Back to sobriety – Day5


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.

 

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

 

 

Angry at my mother and saved by recovery


A few things happened this week that were eye openers. I will dedicate one post to each of them. And here is a first.

24th December was the last working day in 2014 for me. We were invited for dinner as a family and we needed to bring a plate and my son was already on school holiday. I had originally planned to work from home that day to help my mom with the food preparation and with looking after my son while my wife is at work.

Two things changed the plan, one I woke up to find my mom not well and still in bed. Two I realized I needed to hand in some receipts at work so I needed to drive to the office. So I told my mom to remain at home and rest, I will drive my daughter to day care, and take my son to work with me. Just as I left the house my mom got up and started to prepare food. I did what I needed to do at work and spent most of the time being with my son. When he got bored we decided to head back home. I got home to find my mom didn’t sit still. Food was almost all ready and she didn’t rest. I went to put my son down for his nap and told her to go rest. I told her that I will take a short nap and go pick my daughter up from day care.

I had a nice short nap, woke up, and found the car is gone. My mom had taken it to go pick my daughter up. I WAS FUMING. How could she do that? despite me telling her to rest and that I will go to pick my daughter up. I could go on about how worried about my mom’s health and wellbeing etc. which is true, but the real reason I was upset is that she didn’t conform to my plan. My arm was twisted. I was not in control.

I had an outreach call with another SLAA Member and when I was done I was still fuming. My mom came back with my daughter and walked in to my room seconds after I finished my call. I told her that I was upset and I needed time alone to say my prayers then I will come and talk to her. She left, I closed the door and said my prayers quietly and meditated. When I finished. I went and talked to her. I explained that the reason I was upset is that I had a plan and things didn’t go according to my plan. I gave her a hug and we were good. And while I didn’t expect nor ask for an apology she apologised that her action triggered my upset.

The above situation resemble many others of similar nature and it always went terribly, with blame, accusations and mom and I really upset for days (or months) so the face that this took minutes was only a blessing of the recovery process.

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.

SLAA Retreat – Day three


So by the time I finished my post last night, the Quiz time had finished. While the quiz was going, one of the members came to me and asked me to search online for the bedtime story, the velveteen rabbit. Once the quiz finished, he told everyone that it is story time. People went off to get in their PJs and grab their blankets and got comfortable in the living room and then he started telling the story. It was really nice to listen to and the way he read it was wonderful.

Shortly after the story I was in bed. I had really deep sleep though I woke up with a bit of back ache. I also managed to sleep till almost 8 am. I had a nice warm shower and got ready for the day.

While I was preparing my breakfast, a gentleman was in the kitchen and started talking to me and we had a chat the turned into a full on conversation. He’s been in the program for a couple of years, he attended a few meetings regularly and then stopped and then came once and stopped again and he decided to show up to the camp. He learned a great deal and felt like he has to keep working the program. While we chatted he opened up and shared about our lives, something touched him in my story and his tears started flowing. It sounded like he felt so lonely and isolated. Feelings I often experience and relate to.

We had our first session for the day which were on steps 10/11/12. The sharing was very helpful. Then we had our morning tea and the same gentleman asked me if we could chat a bit more. We got into a private corner and started sharing again. He was straight, I have same sex attraction, so our acting out activities are not the same. Yet we found a lot of commonalities in our patterns and our feelings. It was a great chat. We agreed to stay in touch and outreach. We live in two different cities but this fellowship isn’t limited by geographical boundaries.

We had a final session before lunch were we each had a chance to get current and thank the organisers of the camp. It was wonderful. I felt like I was on a family holiday. While it was intense emotionally and I felt exhausted at the end of every day, I felt home. I was loved and loving others in return, I was accepted and accepting those around me and looking forward to a future of continued recovery.

I wrote this on the plane back to Auckland, I am now at home, had dinner with the kids and they are sound asleep 🙂 have a good day everyone.

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.

Four weeks ago


It has been 4 weeks since I went to my first SLAA meeting. My life after that was an emotional rollercoaster.

week 1

the meeting was on a Thursday, and that is when I had the “realization”. afterwards I was confused and unsure what to do next, but then guess what, on Friday I went and acted out. (that is the term 12 steps fellowships use for doing the behaviour you are addicted to) then I decided I must get out of this pattern and stop, I need to start my journey. on Sunday I bought the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous book and started going through it. it was overwhelming! The magnitude of the issue took its toll on me. I started to educate myself and assert my ability to go through this, cause I am powerful resources and I won’t let this beat me.

Week 2

I am still “sober” but I am struggling with every day, every man around me is a trigger, every free hour is a potential for acting out. then I started having weird dreams which was… well weird. I was in touch with on SLA member from the UK via twitter and email and another SLA member in NZ via text and I see him in meetings. Communicating with both of them is what kept me going during tough times I also came across the SLAAOnline MIRC chat room, it was very helpful. and through that room I was introduced to another SLA in the US who’s story has more similarities to mine. then I went on a trip overseas, and while I thought I was in control I obviously was under the illusion of control and I sure acted out.

during my trip overseas I reached out to a few friends, two of which were acting out partners, and the third was someone whom I thought might be a love addict as his story resembled some of the stories I heard. two of them came with me to a local SLAA meeting and promised to look into it more. the third on is going to attend meetings at a later stage. I attended two SLAA meetings while overseas and they were very helpful and I had access to more resources. exchanged contacts with members and they still come in handy when I am struggling.

week 3

The emotional rollercoaster continued and I finally returned home. attending 3 meetings a week and talking to the US SLA Member every other day. learning so much about my powerlessness. I recognized being powerless on a rational level yet I am behaving in a way that says I am still in control, I guess as I keep at it I will be able to align my behaviour with the believe that I am powerless over my addiction

Week 4

On Friday I asked the US SLA member to be my sponsor and he said yes. I am finally ready to start the process. we agreed to talk three times a week, they happen to be the same three days I have my SLAA meetings. call him in the morning and SLAA meeting in the evening. I am partially scared for the days in between but I will rely upon God to help me.

On Tuesday I did the third step with him, something magical happened. I have been studying that “how it works” chapter for the days leading to my Tuesday call with my sponsor. I ready the prayer multiple times I was scared, scared of not being able to follow through, then my sponsor gently reminded me of spiritual progress not perfection. I then recited the prayer on the phone with him. and something magical happened. I was so touch by the prayer my emotions were so strong my tears forced themselves to my eyes and I was barely compose  enough to finish it and not cry.

I have been trying to say my prayers every day since.

I will write more later, 🙂 have a sober day.