In the room of Sexaholics Anonymous I remember reading something about how many of us have given up our wills to a higher power in degrees, rather than all at once. We offer it at first and then take it back only to realize that left to our own devices we don’t really stand a chance. And so here I am, admitting that that’s how I have been. Inching my way away from hell instead of running joyously towards heaven as CS Lewis describes it in his great story, The Great Divorce.
Here is an update of my progress. I am hoping it will not be the last time in a while.
Mid May I went on a retreat with a handful of the guys from my local SA group. It was a pretty powerful experience. I was able to talk freely about where I was at, what I was struggling with and even talk to one who had been to a treatment center, which I have been discussing with my therapist lately. It was encouraging to spend time with others who had been where I am and to see so many who were continually giving their lives over to a power greater than themselves. There were over 100 guys there all sharing their hope, faith and experience. I saw a lot of sobriety and people reaching out to help others who were struggling. I was seeking a greater willingness and that meeting hit the spot for a time.
I didn’t find a solid answer there about whether to go to a treatment center or not, but I did gather more information. That’s what’s before me right now, finding and deciding on a recovery center that I can utilize to get some traction with my sobriety. I haven’t had more than 3 weeks for over a decade. I wish it weren’t so, but it is and that’s weighed on my mind pretty heavily, especially in light of recent happenings you will read about below.
After arriving home from the retreat I hoped back in the car and drove to my home town for a vacation with my girlfriend. She has been super supportive of my recovery activities for which I am eternally grateful. While it’s getting better, it has been super hard for me to share with others my struggle and it’s supportive people like her that give me confidence to continue working towards recovery and get up when I fall.
On our trip we spent a lot of time with both her family and mine. She got to meet my father which was good. And I even got to have a little heart to heart with her father. I said that we’d been thinking of getting married and it brought tears to his eyes. Later that evening I asked her to marry me. It felt wonderful and promising. We shared why we wanted to marry each other and excitedly called family and friends to tell them the good news.
From just before the trip until about then, some 2 weeks I had sobriety and I felt very positive. As the White Book says, our disease is cunning, baffling and powerful. It wasn’t but the next day that I started to crash again and found myself seeking lust again to help me deal with life. I made calls to guys in my group, attended one of my original meetings and spent time with friends, but interwoven between those events I found it really difficult to stay present and not let lust pulse through my veins.
To put this trip into context of my journey though, it was much better than my last one home. Before going I spoke with my sponsor, therapist and girlfriend to review what didn’t work for me the last time. From those conversations I was able to change the situation so that I didn’t come up against the same problems. I was on a more regular talking schedule with my sponsor. I made sure to eat better food and exercise more. I didn’t stay in the part of town that triggered me and I made sure to attend meetings. I even kept up my therapy appointments by phone which also helped.
So fast forward to today. I just got out of a yoga class, but have already noticed two distinct feelings that triggered my desire to lust. One was a feeling of intimidation with my roommate. I didn’t want to tell him that I may be moving soon, putting him in a position to fill my space in a short time. I felt scared and subsequently the pull to run away with lust.
This morning I also read an article about a coach that lost his job for some people over reacting to a video they found on his cell phone of his kids. It made me think, man, people can be so unforgiving. It didn’t even seem like the people judging him and taking his career away from him even took the time to get to know him, get context. It made me scared of people doing the same towards me.
The second event was my fiance being stressed out by my car not having oil and me feeling like the love was being removed from the situation, also like I couldn’t handle my life (which is true, but it’s much easier to admit it yourself than have someone tell you – or feel like they are telling you.). There were probably some lingering feelings from earlier this morning. Whatever the reason I felt that way, it also came with a desire to lust. It was a little more clear to me how lust creeps in to comfort/distract me when I’m hurt, angry & scared.
So that’s where I’m at. That’s me. It’s only when I try to stuff, avoid and run from what’s really going on that things get worse. I have spent some time today journaling, meditating and thinking of things that I’m grateful for to gain some perspective on the feelings I was having. Patience with my self replaced the anxiety that I have been feeling over the last couple of days and I know that things will be okay.
Thanks for listening and if you have any experience with a good treatment center, let me know by dropping an email or a comment below. I am praying for those of you who are hurting too. You can do it. Keep being honest and keep reaching out.