Ahhhh, the First Step. The journey begins. I remember my first step and how long I took to go through it. I was told it would get done in God’s time, not mine. By God’s watch
it took a year to get through. The crown of roses was, it was well done. So by all means God’s time is what I go by now. In the S.A.A. big book it describes the first step this way, “We admitted we were powerless over addictive sexual behavior – that our lives had become unmanageable.” I didn’t have any problems, so I thought. Then the principle of the First Step comes shinning through. Okay, honestly I had a slight problem with just a few things. Truthfully, I had a lot of issues with a lot of things of a sexual nature.
There, I said it. The truth and the basis for the whole First Step – getting honest. And not just about a few things either. The whole package…everything in my life got honest. The best was the weight on my shoulders dropped off with a resounding thud. The First Step is the first step in changing our lives forever.
When doing a fourth step the phrase, “To thy own self be true”, comes up in my mind. When just living the program this phrase seems most appropriate. Isn’t it time we
took a stand for our own truths and made a pledge to stand by their side and own them as our own. I know I have worked very hard in this program and had to let go of things that would have otherwise harmed me. My truths sometimes need nudging. It seems as though I get to a new place of growth only to find I knew the truth all along. Sometimes uncovering what lies just beneath the surface takes willingness like in the sixth step. Other times they seem clear as bells. I feel grateful when I learn something new about myself. This new part that allows me to live a simpler life. Isn’t it true to keep it simple is the easier path to walk. To thy own self be true and walk in the light, see the
truth for you.
I relapsed five months and two days into my recovery. I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt horrible. I felt dirty. I had fallen and was unsure of how to get back up on my feet. I wobbled. My sponsor assured me that a relapse was a part of recovery. I couldn’t make sense of that. I’m an addict. Everything is in its place, I live in a perfect world, I had a perfect recovery. Now I had blown it. All I kept hearing was the self talk of how I failed again just like always. I was no good. The reality was I wanted to act out again and again to make the pain go away. My sponsor told me again that relapse is a part of recovery, but added that it was a great teacher as well. Why did I relapse? What was the underlying cause? I felt entitled, I just wanted to act out one last time, I was childish. The list could go on for days. The next steps of action would determine my growth from such an event. I wanted in the worst way to stay sober. For the next two months I picked up white chip after white chip acknowledging my surrender, however, I still had a reason to act out. It wasn’t until I didn’t have a reason to act out that I stopped. I had learned my lesson. It came in a sentence that I use to this day, “I’m powerless over my disease.” Today I put my higher power in between myself
and my disease and I’m able to stay sober, one day at a time. Sometimes it’s one
hour at a time, none-the-less I’m in recovery for today.
When I used to think about the word, “relaxing” I would think of something that “normal” people do. Not me I’m to busy acting out to relax. The best way to describe it is like this, “I would need a vacation from the vacation I just took, then a few extra days to get back to normal.” That is how I spelled relax. There was never enough time, I was always playing catch up, catch up with time, activities or responsibilities. Ahhhhhhhhhh then comes recovery and with recovery comes a life. I started doing outer circle behaviors, reading for fun, playing with the dogs, writing a blog…all these activities gave me time with myself who I started to learn wasn’t a bad person at all to hang around with. Don’t get me wrong, it took a little time getting used to being by myself, but as time rolled on I started to really enjoy the time I spent with myself for myself. I call this “my alone time.”
Funny thing, my wife has her own alone time too. We appreciate this about each other and respect each others’ alone time. I also know that when my wife is in her alone time she is not rejecting me, on the contrary, my ability to let her have her alone time allows her time to grow as well. Alone time and relaxing are important parts of recovery that sometimes go by unnoticed. I’m here to say that it’s a perfect part of my day when I can unwind, relax and grow. Hip, Hip, Hooray for relaxing and alone time, make it a part of your day, today.
This business about lying, hmmmmmm, that all too famililar place in our lives. I still don’t quite get why telling a fib once in a while will hurt anything. I mean so I tell a few lies here and there, even to myself, but it’s only to myself. The fact is, it wasn’t
just a few lies here and there or even just a few to myself. In my active addiction I told lies all the time and over the stupidest, absurd stuff. I couldn’t help myself. It was as if I was a ball of yarn and I was unraveling all over the place, nothing but yarn everywhere, criss crossing over itself time and time again. I couldn’t even remember who I told the last lie to in order to keep all of the lies straight. I needed a zipper over my lips to keep me safe. I felt so ashamed. Then I found recovery which DEMANDED rigorous honesty. You know the type, the “I can’t bullshit myself any longer honesty”. The one where
denial doesn’t work any more. You know that type. The type my sponsor would
never let me forget. That’s the one. I could always try to lie to myself, no one would know, I would and that was the problem. Once I hit recovery, miraculously all the lying stopped like a dead end road. For the first time in my life, I was being accountable, responsible, reliable and rigorously honest where love and understanding don’t know from lies, only honest living. A life where joy and happiness are the norm verses the chaos of lies. A life where rigorous honesty is the foundation of my recovery and helps me stand tall, look in the mirror and admire the reflection staring back. And that’s why I can’t lie.