Friday, July 17, 2009

Just beneath the surface

Do you ever have those days when you know you're feeling angry just because of the thoughts that come to mind?

Today, actually for a couple of days, I've thought the words "I hate your f*cking guts!" Now, I don't typically hate people, but just those words seem to be filled with rage about something and someone.

Then tonight I was going through Facebook, looking at old classmates and ran across someone who used to be my neighbor. I immediately thought "I bet you'd love knowing I f*cked your father." I saw another classmates' photo and thought he'd be devastated to know that one of his other classmates, who I met during my acting out spree when I moved back to my home state in 2005, had ratted him out about being a swinger.

Maybe it's me I'm angry with. Maybe I'm mad that everywhere I look, I'm reminded of my addiction. I'm cleaning house for guests who are coming next week and I have to make sure all my recovery literature is hidden away. Maybe I'm mad at my husband because he's looking at changing jobs again. Maybe I'm mad at him because his work is causing a lot of tension. I'm not sure.

I certainly am not walking around actually feeling overtly angry. There's no one at home today other than the dog and I seem to be treating her OK. But somewhere beneath the surface, I clearly am angry about something. Guess I better work some of that anger off by doing the next right thing ... feeding and walking the dog and finishing with the housework.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nurturing, care and support

The sixth characteristic of Sex and Love Addiction says, "We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support."

I've been to three 12-step meetings today looking for nurturing, care and support. I'm not sure if it's emotional dependence or not ... but I was really feeling the need for some comfort.

Thoughts of the friend who I had to bid adieu this week kept creeping in, and I kept praying, "God help me find in you, what I was seeking in him."

I don't know ... even after going to all those meetings and feeling good about hearing others share about improving their concious contact with God, and relating to the shares in tonight's SLAA meeting, I still don't feel replenished. I'm grateful to be sitting with the feeling. I'm thankful that I know the feelings are exaggerated and exacerbated because I'm going through withdrawal and that they will pass.

I know that everything happens in God's time, in God's way. It doesn't stop the little spoiled addict brat inside me from fidgeting and whining and refusing to give me any peace.

I have been praying for "thy will, not mine be done" all day and am praying tonight for the courage and strength to accept my Higher Power's will in my life and to learn the lessons.

Man, this sober thing sucks sometimes.

But the truth is, acting out is not any better. Sure, there was a time that there was good sexual returns, or when the "pursuit" brought on a feeling of euphoria. There is nothing strong enough now to raise the "kick" high enough to truly get the addictive hit anymore. I've worn out this drug of choice, and all that is left is the craving for the high. The emptiness has become too vast to even attempt to fill.

Only God can fill the God-shaped hole inside me. And I must be patient and diligent as this spiritual transformation takes place. In God's time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The loss of the soul

The reading below from today's entry in the Answers in the Heart meditation book, reminds me of this line from Step 1 of the SLAA Text:
"This loss of one's soul could only be all the more poignant if the body in which it lived continued to exist, unanimated spiritually from within, and monstrously driven by imperious instinctual drives which would now have become its masters."

July 15 - Answers in the Heart

"The spiritual life springs forth in the pastures of the heart, in its free spaces, as soon as these two mysterious beings -- God and man -- meet there" - Paul Evdokimov

Sex addiction is a spiritual disease. Living as a practicing addict strips us of our spirituality. We lose our connection with reality, giving more and more of ourselves to try to fill the emptiness within. Unfortunately, we often don't discover that the addiction cannot deliver what it promised until we've paid the high price of spiritual atrophy.

We once made compulsive sexual behavior our Higher Power, but it is only our real Higher Power who can remove our obsessesive attitudes and behaviors and make us sane. Seeking this Higher Power means changing directions completely. Step Two helps us find hope, without which none of us can live. We come to this step as people emerging from a long, life-threatening journey through a wasteland. It is then, as beings of spirit as well as of flesh, that we start another journey to a Higher Power of light, joy and unconditional love.


Step Two is a process, and I get all the time I need.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And so it is

I feel sad today. The addiction has cost me another important friendship, one that has been valuable. I must accept that the friendship was God's gift to begin with, and the ending, God's will.

I became friends with a person in a 12-step fellowship, and in sharing with one another in the way that only 12-step friends do, we had become close ... and over the past few weeks, I have had to accept that the friendship had all the measures of an addictive charge. I looked for his e-mails endlessly. I got a charge when one arrived. I could not wait to see him and wanted to talk to him about everything.

In order to continue this journey toward wholeness, I had to be first honest with myself, then honest with others, including the person whose life I did not want to harm.

I was also honest with my therapist, who reminded me how important it is to make self-affirming statements. Playing the "poor me" game of deprivation, will only cause me to act out in one of my addictions, she said. "It's OK to be sad," she said. But it's not OK to eat it."

So, I affirm today that by setting healthy boundaries within this friendship, I am choosing to seek the best life available to me. I affirm my desire to live in accordance with the will of my Higher Power and I thank my Higher Power for the gift of a beautiful friendship that lasted only for a season and for the guidance that the season had ended and that new opportunities await.

One day at a time, I make progress. Just for today, I choose recovery.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Land of the Lost

I feel lost. That's the best way to describe it. I feel caught somewhere between here and there and simply don't know what to do with myself.

Yes, life is good. I feel at peace after writing the letters to my stepfather. I had a great weekend with my husband and am looking forward to another one this weekend.

I have some good people in my life, but I am not certain I feel comfortable reaching out to more than one person at a time. I know that sounds odd, but it's the way I seem to act. It feels like more than one person to think about at one time is just too much for me.

This is odd behavior for a woman who as a professional, juggled numerous ongoing relationships and as an addict kept relationships with multiple men all the time.

But that's not even what I set out to write about. It just seems that I'm going through life these last couple of days with absolutely no direction. I know that I have not used the tool of making a list, and I guess that's what I am going to have to do, although whatever I put on the list will just be "stuff," and that still feels useless.

Someone suggested that I may be going through a hangover -- after the intensity of what I went through with my trip to visit my family and friends, I may just not be settled down again. That seems plausible, but I just want to say for the record -- I don't like it.

Monday, July 06, 2009

July is a hot month

I had the idea that I would post something here every day in July. Well, like most of my ideas, this one clearly has not come to fruition. I admire those people who write on their blogs daily and really keep things up to date. It just doesn't happen for me.

I do have a desire to write every day however. The tag line for this blog is "My own brand of therapy." Writing is cathartic for me. I think in the beginning, when I started this blog, I felt I was writing to a bunch of people who didn't know anything about me. Somehow that felt easier to do than to share things about myself with people who know my story and some parts of it that no one else knows. I guess in a way it all goes back to that fundamental fear of intimacy.

I can remember crying about two years into recovery, asking God, myself, and anyone who would listen, "What is so wrong with me that I don't want to know myself?" Now I guess I'm asking myself, "What is so wrong with me, that I'm so afraid of letting others "into me see?"

People seem to like me, and even if they don't, I've become much less concerned with what others think and more focused on getting to know myself better and be at peace with who I am. So, what's the big deal?

I guess I still have some work to do in setting boundaries and accepting honesty as the solution for breaking down the barriers that keep me tied into my character defects.

I suppose one reason I'm having trouble writing here is because the focus of my convictions toward recovery seem to be shifting from my sex addiction -- no, I'm not cured -- to my compulsive overeating. I've shared before here that while it seems almost easy to talk about my sexual past, talking about my weight and my food seems nearly impossible.

Just as opening up about my sexual addiction helped me to overcome it, I know that opening up about my food addiction will also help me to cut the ties that bind. I continue to pray for the willingness to work a program of recovery around my food, but I find the minute I get close to making a committment I really, really pig out.

In "How it Works" in the 12-step programs, we read, "Remember, we deal with (compulsive overeating), cunning, baffling and powerful." I can surely say that my food addiction is all three -- cunning, baffling and incredibly powerful. I can also say that I am truly powerless over it.

I welcome comments and prayers in this hot month of July when eating ice cream, birthday cake, and watermelon by the patch full is my favorite thing to do.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I feel good

At the end of a four-hour visit with my stepfather on Father's Day, as I was leaving, I hugged the man who raised me, told him Happy Father's Day, that I loved him, and handed him a Father's Day card with the two letters I had written addressing the abuse I endured, the results that abuse had on my adult life and the things I am doing to take my life back. It was a relief to hand over the Father's Day card with the letters inside, but I have to admit that it was writing the letters that was the most meaningful part of the healing process for me.

I also, for the first time in my life, sent a Father's Day card to my biological father on Father's Day. He was never a part of my life, and for the first time ever, I didn't resent that in the least. I also found during the visit with my stepfather that I didn't have to be hateful or rude to him either. As I expected, he did and said some things that caused my blood pressure to begin to rise. But I was able to stay present and protect myself when the conversation started to go in directions that made me feel uncomfortable. I said the Serenity Prayer when faced with observing things that were none of my business, but nonetheless uncomfortable, and changed the subject without yelling or screaming or even getting angry.

The program worked for me -- I was able to ask for prayers before that big day came and I felt the thoughts and prayers of the people who were supporting me. I was able to get away some time in the morning before I met my stepfather and spend time in quietness and prayer. I used the phone to connect to program friends and support, both before and after.

I am most pleased that for the week before Father's Day, the focus of my vacation was not on delivering those letters -- but on having a good time and enjoying the friends I was with. By staying present with them, I understood that I have no secrets from the people who I care for most. They know me and I don't have to hide anything. I can be me, without shame. And because of that, I had a lot of good laughs. Likewise, I have learned who I can trust with the most private details of my life and who I cannot. Not trusting someone with private details doesn't mean I can't care for them or love them. I am just setting boundaries that help me to feel safe. It feels good. I feel good.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The hungry wolf

My sexual addiction became like an old comfortable friend over the past few years. It was the first place I would go to seek escape and comfort from any emotion -- good or bad. I didn't know how to feel my feelings. As I entered recovery, because seeking this escape was driving me to the point of complete insanity, I found that the more I tried to push away the addiction, white knuckle it and deny it access, the more difficult it made it to let go and co-exist. My addiction is a strong fighter. It was only when I accepted that I was powerless over my addiction's presence in my life, that I began to have any sense of peace.

I used to think that sobriety meant never having any desire to act out, or not automatically going back to the old standby (my addiction) when things got too rough to handle in my real life. Gratefully, today I accept that it's pretty natural that my still wounded spirit would go back to a place it found comfort and familiarity. Thanks to the gifts of the 12 Steps and SLAA, today I can make different, responsible, healthy choices that promote the healing rather than add to the pain. This realization was a hard one to internalize and I still get irritated sometimes and want to throw up my hands and say "Not again!" when I face a tempation or a trigger. But things are so much better now that I have accepted my "shadow friend," as a part of me.

I was reminded of this struggle recently as I finished up a two-week vacation back to my home state. On the last night of the trip, I opted to get a hotel closer to the airport where I could take a nice long shower and wake up refreshed and get off to the airport without all the hassle of being at someone else's house. Leave it to me to pick a hotel just next to an adult book store. I was just doing a "normal" thing -- renting a hotel, people do it all the time. But I forgot about my disease. I didnt keep it in mind. And in the midst of the emotional and physical exhaustion of my trip, I was very triggered to pay a visit to the adult bookstore and possibly bring someone back to the room to share the empty room with me. After driving around the store three times and finally locking myself in the room, praying, taking a shower and making a call, I fell into a restless sleep. I woke up sober and went to the airport, even though I'd thought of having breakfast at a nearby restaurant before I left town. Instead, I got beyond the security gates at the airport and was safe from the disease for another few hours.

The wolf is always at the door, as my old sponsor used to say. I have to be hypervigilant. I can't forget that it is there. I am powerless over its existence in my life. But I don't have to let it be my life or run my life. Just for today, I am grateful for a repreive.