Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

It really is amazing how much therapists don't know about sex addiction -- and less (if possible) about being married to a sex addict. The few I have seen have not been very helpful to me, but I'm not a big therapy person anyway.

Kellee said...

This post reminds me of something my friend told me as I picked her up for our COSA meeting last night. She said, "As I was walking out to your car, I got this overwhelming feeling that I'm going 'home' and I just felt so loved." That's what my group does for me. Sounds like yours does the same for you. There's nothing like looking up from a particularly hard share & see nothing more than head nods & sympathetic tears.

As for your therapist, I personally would not waste time with anyone who doesn't specialize in SA. As MPJ already said (I'm paraphrasing)it's scary how many therapists are out there who have no clue. We've had people in my COSA group who have been told by therapists to "give your husband more blow jobs" and to "let your husband watch enough porn that he just gets it out of his system." HUH?! If money is an issue (you mentioned co-pays), there are lots worth their salt who will work on a sliding scale.

Climbing off my soap box now. I've just seen so many people (including my ex) be hurt by misinformed therapists.

Take what you like & leave the rest.

Recovering Wino said...

I cannot believe that she said that about your addiction! Not only is it ignorant, it is dangerous...

It is a naive comment, but the "you are good" can instill a little pride into our addictive minds, no? Can you do some research into therapists in your area that specialize in that? I know you can find listings on "Psychology today" and other types of resources.

I am telling you, though, the biggest help to you will be to find a sponsor. CALL THAT WOMAN, RAE! And even if you guys don't click, use her until you find the permanent sponsor. The second time I went through AA it stuck because I did what they insisted on asking the first person that looked interesting in the first meeting. And she turned out to save my life.

I love you...keep focusing on God.

Summer said...

That therapist needs her license put through a shredder.