Ending the Zigzag – Hopefully


so last post was on the 18th of July that I am still not sober. I got back from my holiday and I still wasn’t willing to get back to sobriety. I started attending meetings, making phone calls and just dealing back with life as I did before my vacation. with one exception. I kept masturbating and I kept talking to gay guys on a gay hookup app. I kind of wanted to keep the person that emerged during the short period of recovery and still get out there and get a hit. (haven’t I repeated this like a million times by now? also haven’t I already realized that it was IMPOSSIBLE?) yet I kept trying.

Lucky I was back to where I spent most of my recovery time. attending meetings and talking to enough addicts got me to slowly realize the insanity of my thoughts. also one thing that was the final straw, I have been talking to the members of the fellowship in Egypt on recover, they go read the literature and come back to ask questions given that I am older in the program. I struggled so much with feeling like a big hypocrite every time I attempted to explain to them concepts that I refuse to apply in my life. I couldn’t share the awareness off and act as if I never knew recovery.

and here we go again. I stopped masturbating over a week ago and I finally deleted my hook up profile and un-installed the app completely 3 days ago. it is withdrawal all over again. but this time is different from my “back to Sobriety” posts as I have a lot more of the tools of the program available to me. I am also back on track with my prayers.

will make this one a short one, thanks for reading. hopefully I will still be sober with the next post.

 

Back to sobriety – Day 6/7


a few minutes after posting on day 5 my cousin finished what she was doing and we got on with the rest of the day. traffic was terrible so we spent over an hour and a half driving in heavy crazy Cairo traffic. I had a great time catching up with her. this cousin of mine is so close to me and was a great supporter during most critical times of our family especially the sex addiction episodes of my father and how that impacted my mother. we got to talk about recovery (not mine but my mom’s) and I was able to share a bit about S-Anon and how 12 step programs work etc. it was a really fruitful discussion. we also talked about our lives, work, kids etc. we had a great time catching up despite the crazy driving.

we got home after the long drive and we needed to leave within an hour as we were invited to a meal at my sister in law’s place. I was knackered. I didn’t have a chance to rest. also I had not had breakfast so I was so hungry, I ate a few bread sticks and got the kids ready then we hit the road again. the food was great, so was the company, but I couldn’t keep going. so I took a corner and wend down for a power nap, a much needed one. then got up to keep up with my kids. we went to the community club and the kids got on rides and we had loads of fun. then we drove home to get the kids ready for bed. my son was running low on sleep and he was really really tired. SCREAMING not crying loudly, literally screaming. it is like he is having a delayed reaction to my struggle (or a timely one as I am still struggling) he is probably sensing something. I wasn’t the best father but I was a much better father than I was the day before. Progress not perfection.

next day I had very little time to blog. son woke up early despite the late night, then my father and I had to leave to get some paper work done. the place where we went was a mosh pit, in my active addiction that was the perfect place to check out people around me, touch and be touched inappropriately in the crowd. this time wasn’t really the case. I am happy to report that I got out without any of that. I did a big chunk of what I came to do.

on the way back I was to take a cab alone as my dad left without me. I had the insane thought of waiting for a young cute taxi driver. but I flagged the first taxi that came my way. the guy was elderly BUT he decided to take another passenger instead. so I flagged the next one and it was a young man. well younger. I did want his hand to touch mine but I didn’t put much effort into it and I didn’t flirt or invite.

the rest of the day was relatively uneventful! time with the kids, visit to the neighbor for a devotional gathering followed by a spiritual discussion around the effect of prayers and God’s grace then back home with bedtime routine for the kids. my son was again uncooperative during bed time but he wasn’t as bad as the previous two nights and I wasn’t as bad either. it took too much to practice what I believe is closer to good parenting.

I had a call with my sponsor, finishing this and I am going to bed. oh that means I am One Week Sober 🙂 YAY

 

Back to Sobriety – withdrawal sucks


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.

 

I can’t figure it out – (my acting out plan)


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

 

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

 

SafeTrip 4 Day Zero


it is becoming a tradition to write whenever I am travelling. it helps keep me in contact with you guys and also helps me bring myself to account each day.

My last trip was in December last year and my last post was close to 2 months ago. Man I have been busy. so I will use this opportunity to give you a quick update of where I am at with life and my recovery progress.

I am now working steps 10/11/12 (there is a draft post on that sitting in my draft list for a long while) but the short of it is I am having a blast and enjoying the gifts of recovery. I have 5 sponsees that I work with on regular basis. some more regular than others, yet they all keep me sober. I remind each of them saying that I am working my program just as much as I help them work theirs. it is part of my step 12 and I need it to stay sober. I will write a bit more on my experiencing of sponsoring others in another post.

I have a 10 week old baby girl! some of you may have read about her in my previous post. She continues to grow bigger, healthy and lovely. SHE IS SOO CUTE!!

Work is getting CRAAAZZYYY. it just keeps getting busier every day but the good thing about it, it is not stressful, on the contrary, quite enjoyable. I have a great work relationship with my boss, the team I work with, the partner I manage and I am learning heaps.

I started the first Skype meeting for the Egyptian SLAA fellowship. so far there are only four regular participants including me. there is a lot of material that need to be translated and there aren’t enough members to help with the work needed. but well. one step at a time.

I also started a website for the SLAA fellowship in Egypt. www.slaaegypt.org it is all in Arabic but check it out anyway. it is the most basic website you probably came across but well, progress not perfection.

what else to tell you? kids are sleeping better. things at home are better.   OH YEAH I also went through a 3 months full withdrawal. unplanned but expected, my wife and I couldn’t have sex for a while before the birth then we had to wait a while after birth for her recovery. and guess what. it was much easier than my earlier Accidental withdrawal.

I guess that summarize the last couple of months, I will be writing on daily basis for the time I am in Singapore till I come back. please keep me company.

 

A year ago today


At this exact hour, a year ago, my brother was hit by a tram in Cairo and passed away almost instantly. That time I was out with a friend having a drink and a chat. It was about an hour after his death that I got a call from my mom yelling “your brother died”! That phrased still rings in my ears every now and then. I felt like a bullet imploded in my stomach.

I flew back home to be with my family. It took me almost 2 full days before I could reach Cairo from NZ so they had to bury him before I came back. Everyone was sad but it was normal to not have him around in family gatherings. We lived in two different countries for years and it was okay that he is not around. He will eventually appear and we will talk and catch up. Or he will call me or I will call him. When I left home six weeks later, I snapped back into life, kids, work, wife and marital problems etc. I lived in the perfect denial.

I decided to host a memorial service for his soul on the 15th of June which marks 6 months on his passing. That was the hardest part of the year. I planning his memorial service was an admission from me that he is gone. Pain takes over me as I type these lines and find myself overcome with tears. I felt so much pain, I was almost not fit to drive, work, or just do normal day to day stuff. 10 days later I attended my first SLAA meeting. It was the perfect distraction. If you’ve been following my blog you’d notice that I may have never mentioned my brother. And you’d know how much I immersed myself in my recovery.

Yesterday I was in a face to face SLAA meeting. I had so much to share and then I talked about my brother’s anniversary and found it difficult to hold back my tears. After the meeting I was approached by a couple of SLAA members, they tried to console me, but I really needed a moment alone. I dashed outside the hall and started weeping. When I came back in I was warmly welcomed and everyone was very nice. Well they are always very nice anyway. then I shared how the year have been with me, how I dealt with his loss so far and just couldn’t hold it back, I collapsed into tears and this friend of mine hugged me and gave me a shoulder to cry on. With however much pain I was going through, this was a magical moment. I was vulnerable in the arms of another man without sexualizing the situation. It was nothing I would have dreamed of before SLAA. And I know that I did sexualize a hug from a close male friend when I had just found out about my brother’s passing.

Just as I was driving off another SLAA member got into my car and we started talking. He shared about the loss of his father and heard me share what I am going through and we connected. I am so glad for the fellowship.

Today I took the day off, spent it with my mom, we went out to lunch then sat somewhere quiet to pray and remember my brother. We laughed and cried and talked. I had a good rest of the day, my kids were so easy to put to sleep and now I am typing this. I will continue to pray and remember him and his soul and continue to cherish the sobriety that allowed me to honour my brothers passing at a level I never knew I was capable off.