I was all ready to tell NP that the only obstacle I had to face in my Internet addiction was basically to get rid of E.
But, today J. resurfaced in a major way. He said he cannot stop thinking of me and he wants me to be a part of his life in a way no other person has provoked him. I told NP that it's not about what he wants, it's about what I want. I don't know... seems like for every step forward there are two steps back.
By 7 p.m., the picnic was over, my husband is in bed after having vomitted three times and today I flushed my keys -- yes, all of them, including my electronic entry device -- down the toilet at the park.
Yet, I still feel good. Feel good that in spite of it all, I had a good day with friends and enjoyed the feeling of being with them, feeding them and seeing them enjoy one another -- many after many, many years.
Don't know exactly how I'll have to deal with all the issues related to the keys -- but I guess I'll have to figure that out on Monday. As for now, I'm trying to figure out when and where the wedding is that I'm supposed to go to tomorrow and just remembered that I have tickets to the state beauty pageant for tonight --- please, save me. Thank goodness they no one is really expecting us.
Because my husband went to bed early, I went online of course, even contacted a new person, but found him disgusting and signed off. I found it to be a good sign. I was really just looking for someone to talk to, not to assist with his masturbation.
I have just completed a long e-mail and don't really feel like writing much, but wanted to take note of the fact that I can feel myself starting to feel again.
I went to the doctor yesterday for a kidney infection, and in the meantime told him I'd like to be tested for HIV, just to be cautious. Of course, he wanted to know the context. And I felt so ashamed as I relayed only the scattered and sparse detail that I had engaged in some risky behaviour. I made it seem like it was once, but still I felt horribly shamed. One reason I think is that this guy also treats my husband.
And, speaking of my husband -- last night for the first time in more than a week, we had a sexual encounter. And as I was giving him oral pleasure ... I don't feel comfortable sharing these details about my "real" sex life, weird I know ... I thought of all the men (not as individuals, but as a group) that I had done the same thing to, and felt strange... I'm not sure how to describe it. I think it was almost like I had diminished the pleasure I could give him by making this such a random act that could happen anywhere with anyone.
I dread the feelings ahead... but feel thankful to be feeling.
I wrote this as part of a letter to a person I've corresponded with in a support group for online addiction.
I'll say this about the men who have been with me -- they did think they were the only one or at least not one of 12. But not only that -- they have been living with their demons too. Some of it's loneliness -- and like me, the lonely wife (who by the way would focus on her husband if he would open up just a little or even be around, but we're working on that.), have gotten nothing but a sexual encounter from me. They don't leave any more happy than when they came.
Both E. and I are facing co-dependency issues, and are unfortunately drawn to each other because of that. He wants to control me, and I want to please him and be "worthy" of him. And as I fight this last leg of my journey to break through this addiction ... he is the trigger, he's the one that stops me from just cancelling my yahoo accounts and just going on. He's given me just enough hope that we are friends that can support one another, and just enough doubt that I can never survive on my own, that I can't break this habit. I see his trap, yet I fall right into it. Since his influence is gone for a week ... I think I'll be able to talk my way through it.
NP always wants to know what I feel rather than what I have done. Sometimes I find the answer difficult, because it sometimes seems that I feel nothing ... no emotion. Maybe I feel angry, but it's not true anger, like rage, it's more like frustration. Sometimes I feel disappointed and sad, and even once or twice, I've felt happy. (I'm talking about lately.) This morning as I take off work to prepare for a picnic that we are hosting for friends, I feel mainly uninterested. But it just occurred to me that especially since my husband has felt disappointed that a few of his friends could not or would not make it, that my lack of interest must also be disappointing to him. I am rarely a person to be wrapped up in myself. But it's hard to be wrapped up in him when he never shares how he feels unless it is anger. In reading the material on codependency, I need to just "live and let live." Basically, whatever he feels and however he reacts is his way. Clinton in interviews about his book has said that even couples who ultimately divorce should go through counseling. I sometimes think that ultimately, after all, that my husband and I will divorce. There's just simply not enough interaction. I'm tempted to ask him to go for counseling, but the time hasn't come for that.
Before I write about the subject of this entry, I want to say that today I felt more "at ease" with the Internet than I have before. I can't say that I did a great job of staying away or that I didn't chat. I just didn't get out of hand and I controlled myself. I think I still have a ways to go and I think that the fact that E. is not around helps. But I felt OK today. And I did spend a little time talking with my friend BV, which I will never regret. He's an amazing man and I feel so honored to have him as part of my life.
What I was going to say about adaptability is that I always consider myself adaptable. I've counted that as a top characteristic in myself. But, as I look over things and life, I realize that I have not been adaptable. Moving to a new state, changing careers, accepting new ownership of my company, all of those things have been very, very tough on me. I have not adapted well.
I'm now reading more about codependence and am more convinced than ever that I need to work in this area more than any other.
Yesterday, by accident, I saw that my profile had been viewed 96 times. I have gotten kind and supportive e-mails from a couple of folks, so I know that there are a couple of people who read my thoughts regularly. I'm curious if there are others that I have not heard from and who they are. Are they people who get turned on by my tales of reckless sex, or rather people who just got caught up in my story and wonder how it will end? I'm with the latter group.
Yesterday someone wrote and asked, "Why do you make these confessions public?" I'm not exactly sure why I do. Probably in the beginning there was some desire to "tell someone" what I had been up to, to truly confess, maybe even, as the writer suggested, to "brag." Now I think that while I truly use the blog as a journal, to record my thoughts, and thoughts that I don't want lying around my house, I'm also willing to share the ugliness of my story as a means of convincing the world that Internet Addiction Disorder is a true and serious issue that can lead to some very pathetic consequences.
I believe at the root, that my addiction is related to something else in my life, and so that's why I'm trying to work with my therapist a bit at a time to get it all out. Maybe the next meeting, she and I should discuss something other than this addiction. We'll see. If you're out there and reading quitely, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.
It's amazing how one day I can say to someone ... goodbye, I'm walking away for my own good and two days later spend two hours chatting with them about my addiction to the Internet and some of my deepest, darkest secrets. I see right through him. He doesn't want to lose control, can't stand the thought of losing control of me. The sad thing is I don't think it has anything at all to do with being with me ... it has to do with not letting me go.
He told me today that he's in marriage counseling. What? How in the world is he living in such a lie. He's telling me he's online uncontrollably, just like I am ... but what is he saying in counseling. He said he's considering going for individual counseling. He's leaving for a week. That should help me see if I can get past this addiction. He certainly has been of no help, now trying to get to me by talking about my past life and how it relates to the feelings of another another woman he knows. He told me he's been with her once. I'm sure the reason he doesn't want us to talk to each other is because he's lied to both of us about the role we have in his life. Lately he's started writing me e-mails, and signing off .. "bye, my friend." OK, I'm going to try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he's probably just trying to get his rocks off somehow.
At least he's the only person I'm chatting with and I"m not meeting anyone.
I am not sure how I am doing. I don't know if I've somehow let E. snare me in his trap or if he really is willing to listen and share his own thoughts. Regardless, he was basically the only person I spoke to yesterday and I limited my online chat time to no more than 30 minutes the two times I chatted with him. I did exchange a couple of e-mails with him though ... so I can't say that I didn't spend more time than that online. And in the evening, I spoke with M. about 40 minutes. He acted a bit weird, or at least didn't say all the things I wanted him to say. But as I wrote to him, I know that he is the more emotionally strong of the two of us.
It's now 7:20 and I haven't even taken a shower. I've been answering e-mails and now I'm writing on the blog. It will be another day late to the office. I have to find ways to concentrate on my work today.
This is seriously like having the f'ing DT's. I am so distracted by my desire to go online and talk with someone, to connect in someway with somebody, even if it's through e-mail. It's just crazy!
And of course I didn't resist my urge to talk to E. yesterday and then he starts sharing that we have the same problem, that he's also addicted to chat and chat rooms and can't pry himself away.
Saw NP last night and she said to be careful, that he may just be saying what he thinks I want to hear so I won't leave him in the dust.
Got a note from M. last night that relieved me of my decision of whether to see him today. He said it didn't feel right. I wrote him a long letter this morning and thanked him for his emotional strength. As with all things, I have wanted to hear back from him this morning, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Even if he's going online, it looks like he's hiding. In one way, he's a total chicken shit. But, I do believe that he's emotionally strong.
So, I'm trying like crazy to stay away from talking to E. This morning when I signed on I had an e-mail from him that said our chat caused him to think about a lot of things, so I signed on to hear them, but told him, I'm off by 9:30 and stuck with it. But then, of course, I signed in under invisible and checked to see if he and IM'd me back, which he did and said it's good that I stuck with my parameters and that he'd talk to me in my next round.
One question he asked me yesterday was what NP thought of what he and I were doing. It was clearly an effort to see if she was the one who was trying to cause me to stop seeing him. If I evaluate it ... he's does not want me to leave because he wants to maintain the control, the power. He's very, very good at that.
I'm trying to accomplish a few things at work today, but it's not really working. I'm so distracted. But, I'm still going to work at it. No one said it was going to be easy.
Just a note that I am feeling stronger this afternoon. I had a good conversation, face to face with a woman who has become my friend here at work. We discussed some of the negativities that we face here, and I felt good that some of my feelings about where I am working were reaffirmed by someone else, with a like mind. I also felt good that I could have a close conversation with another person and it was not online.
I couldn't help but sneak a peak to see if E. had left me a message on the other account. He had, it just said, "Rae, are u there?" I of course was and am tempted to say "yes." But I'm not going to. I said goodbye and it has to be goodbye. He and I have become more than just passing lovers, and there are things that I learned even today that I want to share with him, but I think in order to make this stand, I have to be strong.
I don't know how seriously J. took me this morning, but I feel strong that I told him goodbye for now.
There's still this issue of whether I will see M. tomorrow or not. I like this guy as a person, and think I will go and just see how I can handle myself. Maybe that's not wise, I'm not sure. I don't feel as uncertain about it this afternoon as I did this morning.
I did two of the hard things this morning. They are likely not the hardest things I'll go through ... but they were hard at least in my mind. I told J. that I was "taking a break" to get control of my addiction and I wrote the following letter to E.
I won't be online today, and if I'm strong, I won't be online for the rest of the week. As you know, I have struggled a great deal with trying to get things in order in my life and in my marriage. I've finally come to realize that being online, chatting with men, meeting you for quick trysts, is all a part of an addiction to excitement that I have to fight to overcome if I am ever going to truly pull myself together. I am close to the bottom and know that I have to regain some control of my life. My work is suffering, my marriage was already suffering, and overall my whole life just seems to be someone else's. I'm a much stronger and wiser person than the person you have seen.
Just to be clear, I truly will never regret what we have shared. It's been exciting and fun and an experience like no other. Through all its ups and downs, what we have shared has been a bit of what we both have needed. You have been kind to me, and oh so sexy, and beyond sex, you have been a good friend, someone I've enjoyed talking to. I hope that you will find what you are looking for.
I would rather have discussed this face to face or even online, but I know that I just have to say it, and go, while I have it in me to do that. I'm sorry if sending an e-mail is not the right way. But it's the way I have always felt most comfortable in sharing with you my thoughts.
This time the goodbye is for me, and it's for real. I thank you for everything we have shared and that you have been and I am sorry for anything I've left undone.
I wish I could say I feel good or strong ... I feel that I'm doing the right thing, that's the best thing I can say.
Ian, I'm afraid I cant' say that I made it through the day without visiting the Internet. However, I can say that I did much, much better. Only chatted with one person, and that too for no longer than 10 minutes.
I am only here to write about the interview I just saw with President Clinton. He talked with Dan Rather and writes in his book about how he lived separate lives ... one that was public and one that was private. That's the life I'm living now. If it can happen to a president, it can happen to anyone.
I also am reading a book recommended by my therapist -- Maximum Self Esteem. I found so much to relate to there, so many things that point to the reasons I am allowing myself to be used by men looking for nothing more than a quick blow job. I read some stuff yesterday that she gave me about Internet addiction. It applies so much. Even though I was offline all this morning, I spent 40 minutes handwriting a note to M. that I thought I'll type tomorrow. One of the symptoms of addiction is feelings of severe restlessness and anxiousness when you are trying to break free. I felt all those things today. Continually thinking about being online and that I might be missing a conversation with someone I want to talk to. It really is truly a severe disorder. I never thought I'd be the victim of anything.
I feel a bit pathetic when after being out doing normal things, I walk through the door and can think of nothing more than getting to the computer to check messages. I even now feel that my husband is trying to run a bit faster than me to the computer, so he has his time to read the news and check e-mail too. I have exchanged e-mails with a couple of people in an online support group for people with IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder) and it seems like we can at least exchange thoughts. One of the people, Ian, has made a pact to stay offline at least on Sundays. I agree to join him in the effort and we'll exchange thoughts on Monday about how we did. Another person in the amazingly small group is a woman and facing many of the same issues I am, minus the fact that she is not meeting men offline, only chatting with them online. Throughout today as I tried to go about the normal means of business, I thought endlessly of how I was going to go cold turkey and really try to nip this addiction in the bud. All I could think of was how I'm going to tell certain people, particularly E. goodbye. I just can't stop going over the conversation in my head and imagining the reaction of various people who I will tell. There's something to be said for just erasing the account and walking away, but I'm under the dilusion that someone actually gives a shit. NP has given me suggestions for a lot of reading material. However, I can't concentrate on reading it. For one thing, I fall asleep every time I sit down and for the other, I don't think I want to read it, because I don't think I want to stop. I did read some of the stuff she gave me about Internet addiction, and it's amazing how much of it fits me to a tee. The tests say, "If you have experienced three or more of these (10) criteria in the past three months you are likely suffering from IAD." I matched about 9 of 10. During our last session NP talked about denial. I think what I am in the biggest denial about how much my behaviour over the past three months would hurt my husband I guess I have myself convinced that even if he found out, he'd simply be understanding. And, in a way, that makes it even worse, to think I'm taking advantage of such a good soul. One key to overcoming whatever problems I have -- and they are broader than this addiction -- is setting goals. For that reason, I think this guy in the support group who has set an Internet-free Sunday will be a good influence. In order to help me meet that goal, I'm setting a secondary goal to write some long overdue letters to family and friends.
As I look at the old issues of Time magazine sitting in the front office, and go through some old issues of the newspaper sitting on my desk, I realize how many things have gone on without my notice over the past few months. Over these months that I have been obsessed with chatting with men online and meeting them offline, a war has been raging and our country has continued to deteriorate at the hands of an arrogant and greedy president. Politics, current events, and social issues are my passion -- but I've barely skimmed the headlines and rarely even picked up the news magazines to read a few lines, to toss them aside to spend time online. I don't know how I am going to pull myself away from this. But I know that I have to. I have to set some limitations for myself. NP gave me some good materials for that at our last session. I need to read those and try to set my mind over the weekend to control myself at work. I think I can control myself at home with my husband's help. Even though he doesn't know, I have let him know I don't want to waste too much time online. My first encounter with E. was on April 12. That was my first extramarital experience. Since then I honestly could not even name all the men I have met and been with. Only a few I've actually had sex with, but plenty that I've shared my oral talents with. Even as late as today, I made a date with M. to come to visit him next week, knowing that next week is my target for ending everything. I think he's that one last experience I want to have. But somehow, I don't think it's going to happen. I want to meet him, to make our friendship real, but I don't want to have sex with him and I don't think he is truly attracted to me ... just the thought of "getting some relief." OK, I'm not getting offline by blogging, but wanted to write these thoughts while they are with me. Sunday is Father's Day and I haven't even bought my dad a card, much less sent it. I used to be such a thoughtful person. I didn't even send a thank you to the other B's for inviting us for dinner last week. There's a lot of talk by NP in breaking this addiction about replacing this behaviour with something else. Nothing else excites me. Nothing else appeals to me or holds my attention. I don't know what to do. I literally feel trapped.
Well, wouldn't NP be proud of the past 24 hours? And the thing is ... I feel numb to the fact that I rented a hotel room to be with BCD for the first time yesterday afternoon, had an excuse to be out until 11 and got "finished" with him by 6:30 or 7, so called this new guy in BPA, went to dinner with him, brought him back to the room and blew his mind (and something else) and then went home, woke my husband, went to bed, got up this morning and met J. in the same room. So, three guys for a mere $71.
I wrote to one of my faithful readers ... I am so numb to it all, that I barely know how to feel at this point. Do I enjoy what I'm doing ... yeah, it's fun. Am I getting anything from it, not a damn thing. I was thinking on the drive to work -- I barely can remember what J. looks like when I'm not with him. I doubt I'll remember what BCD looks like in a week. I'll never see him again.
If I'm lucky, I'll never see any of these guys again. I was trying to build up will on the drive in to say goodbye ... a true goodbye to E. But at the very same time, I'm thinking of writing him today ... after having three cocks in my mouth over the past three days ... and ask "is your cock available today?" We sometimes meet on Friday afternoons.
NP had said the other day, that I'm likely in the denial stage of addiction, and that in that stage sometimes we feel like we'll just have that one big binge ... hmm hmm, seems like today qualifies ... and then quit. She didn't follow through to say if the quitting actually happens. On one hand, I think I can quit if I want to, on the other hand, I don't feel that I want to. I think, what the hell? And I keep mulling in my mind that someday I will have to pay for this. And even the consequences don't seem enough to stop me.
How did I get here? I don't feel guilty, I don't feel scared, I don't feel anything but anticipation. How did I get here?
Today is the first day I woke up and felt like I truly am fucked up. I have a pain in my gut and I just feel very disgusted. The fact that NP said she didn't want to read what I wrote in the blog has bothered me. She said that it was more important that I "tell" her what I'm feeling rather than write it out day by day and show her. She said we need to say whatever is on our minds to one another. But she also got pretty tough about the risks I am taking with these encounters. She asked me if it was going to take a major incident for me to stop. This morning I was trying to talk to my husband about a couple of the things we discussed and then I could see him getting impatient, wanting to rush me along, thinking that three sessions of therapy are going to solve all my problems. I don't feel good. And I'm not feeling good about breaking away from these guys, but feeling like that after this week, that's exactly what I have to do. I see NP on Monday and I think that is the point at which I'm going to gain my strength. Maybe I'll do it even before. Let me see.
Before I see NP tonight for therapy, I'm going to stop by E.'s office and try out his new chair. His partner told him it looked like the perfect spot to get blowed. So, we decided to test his theory. We both have to be somewhere at 6. Him to his son's game, and me to my therapist.
Well, NP called yesterday to say we had to reschedule our session, which was no problem with me. I'll meet with her today. It's just one more day that I haven't been able to stand on my own two feet and respect myself enough to say no.
This morning I met S. in the empty apartment he is helping one of his friends move in to. We had awesome sex and now I'm at work. Yesterday I was trying to explain to him that I need to try to work things out with my husband, rather than screw around with him (since he thinks he's the only one I'm screwing around with). And of course he said, "I understand, I understand. You should try harder with your husband. You shouldn't leave him. But I don't want to lose you either." Tomorrow I meet BCD for the evening and if all goes well I'll meet J. the next morning. It's endless, this cycle. And I feel closer to E. than I ever have. So, essentially, since I saw NP last, which was eight days ago, I've had four encounters with three different guys and have two more lined up.
I did try to call the co-dependency support group number yesterday ... but the person there said there is no group meeting at this time. She gave me another number to call, but I waited too late to call them.
Continually, I cannot focus on what I need to focus because I'm thinking about all these people and when I'll see them next, and how I'll arrange to do it, and if no one is online, then who I'm going to talk to. I think I mentioned in my last entry that I started talking to a new guy in BPA and last night, after standing by my statement that I was just looking for friends on friendfinder.com, I said my mind wasn't closed to a physical relationship. And, I even was willing to overlook the fact that he said he's not satisfied with overweight women and continue the discussion. Somehow, in some ways, I feel more comfortable and less agitated than I have in a while. I've been more productive at work, but not as productive as I need to be. And this draw to see out people online is just not going away. I guess one of the reasons I feel better, is that I know that somehow this will all work itself out and that I'll come out a stronger person for it.
To the rest of the world, today is just another day filled with work, errands, laughter, frustration, and life. But to me, June 15 will never be just another day that goes by unnoticed.
On June 15, 1993, I received a call from my father that my mother had had a massive heart attack and that the doctors didn't think they would be able to save her life. They weren't.
Just like that, the woman who had given me life and made sure I lived it to the best of my ability, was gone. I never saw her, except as her body lay in her casket. I can't even remember what we shared when I saw her the few days before her death. Whatever it was, I took it for granted that there would be a next time. But there never was. I was never able to ask her another question, never able to hear her voice, never able to know her thoughts. It was over. My relationship with my mother ended on June 15 without warning and I could never get it back.
I know that many of you, my friends, have had rocky relationships with your mothers; and there are others who feel a close bond with their mom. In some instances, the same feelings exist in the same individual. But I ask you today, if for no other reason than you are my friend, to call
your mom and hear her voice. It may be the same conversation that you always have, but be thankful that you can hear it.
My love to you all, and my tribute today to my mother.
Well, today's the day I go for my weekly meeting with NP. It seems like a lot happens between these meetings, so it's good that I keep up with things via the blog.
I wonder what we will focus on today. Today is the 11th anniversary of my mother's death. It could be that. Or it could be on how my week went and how I met J. twice but haven't heard from him recently. I"m a bit worried that his sister in law passed away. It could be my interaction with E. and how that has worked over the past week, or the fact that I started chatting with a new guy in BPA yesterday. Who knows?
I wonder if she knows what it is like to be working along, getting stuff done, have to go to the computer for a simple work task and not get away from it, to be drawn to find human interaction in this little box in front of me. It's impossible for many people to understand.
Well, I thought it would be a lot, lot longer before I ever came close to having a breakthrough with my husband, but today one came. We were laying on the bed talking and I began asking him questions from my Maximum Self Esteem book. It was sort of an assessment of one's self esteem. Actually, I was surprised by a couple of his answers and even more surprised that he shared them. As we talked, I turned the book over to him and asked him to assess what he thought my answers would be. I wasn't surprised to learn that he didn't really know the severity of my concerns. But I was surprised when I had the courage to tell him that I had told NP a couple of weeks ago that I was concerned that if I fixed all that was wrong with me, my marriage, or more specifically, my relationship with my husband would be over. I expected him to get mad, but he didn't. He just ask me why I said it and what I thought. I was able to explain to him that I currently feel that correcting myself is going to mean asking him to change and asking him to change for me is going to hurt him. I referred specificially to the need for affection and closeness. But as we talked it through I began to realize that one of the things that makes me crave and really need the affection is because I don't feel that I'm standing on my own two feet. I need the reassurance that I'm a viable human being and currently need that to come from someone else. As I grow stronger, I'm not going to be as desparately dependent upon it as I am now. I think I still need the affection and intimacy and somehow I need to learn to get that from my husband He brought up again that different people express these things in different ways. I do need some things that feel familiar as well. I feel good about the conversation.
Sometimes now it seems like the weeks pass without notice. It's now Sunday morning and I realize I'll see NP on Tuesday and I've not really made any progress. One of the things she is definitely doing right is setting goals with me each week. Even my husband has focused in on that. He'll say "What are you supposed to work on this week." Since the Internet addiction is the major thing, I can't always say ... but at least he's asking what I'm supposed to be working toward. The other thing is that NP keeps almost acting surprised that I keep on coming. I don't know if this is part of her tactics or honesty. But having a meeting with her each week gives me something to focus on. Even with her, pleasing is important.
And I guess this week that's probably one thing that has rang true in my personality is my desire to please people. One thing NP honed in on last week was when I said "I just can't say no" to E. And it's true. I just never want to say no and can't really force myself. This week I made a real effort to tell S. we're not going to see each other any more, and it's frankly simply because I'm not interested. We have one sided conversations and those too are boring. And if what I am doing were for the sex, he wouldn't be in the top 10. Of course, I don't know who would be in the top 10 other than G. for his performance, because all in all, it's about my performance and I make it that way.
I'm trying to let thoughts flow here, and so many are coming to mind they'll be jumbled ... I have to remind myself that I'm writing for me.
Talking about conversation with S. raises the thought of one thing that is bothering me in life, not in my current situation necessarily, it that following the onset of my seizure disorder I began taking Dilantin (which i wonder at times if it causes depression. Since that point, my short term memory and particularly my attention span is completely out of whack. I used to have an amazing memory and an inordinate level of caring for people. I would think about them when they were suffering and remember to call them. It's been more than a week since April's father passed and I haven't called, i haven't done anything except e-mail her back on that day. I remember how horrified I was when my mom died and my best friend at the time did not take the time to come to the funeral. But I can't seem to focus. A major thing right now is this internet issue ... just constantly wanting to be in touch with people online. But in general life it's hard to focus to remain focused and to accomplish things. I don't seem in control of my mind and my brain function and part of that is the medication. Yet, somehow I'm managing to have conversations and experiences with all these men. I don't know.
My husband said last week or maybe the week before, two things of note. One was, "Well, it just seems you need to go back to (my home state)." I took special note of the fact that he only said "you." The other thing is relevant here in that he said it seems like ever since I had my first seizure I lost my self esteem. I think he's right to some extent, especially if you can describe self-esteem as will.
To the subject of my week, I'll start with an experience with E. yesterday. It was basically unplanned, and I did have the guts to call of whatever fun he had planned for coming in my office in the middle of the day for a hummer this week. I just told him it wouldn't work, I had to work on a project. But yesterday we were talking online ... he had told me he would be on and I specifically went on to contact him. We talked and somehow the conversation of how quick and rushed our time together is. He said, "Do those quickies bother you." I replied, "No, but sometimes I wish I didn't feel so rushed, so I could take care of you." Honestly, that's true... but the real reason I want to "take care of him" is because I want it to feel like something more than meeting to give him a BJ. So anyway, the conversation goes on a bit and he gets called away for awhile, then says "i'll be back in 45 secs." then three customers come in and he says it will be longer and I say "It's Ok, I know you don't want to talk to me." Really only joking, but he took it personally I guess and said when he came back that he was "sensitive today." So within a few minutes he asks if I can meet him at his office, and explains we'd only have 15 minutes -- which we haven't had more than that more than once ... the time we're actually together is usually maximum a half hour. Well the fact that I've just said I want more and that he's still willing to ask if I want to do a quickie sort of sparks a tick in me, and I don't respond for a few moments, then say "we're both feeling sensitive today." then we get into this big discussion about him wanting me to tell him what I mean and I just say ... no, let's meet. He was saying, "You're making me feel like this is all about me." Oh yeah, who did you think it was about, asshole? Anyway, long story short, we met, I performed ... and this is the thing, things are always so rushed that he just wants to go hard at it until he cums... which is not my style at all. And he was still trying to do this control thing yesterday holding my head, suffocating me. So then after a while he says, "I just don't think I'm going to cum." Well I wouldn't quit, wouldn't give up. I was going to make him cum after all this, period. So finally I pushed him back in the chair and did things my way, with a bit of his way combined and it happened. I was so glad it did, because the last thing I would have wanted to feel that day would have been that sense of failure. Somehow I think in this story, it's always going to come back to E. he was the beginning.
I was with J. twice this week. Both times were amazing. Even though things were a bit rushed and I think there were times he wanted to grab hold like e. he gave me my time. But more than that ... he is just constantly reassuring. He has just enough lack of self confidence to be endearing, and enough "it feels amazing to be with yous" to make him feel really good. Things may change.. they usually do.
My range of emotions over the past day has been out of control. I became very angry with my boss yesterday for putting me, his daughter and the university in a very bad spot, all for his own personal gain. I was angry to the point of feeling that I would explode. After I finished up a meeting at 5 p.m. with one of the professors I went back to the office to do some work. Ultimately, what I did was find a new chat partner from friendfinder.com. I even paid the $40 to join friendfinder. This was not a good suggestion on NP’s part, as even if there is opportunity to make new friends of both genders, I am automatically going to be drawn to the male gender and online conversation between men and women always goes to sex and romance. While talking to this new guy RFD, who had the familiarity of being from the South, I also had a fairly short conversation with M. He hurt my feelings in a major way, basically implying I was stalking him because I timed my leaving so that we could wave to one another on the interstate. That hurt of my feelings stung all the way on my drive home. My husband was pretty upset with me that I had stayed at work so long. This morning he told me he thinks I’m not keeping my priorities straight, that I should be focused on following through with what I am getting from my counseling sessions, should be working on exercise and looking for a job. He’s exactly right. Exactly right. But last night, all I really needed was to be held. Somehow I wasn’t finding the right words to say that last night. But I did manage to ask him very sincerely to come to bed with me. When he did, he just laid there, probably thinking about work and I started to cry beyond control. He asked me why I was crying, but I couldn’t tell him. We did talk this morning though and I told him that while his advice was on target, change is not easy (realizing that’s no excuse, I said). And much more than the advice, I need his hug, his reassurance, and his physical and verbal reminder that I am loved and supported. It’s a first step. I also need romance and many other things, but this is a start. I am still not fully convinced that I will get those “other things” from him … a feeling of deep intimacy and sharing. I’m just not sure that it’s in him. But I do know I have his love.
Saw M. for the first time this morning IRL. He was driving down the interstate at the same time I was. He was on his way to work, as was I, so there was no opportunity to stop. But it was good to see his face ... and his tall torso. I think overall though ... even though I really would like to be his friend, that he will never be willing to take that friendship into real time, and if he does, it's just going to be for sex. It's fine for him as it is. I'm just going to quit pushing it.
OK, I'm likely speaking way too soon, but maybe after all this empty searching on the Internet for a man who might actually be a lover, I may have found the one. I met J. this afternoon at a local park. Yeah, maybe we don't know much about each other, but we've done a whole lot of talking the last couple of days and we did a lot more today. We are clicking very nicely. And he's everything I found in E. (a professional, interested in a intimate relationship, so easy to talk to, we just kept talking and talking), plus he's (so far) a gentleman, very expressive in person. He told me what he liked about what we shared, told me about his experiences with meeting other online women.
I'm feeling kinda weird because Gordon is not talking after our little encounter the other day. Not weird like I want him to tell me how good it was, but not good because I don't want him to feel weird about something that was truly and purely casual.
As for J. I know that I often feel this way about a man after I first talk to him online... but I have not felt this way about a man after meeting since E. We really could talk like we'd known each other forever. That felt incredibly good.
Talk about addiction ... this morning I'm shaving my legs in the shower, anticipating meeting this new guy J. and I'm thinking, "Why are you wasting your time doing this, he's not going to see your legs and you could be doing something more useful, like checking the Internet." I say this when all day I have some important meetings that I need to be prepared for and absolutely am not. NP has recommended I read some information on co-dependency and also consider joining a support group on the issue. I think it might be a good idea. I've read stuff on co-dependency before and definitely think that it's an issue for me. Let me do some more reading. I really am not feeling strong at all. I talked a bit with my husband last night about some of the issues that I spoke with NP about. He asked and wanted to know how things went. I'm not sure if he's asking because he wants to stay abreast of how I'm feeling or if he worries she's putting some bullshit in my head. From what I could tell, he feels positive about what I shared with him. Of course, I can't share half of what I share with her with him. And even find it difficult to say to him that we talk about marital issues, etc. He also really has no idea how to be supportive. His idea of supporting me yesterday was "Well, basically what I see is that you have to do is gain some self-confidence." Oh yeah, like it just works that way. Thanks for the input. OK, once again, I'm late for work. Better get dressed and go.
Met with NP tonight and really just talked about the week's setbacks. She made a couple of suggestions ... but mainly just listened to me rant about how bad my job is, how bad my week is, how bad my relationship with my husband is, so many things. She asked me to consider joining a support group. I'll check into it. Just not feeling good about my ability to move forward from here. I know I will be able to ... it's just not a good feeling right now.
Wow! Yesterday was not a good day in terms of my efforts to wean myself from the Internet, get busy with work and focus on weeding some people out of my life instead of introducing someone new.
First of all, I was at the computer all day ... partly for work and a bunch for chatting. Opened the lines for communication with a new guy ... we'll call him J. and got overly excited about meeting him. And then I re-opened lines that I had already shut down a long time ago with BCD to the point that I arranged to meet him next week. And on top of that, I've gained a faithful and very intriguing reader to my blog from Australia. We share a lot of the same thoughts and feelings and have exchanged e-mails and late yesterday began to talk via messenger. He is a recovering Internet addict himself, so he can relate to a lot of what I'm dealing with here as well as in my relationship.
Secondly, last night I went to G.'s house after a semi-late meeting at work. We did have a good converation about where we are in life, where we've been. There's definitely the basis fir a friendship there. It could have just ended there, but no ... almost without thought I kissed him and it went from there. It was an incredible time ... but now have I screwed up what could have been a friendship.
One of the things I talked with G. about is that it feels like my husband really doesn't want me to have friends. When I'm on the phone with someone, he's always asking "Who were you talking to for so long." And the idea of me making a friend and including him in that friendship seems so out of the picture because he's so anti-social unless it is "his" friends. I don't know if this speaks to the issue I wrote about earlier about how I am finding it hard to make friendships without sex being involved.
The same thing is probably true for Martin. We had a long conversation a few days ago and he was trying to figure out where I was coming from ... if I wanted sex or didn't want sex or what. Without going into the details, I told him if the opportunity for sex came up, I wouldn't turn it away.
And look at all these guys I'm having sex with? Geezus! What is wrong with me? Is there anything wrong with me? I don't know ... there is part of me that tries to convince myself that there is nothing, that it is society's standards that are wrong. I have ordered the book that Nanet recommended that is supposed to be some about breaking down those messages. I look forward to reading it.
Speaking of NP, I see her again tonight. She's my therapist. This will be my fourth visit and I thought we were really making progress. I don't know what has triggered this setback. One thing we talked about last week was that I had had four meetings in that week, two with S. and two with E. We talked about scaling that back and trying to avoid that, trying to find other things to do after work so that doesn't happen. And, in fact, I did do that. I was walking after work. And although I may have met S. this week, he's the only one other than G. But I know I'm probably going to meet this guy J. and I already have the meeting set up next week with BCD. Maybe we can talk through some of this tonight and I'll feel better. Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach. Maybe I'm trying to cure the addiciton without figuring out what the root is.
So, it's Monday morning and I'm set to drop by G.'s house tonight after a meeting. If nothing else, I know we'll kiss. And I am really looking forward to that. I love kissing, and truly good, meaninful kissing is missing at home. I've kissed G. before. He's a good kisser.
I am reading a book by Bob Schieffer, CBS news correspondent, about his life as a journalist. It makes me miss journalism so much. Even though I've come to despise the mainstream media and to see the true flaws in reporters' minds, there is nothing at all on earth like working in a newsroom. The point I wanted to make though was about hatred. I'm at a chapter in the book where he is writing about covering the riots at Ole Miss when a black man was admitted for studies in the early 60s. How can people feel so much hatred over another person simply because of their race? It's truly unfathomable to me.
In response to M.'s question -- "What do you get out of it?" "It" being sharing brief interludes of passion, knowing that there is absolutely no desire for long-term committment.
The exploration of the human body is a tremendous experience for me, and the willingness to allow your body to be explored and pleasured in the process is a tremendous gesture of trust. Trust, appreciation, and willingness to be explored are all things that excite and pleasure me. These are intangibles, and the fulfillment may be hard to grasp. Because those are feelings, it may be even harder to grasp how I'm not left feeling cheated when there's nothing more ... nothing to hold on to, no "romantic" relationship so to speak. I can't lie and say it wouldn't be tremendously wonderful to have a relationship where there was something new every day and where trust, appreciation and willingness to explore and be explored was there. But that's not possible and it's certainly nowhere near where I am in life and not somewhere I'm headed at this stage. I'm married ... and plan to stay that way. There are pleasures I draw from my marriage; the ones I mentioned here not necessarily among them. Therefore, a temporary release of that tension becomes just as enjoyable for me as your temporary release does for you. It goes against everything we read in "the rule book," but it's how I feel.
Took another step today that worked ... We were making the bed together (thanks to him for his help) and he said something mean. He probably was just teasing, but he said something about how I always do things wrong. I said to him, "You should not talk to me that way." I didn't say it in a mean tone, or even a hurt tone. I just said it. In about a minute he came over and hugged me and said he was sorry and that he didnt' mean to hurt my feelings and that he always hurts my feelings and he is sorry.
He can't seem to say these things in a "real tone." But at least he is saying them.
If I'm to write out my feelings, I have to say that I'm (as ridiculous as it is) a little miffed at M. for not being around the last couple of days. There are things I want to talk to him about, and he's not online. I have to wade through these feelings a little more because they speak to an issue of what is wrong in my marriage. I am an immense conversationalist. I love people, to know their thoughts and feelings, to share thoughts, to interact. It's a fundamental problem that I cannot have a conversation with my husband. We simply don't talk about day to day things. Yesterday I tried to talk to him about an issue he is having at work. He said, "I don't want to ruin my day thinking about those things." OK, I can understand. Other times I talk, I'm interrupting his thinking, which is most probably about work. He can very rarely be in the present with me. And I feel that I am constantly on his back about something he is not doing right, so while there's a part of me that wants to ask him, with the love I do truly feel for him, "Do you think we can survive this?" Sometimes I look at it and say I don't see how and wonder if I'm wasting my time trying. I'd like to think not. But there will come a time when I have to face the question head on.
I did make a step forward yesterday I think. I went to bed before him. Then he came to bed naked, which meant he'd been watching soft porn on HBO and was horny. I was very deep in sleep, barely able to wake myself, but I did and to make a long story short, we had sex. He came quickly, dried himself and came to bed, ready to turn his back from me. But I grabbed his shoulder and said turn this way ... hug me and tell me how you enjoyed it and that you love me. On one hand it's pathetic, and I shouldn't have to teach him these things. On the other, if I teach him and he isn't willing, then I know what I'm up against. He's never had a role model for love ... and after six years of marriage, I'm finding he really doesn't care much.
Just back from Delaware. Had a good time except that it rained all day and we didn't get to do anything outside. We did go to a nice Farmer's Market though.
In the morning as we drove, I was trying to talk to my husband about a couple of political issues. He was talking away, giving his opinion, and then I started responding and it soon became clear that he was not even listening. Then I said something else and he interrupted me, refuting a point I wasn't even trying to make. Of course, this made me clam up. The reason? Because when he doesn't listen to me it seems to me that he doesn't think I'm saying anything relevant and that I don't have the brains to understand what is relevant.
Throughout the day he was very anti-social with our friends. Part of it was that he had a headache, but he doesn't like these friends for some reason. And part of that reason is because I do like them. The male in the couple is his long time college friend. He and I became very close after we moved here. My husband didn't like that and basically told me to either stop being friends with him or face him being mad about it every time I spoke with his friend. He said he was a very private person and didn't want me to be friends with his friend. So then this friend got married and now he doesn't seem to like his wife either. It always seems that I am holding up both his and my ends of the conversation.
Last night we enjoyed a nice lovemaking session ... or I should say he enjoyed a nice treat, and as soon as his part was over he started asking me to look at the condition of his skin (he's had some problems) in his groin area. There is no concern about my pleasure and the ability to continue the intimacy beyond orgasm is simply not there. I don't really know how to change this without just blurting out something hurtful.
It's amazing the Ronald Reagan is the first U.S. president to die since 1994.
What I am finding is that creating a new account and only putting a couple of friends on the mssgr. list has made me obsessed with M. Almost every night somewhere between 8 and 10 we talk to one another. Yesterday we talked in the afternoon. It really just depends on where he is with his schedule. But the point is, that I keep thinking of the next time I'll talk to him and last night he didn't come online, so I was just waiting around, wading around on the web. So, I don't think I have truly helped myself a lot. But maybe I have helped myself more than I realize. M. is very self controled and we have made it clear, it's friendship between us. Still I enjoy our connection.
As I have considered this issue about a "pattern of hiding" in my life, I have also realized that one of the things that pattern has produced is an urge to do certain things because "I can get away with it." I think I may have written something about this in an earlier entry, or maybe to a friend. But this goes beyond my current situation of meeting men I've chatted with online. I realize that when I go to the grocery store alone, I almost always am at the very least tempted, and usually act on, buying something sweet -- often more than one thing sweet. And if I am alone at home I eat things that are not good for me ... all because I can "get away with it." I guess if you break that down, that means that somehow am still afraid of being ridiculed or punished. I'm not sure exactly where that comes from ... but it is definitely something to watch.
I would say I haven't done as well as I had hoped, but I did OK. And I got to talk to my friend Anil, who is going through a break up.
I'm a little freaked out by M. though. He acts like he wants to be buds and then throws up walls. That's the art of online friendships I guess.
I got an e-mail from my friend ALB today ... her father died. It's been a long time coming. I'm glad the suffering for him is over. I know it will continue to be bad for her.
Yesterday my friend Nancy wrote to say that her grandmother, who she doesn't like, died.
Oh well, at least I didn't talk to E. today.
It's Friday ... I'll call it assessment day, since things went so well yesterday. Of course, you couldn't tell it from the tone of yesterday's entry ... but after that I did much, much better. There was absolutely no useless chat. I talked to Martin for about 40 minutes last night, but asked my husband to call me within 30 minutes. He didn't, but I still practiced self-control and got off the computer, went to the living room, read a magazine and then we watched Thomas Friedman's documentary on outsourcing jobs to India. At work I did do some useless web surfing and chatted just a bit with BV, but nothing major at all. I got lots of work done too. I made plans to spend time with friends for the next three weekends ... or at least I hope three. This weekend we'll go to Delaware, next, if they are available we'll see the other B. family, and the next we've been invited to go down to the shore. After work yesterday, we took a long walk around the complex, which was good, and for the most part avoiding fighting. We even talked some about counseling. I can tell that my husband is witholding judgment on the issue, but he said,"If you are fine with it, I'm fine with it." Yesterday, Nancy wrote of the death of her father's mother. She wrote it in a tone of "The Wicked Witch is Dead." There was not a good relationship there at all. The anniversary of my mother's death is looming over me a bit. Around this time I begin to start thinking of it. It's been 11 years. When I think of how much life she gave to me in 11 years, and how much we grew and changed in 11 years, it's amazing to imagine her void for 11 years more. But, it's Friday, and my goal is to get through the week with only the one encounter I had on Tuesday and to focus my attention on work today. I will likely chat with PRE, BV and possibly E. about work-related stuff, and maybe M. a little cause he's off work. But if I don't turn on the other account except for just a few minutes in the morning, I can avoid long discussion with E. which will be good, especially in the afternoon, which is when he tries to tempt me. (See, doing better, avoiding triggers.)
I just spent the last 10 minutes checking four e-mail accounts, two messenger accounts, and the blog for messages. I am desparate for human interaction, yet here I sit.
I have never allowed myself to be a victim of anything, why am I allowing myself to be a victim of this ... addiction, and failing to take the very clear and easy steps to find "real" interaction with the world and all its lovely people?
I did a good thing (I think) yesterday in that I created a new screen name, put two buddies on it, one of whom is a long-time college friend, and kept that running in the background, rather than the other account where I would likely get IM'd throughout the day. But still I craved for those messages and don't feel strong enough to just tear myself away.
I went to see S. last night at the store and sucked him dry in the back office. I felt nothing. It was empty. So, why did I do it? I have no freakin' idea. It was fun. I could. But there was no purpose. He didn't even ask me to come. I went on my own.
Another thing is that even though I created the new account yesterday and wasn't chatting, I was still searching the Internet much of the day, mainly looking at blogs -- again in search of a human connection. Last night after we got home from the grocery store 2 and a half hours slipped away like nothing as I surfed for all sorts of stuff, music, books, news, blogs, etc.
I did have a good face to face conversation with my friend AR yesterday at lunch. Of course, we always have good conversations. We talked about that she is coming home from class and is doing nothing for the rest of the day, so we agreed that I would come by and we could go for a walk sometimes. We could both use and and it would be a good time to see each other and talk. She'll be leaving in about three weeks, so we need to spend some time together.
Also, had a good chat with my RT friend PRE yesterday (the college friend who is on my list). I'm afraid I worried her a bit. Other than BV, she's the only person I've even mentioned the word affair to, and I've told her that I haven't had one and him that there was only one and it's over. The lies have allowed me to talk to them on the surface a bit about some of the issues related to me seeing other men.
This morning I was thinking of eliminating the other messenger account, sending notes to everyone that I'm making a clean cut. I don't feel very confident about being able to do it, or that I won't just IM them from the new account soon.
The biggest problem is that I can't shift my mind away from this. My mind is glued to the Internet, to the people I talk to here. I am distracted by it all the time. I don't think society takes this addiction seriously enough ... but again, that sounds like a victim, something I have always refused to be.
I think another problem is that I find nothing alluring in my work. Have no desire to do the work because I see no reward in it. I have to concentrate on real life. I'm going to pay dearly if I don't. I know that, but somehow that fear has no teeth.
I have spent my life listening to other people, keeping me and my feelings to myself. I think that this wave of feeling overwhelmed by my negative feelings is a result of me taking so much in and rarely letting out.
I took the plunge this morning and told my husband that I was seeing a counselor. He reacted coolly, but in a way I know was supportive. I feel better having told him. All I need is one more thing to hide.
And as I told him, the counseling sessions are helping. I think the largest breakthrough in my mind from yesterday was that what I have been blaming largely on the how I am feeling about my marriage and to some extent the relocation really is much larger than that, and that the solutions are larger as well. And, somehow, just knowing that or feeling clarified in that has given me some hope that there are solutions. I think I had begun to feel as if there were no answer, that it was either bail completely or live a life that didn’t feel much like living, to feel trapped. I realize fully that there are still many hurdles to overcome, and much courage to rebuild. But I feel that there is an opportunity for opening up my world again.
One thing that is bothering me is that I don’t really think NP has experience in this area of Internet addiction and I’m not sure she knows how devastating it is. Of course, I don’t think that someone has ever had to take a drink to support and counsel an alcoholic, but somehow I don’t think that her expertise in the area of addiction rolls over into this particular area. I’m wondering if I should ask her to bring in another counselor for team counseling on this subject. Maybe I’ll see how things progress first and what I can do on my own. One thing I was thinking about this morning was that in having this addiction it’s like I can’t realize that there is other work to do. For example, this morning, I need to do laundry, but I am drawn to the computer. One point is that I want to write my feelings while they are fresh, but I am also drawn to the idea of talking to Md., who is typically on at this time. I’ll have to find my own way of dealing with that, which basically will involve discipline, one thing I don’t have much of.
For this morning, I’m proud of myself for telling my husband about the counseling sessions and proud that I said, “I knew it was something I needed and it is something I want to continue.”
It’s amazing how much different my husband and I feel as a couple after a weekend with friends. One family came over on Saturday and spent the night, then another family joined us on Sunday for a rigorous hike that was tons of fun. The first family stayed over again last night. And I am happy with my husband and he is happy with me and he has barely even hinted at work. I told him tonight that I appreciated it immensely.
I was asked by Nanet to write my differing feelings on S. and E. I had told her, a bit off the cuff, that think the appeal with E. is that someone of his stature and confidence is attracted to me. With S. I said I feel I have something to offer him that he wants desperately. Interestingly, in a conversation I had this week with E. he said that he finds it interesting that he has more money and power now and more women are interested. It sort of haunted me to think that that was why I was interested in him. Then today I saw a guy at the conference that I attended who looked and reminded me so much of him, and it wasn’t his money or power that attracted me … but his aura of self-confidence.
Yesterday E. and I had a good conversation and he wanted to know if I was interested in seeing him in the future (considering that I told him that we were going to take a hiatus so he could pursue his BDSM stuff). We also talked business some today and yesterday. It was good and basically felt like we were back to our old “comfortable” conversations.
As for S. – He joined me here (in H’burg) for a couple of hours and we had a good time. He was very giving and warm. He said I relieved some of his extreme tension, which made me feel good. I woke up in the hotel bed still feeling the evidence of our lovemaking in my body and remembering the comfort with which we talked and laughed. Funny, one of the things I think I am battling with in the overall scheme of things is association with only (people of my husband's culture)– and now this. And he’s so much like my husband in that he never shares any overall feelings really, never lets me in.
I brought the wrong journal with me on this trip, so I didn’t want to write these thoughts in that one, because it is the journal that I used to write about my husband in our very early days. I opened the journal this morning and read, “I am about to marry the most complete man I have ever known.” It seems ironic now that it is his lack of completeness – his focus on work and inability to focus on me – that has left me feeling resentful, unimportant and “in the way.” We may do something fun now and then but almost always it feels like an interruption of his work, most often his mind is not in it.
Nanet said something in our last session about how there may be things that I like that I don’t want to give up. I would say that exploring other men’s bodies and personalities is certainly something I am enjoying. Maybe part of that is simply developing connections with new people… intimate connections, things that I feel are missing. Maybe there is something now that is not allowing me to develop intimate connection without sex being involved. The sex is not that important to me, but the ability to please and share is extremely important.
As for how I am doing with weaning myself – not really that well. But I am in a much better place than I was two weeks ago. But I say not so good because there are three people out there who have not yet been explored and I’m still talking to them and making hints (even loose plans) to meet them. (Since I have written this, I have clarified friendship with one (M.) and I am glad to have him as a friend. Another (G.) I have not resolved, but I know that ultimately we will be friends only. The last I have had some pretty intriguing conversations with and will likely meet.
These are my thoughts as I continue on this therapeutic journey through recovery from sex and love addiction, compulsive overeating and codependency, as well as the lifelong effects of childhood sexual abuse.
Click here to learn how I came into recovery.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog is not intended to represent anything but my own experience, strength, hope and struggles in recovery. I do not represent any particular fellowship or program of recovery. This is my journey and it is a very individual experience.