“Hole in the soul” heard it for a very long time but never really did grasp what it meant. So I think I have an idea now what it means for me. My soul is the truest purest essence of who I am as a human being. It is that utter state of comfort, relaxation and contentness of exactly where I am. As an addict, not only did I not welcome those feelings, I actively shunned them through my acting out behaviors.
My soul was like a strainer, all the good stuff was just pouring through and all the chunky, rough material you want to catch and throw away was left. The more toxic thoughts, feelings and sentiments that covered my soul the more I would try to fill it up and more of the good stuff would just fall through and only the garbage would remain.
Without a doubt I can say recovery showed me that wholeness was possible. Meetings to me are mirrors, looking glasses that I avoided my whole life. I could not stand my own reflection, but once I entered the rooms I saw myself in every person that shared their story. They told me I was not an awful person, I was not evil, and I was not unlovable. I was told, “You are a sick person trying to get well, NOT a bad person trying to become good.” I didn’t buy that for a long time but it did give me something to hold on to.
Wholeness is a process, I did not become fractured overnight, so putting “Humpty Dumpty all back together again….” was not going to happen overnight either.
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Recovery, it may not come in a pretty package with a sparkly bow but it sure is a gift.
Rigorously honest recovery is tough, it’s painful and it’s hard. But it is still 100% better than active addiction. My recovery in SAA has not only shed light on sex addiction but it has given me a roadmap on a healthy way to lead my entire life.
I have the gift/terror of feeling feelings again. For the most part it has been incredible to thaw out and feel emotions again, especially love, joy, fellowship, self-pride and gratitude. The terror comes in when I feel vulnerable, scared, angry, sad and disappointed. Those feelings were so overpowering in active addiction that I went straight to my “drug of choice”. Are those feelings any less painful these days in recovery, not really but through the honest shares of my brothers and sisters in SAA I have learned two key things, “Feelings are not facts.” and “I am not a bad person trying to become good, I am a sick person working to become well.”
One of the gifts recovery has given me is the ability to choose. After my brain calmed down and I had a little bit of time away from active addiction, the obsessions and compulsions were less, they were less not gone mind you. After they were less, I was able to have a split second to use my tools and reach for help before I acted on whatever obsession or compulsion I was feeling. And, if for whatever reason I chose to relapse, I have the amazing gift of knowing that in the rooms of SAA I am unconditionally loved and I am welcomed back as long as I simply have the desire to work on sexual sobriety.
In my very first twelve step meeting eighteen years ago one of the very first things I heard was “Just Show Up”. I was told nothing had to make sense, all I had to do was put down my addiction (for one moment at a time) and Just Show Up. By bringing the body, eventually the mind would follow, and when the mind came the soul would start to mend and heal. I think one of the hardest things to do in the rooms of SAA is to Just Show Up. We have such a variety of bottom lines and acting out behaviors we are trying to change. Relapses and slips are a tremendous part of our recovery, they are our teachers. What is a major relapse to one may seem like only a little slip to another, but still, we just show up for one another with unconditional love, compassion and understanding. We are all trying to recover from this disease of sex addiction no matter its manifestation. The only way that I know how to do that is to start by Just Showing Up to meetings. Then as one of the previous entries said the 500lb phone gets a little lighter, and then maybe we develop meaningful relationships in recovery with our sponsor and fellows, all by Just Showing Up. Before we know it we have grown and we are living a life in recovery one moment at a time, and suddenly, we are not only just showing up for meetings, but we are showing up in our own lives.