#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 🙂

Steps 6 and 7 – a lifetime process


Step Six “were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”

Step Seven “Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings”

Step Seven prayer:

I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character
which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.

After completing step five I became increasingly aware of my character defects. it wasn’t the beating up session I expected it to be. you can found out more here. I have since been wondering, what does it really mean to be Entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. the instructions were short but clear, as long as there is nothing I want to hold on to, there is nothing I refuse to change then I am ready.

I had to look clearly at myself and what I have become through the addiction, then look at my recovery process and what I have become through the grace of God being sober. The answer was clear, I don’t want to hold on to being dishonest, selfish, proud, self-seeking etc. I couldn’t fathom how they’ll be removed, but that is not my job, I just need to be ready for God to remove them. and I felt that I am.

I recited the prayer above with my sponsor. I will probably include this as part of my prayer routine. I need be reminded that I am in fact not perfect, I do have character defects and I need God’s help to remove them. I need Him to remove my shortcomings not so that I become a perfect person, (cause I will never be), but so that I can be of service to mankind.

now, I need to make a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all. see you in step 8

Step5 – check! still a sex and love addict.


SLAA is a 12 step program and today I completed Step 5.

Step five says: “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” When I first came to SLAA I had no idea what it means to do the steps. When I started learning about the steps I couldn’t think of anyone in my life that could be the “other human being” to whom I would admit the exact nature of my wrongs. I had not met my sponsor at the time.

Today I spent 8 hours on Skype with my sponsor, going through my inventory. My resentments, my sexual conduct, people I have harmed and my fears. It was painful and joyful, it had tears and laughter. it was the most rapid succession of emotions I experienced in such a short period of time.

Up until yesterday, I had no idea how it would turn out. I was just willing to do it the way it was meant to be done. I couldn’t ask for a better sponsor nor a better experience. I am grateful to God for showing me his love through this Awe-inspiring experience.

 

Where is my welcome home party


If you’ve been reading my blog recently you would have probably come across my SafeTrip series which is a daily journaling of my first trip overseas since I got sober.  I was so glad to finally make it home sober. It was not easy being overseas. I don’t think I missed the acting out itself, but I missed the act of pursuing a fix. You can read the series if you wish for more details.

I got home and honestly wished I didn’t. I was happy the trip was over but I wasn’t happy with the welcome that awaited me. Wife was moody, complaining and whining and I was exhausted. We eventually got to talk and when we did I found myself snapping with as much self-constrain as possible. Judging her by my journey and by my strength. Allowing myself to sound self-righteous. Then she went ahead trying to respond to me and rather than being defensive she started explaining why she is doing what she is doing. That didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel stuck. I wished I could tell her “all the things you are complaining about are changeable if you do something about them, either accept them and stop complaining or get into action. I am doing something about my life why can’t you????!” of course I didn’t say any of that, I felt so tired by then and told her I have to sleep cause I am exhausted.

The night was miserable. Then I woke up tired, and what did I do? I took it out on my 4 year old son. I yelled at him for the first time in his life. I yelled three times in the span of two hours. I was the kind of father I judged and disapproved off, I hated myself. I had no patience. I believe self-pity was a big player. Why is she pregnant? Why does she have to be so negative about life, why can’t she (do you see where this is going? there isn’t a single “I” in my questions, cause I am just a victim, sounds familiar?). I had thoughts like “I can’t change her, but I can change the fact that she is my wife, God Grant me the courage” as if divorcing her is the answer. Typical addict thinking.

My wife then emails me this quote by Baha’u’llah: “O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.”

When I read through it, I felt at peace. For things contrary to my wishes have been ordained by God. Yes I don’t like them but if God is the one who decided I should experience them then I should do so. And He also promised me days of blissful joy. I also had a great deal of help from my sponsor who helped me look at my side of the street. I had a good outreach call with another SLAA member who related to what I was going through. Then it hit me. a bit part of the frustration was that I have been sober now for over 90 days, I was overseas on a trip and I didn’t cheat, I AM ENTITLED to a different reality, I deserve better!! Don’t I? Of course the answer is NO, I am not being sober to get recognition from others! I am being sober because otherwise I am dead, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Others might benefit from me being sober, but I am the one who needs my sobriety.

 

4 doesn’t equal 8 and certainly not 9


It should be simple math isn’t it, and I am good at math. so I am working on my step 4 as I mentioned on my last blog and I am making some progress.

Right now I am working on my resentment list. I thought I don’t have a lot of resentment but then occasionally something comes up that I didn’t want to admit or put on the list. like the video guy that ruined my wedding video. as I go through the list and try to get to the exact nature of my wrong it gets hard and emotional sometimes. It sometimes feels like I am letting them off the hook if I were to admit my wrongs. I know it isn’t the case but sometimes it does feel that way.

so there is a person that needs to make it to my resentment list and while thinking about them and about what could possibly by my part in it, I started jumping ahead, and thinking well they are a person I harmed, so they are going to be on my step 8 list, then oh dear does that mean I have to make amends when I get to step 9?  HELL NO, they are the bad ones not me, I am not making amends!!

I had an emotional phone call with my sponsor, shared with him how I feel, he validated my emotions and my struggle, reminded me that it is MY inventory not theirs, and looking at my character defects is for me to get well not for them to get away with it. he also reminded me that I am in step 4 and I should now do my best to follow the step 4 instructions. and he also reminded me to remain willing, he discourage me using words like I refuse, I don’t want to etc. yet he acknowledged that I might not be ready now, but I am willing to go through it and trust in the process, trust in God.