I think it was Styx,the singing group from the 80’s who sang a song called, “The Grand Illusion”, I could be wrong…at least I’m not just making it up. The song reminded me of my addiction. How cunning, baffling and powerful it is and it truly is. This thought keeps running through my mind, that all that has ever been in my life, from the time I was molested until the time I got into program, for the most part, was an illusion. My life wasn’t real. It was held together with lies and deceit and the walls were paper thin. This was my “House of Cards” and it was about to come crumbling down.
In all of the years of addiction I lived an illusion that my world was happy, fun, secure, spiritual and, of all things, loving. These adjectives were filled with holes and the water was pouring out from all sides. Even if I had a momentary minute of clarity, it wasn’t long enough to get me to see that the disease was in control. I was king of my domain and I ran my kingdom with an iron fist. If I was happy, I’d act out. If I was frustrated, I’d act out. If I was angry, I’d act out. There were times when I wasn’t acting out… I was asleep. The illusion kept me safe, so I thought. Gee, it wasn’t like I frequented disease infested book stores every day or had unprotected sex because I was immune from aids. The illusion said I was bullet proof.
Then on Febuary 24, 2005 the earth shook violently and my house of cards came crumbling down. That moment of clarity that I needed to see I was in danger showed up. My addiction’s date with destiny had finally come. In my clarity on that day, I admitted I was a sex addict and I was in trouble. Big trouble. I called out for help. I made that first important step. This wasn’t a fleeting moment I was in. This was God’s hand guiding me to safety. I cried out that night and God had answered my prayers. The very next day at 7:00 AM I was at a therapist’s appointment to discuss my issue. The illusion ceased to exist. I was speaking honestly, encouraged by my words, I spoke about the horrors of the last thirty years. Fortunately for me the therapist I was speaking to was an expert in sex addiction and compulsive disorders. He pointed me in the direction I needed to go and that night I was at my first SAA meeting. The illusion I called my life had finally met with the reality I call life.
Seven years later, I stand tall and proud that the fruits of my labor have paid off in spades. No longer do I look over my shoulder afraid of my past. Today, I live in peace and harmony with joy and happiness and the promises of the promises keep coming true. I invite you to join me and walk this path that countless others have found serenity on so you can find your own piece of heaven here on earth. God bless you all on your journeys.
In recovery we adjust to a new way of being. We shift our thought processes and actions. We, in effect, are born anew. I know for me it was a daunting task to even look at the scope of things that needed to change in my world, but as stated in “How it Works” , I had to be willing to go to any length for this change to occur. I had to open myself up to a new way of thinking, Positive Thinking. I had to allow myself the opportunity to interact with people in a whole new light, Letting Others Help Me, and finally, I had to be in action with these new found ideas. No longer was I allowed to isolate, make stuff up in my head or shirk responsibilities.
I was now going to be coached to become the best “Me” I could be. True, I would stumble along this new path, however, through the guidance of my Higher Power I learned to stretch and grow even when it was uncomfortable. The one word I would come to learn was, CONSISTENCY. Putting actions into play on a daily basis, day after day. This consistency became the electrical flow that powered my tools of recovery. It was a feeling deep inside my bones that made me vibrate with energy. My mind began to look and feel differently.
For the first time in my life I was accomplishing tasks in a rhythmic fashion. At first it was simple tasks of just getting up from bed at a specific time each day. Next, I would add to that, making myself read “Answers in the Heart” once I was awake. Soon I added more responsibilities like feeding myself a good breakfast to nourish my body. From this little effort I was able to capitalize on the great feelings of accomplishment that I had rolled into a consistent rhythm. Days turned into weeks and then to months and I had found myself building up evidence that I was once again becoming a responsible, accountable adult. Consistency, I was guided to understand, was definitely the “Flow of Recovery.”
Today, nearly seven years later, I still use it in my daily life which has blossomed into this magnificent, amazing world of love and joy. Even though I started out small and gradually increased the number of tasks I eventually did, I did it all, one moment at a time. This turned into one day at a time. This is the rhythm of recovery. Thank you Papa.
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Meetings. Meetings. Meetings That’s all I hear about. Meetings, meetings, meetings. In the beginning of my recovery I was a scared rabbit just to attend. Who were these people. They’ve got to be psychos, why else would they be here??? Well, I know right off the bat I’m not like them. I just like sex. So what, I can’t enjoy masturbating in public if I feel like it. I don’t understand what the hoopla is all about. I’m in a booth all alone. No one will recognize me. Just because I have a specialty license plate doesn’t mean people pay attention to the cars in the parking lots. Boy was I delusional. So there I was at my first meeting. Listening like I was told to by my therapist. As I sat there, I felt uncomfortable being there, then the people started to share. At first, I was comparing myself to them as they spoke and I found that I related to what was being shared. I started listening with both ears and I heard bits and pieces of my life being shared right in front of me. I started to feel less of an outsider and more and more like I had found a home. How could that be…I thought I was terminally unique. I genuinely felt better after being at that first meeting.
Afterwards, the members introduced themselves to me and suggested that if I was serious about wanting recovery and changing my life, then I better commit to coming to at least a meeting a week. Then someone chimed in and suggested that I go to as many meetings as I could, 90 meetings in 90 days. I swallowed hard when that was said and asked what was the big deal about meetings. One old timer shared that if you attend one meeting a week all you’ll do is survive. If I went to two meetings a week then I would grow and if I attended three or more meetings a week then I would thrive. I chose the thrive concept and never looked back. I was looking at my life at that point and all I had was chaos and pain, however, if I wanted to have the happiness and joy that I saw in those people then I needed to make some drastic changes.
Meetings are the energy I need each week to recharge my life batteries. I’ve learned so much about myself, my disease, about people and relationships that I never knew existed while I was in my addiction. I learned to trust others, find joy in others and how to relate to others who suffered from the same disease as I had. These are people I’ve come to love, appreciate, support and just have fun with. The meetings became my focal point for healthy living. I learned to really listen to others and pull out the needed energy to recharge my batteries and leave the rest that I didn’t need. I learned how not to be judgemental and to relate to the topics at hand that we would discuss. Basically I learned how to live a joyful, wondrous, amazing life, all from going to meetings.
To date, I don’t know how many I’ve attended, but I can say, “I’ve never left a meeting feeling worse than when I arrived.” I encourage all my fellows to attend as many meetings as is necessary to keep a healthy, functional recovery intact and then attend one more for good measure. Be brave, be strong and keep coming back.
Today is a new day. The sun rose. The winds of freedom were blowing and I was once again writing on Recovery Monologue. The quote “Keep coming back” is the message I feel closest to today. Even though the original blog was dismantled and blown across cyberspace into a million pieces. I just said, “Okay we can rebuild this and with safeguards that weren’t in place in it’s first life. People kept supporting me to “Keep moving forward. Fight for it. Just keep the flame alive.” So with all the support from everyone, we are back. And we’ll keep coming back just like I do with my recovery. If God was done with me and didn’t want me to breathe a second life into RM, then I would never had found GoDaddy.com or this blog. But I kept my faith in my Higher Power and waited patiently for the answers to come and here we are. A blessing to be sure.
Like one sister in group always says, “Keep coming back.” I love her for that steadfastness she has to program. She empowers me everytime she spells it out for all of us to hear. God I love her. Thank you. So for me I’ll keep coming back to get empowered by all the incredible love and support I get from my program, the group and fellowship. Thank you all for the support you have given to Recovery Monologue and please KEEP COMING BACK so we can once again be a light to those still in the darkness of addiction and give hope that the miracle still exists for those who seek it…God bless you all on your journeys.
How committed do I really have to be to my recovery in order to have the promises fulfilled in my life. Well let’s see…I know for me it’s all or nothing. As it says in “How It Works” …half measures availed us nothing. And well they should. I found out when I slipped just how true the comment was. In the beginning of my recovery I listened to my sponsor and took his suggestions. I called every day and to at least three people in program. I journaled went to meetings and made it a point to change people, places and things. I did great and the promises of “The Promises” start to permeate into my life. Five months later I had a slip, I took control of my life back in my hands. What a brutal mistake. I stopped listening to my sponsors suggestions, I didn’t call regularly like I was supposed to, I began isolating really badly and I missed meetings. I thought that I had a better way and I was going to prove it to the world. My sponsor wanted to fire me and I deserved that. Two months of half measures and I hit my bottom. I came into a meeting and begged for God’s mercy. What I realized was my sponsor, with all his experience, knew better than I did. What I learned was that the program works. I turned my will over to my higher power and began living, 100% committed to my recovery. I’m an addict. Left to my own devices I will fall on my face over and over again. Putting my recovery first above everything keeps me in sobriety, one day at a time.
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As I listen & look at my brothers and sisters in recovery one common theme comes to mind…The gratitude that recovery brings with it. “Why now?” might be a question that some people ask themselves as they start their journey. The answer to this question comes in as many varied answers as colors of the rainbow. I know for me the message was extremely clear. If not now then I would have lost my life. That was a critical turning point and the reason for my decision. I knew as clearly as my front hand follows the back that I was on collision course with death. I was going to lose my family, my career, my freedom, my sanity and most importantly, my life. Today I look at this question of “Why now?” and say to myself, “now” is because I am worth it. I have value. Also because I care about my family, career, my freedoms and my sanity. Recovery has been the ultimate teacher in the ways of daily living and living the principles of the 12 steps in all my affairs. Today is the present, the gift I reward myself with as each new day that blossoms. Sure, I still have thoughts of acting out, euphoric recall and triggers; however I know that today I also have my recovery and the tools to lead me on the path of sobriety. Most importantly, “now” I have my higher power who loves and support me and as long as my spiritual connection is running on high then my gratitude for this program and all its gifts is forefront in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an addict and always will be, but I remember, “Why now?” and smile as my HP leads me on my way.
One of the toughest areas to wade through is the internet. While it is truly one of mankind’s greatest gifts, it has had negative consequences for many. I think it is so amazing that we could build such an educational tool. I also know the harsh reality of its dark sides. I too, was caught up in its pornographic waters. Thankfully, I have learned that while I have a strong spiritual connection I can swim with its sharks. I do not have to choose such sites that can erode my inner soul. This is the greatest tool given to mankind since the invention of the light bulb. Some people get caught up in the bubble of their disease and end up browsing aimlessly through a sea of perversion. Not because they wanted too, but rather because this disease is so cunning and powerful that they felt unable to stop their desires to view pornography or chat. At times like this the tool becomes a weapon and can rip the very fiber of integrity right from its foundation. Once bitten by the internet bug, most fall prey to its dark sides very quickly whether they are spending time on chat sites or personal ads. Its appeal to allow us to remain anonymous has most sex addicts addicted after just a few sessions. The allure of its images cast a spell over our ability to rationalize between fantasy and reality. Therefore this great tool can never fulfill its truest potential. However, there is one power that can assist us as we chart out our course, that one power is God, may you find God now and have Him surf along side of you to keep your journey safe. It’s up to each of us to choose our existence with the internet, for surely the internet is here to stay.
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I decided to talk about something that is near and dear to me, living. As each new day passes I thank my higher power for another day free from my addiction because I know that that’s all I have. One day at a time. This then gets me to think about being alive. I do a reality check. I remember that today I’m alive. By the grace of God I’m alive. If I had stayed in my addiction three and a half years ago today I would have joined others as a statistic, another dead addict. I know my addiction wants to kill me, wants to suck the spiritual life right out of me. That’s the reality I live with each day. I’ve come to respect my addiction because I know its power. I know what drives it. This is why I do a reality check each and every day, just to remind me where I stand. I’m an addict, my thinking is not normal. Sure my obsessions have lessened as the years have gone by, but I’m still on my toes watching each and every minute carefully because I don’t know when my addict may rear its ugly head. I’ve already been blindsided in the past. That proved to be a very valuable lesson. So just for today, for this moment I enjoy my reprieve from my addiction, diligently watching ever so carefully for what the next moment offers. You might say I’m a little rigid, but I know from experience and from the experience of my fellows that reality is that this disease really does want to kill me. So be careful and watch your footing as you walk your paths and be alert to the pebbles in the path, it could be your addiction playing a trick on you.
When we feel bad physically we go to the doctor for a checkup. When our recovery is a little lax is good to do a check up from the neck up. Going back to the basics is what has worked for me in jump starting a relaxed recovery. Sometimes I feel blue. Sometimes I feel disconnected from my program and sometimes I feel that I’ve spiritually lost my connection. I’ve learned there are tools I have that assist me in getting back on course. Getting back to the basics is what keeps me in sobriety, one day at a time. If I feel blue I turn to my gratitude list and remember the ten most important things for me. When I feel disconnected from my program I get on the phone and make as many calls as I can in order to speak to three people. It has been suggested in the “Tools of Recovery” text to make at least 3 calls a day. I highly recommend this. The good conversations can really get you out of your head and stop those disconnected feelings. And when I’m feeling a little out of sorts spiritually, I spark up a good conversation with my higher power. One of the best things I know is He’s always there to listen. Afterwards I feel His guidance, love and light. A very fulfilling experience and one that makes me smile. Now I know you might say, “That’s great, it works for you.” Well, these basics tools do work for me. That’s why I suggest them to all my sponsees when they are feeling out of sorts with their program. Who knows it could work for you. Give it a try and I meet you in sobriety. TyF.
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Willingness and Desire, it sounds like a good name for a romance novel. Truth be told it’s the two most important qualities as addicts we can have in order to seek sobriety, one day at a time. I remember when I first came to the rooms, I didn’t have the willingness nor the desire for sobriety. I felt that I didn’t have any problems. I guess if I could have listened to my shares from those early days they probably didn’t have much substance to them. Then a funny thing happened, I actually admitted I was a sex addict years later and ended up coming back to the rooms out of desperation. Desperation to stop the pain I was in. The second time around I had realized I actually had a problem and it was effecting my life. Thank GOD! I finally had the willingness needed to seach for the solution. I even had the desire to stop acting out. This is all thats needed in order to stop the insanity, willingness and desire. For me, I applaud those who keep coming back to the rooms and haven’t put together long sobriety. I understand their plight, just as they understand mine. They keep coming back because they have a desire to stop acting out and a willingness to show up to meetings. The “crutial two.” Even with my three and a half years these two words are paramount in my struggle to stay sober, one day at a time and I applaud anyone who finds their way to these rooms with their own willingness and desire. God bless you all. TyF