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.
5 months ago