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

 

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.

 

I am a Sex and Love Addict


Now that I think about it, sex and sexuality have always been something on my mind. I was chatting with a SLA from the US and he was talking about addiction as a permanent disease, saying “this is it, we can’t go back to that point before we became sex addicts”. When I think about that statement it makes me wonder, even if that is what I wanted, or if that was even possible, I don’t know if such point existed in my life. I don’t recall a time in my life where I didn’t obsess over body parts, sensual thoughts, etc. Could that mean I was born an addict? Or was there something in an earlier part of my childhood prior to my registered memory that affected me in that regard? Is it that I can’t remember it because of how early it happened? or because I blocked it out? I guess I might never know and that doesn’t really matter. I discovered over the years that finding out the reason for why something happened isn’t always a factor in how it might turn out in the future. (This isn’t a general rule though but it applies very well here).

 

Over the years sexuality was a confusing matter, but then eventually I came to grips with the fact that I have homosexual attractions, yet I always wanted to marry and have kids. Forget about the drive behind that desire, the end result is I am married and I have two children. I guess in many ways I coped with my sexual orientation by surrounding myself with female friends and a set of platonic gay friends. It helped me be who I am and express part of me that needed to be expressed. (Not necessarily sexually)

 

Over the years, the number of such friends rapidly changed and my wife and I became surrounded by other married couples with children. The “natural” segregation in many of the gatherings with such friends was, men in one corner and women in the other. I found myself stuck among a group of heterosexual men that I couldn’t relate to, couldn’t be part of their conversations nor am I the least bit intrigued by their interests. Also something about the group of men I hung out with, I missed any sort of intimate connection. A connection that I had with my gay friends and female friends that are no longer around me. I suffered mostly in silence, mostly unaware of the source of suffering, and then the suffering steadily took its toll on my marriage.

 

A year ago I was training to be a counsellor and as part of that I got access to a therapist. We led a journey of search and explorations in various aspects of my personality, sexuality, marriage, career, childhood and much more. Through that search I came to the faulty conclusion that the suffering is because of my inability to express elements of my personality pertaining to my sexual orientation. So I decided to reach out to other men who are in similar circumstances to mine. Married or committed to a female partner and dealing with homosexual attractions. The idea was to start a support group for such men. I decided to educate myself in preparation for this support group. I talked to a number of people, support organisations for Gay and Married men in various countries, research departments for religious organisations that dealt with similar matters and of course therapists. One of the therapists I talked to suggested I look into 12 steps groups there might be something I could learn from them.

 

That suggestion was easily 7 months old when I went to an AA meeting for the first time. In the AA meeting I found out about SLAA. SLAA had meetings in town and two weeks later I went to the first one. I was very nervous. When I heard the sharing of some of the members I was stunned at how much I related, I was sitting among a bunch of heterosexual men and I related to their experience. And the penny dropped, my suffering had nothing to do with my orientation. I am a Sex and Love Addict.