there is a saying: “wheter you think you can or you think you can’t, in both cases you are right.” today I texted my sponsor in the morning to commit my day. in my head i worked out that I am busy and that it won’t be practical for me to do my step work writing. so as I am typing I realized that I am PLANNING NOT to do the work. I am actively planning it. so I rephrased my text stating that I will do at least one question of my step work. and I did. i just finished it despite a busy day, and now I even have time to tell you all about it.
I was at a meeting today and in my share I verbalized (probably for the 100th time) a constant mental obsession that takes hold of me every now and then.
If you know enough about addiction, it is something that is never truly cured. the neural pathways established as a result of a repeated pattern of addiction don’t magically disappear. In recovery I have the opportunity to build new neural pathways, as a result of living a new pattern of recovery, but, the minute my recovery pattern are weak, the addiction patterns are there waiting to be triggered.
The pull to tap back into that pattern is quite strong. it is like a dry groove so thirsty for water to run through it and turn it into a living breathing stream once more. the unfortunate reality is that what runs through these grooves isn’t water, but chemicals that were once indulged by the substance of choice. (for me, it is sex, romantic obsession, or food).
Now, back to what I was talking about in the first place. the mental obsession. I love being in recovery. I love my life when I am sober, but I always have that pull to revive the old neural pathways. I often imagine a parallel existence where I could act out on my addiction, have a bit of “fun” while at the same time my “other self” remains sober and living recovery. I want to defy the laws of physics as well as the spiritual laws and some how still have two separate realities where I can have my cake and eat it. and that my friends is enough proof I am an addict.
I decided today 22/12/2016 to start a period of withdrawal and get back to recovery. I really don’t want to do this but hey first day just passed.
Maybe short daily posts to check in will be beneficial for me. I will do them from my phone before I go to bed. Nothing fancy.
Summary of the day is as follows. Rough night with one of my kids. Okay day at work. A couple of outreach calls. Picked the keys to the house I am sitting next week. Had dinner at home. Went to a SLAA meeting.
Now I will shower, say some prayers, message some recovery partner and go to bed.
I have so much to say and yet nothing to say. or no words to express it. I thought i will be writing about the retreat and what we discussed/shared or whatever. but I don’t know if i will do that.
I am sitting out on the deck looking at this view, enjoying the sunlight and feeling a bit of drizzle, then joined by two other addicts who came out to have their afternoon tea in the sunny outdoors.
I feel blessed to have come to the retreat, will share more in other posts as I want to spend the time being present with those you came out here 🙂
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.
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
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.
Today is kind of the fifth day already but I basically wake up in the morning to recount the events of the previous day. I woke up a little while ago after 6 hours of good sleep. I would have liked to sleep a bit more but it looks like my body rested enough for me to be up. over the last five days this is becoming a ritual where I wake up just in enough time before my kids so I can type my post and reflect on the day that passed. My faith tells me “Bring thyself to account each day” and the program tells me “continued to take personal inventory”. so it must work because I feel a lot better today. I remember my first withdrawal, there will be lots of ups and downs. I will just enjoy that this moment as I type this, I feel good.
Yesterday was my Son’s 5th birthday. after I posted my day 3 account the kids got up, we had breakfast and hit the road. we needed to run some errands. I got some paperwork done, we went to book a flight for my father who will be joining us in NZ shortly after we return, we went to choose the cake for the kids (one for each child so that the younger girl doesn’t feel left out even though it isn’t her birthday) then got back home. we ordered lunch, ate and I left the kids to my parents to go get the rest of the stuff.
Alone in the car driving off, the first thought that hit me was to go to that mall with the good looking toilette cleaner. I DIDN’T! just sharing that I am still an insane sex addict. I drove to the places I needed to get the stuff for the party, party hats, balloons, paper plates, cups, napkins etc. then went to get light refreshments and drinks and so on. I was so glad to be soberly shopping for his party. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the drive in crazy Cairo traffic in the hot afternoon summer to do anything but act out if I wasn’t sober.
I got home, the kids were napping which allowed me some quiet time. not long enough for me to take a nap but I still managed to spend the day without snapping at the kids. I did use my stern voice occasionally but I was much calmer compared to the previous days and given that I had not had a nap which always affects my level of patience with my little ones.
The party was a blast, my kids had so much fun and the family members who joined us enjoyed a great deal. we held the party at my Grandma’s house with a small family gathering that ended past midnight (kids were delirious and sleepy at the same time). we got home tired and Happy,
I was still able to say my prayers which is the main reason I am making progress. I am also making contact with other addicts, and trying to find ways to connect to the program.
see you in my next post. 🙂
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.