Recovery, SafeTrip, SLAA

From Shame to Grace Day 0


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. WIN_20151128_08_36_26_Pro.jpg

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.

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SLAA

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.

 

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Recovery, SafeTrip, SLAA

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

 

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Recovery, SafeTrip, SLAA

Back to sobriety – Day4


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. 🙂

 

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Recovery, SafeTrip, SLAA

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.

 

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Recovery, SafeTrip, SLAA

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

 

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SafeTrip, SLAA

SafeTrip4 – Day 6 I am home


so I did fall asleep shortly after I published my last post. I woke up at three in the morning to find the lights on, I went to put the laundry in the drier, turn off the lights and get back to sleep. I got up a bit after six, got the dry laundry out, got dressed and called my sponsor as I took my morning walk.

Most of the call I chatted with my sponsor about the male grooming session I had, he asked question to help me examine my motive of doing this. a lot of it was how I feel rather than how it looks. I will certainly do it again but I will always make sure I investigate the place I investigate the place I am going to and bookend before and after.

I got back to the place I am staying, showered, got dressed and got in a cab to go to the SLAA retreat. what a blessing that there is a retreat on the day. I couldn’t spend more than three hours but I am glad I went anyway. after I left the retreat I went for a final round of shopping. if had a lot of disposable income I would rapidly turn into a shopoholic. I really enjoy buying new cloths hehehe.

finished my shopping, got back to the house, dumped my stuff and went for a walk to the food court to eat my first meal of the day, (yeah I didn’t have breakfast and lunch at the retreat was Pizza and I am avoiding carbs) I again went out without my phone, just got my wallet to pay for food and buy a few more items that my wife had asked for. when I returned I had a slow and leisurely time packing my stuff. I only needed to leave the house at about 7 pm, and generally I would still be packing and not yet dressed until 5 minutes before i have to leave. this time i was fully packed and had a cab booked by 6 PM.

Got to the airport, and went straight to the lounge, had a bottle of water and started watching a movie on my tablet. when it was time I went to the gate, boarded, and I fell asleep before take off. i didn’t even put my seatbelt on. (lucky they didn’t notice. they woke me up for the first meal and I denied it and went back to sleep. It was a 10 hour flight and I probably slept for 7 hours in total.

I got home, had a nap then spend time with the family, then we had guests over for dinner, all happy and well. I am showered, I said my prayers and i will finish typing this and go to sleep.

thanks for keeping me company. my next trip is to Egypt in 3 weeks. i might post something before then.

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SafeTrip, SLAA

SafeTrip4 – Day 5


I forgot to set up my wakeup call and my alarm so I got to Sleep in a bit. got up a bit after six. I was a bit late for a call with a sponsee that was supposed to happen at six, but he was very forgiving about it. we talked while I ironed my shirt then I got out of the hotel for my morning walk, then I had a call with another sponsee. I love talking to my sponsees, carrying the message of recovery does keep me sober.

I got back to my room, showered and started packing as I needed to check out before I get to work. I got my luggage sorted then went down to have breakfast with my colleague before we both headed to our meeting in another hotel.

it was a day long training with some interesting segments and some “needs improvement” segments but overall it wasn’t a complete waste of time. the training was supposed to finish at 5 pm Singapore time and my SLAA Egypt Skype meeting was supposed to start the same time the training finishes. luckily I was able to reach out to the members and tell them that I will be a little late. also I was able to get access to the hotel WiFi.

after I got out of the training and said goodbye to most of my colleagues I went to the hotel lobby and started the Skype meeting. Thank goodness for the tower of Babylon no one understood what I was saying. so while I was still surrounded by a lot of people I still had privacy speaking in Arabic.

when I finished I went back to my original hotel where I used to stay, I had stored my luggage there. I was so sweaty and sticky so I sneaked into the hotel spa (which technically I should only access as a guest of the hotel) but never mind that. I got in there, took a fresh towel and had a nice shower and changed into fresh cloths. afterwards I went to drop my luggage at the apartment I will be staying at for my last night then headed to my friend’s house who was having a nice BBQ in the park. I had good food and good chat then I got back ‘home’. I said my prayers, put my cloths to wash and I am now typing this.

I would really like to remain awake till I put my cloths in the dryer but for all you know, I might collapse before the load finishes washing (20 more minutes to go)

 

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SafeTrip, SLAA

SafeTrip4 – Day 2


after I wrote to you yesterday I carried on with my work calls/emails for a couple of hours, had a shower, packed my stuff and left the apartment I am staying in to go check into the hotel. I am staying in a hotel for a few nights cause I am here on work visit. after I checked in, I went to a male grooming saloon, I checked it to make sure it is not a dodgy one and to make sure I am not putting myself at risk. I bookended before and after the session with another member from the fellowship.

Got back to my room for a quick shower and to change before I go out again. As i was packing my bag to head out I saw my compass. I immediately rememberred that i didn’t say my prayers. so I looked up the directions and said my prayers. 🙂 I am so grateful for that reminder.

when I finished i carried on with the errands I needed to run with various government agencies and embassies. again I was really lucky in being able to get so much done in so little time. I am a very lucky man in general. it shows in most of my dealings. my wife was talking to me and said “you don’t need to buy lotto”! my answer was “of course I don’t, why waste time and energy in the pursuit when my life is full of winning”

later in the afternoon I went shopping for a suit for my sister’s wedding next month. I was looking for a suit for a bit now and i didn’t find something i like within my price range. but this time i was lucky again, found a really affordable and really good looking suit. I still need shirt, shoes and tie but hey, i am a lucky guy so i will find them i am sure.

paid for the suit, got to my room, dropped the suit off and just rested on the bed for a bit after a long day of walking. I had only 15 minutes of down time before i had to head out to dinner with my sister in law and her family. when we met it was a great catching up session but the food could be improved. so I left happy but not full. got to my hotel room, orderred room service, ate and slept.

I had a really good sleep, I was in bed just a bit after ten, I got up briefly at 4 then went back to bed till 5. at 5:30 I wend down to the Gym for a bit, did a bit of cross trainer which i didn’t like it, so i took it outside and started walking in the dark till 6:30. Had a nice walk and a good outreach call. got back to my room, took a shower, ironed a shirt and started to get ready for work.

I met my colleagues for breakfast and the day started. I managed to find a few minutes of alone time to type this. 🙂

thanks for keeping me company

 

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