Monday, May 14, 2007

Getting Honest

I went to an OA meeting this morning and heard someone share the story of her relapse in that program. She said, "I took my first compulsive bite, and was too proud to tell anyone what I did. I thought, 'I'll be OK tomorrow.' I kept eating compulsively for the next five years." I don't want to continue any of my compulsive behaviors for the next week, much less the next five years, SO I want to put aside my pride and ego, and get honest with my support system here.

I have struggled to some degree or other with my sex and love addiction issues since moving to a new city at the end of March. I have engaged in some online intrigue and posted ads on sites in order to attract people to contact me -- telling myself the lie that if they contact me, I can choose to ignore them later. Telling myself the even bigger lie that I can handle "just a little playing around." Even though I have been going to meetings for sex addiction recovery -- they have not been SLAA meetings, and I have used that group's definition of sober when it was convenient to say I was sober, and my own SLAA definition of sobriety to claim sobriety in that program. This disease is cunning, baffling and powerful and will play every deviate trick in the book to get its way.

The truth is, when I needed comfort -- false comfort having been removed when I began to get abstinent from compulsive overeating -- I sought that comfort by posting an online ad seeking an extramarital affair. Of course there was no shortage of responses ... but I found "just the right one" -- the one I could manipulate and control and sucker into "falling madly in love with me." I started a correspondence that involved me offering my sacred sexual self -- the part of me that was so abused and damaged in my childhood, and that is only starting to heal -- up for grabs, in return for the comfort of expressed love. This correspondence took away my serenity, my ability to be honest with myself and others, and reeled me further and further in toward the same situation I was in just before I made this move --- proving once again, that addictive love is not love at all, as it makes no difference who the person is, just so they are feeding the disease and giving my damaged self a way to damage itself more.

I had the opportunity to tell a good recovery friend the truth yesterday, but I didn't. I chose instead to focus on all that was going right in my life. The result was that last night I made plans to meet this new victim of my disease later in the week. And this morning, after hearing the woman speak about how her pride and dishonesty led her to a five year relapse, I saw the message from God. I was faced yet again with the humbling experience of admitting that I had knowingly sought to use another person to escape building a relationship with myself, my HP, my husband and those who truly love and care for me.

I am thankful for all I have learned in this:

God has all kinds of messengers. In this scenario, there was the woman who spoke at the meeting this morning and the man I was intriguing with. The woman said the words that helped me to connect to the parts of me that have sought and found recovery. The man was yet another reminder that my disease is still with me and will present itself over and over again, and it will do so to the detriment of myself and other human beings who have every right to be treated with dignity, not used.

This was also a reminder why one of the most important tools of recovery is going to meetings -- it is in meetings (and sharing and reading in these online forums) that we give and receive the messages God needs to pass along.

In working the steps and doing recovery work -- though not perfectly -- I am growing. There is progress. When I first came into the program ... I would never have even recognized that I was using the man to fulfill some unmet need for comfort. I would just have said ... "I'm an addict, I'm powerless. There's nothing I can do. I have to act on this compulsion." Likewise, I would have felt "bound" to have kept my promise of meeting him, and then obligated to fulfill his insistence for sex. I would not have seen that by seeking someone else, I was trying to escape the hard work and responsibility it takes to be an adult. I would never have prayed and asked God, "I need your help in keeping the willingness to end this today."

I also saw the need to get honest and be honest every day. It's not a lesson I haven't been presented with before ... but again, I hadn't learned the lesson well enough. This experience gave me another chance to incorporate this core truth into my recovery.

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