Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Where I am today

It's only a day and a half before I leave for India. I have a major story to write, packing to do and the house to clean and organize. I have put off a lot of it. Yesterday I did very little. Last night I went online and chatted with a couple of 28 year old guys. They were horny and I just humored them with talk. It's hard to say if it's a slip or a slide -- but it wasn't healthy. Still I'm not feeling guilty. It happened, it's over. This morning for the 40th time, I uninstalled messenger from my computer and will just refrain all together from chat. I only use it to fill time. I need to find new ways to fill time. If I don't, my addict will find them for me.

So ... here I am typing on my blog ... needing to be working. That's where I am right now. But today, I still feel the peace from going to visit my stepfather on Monday. I know that I'm going to be alright. I may not be perfect and life will likely throw me some major curveballs ... but I am going to be OK.

Monday, September 12, 2005

When faced with a decision

I woke up this morning faced with decision of whether to visit my stepfather or not. My choice was to visit him or go to India for two months and worry that he might die while I was gone and leave me feeling that I’d made the wrong choice by choosing to continue my silence.
The program teaches me to face each day the decisions that lie before me. This one was a little bigger one than whether to clean the house or goof off all day. I looked the decision in the face and wrote down a number of truths about the situation, then I prayed for clarity. I went to an Al-Anon meeting and the reading there was about the Three A’s – Awareness, Acceptance and Action. I spoke frankly with the group about my dilemma and several of them lauded me for my courage to face the issue of my abuse at all. But one gentleman, Charley, spoke directly to me. “I’m very familiar with the situation you are in. I did make the visit and he did die two days after I left. I’ll never regret that I did it.” I shared that I didn’t know what I was going to say, but that I had turned the whole issue over to my HP and felt compelled to make the trip, and had faith that whatever needed to be said and felt would be there. Charley said he also didn’t know what he wanted to say either … and in fact he didn’t have to say a word, his father brought it up. “I just gave him the dignity of listening.” That’s exactly what I needed to hear. By the time I left the Al-Anon meeting I had the clarity I needed and I expressed thanks to God for that. I came home and got ready and left.

So many people, including Charley, have said, “You don’t owe that bastard a thing.” And every one of them is right. But in my heart, the person I am, being bitter and resentful and spiteful feels contrary to my purpose. I have only recently realized that I can follow my own heart without condoning someone else's bad decisions. I will never accept what my father did to me as a child and then later as a young adult as right. It was horribly wrong. But for me to use it to hurt myself over and over again is no longer his wrong -- but my own. I realized that I needed to visit my dad, not for him, but for me. I needed to show love where there had been none and give him the dignity of saying whatever he had to say Above all I needed to tell him that despite it all … I love him. And that’s the truth. I needed to be honest with him and give him the opportunity to be honest with me, and then I needed to be done.

I felt at peace as I drove the hour and a half, and when I reached there, there was a bit of tension in the air, but within 10 minutes my HP presented the opportunity for me to talk to my dad alone. He was showing me an addition he had built onto the house and before we left that area, I asked him to sit down so we could talk. I asked him how he was doing and he expressed his true concerns for his health. He said he was dreading the prostate surgery and that his lungs were not working very well, but it was only through continuing to work on projects around the house that he could keep going. I didn’t feel pity for him or sadness. I just listened, as one caring adult to another. And then I said, “Daddy, I just came here today to tell you that I love you.” He said, “I know that. I never questioned it. I love you too.” I paused so that if he wanted to say anything else he could, and he didn’t. But, I wasn’t disappointed. I had said what I went to say, and I went without expectation of him, what he said was inconsequential. I didn’t need anything from him anymore. I had released, in my decision to go there and express my love, all the need that I have had of him for so long – all my need for approval, all my need for love, all my need for him to be a father, all my need to forgive him. Now I see him as a man, who has been sick with the very real and difficult disease of sexual addiction and obsession for a long time. I owe him nothing. He owes me nothing. I am me. He is him.

I am finished using what happened to me as a child as an excuse for what is happening to me as an adult. I am finished blaming the past on the decisions I make today. I knowingly went to see my father today, and from this day forward what I do, I will do with keen awareness. I will make mistakes and I am still an addict who has to be ever vigilant and committed to my program. But the decisions I make will be mine; there will be no buffer, no excuse. If I decide to screw up, it will be because I decided to screw up, not because I am the victim of childhood abuse. My addict will play its role in my life, but I have the tools, and the HP to keep that in check. If I choose not to use those things, that is my choice, not a result of being a victim.

I don’t intend to have a relationship with my father or really my sister (who I also saw today). I won’t ignore them if they call, but I won’t run from them or toward them either. If they disturb me, I will set boundaries. If I want to see them, or my niece and nephews, I will do that without hesitation. But I will feel no obligation toward them again. I released that today.

I have also decided that I will no longer lie about my abuse. I will not make a bold announcement, or an announcement period. I will protect my own privacy. But if someone asks me if I was abused, I will straightforwardly say yes. My past has helped to shape my present, but I will no longer let it dictate my future. I will not be ashamed, and if I am, I will demand honesty of myself.

I cannot express in words the peace I feel today. Serenity – which I have ask for – has come to me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My life is a HUGE success

I'm happy to report that I'm in a much better place today than I've been in a while. I've recommitted myself to my bottom lines of 1. No sex outside marriage; 2. No online chat and 3. No planning for future liasons. I have also established eight daily top lines and committed myself to those. I seem to be focused on those now and that is good. Struggling with the bottom lines makes it all the more hard for me to truly benefit and succeed at working my program.

My sponsor asked me to say "thank you" 300 times a day, so this morning I went out and got started. I said "thank you for ..." and got up to 112. I said thank you for everything and everyone that I could think of at the moment. I may have to say the same things 288 more times, and some things I wasn't exactly sure what I was thankful for (particularly people), but I said "Thank you" anyway. Because if I can find something good in every Harry, Dick, Tom that I decide to act out with ... I can surely find something to be thankful for in the people who are around me.

I started thinking about a "recipe for success" that one of the doctors gave during the seminar I attended last week. I like it. It went like this:
1. Write down everything you DON'T want for your life.
2. Write down everything you DO want for your life. (Write in great detail)
3. Bring your mind and body into a place where you can feel what it would feel like, and imagine what it would look like to have those things.
4. Take action to achieve those things you DO want, staying focused on your goals for success.

I also remembered that I never sent you guys the affirmations/quotes that I said I would send.

The best affirmation is kind of long and you have to say it strongly to get the full effect. It goes like this:
Today is a great day and I have the opportunity to show up as the best me ever!
My life is a HUGE success!
My beliefs create my reality. I think big thoughts and relish small pleasures, and handle all setbacks gracefully.
I am deeply grateful for all I create and receive.
My life is now in total balance and ...
I am the best!
It may be difficult to believe, but it does feel good to say it. And we're supposed to fake it til we make it ... right?

So here are some other things for you guys about thoughts. As I look at them, they are not really affirmations, but simply truths (at least to those who believe them).

Negative thoughts with negative feelings isolate me from my creative energy.
I am a product of my beliefs.
I am a chained slave to anyone I hate. Hating ruins my life.
It is not what is said that hurts me, but how I respond to it.
Nothing is good or bad unless I think it so.
The most important thing to change is my belief.
No one else is responsible for the way I feel.
Whatever I have done, I will learn from it.

All of these things point to one thing for me -- When I have negative thoughts, energy, emotions, I create a bad place for me in life. If I can replace those negative thoughts with positive ones I improve my outlook on life and my ability to learn and grow. For example, if I just take the first quote and say "Positive thoughts and positive feelings connect me to the universe," I feel so much better about myself. When I replace hate with love, I remove turmoil.

One thing that my sponsor has been trying to get through my thick skull is that this is a simple program and the answer to all issues are in the steps. Honesty is the fundamental tool for recovery, because telling the truth sheds light on the dishonesty of our disease. That is pretty simple ... but not easy. Anyway, something I've realized in trying to grasp this fundamental truth is that "Who wants to be that simple? There's no drama in that." We've all talked about this before ... drama is so much a part of our lives. The "thrill seeking" of our disease often put us in danger and harmed us in many ways. But I see that I continue to get "wrapped up" in the drama of my life, even if it's sometimes just in my own head, because it's the only way I have practiced thinking. The idea of "total balance" seems "out of whack." It's good to know there's always a way I can continue to grow.