basis, once a week or thereabout.

So I found myself going through an accidental withdrawal for just over two or three weeks.  I actually don’t know the exact count but it felt like 2 to 3 weeks. It wasn’t planned it just happened that my wife and I haven’t had sex for a while. Either busy or tired or not in the mood. I was HORNY… Surprise? Not really. I was aware that these are withdrawal symptoms and I thought I’d pull through to experience what it is like.

Two nights ago I was watching a Stand Up comedian on YouTube, innocent right? Then the guy starts talking about Channing Tatum’s movie “Magic Mike”, which is a male stripping movie. I looked up the movie on YouTube and then Daniel Radcliffe’s gay scene from the movie “Kill your darlings” shows up as one of the recommended Videos! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

I played it of course. It was not a porn kind of scene but it was hot, it aroused me, and got me hocked on all sort of videos on YouTube for over 10 minutes, I knew it was my addict at play. I didn’t watch porn but I explored all these gay relationship clips I could see without feeling that I am compromising my sobriety. It was HARD (as in difficult, this wasn’t meant to be anything else)

Next morning, a normal day took place, I was busy with this and that, kids, house, blah blah, then I went to my SLAA face to face meeting, then got home, kids asleep, AND the wife asked for me. We had sex. And it was almost like it was all okay after that. I know it wasn’t my addict who had sex with her. It was intimate, it was fun for both of us, and it was her who initiated it. But I also know that my addict got something out of it because of that release it offered. It scared me to think of what sobriety would look like if I didn’t have sex with my wife on regular basis, or if I wasn’t married for whatever reason. yes having a wonderful sex with my wife is an amazing by-product of sobriety but I don’t want it to be the main one, I want to be me, whole and complete without sex, and then have sex offer the high it does to normal people rather than have sex offer a rescue for a miserable addict who is desperate for a fix.

Like if you like, share if you think it might help someone, and certainly comment and share your thoughts and feedback, but be kind, I am in early recovery.

Mourning a loss


4 years ago I attended a large event, there was a party, there were a lot of people, loud music, entertainment, food, etc. I didn’t know a lot of people, then I saw a good looking guy, we started talking, long story short we acted out.

Since then, every year I went to that event hoping I would bump into him. I was also always on the lookout for others with whom I could act out.

So it is this time of the year again. This time it is different. I was actually asked to assist with organizing an aspect of the event. So I have work to do. This year it is different for a more important reason, I am in #SLAA I have been in the program for close to 3 months now, been sober for 7 weeks!

First day started kind of slow, found out that the person I will be working with throughout the week is a cute young man, REALLY CUTE!! That was the first scare to add to my personal history. so I met the guy, we agreed on how certain things needed to be done, asked him what he needed from me then I went off for the rest of the day.

Second day was a really busy one, I had little sleep the night before, was on my feet most of the day, then came the hard part, Keynote followed by the PARTY, there were a lot of people, loud music, entertainment, food, etc. I found myself overcome with anxiety, overwhelmed by the familiar experience. Overwhelmed by remembering past behavioural patterns. I was so tired, so hungry and I had work to do but the only thing I could do is grab a bite at the party and rush out to attend a SLAA meeting. In the meeting I felt so tired, I shared to get it out of my system but I still had much to deal with, I cried on the drive back from the meeting. I then went to the office to take a call with my sponsor and I was in tears.

My sponsor pointed out a few things that resonated but hurt. He said things like “recovery doesn’t mean you won’t have cravings” or “being sober doesn’t mean you won’t find others attractive” or the one that killed me and hit the nail on the head was: “maybe you are mourning the fact that you won’t ‘enjoy’ acting out again if you were to stay sober”. That comment hit home in a way I didn’t like. It is true! I miss acting out. I miss the ability to be loose, the act of losing myself into something I didn’t deserve just because of its thrill or the short term effect it had on me, helping to distract me away from my real feelings and emotions, preventing me from having to deal with them or deal with life. Tears are fighting to get out as I type these lines.

Third day started well despite the exhaustion, things were going smooth until I found myself spontaneously offering the cute young man I am working with a ride home. I enjoyed having him close by for a bit longer, he asked questions and I answered some about career as he is about to start mine and I am a decade of experience ahead of him. I also volunteered advice and enjoyed his interest in what I had to say. I love being around young people and I do that in a number of volunteer efforts to help develop them, but this night I knew that the addict in me enjoyed his company more than anything, the addict in me was getting a high from the close proximity to such good looking young man. And the addict in me freaked me out and scared me as I realized that it is in action.

Fourth and fifth day went alright, in fact the fifth day is still in action as I type these words and I am hoping it keeps going alright. I feel sad having to say goodbye to this young man, I am obsessing over him a little. But I will say goodbye because I am working on distinguishing between willingness and wilfulness. I will pray and thank God for keeping me safe, keeping me sober and giving me what I needed -to do what I had to do – to stay that way.

I am in pain and I am still sober and I am still on the journey