“The physics of building – or rebuilding – trust is simple: Trust grows as we generate data that demonstrates trustworthiness. Trust will never exceed the cumulative data to date.”
– Joseph Grenny
How often have we made a promise to ourselves saying, “this is the last time! I’m never going to do this again”, only to be acting out the very next day?
After years of telling myself not to to on Internet Porn sites my disease had progressed to the depths of despair and my life was completely unmanageable. I was acting out during all hour of the day, including working hours, and all hours of the night. I neglected my job and almost lost my business, I neglected my wife and kids and almost lost them, and I neglected myself and almost lost my life.
Every time I descended into a darker place in my addiction, I made another promise I couldn’t keep. This disease is cunning, baffling and powerful.
After getting caught, I found SAA and started the process of rebuilding. Integrity could only be attained by my actions. Apologies and promises were empty, hollow words. ONLY by working the program could I show that there was substance to my words. Slowly I made progress.
The key was rigorous honesty, using as many tools and putting as many boundaries in place as necessary to stay sober. It was hard, emotional and sometimes painful work.
To put it simply, ACTIONS speak louder than words.
Because of SAA, the support of its members and my Higher Power, today I am a person of integrity and I am trustworthy once again.
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.
My biggest fear was being alone. In my active addiction, I made my fears come true. Through my acting out and my addictive behaviors, I pushed people away and isolated and in the end I was alone. If I was not alone actually isolating, I was alone surrounded by people because no one really knew who I was anymore. Today I am not alone. Even when I am by myself, I am not alone; I have my Higher Power by my side. Today as a result of working this program I am not afraid anymore. I am grateful for this gift that I have been given from my Higher Power and my sponsor and from many others in the fellowship who have been there for me over my journey so far. Without them I don’t know where I would be right now. But what I do know is what they knew: that in this program, “you have to give it away to keep it.” They had to give it to me so that they could keep it and I need to pass it on so that I can keep it. I need to give back what was so freely given to me. Some newcomers wonder why I might do it and some feel that they might be a bother, however, they have no idea how much they are helping me. They are probably helping me more than I am helping them. They are helping me stay sober one more day. When I work with a newcomer I ask for God’s assistance and ask Him to work through me and allow me to provide whatever He feels I need to provide. I am there to listen and to carry the message of the fellowship and to help another addict. In the end, if two addicts stay sober one more day, then we are successful and that is a miracle and for that I am grateful and for that I will continue to work with others as much as I can.
The word freedom appears in my mind when I think of the title to this entry. In my addiction I was liken to a slave and enslaved to a life of demoralization, shame and constant grief. I could not see the hideous nature of this beast. Denial worship me and kept me starved for affection. It wasn’t until I had my epiphany and realized I was a sex addict that my actions and behaviors came to light. By shining light on my disease I could begin to see just how my delusional thinking got me to the level of depravity I had attained. Fortunately, I found the rooms of SAA and my recovery began. Through guidance and suggestions from a sponsor and my fellows I came to understand the solution was upon me. As it states in the promises, I began to know a new freedom and new happiness. I wasn’t waking up in fear of the last lie that I told. I wasn’t fearful that I was going to go to jail or that I was loosing my sanity. That feeling of uselessness and self pity started to disappear. I was on a journey, not in survival mode. Friends began to trickle back into my life. I was gaining self esteem. I know today my recovery is my salvation and holds the keys to the freedom I so deeply wanted, but never knew how to obtain. Forever free from the monster who lives in the shadows and yearns to have my soul. Grateful for my Higher Power for the gifts that I have received, one day at a time.
When I hear the word God…a lot of thoughts go through my head. In this program I’ve come to believe in a Higher Power or God of my own understanding. I have no religious connection to this God or Higher Power. What I have is a spiritual connection with this essence. I fondly call my God or Higher Power “Papa”. When I think of him in a visual sense I think of Morgan Freedman in the movie, “Bruce Almighty.” It works for me and we’ve had long conversations to back this up. It says in the SAA program that our recovery is directly related to our spiritual connection. I know this spiritual connection is what drives me on a daily basis. There are tools that I use on a regular basis that deepen my connection, one is by praying and reflection. Each night I recite the ten most important things I am grateful for as I lie in bed. The second process is that I journal. Journaling creates a direct connection to my Higher Power. Its He that I speak to in my journal. I can tell Him anything and if I listen closely He puts answers I need to hear all around me. They could take the form of someone else speaking to me or seeing an article in a magazine that applies to what I was troubled over. It makes me feel warm inside that I know that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally and does not judge me. That He is accepting and available when I need to talk to Him. Most importantly is the fact that He is with me 24/7/365, day or night. Thank you Papa.
There is a quote that floats around the rooms that goes like this; “The past is history, the future is a mystery and present is a gift.” Truer words could not have been spoken. When I got into recovery I had a hard time living in the moment and being present. I was so consumed with reliving the past over and over in my mind. I was in pain. And to make matters worse I would have anxiety over projecting what might happen in the future, when in fact it is a mystery. Thankfully, my sponsor was watching me torture myself and suggested that I live in the present, moment by moment that’s why they call it a “gift.” As I started to realize that the present represented that I live life on life’s terms. I was apprehensive at first, then learned to just relax and accept that my higher power was there to assist me through whatever showed up. Today, I have the fortune to living mainly in the present. When I start to think about what the future holds for me I look at as an opportunity for future growth as opposed to anxiety. Additionally, I learned that the past is what it is and I need to hold it dear to my heart as to remember where I’ve been so I can appreciate where I am today, in the present. Recovery lives in the present and holds the promises as a gift for the future. As it says in the promises, …”we will be amazed before we are half way through.” Living in the present allows for the possibility of intimacy to take hold and flourish. Truly a gift of the present.
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Working the steps…the backbone of our recovery. I call them the “perfect parent.” I call them that because if we had ideal parents they would have taught all these steps for learning to deal with life. Unfortunately, my parents rarely took the time to interact with me. So learning about integrity, spirituality and “living life on life’s’ terms” I only learned after I came into recovery. The steps were my “teacher” and as I humblely became the student. My education started February 2005 with step one which took me a year to complete. I was not a dutiful student until my first year was finished and I got a new sponsor. Then I was guided weekly through the last eleven. I thank my sponsor for his guidance and support. His experience proved over and over again to be an invaluable resource. Going through step two and three got me on my way deep into my spirituality.
Step four allowed me to give up the shame I was so entrenched in, while step five allowed me to be courageous. Step six taught me about my underlying causes, while step seven taught me how to ask for support. Step eight helped to see the effect I had on others, while step nine showed me how be very humble. Step ten showed me I wasn’t perfect, didn’t need to be perfect, but allowed me to take responsibility for my actions. Step eleven brought me closer to my higher power and step twelve taught me the word “fellowship.” All in all I become a different man because of the steps and believe in the them wholeheartly. I know they are the reason I lead such a blessed life and encourage everyone to follow through on your journey.
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.