SafeTrip, SLAA

#SafeTrip2 – Day Four


I am sober by a miracle!

So since my last post I had my breakfast and got ready for work and off I went. The work day went well. Many of my colleagues weren’t present because they were tired from the party the night before and decided to work from home.

There is something I forgot to tell you about the work function the night before. We played games and one of the games was to take a few pictures of people at our table doing different funny things. One of them was “a picture of 8 people at the table acting as if they were caught naked”. There was a table that I originally wanted to sit on because it has my boss and a few others that newly became in my team, but it was too full so I ended up somewhere else. The men on that table went to the bathroom, stripped to their undies and took the picture. Also another colleague of mine who I acted out with a few times was in the bathroom at the time, so he joined in the picture. I was so glad I wasn’t sitting on that table.

Anyway, back to my day at work, it was productive despite the last minute meeting cancellations from people who didn’t show up. While I am walking around the office I bumped into that colleague I acted out with. He started talking about the party, showing me the picture and explaining what happened. While the conversation lasted only for a minute and a half I was slightly aroused, so I kept the chat short and continued to where I was going.

I went to the SLAAONLINE.com chat room and shared and I felt comfortable, I was attributing the comfort to having done step five. I am still a sex and love addict, I will get triggered but they won’t kill me. So I am alright.

Later on I attended the NZ SLAA Skype Meeting. It was helpful and I shared. Then when it was over, I took off, ran a few errands then met a female friend of mine for dinner. Great food and lovely company. Then she walked me to my hotel.

I got to my room and decided to treat myself to a bath. While in the bath I started thinking about going to a male grooming studio to do a boyzillian. I have been wanting to do this for a while but recently I decided it is not appropriate given my stage of recovery. When I was doing my step five with my sponsor I told him that I won’t do it. Yet while in the tub I thought it is a very legitimate idea. I started looking for available studios at this hour, called a few until I found one that was open. The way I was searching reminded me of the way I was searching for a fix when I acted out. This time I didn’t waste hours but still the feeling was the same.

When I realized that my addict was at play, I called another SLAA member to outreach, he didn’t answer. So I went ahead, made an appointment and the place happened to be so close to the hotel and very affordable. So I walked over.

The guy had the wax on the burner and the process started!! It was painful! And as the process went on I realized that I am at risk. The guy was obviously gay. He wasn’t making any advances or anything but still it was a risk. I started talking about my wife and my kids, I started praying in my head that nothing happens. And nothing did. So I walked out of that studio with a lot less hair and a lot more humiliation. I felt so humiliated by my actions. Which was probably a good thing, cause I was getting a bit too confident with the sense of serenity I had and the sobriety I am clocking.

The SLAA member called me back just as I left the studio, I outreached. I sent a message to my sponsor and told him what happened, he asked me to read Chapter 3 of the AA big book, reminding me that mixing it with milk doesn’t work. And I went the hotel and slept.

This morning I had an outreach call with another SLAA member that drew a parallel between my overeating the night before and what I did last night. He talked about breaking boundaries trying to figure out what “safe” boundaries can I cross without getting in too deep. He also talked about himself when he did this and how eventually we’ll break a boundary that isn’t safe. It was a very interesting thought. I need to pay attention to it.

I am thankful to have remained sober. I am still feeling humiliated and humbled by my action.

Tonight I fly back home. Will write to you then 🙂

 

 

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SafeTrip, SLAA

#SafeTrip2 – Day Two


Yesterday was a long happy and tiring day. I had breakfast, got ready and went to work. Long large meeting took place and I was very present and actively participating. Not anxious over what might be waiting me afterwards nor was I trying to secure a liaison through various means while pretending to be present. It felt great.

During the meeting I met two ladies that I had had resentments towards before. For some reason I forgot about them when I was doing my resentment list. And to my pleasant surprise, I didn’t feel any resentment. I felt comfortable and easy. With one of them we chatted throughout the meeting and exchanged ideas about what was being presented. I talked to my sponsor about them this morning and he suggested that it is worthwhile I do a resentment work on them even though I feel okay now.

After the meeting I had a long catch up with a group of colleagues. It was fun. I had a lot of laughter and enjoyed myself. I was able to just let things be and enjoy the present without a preoccupied mind. When I felt tired I simply excused myself and said goodbye to everyone with no intention but to go to my hotel room and get some rest. It was nice, I felt free.

In the cab ride to my hotel, the taxi driver was very gentle, soft spoken, polite and pleasant. We talked and he looked me in the eye with a smile when it was safe to do so while he was driving. And I was wondering, how come he is so nice? Is he flirting with me? Could he be gay? Normally that thought pattern would lead me into a suggestive conversation to find answers to how interested he is to feed my addiction. But this time it was just a reminder that I am still a sex and love addict. I looked straight ahead at the road while talking to him in fear of using in appropriate looks or smiles through my cunning character defects. As we talked he talked about his 20 year old son, I got to share about my family and the conversation was safe and enjoyable. Then I got to my hotel, thanked him, paid, and left.

In my room, I had a nice warm shower, and had a good sleep. I woke up, said my prayers, had my breakfast and had a nice talk with my sponsor. We discussed steps 6 and 7 and after I hung up with him I started reading these steps in the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions as well as the SLAA Big Book. I feel ready to have God remove all my defects of Character. Will continue to pray about it and will read some more to see what is it I need to do to have completed this step.

After I post this, I will head to work for another lovely day. Tonight there is a big work party. I will be dressed up. Will tell you about it tomorrow.

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Recovery, SLAA

Step5 – check! still a sex and love addict.


SLAA is a 12 step program and today I completed Step 5.

Step five says: “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” When I first came to SLAA I had no idea what it means to do the steps. When I started learning about the steps I couldn’t think of anyone in my life that could be the “other human being” to whom I would admit the exact nature of my wrongs. I had not met my sponsor at the time.

Today I spent 8 hours on Skype with my sponsor, going through my inventory. My resentments, my sexual conduct, people I have harmed and my fears. It was painful and joyful, it had tears and laughter. it was the most rapid succession of emotions I experienced in such a short period of time.

Up until yesterday, I had no idea how it would turn out. I was just willing to do it the way it was meant to be done. I couldn’t ask for a better sponsor nor a better experience. I am grateful to God for showing me his love through this Awe-inspiring experience.

 

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Recovery, SLAA

Where is my welcome home party


If you’ve been reading my blog recently you would have probably come across my SafeTrip series which is a daily journaling of my first trip overseas since I got sober.  I was so glad to finally make it home sober. It was not easy being overseas. I don’t think I missed the acting out itself, but I missed the act of pursuing a fix. You can read the series if you wish for more details.

I got home and honestly wished I didn’t. I was happy the trip was over but I wasn’t happy with the welcome that awaited me. Wife was moody, complaining and whining and I was exhausted. We eventually got to talk and when we did I found myself snapping with as much self-constrain as possible. Judging her by my journey and by my strength. Allowing myself to sound self-righteous. Then she went ahead trying to respond to me and rather than being defensive she started explaining why she is doing what she is doing. That didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel stuck. I wished I could tell her “all the things you are complaining about are changeable if you do something about them, either accept them and stop complaining or get into action. I am doing something about my life why can’t you????!” of course I didn’t say any of that, I felt so tired by then and told her I have to sleep cause I am exhausted.

The night was miserable. Then I woke up tired, and what did I do? I took it out on my 4 year old son. I yelled at him for the first time in his life. I yelled three times in the span of two hours. I was the kind of father I judged and disapproved off, I hated myself. I had no patience. I believe self-pity was a big player. Why is she pregnant? Why does she have to be so negative about life, why can’t she (do you see where this is going? there isn’t a single “I” in my questions, cause I am just a victim, sounds familiar?). I had thoughts like “I can’t change her, but I can change the fact that she is my wife, God Grant me the courage” as if divorcing her is the answer. Typical addict thinking.

My wife then emails me this quote by Baha’u’llah: “O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.”

When I read through it, I felt at peace. For things contrary to my wishes have been ordained by God. Yes I don’t like them but if God is the one who decided I should experience them then I should do so. And He also promised me days of blissful joy. I also had a great deal of help from my sponsor who helped me look at my side of the street. I had a good outreach call with another SLAA member who related to what I was going through. Then it hit me. a bit part of the frustration was that I have been sober now for over 90 days, I was overseas on a trip and I didn’t cheat, I AM ENTITLED to a different reality, I deserve better!! Don’t I? Of course the answer is NO, I am not being sober to get recognition from others! I am being sober because otherwise I am dead, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Others might benefit from me being sober, but I am the one who needs my sobriety.

 

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SLAA

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

 

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SLAA

Goodbye Therapy welcome 12 steps


I started therapy in June 2013. When therapy first started I had a clear agenda in mind, a clear goal that I wanted to achieve through therapy. The Goal was largely to discover myself and build my skills towards being a face to face therapist myself.

Every session, my therapist started by asking me “how would you like to use the time today?” I almost always had an answer to that question, sometimes a clearer answer than others but I always answered the question with something. I had things figured out, I had control in areas of my life and knew of other areas where control didn’t exist. Where I didn’t have control I basically worked to gain control. My therapist continuously challenged the notion of control and highlighted how important it is to me. Reflecting back, my answers were in many ways to drive the session in a direction that gives me access to certain skills and information, as well as self-awareness, to control certain outcomes, and gain control over a given plan.

It was somewhat indirectly but it is ultimately through therapy that I eventually got to SLAA. Check out my “I am a sex and Love Addict” blog post for background.

When I came to SLAA just over six weeks ago I was wondering about the role of therapy in my new found addiction. During the first couple of weeks I got connected to SLA who later became my sponsor. This gentleman always started his phone calls with me by asking “how can I be of help?” and I never know how to answer that question. I am unaware of how to move forward, I don’t know what steps to take and what help to ask for. It was interesting the discrepancy between how I answered my therapist’s question and how I answered (or struggled to answer) my sponsor’s question.

I had one therapy session shortly after I came to SLAA. In that session my therapist asked me “how can I assist you in this journey?” and this time I bounced the question back to her. I shared that I don’t know, and asked “how do you think you could assist me?” She suggested something and we agreed that we will meet a couple of weeks later to attempt that approach. That was three weeks ago. Today was the scheduled session. Half way through the session it became somewhat clear to me that it is time to put therapy on hold. It looks like my therapist saw it too. She asked me, “do you still see therapy to be relevant or would you like to put that on hold?” and I found myself saying that I would like to put it on hold. We managed to spend a few minutes getting closure. I gave her feedback on how our yearlong therapy relationship went. I thanked her for the space she allowed me, for the resources she shared, the transparency she offered in her approach to therapy. She also was able to share words of encouragement and thank me for the feedback and the closure.

This therapy relationship was a wonderful one, it was not something I wanted to end, and I only felt safe to do so because I have my Higher Power, I have my sponsor and I have the SLAA Fellowship.

 

 

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SLAA

Step 4 – ink to paper


kind of ink to paper cause I decided to put it on an excel spreadsheet. it is Friday today, and it was Tuesday that I took the third step. the prayer went like this:

God, I offer myself to Thee 
to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

I recited this prayer in my head a number of times before Tuesday yet when I recited it on the phone with my sponsor it felt so powerful I got emotional. my sponsor gave me two options, to start on step 4 immediately OR right away (he’s got a sense of humour) so I guess I am at step 4.

there is a fair bet of prep work to step 4. I followed instructions (which is very unlike me) but I am turning my will and my live to the Care of God and he showed his care in choosing my sponsor and my sponsor suggested the instructions so I am following God’s will as I understand it. I finished the instructions by Thursday morning and I haven’t been able to put a pen to paper since.

just a few minutes before I wrote this entry I popped open excel and I built the table in the worksheet and started typing, looks like I am much more comfortable typing than writing. I am hoping there isn’t a specific need for me to actually write it with a pen vs. typing it. (lots of redundant comments in my previous sentences but who cares I am not undergoing review)

I know I won’t finish the list tonight, but I started. I am feeling a bit anxious and getting some butterflies in my stomach every time I approach the step. I need to go home soon so I will stop but then I will come back and keep doing it.

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