Friday, November 30, 2007

Here I go

I'm still having trouble today focusing on things, getting things done. Every little project is such an extreme effort. But, I am doing some things anyway. It feels like I'm forcing them through, but I'm getting them done.

I did outreach yesterday to some women in the nearby SLAA fellowships, but as it is for so many people in recovery, it's very hard to pick up the phone. I've done some e-mail outreach, so I suppose that's progress.

The weather is turning cold and I don't want to go outside at all. I hate being cold and now I've waited so late to go out that it's dark outside, I hate that just as bad. But I have some things on my list that I have to do outside ... so here I go.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The other side of the pillow

This morning I wrote of crawling into the bed yesterday afternoon feeling giddy. This afternoon I can barely pry myself from the bed and feel as if I'll throw up and freeze to death all at once.

No, I haven't caught some mysterious illness, I am going through the very agonizing physical symptoms of withdrawal from addiction.

My mind is going wild with very specific thoughts of the things I'll never feel again and my body is grieving. I'm shivering and every nerve is on end.

I went to the bookstore this afternoon in hopes that some time away from home would maybe alleviate my suffering. But once I got there I felt as if my head were spinning out of control. Even trying to concentrate on a few words on the flap of a book, and especially scanning my eyes across a row of books, made me feel as if I would pass out. I quickly bought the book for my book club meeting next week and left, then wild to get back home and to crawl into bed and escape. But in this phase of withdrawal there is no escape. Even the dreams are haunting. I am angry at everything and I feel like I'll crawl out of my skin.

I write all this down as a reminder. I hope it is enough of a reminder.

I pick up my husband in another couple of hours at the airport. Having him here will help. It's hard that he doesn't know what is going on ... but just feeling him close may help.

Some days are diamonds ...

Some days are diamonds... Some days are stone.
Sometimes the hard times won't leave me alone.

It's an old John Denver tune that rambles through my mind on days that don't feel so good. Nothing particularly wrong today. I'm just going through withdrawal, feeling antsy, obsessing over an e-mail I got yesterday.

I laid down in my bed yesterday afternoon and literally giggled with delight over what a good day it had been and how good it felt to have the time and freedom to curl up for a nap.

Today, just ticking through that to do list that keeps getting longer has been like slogging through thick molasses. I've been angry and upset at little things that are none of my business. I could have gone to an Al-Anon meeting, but skipped it then got mad at someone else who isn't working her program properly.

I did reach out to some women in the SLAA program and even had the courage to ask one woman to sponsor me. But I've been afraid to pick up the phone and call her to see what her answer might be.

I did talk with my Al-Anon sponsor today though to schedule a meeting on Monday. Right after I get my yearly probing! Won't that be wonderful? Guess I better do some more 4th step work before I meet with her on Monday huh?

I also signed up for a new book group today that will meet next week to discuss Eat, Love and Pray. So, I'm looking forward to that.

I guess some days are mixed with diamonds and stones, huh?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And the last one is sent

Tonight I wrote the final letter of farewell.

God help me never to have to write another one again.

What a blessing

I had the wonderful privilege and honor to work with God today to keep myself sober. My husband went out of town today and I spent a little time earlier in the week worrying how difficult it was going to be to keep myself from getting it that old circle of stinkin' thinkin' that leads to acting out. Today is the birthday of one of my most recent acting out partners and we had previously planned to "celebrate" today together. I was worried that I would at least want to contact him for an "innocent" Happy Birthday message.

But instead I turned things over to God and guess what? Just as promised, he handled them.

Upon picking up my things to take with me while driving hubby to the airport, I picked up a list of sex addiction recovery meetings in the area. I normally don't make the meetings an hour or so away in downtown -- as they are most often in the evening, and parking is a major issue. But since I was taking hubby halfway to downtown, I thought I might try to catch a noon meeting today. (Meetings are often called insurance policies by those of us in recovery.) It worked out that I was finished dropping hubby off at 9 a.m. and I was thinking, "It will only be another half hour into the city, this seems like it is not going to work out. I don't want to sit around waiting til noon." But ... God had other plans. I decided that I did have time and interest to take an internal route home rather than the crowded interstates and that just happened to lead me past the road that I needed to be on for the meeting. So ... what the heck, I turned east and started driving. A friend called and that helped to pass the time as I drove from stop light to stop light some 40 plus blocks east. Then there was the big McDonald's where I could sit and have my breakfast and write a fourth step inventory that I needed to work on, before getting back in the car at 11:30 and driving up the road a few more blocks, finding a perfect parking place and going to a meeting that really, really warmed my heart.

As was the case the last time I went to this meeting, it was me and one other woman in the room with a group of about seven guys. But today the woman gave her first step lead. She told her story and there was so much in it, I could feel so much pain and so much familiarity with her words ... as did the men apparently, who shared their experience, strength and hope after her lead. It was such a true blessing to be there among these people who understand so completely the pain and emptiness of the disease of sexual addiction/compulsion. There is so much shame in this disease. Most of the time I feel like something that lives off the rot in the bottom of the sewer. But somehow among others who have felt the same pain, had the same obsessions, I feel like I belong and it is a blessing.

At one point the woman shared that she hit rock bottom when she found herself in a sexual relationship with her sister's husband. "That was a high that would last a week," she said ... not proudly, but with tears, true heartfelt pain. Everyone in the room nodded ... we all knew what she meant. Every step along the way of this disease, the need for something just a little "stronger" ... a little more taboo, a little more extreme has shown me the greed of the never-ending hunger of sex addiction. Eventually that high began to wear off for her, her world started to fall apart, she began to feel used (as we all do), and she made it to a meeting that eventually lead to her sobriety.

God bless that woman for sharing her story today, for telling it to a group of nodding heads and for giving me the opportunity to hear it.

This was such a stark contrast to something that happened yesterday. I had my first session with my new doctor-recommended therapist who's on the insurance plan and who I only have to pay a $20 co-pay to see each week. As I told her of my sexual addiction and the way it manifested itself in my life, she said, "So, when you want to get this high, you can always find someone?" I nodded yes to her naive question, and she said "Wow, you must be good." My heart sank; she was obviously clueless, maybe more so than the five other therapists I have seen in the past. It always seems like I end up teaching them more about sex addiction than they help me in getting past my issues. But I'll go again before I give up completely. God has lead me to her for a reason, even if it is only for me to learn that I can make decisions for myself.

Well for tonight I'm off to a book club meeting with one of my friends I met in OA and share the Al-Anon experience with. She shared with me last night that she is beginning to have concerns about her sexual behavior as well and I told her I am here to listen if she wants to talk. Thank you God for putting the people in my life who I need there and for taking the reigns today. One day at a time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Again and again

I was looking back at some earlier posts and discovered this Farewell to a Potential Lover. It's not unlike letters I've written again and again over the past few years. It's not much different than the letters I wrote this week.
I have absolutely no idea to whom this letter was written. I don't recall any of the cirumstances of our discussions. I don't even know if I cut him off because I lost interest and gave him a line of crap to get rid of him or if I was really in one of those phases of trying to "break free." But I do remember that I simply was obsessed with writing this letter. I couldn't go on until it was written. And so here it is three years later, a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
When they say addiction is "cunning, baffling and powerful," they sure aren't kidding.

I dreamt of my father

Yesterday morning I woke up dreaming of my biological father. It is the first time I remember dreaming of him in my life.

I don't remember all of the dream but if I'm not mistaken, I was busy doing things with my family, laughing and enjoying myself. I have the idea though that it was older family members, not my siblings, that I was dreaming of, not that it matters. What I do remember is that I was talking to my biological father on the phone, I had apparently sent a message to him -- either directly or maybe through the grapevine that is my family.

In the dream, he called me and said, "I hear that you need some tender, loving care, that you are feeling down." He said he had been out working on the place and just came in to call me, he was a bit short of breath. I remember that I was visualizing him standing in his barn (he has a barn, but I've never seen it), he wasn't wearing a shirt, and he was standing behind some sort of a wooden gate or barrier talking on one of those old black phones.

While I remember that his words were comforting and that I felt close to and touched by him as he spoke, I don't remember anything about what he said. This is ironic considering that this is a person who I've felt so ill at ease about for so long, and uncomfortable even when his name comes up. The only conversation we've ever had, which occurred just two months ago at my brother's funeral was not uncomfortable, but it also didn't make me "yearn" for a relationship with this person whose sperm caused me to come to be.

One sort of "weird" thing that was not an overwhelming part of the dream but that was present was a overhanging sexual feeling. No, no ... not that I felt sexually attracted to him, but maybe that "awareness" I get when I am around men and there is an air of sexuality. It's hard to explain, since I am even confused about what role it had in this dreamt conversation. I know that with most men, all men really, I am always "on guard" for that hint of sexual intrigue or intent. That might have been it.

This leads me to write about a question my husband asked me a couple of days ago, which is Why did I call my stepfather on Thanksgiving?

I called because I felt like it was the right thing to do. My husband said he thought I did it because I'm still trying to please my dad (I call him my dad because he raised me). The truth is I've called him a couple of times over this time since my brother died because I am trying to save myself. I feel like my resentments are keeping me tied to him and I have to "act normal" RED FLAG in order for my overall state of mind not to be so messed up. I get so confused even writing about this.

I think I have to look at what I feel -- not what others think I feel or should feel. The program tells me that I need to rid myself of resentments (and honestly, I do think I have to do that, but I don't do that by "acting normal"). My husband says my need to please him keeps me coming back to hurting myself again.

What I feel is a lifelong need for a father's love, and a longing for the closeness of a family. (As an aside, I think that has been why I have wanted to get a pet so much lately.) I suppose I also believe that if he (my stepfather) is a monster, the one I paint him to be, then I with all my sexual obsessions, am a monster too.

I have never preyed on young people, thank God. That what separates us. Otherwise, he had his parallel lives too. I just happened to be one of the victims of his "dark side" and the result is today I live in misery, depression and an inability to get on with my life."

In a way, I suppose that my call on Thanksgiving was an attempt to get on with my life or at least act normal. Normal people call their parents on Thanksgiving, right? Good girls call their parents on the holidays, right? (Flawed thinking there.)

Maybe both me and my husband are right -- I was trying to feel a sense of normalcy and family and I was trying to make sure my stepfather didn't feel bad on Thanksgiving.

As I've been writing, I was thinking of how I had not told my older sister I was traveling on Thanksgiving because she worries SO much, she would have ruined her own holiday wondering if we reached S.C. safely. I was thinking of how complicated it gets, trying to make everyone happy and OK, trying to keep the lies straight to make sure everyone is at peace. I've been doing it all my life. And the sad thing is ... I am the one who is never at peace. But I was taught by my mother that I was to sacrifice all peace for myself for other people's happiness.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lies, another look

I remember when I was in college I had friends who would tell their professors that they didn't finish an assignment because their grandmother had died or was in the hospital or some other big story like that. I would never tell those lies because I was always afraid that whatever I lied about might come true.

Also while I was in college, a few of my friends and I were sitting around, it was quiet and I decided to be "funny." I started acting as if something terrible was happening to me, like I was having a seizure. Who would have ever dreamed that 11 years later, I'd find myself on a stretcher being taken to the hospital after having a seizure at work?

That seizure reaffirmed my belief that playing around with the truth can affect your karma.

Over the past couple of days though I've had a different way of looking at it. I was listening to Joe and Charlie talk about the AA Big Book on my Thanksgiving trip and one of the many things they said that struck me was that alcoholics will let people see them falling down drunk, hugging the porcelain throne and puking their guts out, but when they get into recovery they are often afraid to let other people see them pray. This related to my current situation, as I was thinking of what it was I was going to tell these men with whom I needed to sever ties. Somehow I always seem to feel the need to be comletely honest with the men I act out with, despite all the lies I've told my husband and every other person around me.

So, keeping in mind that there's a chance that telling a lie can make the thing we lie about happen ... I told these men in my letters today that my husband had expressed his concern about the state of our relationship and his heartfelt interest in making things right with us again. I said that he acknowledged the pain he had caused and that he had sensed our distance. My husband and I never had such a conversation, but I'm hoping that maybe one day this is one of those lies that will come back to me. And in the meantime, I'm going to live today as if that conversation really did happen, that we are both equal partners in working on this relationship of ours and that as old wounds are healing, new feelings are developing.

I made it through three and a half

Thank God, I sent three letters cutting off ties with men who have fed my sexual addiction. I didn't have to tell them anything, but I felt that cutting them off automatically, rather than enduring phone calls and such for weeks to come would be easier. I also was able to write a fourth letter with someone who has fed both my sex and love addiction -- I told him I would be out of touch for awhile. It's all I could do today. But it's enough.

Thank you, Lord, for the strength and the courage to do this much.

One day at a time, by God's grace, I have been physically sober since Nov. 14.

I start with a new therapist in the morning. I also managed to apply for three jobs today and write to R. to ask him to begin paying me back (as he promised he would) the money I used to help him buy a car before I moved here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back to here

My husband and I arrived back home from our trip to South Carolina around noon today. We arrived back to the gloomy flatness of the Midwest, after having spent time driving through the beautiful Smoky Mountains through Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. It was 29 degrees and snowing here, after we had enjoyed 75 degree weather in S.C. It was a bit depressing.

On the long drive, I spent some time listening to Joe and Charlie talk about the AA Big Book and developed some renewed committment to getting life back on track. I have about five men in my life that I need to cut complete ties with. I have prayed the prayers of surrender and pray that I have the strength to do it one day at a time. I can feel when I am "away" from the temptation, it's easy to want to give it up. When I return to the temptations -- the computer, the time alone, however, the thoughts of "Well, I can just keep them as friends," come to mind. But so far today, every time a thought like that has come to mind, I've said a prayer and said, "God let me surrender these thoughts to you." Believe it or not, that prayer was answered.

My husband goes out of town again this week, just for one day, but it happens to be the birthday of one of those men who I need to cut ties with, who also happens to have the day off. In the past, when I've decided to cut ties, I've been able to do it. However, I often go back and reconnect them. But I'm going to continue to pray.

As of now, 6 p.m., I still haven't contacted any of these guys. I don't have the desire to. Seems like prayer is working pretty well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm about to embark on a long journey for the holidays and just wanted to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who make such a wonderful difference in my life.

I want to take time to express my gratitude today for my parents (all of them) for giving me life ... this life, my life, and all its intricasies and flowing patterns.

Likewise, I want to thank God for being ever present in my life, even during the times that I set him aside. He has been there from the beginning, guiding the way, and will be there to the end ... understanding far more than I ever can, or ever need to.

May God bless you all with a spirit of gratitude this holiday season.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back from the doctor

I went to the doctor this afternoon to discuss the feelings of severe depression I've been facing lately. It's been so hard for me to focus or even function at times.

It was amazing to me the shame I felt going there, having the nurse say "So, you're here to see the doctor about depression?" I just felt all coiled up inside.

But my doctor is a really good guy, someone who it is easy to work with and talk with. He was very encouraging and thankfully is willing to pursue a little more aggressive regime of meds than previous doctors who were afraid of potential drug interactions with some other meds I take. He also gave me the name of a therapist and asked me to make sure I walk every day. I walked out of there feeling just a little glimmer of hope and a willingness to try again. I haven't felt much like trying lately.

As he asked me the questions required to make a diagnosis, I began to cry. I haven't cried in a long, long time ... not that kind of cry at least. I used to cry a lot ... all the time ... at everything. And tears do still fall down my cheeks now and then, from words that sting or things that make me sad. But crying to feel the pain inside ... it hasn't happened in a long time. I think I felt most relieved that I could still feel something, that I wasn't completely dead inside.


Withdrawal in the disease of sex and love addiction can be very paralyzing, almost as paralyzing as the disease itself.

I've sat here, laid here all morning needing to do so much work ... vacillating between a call to act out and a stronger desire to work toward recovery.

My husband came home unexpectedly ... and saw me here. He knew everything I had to get accomplished. I lied and told him that I had already taken a shower, been out to look for (but not find) the turkey for Thanksgiving and been to the gym. I haven't stepped foot outside the house. Why is it soooo hard to tell the truth?

I want to write him a note and tell him I lied ... but I don't know if it's wise. So, I'll pray about it and think about it and maybe talk to him about it tonight. I want so badly for him to think I'm OK ... why?? I'm not OK. That I'm perfect. I'm not perfect ... for goodness' sake that's the last thing I am.

The woman who was going to come to the SLAA meeting tonight e-mailed to say she is sick and won't be coming to the meeting tonight. My first reaction is ... that's good, I can isolate.

I am going to the doctor now to talk to him about depression. I wonder if I will lie to him too. God help me.


As I spent a few quiet moments with God this morning, I read from one of my books of daily inspiration and recovery. In this morning’s reading, the topic was smugness and self-righteousness and their effects on recovery. The woman said she used to pass the blame for her inappropriate responses to others and her behavior off, saying “I learned these things growing up with alcoholics.” She ended by saying that while she might have learned the wrong things from her parents, the behavior was now hers, and it was her responsibility to “unlearn” the things she had been taught by working her program of recovery. “My parents cannot do the recovering for me,” she wrote. “No more blaming. It’s time to get on with my life.”

How many people have I blamed for my behaviors? How many ways has this kept me stuck in my recovery? My family members focus their lives on food, so why shouldn’t I? My stepfather yelled and berated me, so I cringe every time I hear a harsh tone from my husband, blaming both of them for my insecurities. My stepfather sexually abused me and taught me that I wasn’t worth anything but sex, so that’s why I seek my “worth” in sexual liaisons. My husband is not meeting my needs … so I am justified in searching out men who can fill in the gaps. Every man I’ve ever known has abandoned me in one way or another … God knows how I use that one. The list of “blaming” could go on an on. But “when the roll is called up yonder,” I’ll be the one accountable.

Like I wrote yesterday, I can have a thought, without letting it overwhelm and take me in its grips, and direct my life. My thinker’s broken. But it is my responsibility to get it back on track. Like I heard recently in a meeting, “No one is coming” to fix it for me. And because I have no idea how to begin to fix all the mess that I’ve made of my life, the 12 Steps of recovery walk me through, and assure me right off the bat that I’m not alone, that God is with me.

Even in writing those words “the mess that I’ve made of my life,” I feel resistant … I want to whine, “I didn’t do it, someone else did.” No, it was me who ate myself to this weight, who lied about exercising, who didn’t exercise, who went on the Internet in search of men, who met them and had sex with them and repeated it over and over and over again. Further than that, it was me who quit the job I loved, it was me who was too “drunk” in my disease to help my husband make better decisions about our future, again, the list could go on.

I can wallow in self-pity and blame the reasons I act out in my food, sex, love, people pleasing, meddling addictions on anything I want, but if I don’t take responsibility for doing something about it, the fault is all mine. What I can do today is reach down in my core and pray, “God, I am powerless over the disease of addiction, but I have been given the tools to take back my life, to stop giving it away to others. Please help me today to begin to take responsibility for my life and my recovery and to dwell with you, so that I know I am not alone.”

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A picture of disease

Anyone who is lucky enough to have no idea what sex and love addiction looks like, but for some sick reason wants to know ... go see the movie, "Love in the Time of Cholera." The book is actually better ... but the disease just ooozes out of this motion picture. It's the story of a man who at a very young age falls madly in love with a woman whose father has other plans for his daughter and she marries someone else. And while the man never gives up his undying love sickness for this woman, he goes about keeping a diary of all the women he sleeps with while he waits for her husband to die. At last count, the number was up to something like 621.

At one point in the movie, the man's uncle sums up sex and love addiction very well, when he says that the man's father on his deathbed said his only regret was that he could not die for love. But, the uncle says, "That didn't stop him from fucking every one in sight."

A fresh start

I am thankful that after writing here yesterday and sharing in an online meeting about my latest round of obsessions, I woke up this morning with the realization that ... It is OK if I get anxious and triggered over certain thoughts, obsessed about how to handle things. It is part of being an addict. I don't have to give in to them. I wasted a lot of time over the past few days worrying about whether I should respond to a posting from my former sponsor on an online group and also getting all wrapped up in my other recovery friends' need to be honest -- thinking it was all about me. In a serene moment, I could have very truthfully said ... "Thank you for being honest. I understand and relate to your feelings." But I was too enmeshed and frankly "too drunk" to do the right thing. So I handled it differently and learned the lesson ... for now at least.

I'm a little like Pavlov's dog I suppose. I don't ever learn things the easy way. I think if I read back just a few posts I'll find that I "discovered" a month or so ago that I can have feelings and urges, but I don't have to act on them. Hmmm.. that's didn't last long did it?

Oh well, I'm living life on planet Earth today ... going to exercise with my husband and seeing a movie (Love in the Time of Cholera) in the afternoon. This morning we spent time making plans for traveling on Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another reminder ...

This is my place, my safe haven, and I need to share.

First of all, to be completely honest ... I was not physically sober this last week, and truly I haven't been sober for a while. It's hard to admit ... this people-pleasing person inside me has even become codependent with the people who read this blog. I want to lie to everyone and show them my pretty recovering face, when underneath is a world of disease and growing despair. It's not dishonest to say that I continue to live parallel lives ... that recovering woman exists, she's just not the only one who lives in my body and mind.

I had a good reminder this morning, and I'm reminded tonight as I "come clean" that I am not the center of the universe ... everyone has their own life, their own history, their problems and their solutions didn't just begin the day they met me. I'm not responsible for their reactions to me, and trying to manipulate and control their opinions and actions is not only horrifyingly arrogant, it is a waste of time and another form of escape. As I said in a post a week or so ago, I have used dishonesty to manipulate and control what people think of me for so long that it seems second nature. Honesty is the only thing that is going to get me well. And I have to allow other people to be honest with me, without "assuming" that all their problems were caused by me. I made this mistake in a conversation with a friend lately and I deeply regret it.

Unrelated to the men I acted out with this past week, my mind has been heavy the past few days with regard to relationships I developed with two different males in recovery -- one my former sponsor who I engaged in intrigue with and the other a friend I met one night in an online meeting. Both have been very instrumental parts of my recovery, but I've had to face the very painful truth that in my disease, I used them both to feel that "high" of being loved.

Different than the sexual and romantic liasions I had with "earthlings, " the relationships I developed with men in recovery were focused on supporting healthy behavior and recovering from the effects of painful childhoods. These relationships seemed "safe" and the "right thing to do." However, the more I grow in my recovery, work through my Fourth Step, and get truly honest with myself, the more I realize how little of my own shit I even recognize ... the more I am reminded that I'm an addict ... period. There is no escape.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I received an award

It was nice to scroll through one of my favorite recovery blogs, A Room of Mama's Own, and find out that I had received an award, just for being me.

Thanks, MPJ, for all your kindness and for everything you do to teach us all how to keep moving forward. I love it that you have helped connect so many people all to one another!

If you haven't visited A Room of Mama's Own, I encourage you to go there and spend some quality time.

An informative link

After years of struggling with the disease of sexual addiction and sexual compulsiveness, it seems I should know everything. After all, I've read the books, seen the counselors (most of whom were ill informed) and gone to the meetings.

But I found this link from the CNN Health Library (sourced by the Mayo Clinic) to be a very concise explanation of what the disease is, its possible treatments and causes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm tired

It's often said in recovery that we keep acting out until we get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Today I'm tired. I'm tired of thinking about sex. I'm tired of sex ruling my life. I'm tired of seeing every free moment of my time as an opportunity to pursue something sexual.

I don't even go to the place in my mind anymore where I blame the horny men who beg not for me, but for whatever sexual favor I've given them in the past. They are just sex addicts too. They beg because their minds won't set them free. They beg because I've been a source. Now and then I've begged them too.

It's all so ugly.

I looked at a series of photos at The Junky's Wife yesterday that made me sad. The images are of the progressive disease of a heroin addict. I thought how the images of sex addicts might look the same. Sadness and despair, and a worn out need to just get a tingle from their "drug." The images of our disease would be of broken wedding pictures, ratty hotel rooms, children left alone or worse set aside while mommy or daddy acted out, injured children, streetwalkers, public parks, genitals raw and sore from hours of masturbation, tired, worn out bodies.

God help us all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Answered prayers

I went to an An Al-Anon meeting tonight. I might have needed an SLAA meeting more ... but I went to a meeting nonetheless. At first I was just sitting there thinking this is so much bullshit, people talking about being mad because their mothers had destroyed something left behind by a grandmother and boyfriends losing gifts they had been given, daughters in law telling husbands what to do.

I recognized my resentments and I prayed a prayer ... "God let me hear what I need to hear." And within a few minutes a young lady who has been coming to these meetings for more than three months, who smiled a lot, but never said a word, said ... "I want to say something." We all cheered. We were happy to hear her speak and share how the program had helped her.

I do believe even the simplest of prayers are answered. And I do pray even though I feel like I live in the constant crutches of my disease.

I was reading the steps on the wall tonight ... and I realized that the first three are there in my life ... even though I don't really know how to do Step 3 ... but it is Step 4 that has been holding me up for a long, long time. I'm glad I'm working on it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Do unto others ...

From Hazelden's Promise for a New Day:
Is there any stab as deep as wondering where and how much you failed those you loved--Florida Scott Maxwell

Treating our loved ones as we hope to be treated is our assurance against failing them. And if we listen to our inner voice, we'll never falter in our actions toward others. There is always a right behavior, a thoughtful response, and a respectful posture.

Let us be mindful that we're sharing our experiences with others who need the talents we have to offer. It's not by coincidence but by design that we're given opportunities to treat those close at hand in some manner. We'd do well to let the choice be loving.

How we treat another invites like treatment. Actions from our heart will soften our own struggles. Also, spiteful, critical treatment of others will hamper our steps. We teach others how to treat us by our gestures and words.

The inner voice can be heard if I choose to listen. It will never guide me wrongly.


This reading speaks to me in so many ways. In my disease I have hurt so many people in so many different ways -- but all in ways that would devastate me if I had endured them directly. In working my 4th step, one of my resentments against my abusive stepfather was that he "expected to get away with all his despicable behavior." Recognizing this resentment, I uncovered one of my own character defects. As a selfish addict, I have acted in any manner I deemed enjoyable, pursued every whim, and never expected be held accountable for it. Maybe this too is the reason I continue to protect him by keeping silent within my family about the reasons I no longer associate with him -- if the truth of his transgessions are revealed, so mine may be too. I am ever surprised as I work this 4th step at the revelation of the many ways I have used "controlling the truth" to "empower" myself over the years. Even my chosen profession has been influenced by this need to control and manipulate information.

I read a great qualification from a fellow blogger and a member of COSA (co-sex addicts anonymous) yesterday. In it the writer talks about how she spent a year focused on great achievements her role as a member of Junior League, "all the while ignoring my own family." It reminded me of the consideration I have given my acting out partners (once I told them "yes" I could never think of telling them "no," I drove miles and miles to meet them, I worked around their schedules, spent money on them, lost myself in their presence), while I played my husband for a fool, ignoring the basic, not to mention moral, requirements of being a spouse, a friend and a partner in a wide variety of ways. (And these are just the ways I have hurt him. It doesn't take into consideration all the friends and co-workers I have ignored and cheated of my time, presence and talent.)

Over the years, I have resented my husband for choosing work over time with me, yet, as the reading says, we were both inviting a "non-presence" from one another. In recovery, I can let go of those resentments and invite him to be present for me, to have someone to be present with, and I can respect myself and invite him to do the same. Recovery -- working the steps -- allows me to see these truths, to be completely honest with myself, and with you -- and to recognize that life can be different. And as I change, the hopeless, futureless life I have been living can also begin to take shape, filled with truths I don't have to keep secret. And although it goes against everything an addict "wants," I can be accountable to myself, my family and my Higher Power.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's an R

OK ... I know it's silly, but I liked this "R" I found as I was searching through clip art today.

I don't have many images on my site, so I thought since I'm committed to posting more regularly, I might as well add something fun.

I am proud of myself for two things today ... let me rephrase that, I am thankful to God for two things today:

1. I asked for prayers even though I didn't want them after my husband told me last night that he'd be gone out of town all next week. My addict wants to play and celebrate. But I'm thankful to be feeling my authentic self deep inside that says this is an opportunity to show yourself that you can live without giving into that damn addiction every time it starts dancing.

2. That I could be honest with a male friend and say ... "I would never hurt you, but my disease wouldn't mind a bit."

Hope all is well in your world today. I'll be going out to visit the blogosphere and see what everyone is up to, as I finish up some real life work here on this end.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Since a couple of you said you like the movies as well ... I wanted to share that I saw "Dan in Real Life" last night and it was a really funny and uplifting story. If you get a chance, it's something I have no doubt you'll like.

One big step

In doing my fourth step work surrounding resentments against my stepfather (my abuser) I was able to admit to myself that being abused and told that "if you tell" made me feel powerful, as if I weilded a whole lot of power in my family. One of the reasons I've held on to the secret (subconciously, if not conciously) within my family is because it gives me power over my abuser. At any given time I can bring him to his knees like the helpless little child I was when he violated me. And while I rarely "feel" my anger at him, I can sense it in this truth. The selfishness and manipulation I find in myself in this context is ugly to look at, but I'm thankful to see them. Serenity cannot be found until I uncover these character defects, accept them for what that were and are and pray for their removal, as the steps teach me. It is my resentment and anger that keeps me tied to these defects, and my fourth step is helping me to uncover these things and to get real with myself.

It took me a long time to get the courage to do the fourth step. From the beginning it seemed so scary and even still today it seems gigantic. I've only truly just began. But I've always known it holds the key for me. I just had to let go of my self will, pray for the courage even when I didnt' want it, and wait one day at a time until I was ready to begin to open the doors where all the sick secrets lie. I had a whole lot of acting out to do, a few more resentments to build, and a lot of fear to work through before I could get started. But because I kept coming back, knowing that inside me is a survivor powered by the grace of my Higher Power, I knew I would get there.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The exact nature of our wrongs

I spent about two hours this morning writing on my Fourth Step, examining resentments, their causes, their effects and my part. When contemplating the questions about my part ... How am I selfish? How am I dishonest? ... the answer seems to be a resounding ... in every way.

On the surface, people see me as a very giving person. I really do try to do a whole lot of people pleasing and I do enjoy doing things for others. But at my core, when it comes to my disease ... I'm as selfish as they come. I want .. I go after ... to hell with the rest. Likewise, most people who know me would say I'm a straight shooter. Boy, do I have them fooled. By telling them what I think about their situation, or even taking my own public inventory, it looks like I'm a pretty honest person. But I learned a long time ago that in order to protect myself, I needed to hide the truth and replace it with a smile and a lie. Dishonesty seems almost automatic in me at times.

The Way it Works in the AA Big Book says that honesty is the key to success in recovery. I wrote a prayer today asking God to help me have the courage and the strength to let go of dishonesty as a means for survival. It is a tool that served me once, but I don't need it anymore. I know that this won't be the only time I'll have to pray for that courage and strength. Something that deep rooted doesn't go away so easily.

I was reminded of the ironies of human behavior last night while watching "American Gangster." Russell Crowe plays a straight-laced New Jersey cop who, in a world of corrupt colleagues, stands out as one of the good guys -- honest to a fault. But when his wife takes him to divorce court she points out that while he looks like the most honest guy on earth to those around him, he had repeatedly lied to her, cheated on her multiple times (seemed like he was a sex addict too - a common affliction for those on the police force) and chose work and friends over his son all the time. It was a good movie ... I recommend it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A more regular poster

I was inspired by Bella's participation in a challenge to blog every day for 30 days. Sometimes I go months without posting here and don't share some of the everyday things in life. I think doing so might help me develop a greater sense of normalcy. Who knows? Worth a shot.

I spoke with my niece by phone today. Even though we are so close, and she knows more about me than most anyone, I think she sometimes wonders what in the world she is going to do with me. I told her today that I'm about to give up on this job search ... that I have the overall feeling that once I get a job, I'll just be told my Mr. Wonderful Husband here that we're moving again. And to be honest, I'd be ready to go. She did help me understand one thing that I was able to articulate to Mr Wonderful Husband ... my profession is based on building relationships, and it's hard to build relationships when you have to move around all the time. Managers look at the resume and say ... "Job Hopper" and keep on looking. From the look on his face, I think he got it for once.

So ... we're off to the movies, into my favorite healthy "escape."