SafeTrip, SLAA, Step 9

Dear Brother, I am sorry


I wasn’t putting this off but I certainly wasn’t rushing to get to it. and now that I am starting and though it was a spontaneous decision I still feel a flood of emotions go through me.

Dear Brother,

it is funny I am writing this in English as you wouldn’t really understand this had you been alive and reading it. the fact that you passed on gives me the freedom to write in whatever language I am comfortable with. I am sure you know I am in Egypt now; our baby sister isn’t baby any more. she just got married. I MISS YOU. your picture on my phone, on the walls and everywhere around me is a constant reminder of how empty your place is.

you weren’t always there. even though you were always present. you still are. in our minds, conversations, thoughts and most certainly hour hearts and emotions. I still think that one day you will call me, or open the door and show up. you will introduce me to some random strangers you just met and called them friends. you will make silly jokes that I don’t understand. or will act funny why you really want to smoke a cigarette and don’t want to do that in front of me. I still feel it might happen. part of me is not willing to accept that this is it, that I won’t see you in this physical realm any more.

I am also sure that you know that I have recently identified as a sex and love addict, I am working an imperfect recovery, had 11 months of sobriety up until last week and now I am not sure if I am still sober or not but I am still working the program. and you my brother are on my step 9.

throughout your life I had issues with you, was embarrassed to bring you around or introduce you to my friends. judged you harshly despite your willingness to do every bit possible to gain my approval. I was (and largely still am) consumed by my plans, my selfishness and my lack of capacity to regard you or consider your feelings.

I am writing to say I am sorry, truly sorry for every time I hurt you, caused you sadness or ignored your feelings. I am sorry for my uptight, self-righteous attitude. sorry for being condescending, arrogant and foolish.

I learned much through your death, learned that you really spent your time where it matters most. spent your time loving people, serving them, caring for them. you are deeply missed by everyone who got to know you for just a little bit. if you can offer any sign that you got this message I would be eternally grateful.

I love you

 

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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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SafeTrip, SLAA

SafeTrip 4 Day Zero


it is becoming a tradition to write whenever I am travelling. it helps keep me in contact with you guys and also helps me bring myself to account each day.

My last trip was in December last year and my last post was close to 2 months ago. Man I have been busy. so I will use this opportunity to give you a quick update of where I am at with life and my recovery progress.

I am now working steps 10/11/12 (there is a draft post on that sitting in my draft list for a long while) but the short of it is I am having a blast and enjoying the gifts of recovery. I have 5 sponsees that I work with on regular basis. some more regular than others, yet they all keep me sober. I remind each of them saying that I am working my program just as much as I help them work theirs. it is part of my step 12 and I need it to stay sober. I will write a bit more on my experiencing of sponsoring others in another post.

I have a 10 week old baby girl! some of you may have read about her in my previous post. She continues to grow bigger, healthy and lovely. SHE IS SOO CUTE!!

Work is getting CRAAAZZYYY. it just keeps getting busier every day but the good thing about it, it is not stressful, on the contrary, quite enjoyable. I have a great work relationship with my boss, the team I work with, the partner I manage and I am learning heaps.

I started the first Skype meeting for the Egyptian SLAA fellowship. so far there are only four regular participants including me. there is a lot of material that need to be translated and there aren’t enough members to help with the work needed. but well. one step at a time.

I also started a website for the SLAA fellowship in Egypt. www.slaaegypt.org it is all in Arabic but check it out anyway. it is the most basic website you probably came across but well, progress not perfection.

what else to tell you? kids are sleeping better. things at home are better.   OH YEAH I also went through a 3 months full withdrawal. unplanned but expected, my wife and I couldn’t have sex for a while before the birth then we had to wait a while after birth for her recovery. and guess what. it was much easier than my earlier Accidental withdrawal.

I guess that summarize the last couple of months, I will be writing on daily basis for the time I am in Singapore till I come back. please keep me company.

 

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Fasting, SafeTrip

Fast Reflections Day three


I had a domestic flight scheduled for 7 am to Wellington for a work presentation/meeting. I planned to wake up at 5 am, have breakfast and get dressed and be out of the house by 5:30 am. the airport is a 40 minutes away. what actually happened is I got to say my prayers and get ready while my mom and wife prepared breakfast then I left home at 10 to 6.

I would have made it if I didn’t have to go through airport security. I was almost very confident that I will barely make it until I saw the security queue and I was “Oh no! I didn’t account for the queue” hehehe.

I got the gate door just as they were closing it. so I was just a minute too late. which cost me a $100 bucks to get on the next flight in 30 minutes. I was a bit displeased but it was my fault and I have to pay the price. if there is something I learned from SLAA is that I always tried to get away with my mistakes. I blamed someone else for their inflexibility or their lack of empathy or this and that, but I didn’t blame myself for the act itself. this time I just accepted this to be a consequence of my actions.

It was meant to be rush hour when I get to Wellington but luckily I wasn’t only 30 minutes behind. work wise I didn’t really need to be in the meeting that early but I wanted to so I get to hear what the audience go through before my presentation. so it was alright to be a bit late. when it was my turn to present, I just got up and rolled with it and it went well.

I had a couple of hours of down time before my next meeting. I was able to get a bit of work done and catch up with a colleague regarding an issue. Then I took a short walk to meet employees of a company that I will be working with from now on. it was just me and 11 of them, I am meeting them for the first time. also it is a new side of the business that I don’t know much about yet. I was able to forthright say that “I don’t know much about what you do or how you do it, but I am going to learn, so let’s collaborate”. the guys were wonderful and while they had so much to say they still had a smile on their faces.

I had a nice short walk after the meeting then collected my stuff and got a cab to the airport. I had 3 hours before my flight back to Auckland. I was given access to the lounge so I was able to sit somewhere comfortable and have a nap because I was really tired. I did have a call with one of my sponsees, watched a bit of YouTube and got some work done.

I got home happy, I had a nice warm meal with my mom who waited for me to have dinner. had a nice chat with my wife then I was ready to collapse. I ran straight to bed after brushing my teeth and again I was asleep in no time.

more reflections to come.

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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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SafeTrip, SLAA

#SafeTrip3 – Day Two


Good morning everyone! After I left you yesterday I decided to drive to work, which was an adventure. I got kind of lost and the GPS wasn’t very helpful in the middle of tall buildings in the city, so I was about 10 minutes late to my first meeting.

I had meetings lined up all the way to 4 pm. meetings went really well and smooth and they all ended up by 1 pm. Everyone was available and we discussed everything we needed to discuss. So I was “free” three hours earlier than expected. Well not free technically cause it is still a work day, I just didn’t have anyone to miss me if were to be somewhere. I took a walk to my car and on the way to the car I was just so aware of the number of pretty boys around me. I was objectifying a little, but I didn’t sexualise. Or maybe they are the same, I don’t know. A very cute guy on the side walk turned his head and locked eyes with me for over a second. In gay languages that could be code for “I might be interested”. I kept walking but I did look back to see if he looked again. I was slightly annoyed to be sober and not be able to act out.

I got to my car and knew that I need to head straight to my hotel room. I had to drive past a road that had a Gay Sauna (Sex on Site venue) which I spent hours and hours in it prior to becoming sober. That was also annoying. I got to my hotel, got to my room and I wasn’t settled. I changed and went to the pool to swim a bit. The pool wasn’t inviting. it was more of a large tub than a swimming pool, so I ended up at the Gym, did a bit of cardio and some weights (don’t get the wrong impression, I am not a sporty guy but I just needed an outlet at that moment). I got back to my hotel room and started doing work. I was somewhat productive. I also went online to the SLAAONLINE.org chat room. I found a couple of SLAA members who heard my share and encourage me to keep going. I was pleased to have made it there.

I was determined to go to a meeting a night. The good thing about Sydney is that there is a meeting almost every night, actually there are a few meetings a night. There were three available to me last night, one of them was gay, lesbian, transgender focus. I decided to go to that one. For the sake of full transparency I need to share that the thought crossed my mind (am I going there to pick someone up?). Luckily the meeting wasn’t a place to pick someone up, it was a really safe environment, good sobriety among the older members. A couple of new members were at the meeting and I was able to share my story and share the message of recovery in their presence. What a privilege.

After the meeting I picked my cousin up and went to visit the family I talked about yesterday. Their daughter was at the hospital for an operation so we were there to support them. We stayed for a bit and then went out to get junk food (bad idea) but it was late and there was nothing open that served good food and I hadn’t had dinner.

I dropped my cousin off at his place, got to mine and slept. I am up now and it is a beautiful day. I will shower, say my prayers and get to work after having some breakfast. 🙂

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