Recovery, SLAA, Step12

Step 12: We tried to carry this message


Step 12: We tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.

You might already know from my earlier posts that I was a phone counsellor and my plan was to work on my counselling skills so I can help others and eventually open my own counselling practice.

Shortly after I came to SLAA I was able to clearly see that counselling as profession is no longer what I am going to do. To refresh your memories I had at that point of early recovery decided to stop working as a phone counsellor and I also said goodbye to therapy. I knew at that moment that what I needed to do was to focus on my recovery. I haven’t lost sight of my desire to help others but I knew that it will have to take a different form from what I had originally imagined.

I found a sponsor, set my sobriety date and started working the steps. Recovery story is really fun, I am enjoying working on my recovery and I love how my sponsor helped me work the program. One of the things my sponsor always stressed was his view on sponsoring others. His criteria is that an addict need to be sober no less than six months and is well into his 9th step before attempting to Sponsor others.

I was really eager to sponsor others to help them work the program, but I adopted my sponsor’s view or criteria for becoming a sponsor. So I waited. When I was close to six month sober and by then I had started my step9 and made progress on it. During one of the face to face meetings I raised my hand when the chairperson asked “for those who are willing to sponsor to raise their hands” and on that day I was approached by my first sponsee. I had met him for the first time at that meeting. We talked and I agreed to be his sponsor. And we started working together.

Given that this was the first time I sponsor someone through this program I decided to focus on the one sponee and not raise my hand again. And I did that for a few weeks till I got a better feeling of how my relationship with this sponsee goes, and how much time commitment it requires of me.

A few weeks later, in one day during outreach calls with other fellow addicts I was told almost the exact phrase “I would like you to be my sponsor but you are not available”. While I stopped raising my hand, I had never actually told anyone that I am not available. I answered to these two members that I am in fact available. And then my sponsees increased from 1 to 3. I felt that it was appropriate based on the progress of my recovery as well as the time required of me with my first sponsee.

I started working with my three sponsees and continued to make progress. I made sure I always remind my sponsees of the same thing my sponsor reminded me off. That I am not doing them a favour, I am working on my recovery by doing my step 12.

Then again weeks later I was having a conversation with another member from the fellowship. He had a sponsor but wasn’t making progress and he communicated that if I wasn’t so busy he would have asked me to be his sponsor. We talked about it a bit more, and agreed on a rhythm for our interaction and the sponsorship started.

Finally I got a phone call from another fellow addict who newly returned to the fellowship wondering if I can be his sponsor. That last one took a bit of thinking from me, I need to pray about my motive because he is gay. I needed to purify my motive and make sure that I am not putting myself or him at risk as a result of this relationship.

I will post almost nothing about my sponsees but I do plan to blog about the lessons I get from working with them.

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Recovery, SLAA

My Sober Dreams


Since I started working the program of recovery I had periods where I didn’t have any sexual intimacy due to long gaps between sex with my wife. when that happened I had a fair amount of wet dreams. my wet dreams were all homosexual in nature. it was always bizarre to go through that. I often woke up feeling strange, almost uncertain, have I lost my sobriety? did this happen for real or was I truly asleep? then when it all settled, the blur is gone and I realize I was asleep then I have to deal with the mess in the middle of the night. Lucky my wife never ask me “what were you doing in the shower at 3 am”. I am pretty sure she noticed that I am wearing different PG pants from the ones I wore when I got to bed.

a couple of months ago I had my first Sober Dream. I was back in my home town in my parent’s house, we had a large gathering of guests and while I was alone in one of the rooms someone walked in on me and started to make advances on me. I gently pushed him away and started talking to him about Sex addiction and about the fellowship. I woke up feeling pretty good.

Last night I had another dream. there is a SLAA member that I connect with (I find him good looking but never fantasized about him, also he is straight). we were sharing a bed, don’t know why, but then he moved closer getting a bit “too close” seductively inviting. in the dream I jumped out of bed and objected to what he was about to do. I also got up happy. I sure won’t outreach to that SLAA member about my dream hehehe 🙂

 

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Fasting, Recovery, SLAA

Happy Naw Ruz


after 19 days of Fast, Naw Ruz Marks one of the Bahai Holy Days and the Bahai New Year. there are 9 Holy Days a year that Bahais observe and work should be suspended. during my active addiction I always acted out on days leading to a Holy days with the intention to stop on that holy day. i never did.

so the Bahai Calendar is a 19 Months, each Month 19 days which comes up to 361 days, the 4 (or 5 during leap years) days balance are called Ayyam-i-ha and are placed right before the last month which is the fasting month. these days are of significant spiritual importance to the Bahais. many years I acted out before these days hoping to stop when they come. many years I prayed to stop but I don’t think my prayers were sincere. (did I say my prayers today? i will after i finish this) then I act out during Ayyam-i-Ha hoping to stop during the Fast. but I don’t, then i act out during the fast hoping to stop by Naw Ruz. I still didn’t.

Today 21st of March I am 8 Months sober. which means I was fasting all the days leading to the fast, I enjoyed celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha, I had a wonderful spiritual high from the fast. and now I get to celebrate the Bahai New Year and celebrate 8 months of Sobriety. on top of that 21st March is the Mother’s Day in the part of the world i come from so i also got to celebrate mother’s day with my mom in the morning.

Thanks a lot for those of you who kept me company during these days. and thanks everyone who read this.

I will stop my daily posts for the time being and will get back to my normal pattern of posting when there is something i want to share about.

have a lovely New Year everyone

 

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Fasting, Recovery, SLAA

Fast Reflections Day 19


Today marked the last day of the Bahai fast, the first fast that I had sober for the entire period. and probably one of the most major milestones in my recovery journey.

My last post was talking about the fabulous sleep I had the night before. looks like I jinxed it. I stayed a bit late that night (by a bit late I mean till 2 am) by the time I got to bed my daughter had wet her bed, I had to change the sheets and change her, then she eventually wanted to sleep in my bed. by five thirty both my kids were up because of whatever. the conclusion is I had 3 hours of sleep.

breakfast, then kids out of the house then working from home followed by a trip to the office in the afternoon and a relatively productive day despite my exhaustion. when I got home, my lovely wife offered that I go for a nap and I did, taking the little baby in my arms. I had a good 90 minutes of deep sleep.

I got up, broke the fast for the last time with my mom and my mom in law then I rushed to my office room to host the SLAA NZ Skype Meeting. so a lot of the guys are on a retreat in Taupo so I was thinking no one is going to show up to the meeting. the meeting started with 4 participants and half way through it a few of the fellows who were on the retreat got on the call. it was great. and everyone had a chance to share. I love the skype meeting.

I want to thank you all for keeping me company during this special time. I might post one more reflection tomorrow celebrating Nowruz but if not then I will post later about something else.

also tomorrow I don’t have to wake up before sunrise, so if the kids remain asleep I will be sleeping in. it is the weekend

 

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Recovery

Angry at my Son and I blame recovery


Here is another one of those eye openers I referred to in my previous post.

Most recently I have been having an increasingly difficult time with my kids’ bed time routine. My son takes forever to go to bed and the last few times I put him to sleep up until the point mentioned in this post I actually raised my voice and threatened of different types of punishment if he were not to stop fussing/tossing/talking or whatever else he does to stall and prolong the process. And I hated myself every time afterwards.

The time I want to mention here was a new low. And it wasn’t even night time, it was nap time. He was really tired and he really needed to nap. Or more like I needed him to nap so that he is well rested and we don’t spend the rest of the day with a grumpy child. We started fine and the pattern followed. This time I hit a new low. I got really upset with his tossing and the subject this time was that the cover wasn’t adjusted properly. I got so angry I snatched the cover while yelling “stop this” and as I placed the cover after snatching it, it hit his face. I had no intention of hitting him, and this is the first time I ever did such thing. Even though the intention wasn’t to hit and the cover hitting his face was accidental and wasn’t too painful, it was a shock to him. And more importantly a shock to me. What happened to me?

Let’s take a few steps back. As a young man, I thought parents around me sucked big time. I arrogantly wanted to have children to show the world how it is done. I knew I was going to be the “perfect” parent. As if such thing existed. I did eventually realize that I am not a perfect parent and that parenting is harder than what I thought it would be. That being said I still pride myself on how I kept my cool. I was always calm and thoughtful about my parenting decisions in the most stressful situations. I could face hours and hours of grumpiness and constant crying but still stay “Zen”. I was the parent described in the book “Scream Free Parenting”. I also made my wife feel terrible about herself as a mother for snapping at the kids. Questioning her ability to mother if she couldn’t keep it together. That was the case before recovery. And so that you know, my wife is on my step 4 resentment list for snapping at the kids.

Now back to the day mentioned earlier. I was feeling miserable the rest of the day. My wife asked me “what’s wrong?” I told her that I hit our son and shared what happened. She gave me a hug and said “I relate.” We chatted about it further and as we were discussing she asked me “could this have anything to do with your recovery? Cause I never saw you so angry!” It got me thinking. Then she added “as crazy as it sounds, it makes you more human. It always amazed me how you never snapped at them”

She was right, and I know the reason why I was so calm with the kids. I was under the influence. I was high on acting out. I had the “perfect” way to process such overwhelming emotions. Now that I am sober I am faced with the real beast within me. My character defects that need to be removed rather than be sexually medicated. I found myself tearing and saying sorry to my wife. When she asked what for, I replied “a whole lot of stuff”. this is not my amends making but this experience will contribute to my amends making process.

As for my son. I have been attempting things differently. I start bed time routine by explaining that I understand he doesn’t want to sleep. Or that he finds it difficult to sleep. I tell him about things that he found once frustrated and now he masters. I tell him that it is okay he finds falling asleep difficult and that he will need to learn to fall asleep. Whenever he fusses and provokes me to get the pattern started I remind him that “dad will not yell at you tonight” and that I will support him to help him fall asleep. It is been only a couple of days but I feel like my relationship with my son is going in a slightly more positive direction than the one it was headed towards prior to this realization.

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Recovery, SLAA

Step 8 – Made a list and became willing


Step 8 says: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

The first half of step eight is about making a list. Technically the list would have been made in Step four. The people I had harmed would exist somewhere on my resentment sheet or sexual inventory/general harm. Hey that is easy. Copy and paste did the trick. Then as I continue to pray and continue to reflect on my list I started remembering names that escaped step four. The list grew slightly bigger than when it first started. My recovery tells me that I will find a few more names, as time goes by, that I will need to add to the list and make amends to them all.

As I was putting the list together I started thinking of the amends I have to make, how will I make them and when, what will I tell these people. One of the things that I struggled with the most are people that I had resentment towards and the thought of how humbling and potentially humiliating it would be to go say I am sorry. For some names I might not be that ready, but I am willing.

I talked to my sponsor yesterday and we agreed that I have now completed step 8. I will move to step 9, and start making direct amends. I had an outreach call with another SLAA earlier today and he was the first I told that I completed step 8 and moving on to make amends. As I shared that with him I felt my heart racing. Now as I type this I am getting the same feeling. It is probably the public admission that I am about to take my recovery outside the circle of the fellowship. On some level it is a scary thought. But if that is what it takes, I will do it, with God’s Help.

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SLAA

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.

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SafeTrip, SLAA

#SafeTrip3 – Day Four – I am home


Just realized that day three and day four posts are less than 12 hours apart. hehehe.

So I said my prayers and went down for breakfast. I sat on a different table with a view to reflect on the sky and the beautiful cloud formation with the sun in the background. I loved it. When I got back to my room there was very little to pack in my bags as it was a really short trip and I managed to travel light. I checked out and got straight to the airport. I could honestly say that I had very few triggers or had no triggers but had thoughts of “it would be nice to act out while keeping my sobriety”. I wonder if an alcoholic ever thinks that it would be nice to have a glass of wine with dinner and stop there. Is that the same thing? Anyway, I didn’t. I knew I couldn’t.

One of the things that kept me going was the Skype meeting. I am hosting a weekly Skype meeting on Fridays at 8 PM NZ time. Last week we had the first conscience meeting. In the meeting we decided that service positions should only be occupied by members who have at least 30 days of continuous sobriety. We are a young group in the program and there is only me and some other guy who have such sobriety. The agreement was that he would be the chairperson and I will be the secretary. If I acted out, I couldn’t be serving on the meeting. And the meeting wouldn’t happen. That kept me sober.

While we are practicing before the meeting we had some technical issues that meant the other member couldn’t chair the meeting and I had to play both roles the chairperson and the secretary. I was very glad I remained sober.

I will keep this short for today, I want to thank you for keeping me company. I am not travelling again for work before the end of the year. I might be going with my family somewhere for the holiday break. Will keep you posted.

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SafeTrip, SLAA

#SafeTrip3 – Day Three


Good lovely morning everyone. The sun is out and it is a beautiful day. What is even more beautiful about it is I am flying home in just over 4 hours.

I drove to work yesterday and got there early enough to get myself settled before my first meeting. I had a good few meetings with my boss and colleagues. I had a call with my sponsor. He sounded a bit different than usual, almost made wonder if he had too much to drink. But it was still a helpful call.

There is a gay guy in the Sydney office that I met years ago and kept in touch over time. I made sure I contact him whenever I am in town with the hope of acting out with him. Yesterday I happened to stumble upon him in the office, I asked him out for coffee. We had coffee and chatted, I was very thankful to be sober and thankful I never acted out with him. He appeared uninterested and not that interesting. If I wasn’t sober I would have humiliated myself being flirty and suggestive, then hated myself for not getting what I wanted. This time I was just me, with my integrity and self-respect intact.

The rest of the work day went well. while at work I checked the blog notifications for people who liked my post. I got a like from OAPlascencia. As per my habit I go check people who liked my blog and try and read through their blog to know a bit more about them. this time the blog was full of beautiful words in stories or poems accompanied by pictures romantic in nature between two men. I found myself unable to read through cause it was about to feed my fantasies and trigger me.

After work I went to visit friends briefly and then went to a meeting. I am not a big fan of the SLAA H.O.W. meeting structure. But anyway, I got to share under the new comers’ category because it was my first time to this meeting. They then assigned someone to talk to me after the meeting to make me feel welcomed. It was nice.

After I finished the meeting I found myself wandering the streets of Sydney in my car. I was really hoping for company, connection. Didn’t necessarily want to act out, didn’t fantasise about sex or being touched but I did want to be with someone. Maybe I was trying to avoid feeling alone or lonely. I took a while driving everywhere before I eventually decided to turn on my GPS and head to the hotel. At the hotel I found a family stuck outside their hotel room. A young boy, a mother and a grandmother. They spoke my mother tongue. I called the reception for them to send someone and help them in. While waiting for the hotel staff to come I had a nice chat with them and even played a little with the young boy, he was my son’s age. It was nice, I got my company.

I got back to my room, changed out of my day cloths and had no energy to shower before I went to bed, I had the same feeling I had when I wasn’t sober. Back then I was really tired but I didn’t want to sleep because I might be missing an opportunity to act out. It was weird why I didn’t want to sleep this time because there was nothing planned. I eventually fell asleep with the TV on. Woke up in the middle of the night to switch the TV off and go back to bed.

It is another beautiful morning over here. I have exactly less than four hours to my flight, I am already showered and I don’t have much to pack. Will get dressed, go for breakfast and check out. At the airport I will try to spend some time preparing for the Skype meeting I have tonight, the topic is Anorexia. I need to prepare the script for the meeting and work with the chairperson on it. That will keep me occupied.

I will write to you again from home when I have reached 🙂 thanks for keeping me company

 

 

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