The Gift of Recovery

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.

16 thoughts on “The Gift of Recovery

  1. “And if for whatever reason I chose to relapse I have the amazing gift of knowing in the rooms of SAA that I am unconditionally loved and am welcome back as long as I simply have the desire to work on sexual sobriety.”

    This is the phrase (and, “truth”) that stood out to me in this post. The false belief that I was unloveable kept me sick and isolated. Since no one could ever really love the “real” me, I feared ever being honest with another person and that fear led to an ever increasing and debilitating isolation, a loneliness so profound that I eventually became suicidal at the prospect of living and, eventually, dying alone.
    As well, the crippling fear of rejection always made me feel unwelcome in other’s lives, unwelcome in the world. If I ever managed any form of a relationship (acquaintence or personal/professional friendship) I was sure that as soon as I did something wrong or blew it in some way I would be summarily rejected and labled a “screw up”.
    The gift of recovery for me today is learning through other sex addicts that I am not alone, I am unconditionally loved and I am always welcome among them. The sense of relief when I heard others admit they were like me. The feeling of belonging as I saw other sex addicts open their lives to the group and share their pain and shame. The oneness I experienced when I recited the prayers, truths and promises of our program with the others in my groups. The reality that I was now part of a fellowship of people who had believed they were unloveable and would be rejected and unwelcome when they made a mistake or failed in some way…but, now loved each other unconditionally and welcomed each other back from wherever the addiction had taken them because they, like no other, understood.
    While being sober, not acting out and not being driven by the constant obsession to medicate my pain and emptiness with some form of sex are great gifts to me in recovery…the greatist gift (or gifts) of recovery today is the unconditional love and acceptance of my brothers and sisters in sexual addiction recovery.

    • I felt that unconditional love at last nights meeting and it was just the mental, emotional and physical hug I needed. Thank you brothers and sisters……

    • Thanks for sharing! I am getting ready to share my 1st step with the group and fear of rejection is heavy on my heart. Fear of being “too far out; too far gone.” But reading posts like these help me realize that I truly have been blessed in finding SAA and that I will present my truth with others that understand the depths to which we will go in our addiction. For once, I do not feel like an outsider and I think this sense of belonging may be why I fear rejection – I don’t want to lose it. But I will have faith in the program and trust in my fellows and bravely embark upon this journey with you. I am so grateful I don’t have to go it alone.

    • I too has this underlying pressure in life which I could never escape, that if you really knew me you wouldn’t like me. In fact you would try to change me or would reject me.

      I still have this lingering feeling to some degree in my new found recovery. I am married with a family and have many friends who do not know this most significant awareness of me that I am a recovering lust addict. My wife is very aware and supports my recovery, but many do not.

      Well I guess that’s alright. The people who need to know are found in my fellowship. Fellow addicts. They understand. We support one another. We have a camaraderie upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. We can work on this together. We laugh at the craziness of it all. We listen to deep divulsions. We learn to respect one another. It is a beautiful gift.
      Mark W.
      DeLand, Fl

  2. Peace and serenity. After coming into SAA 3 years ago, these two words have been my greatest gifts.
    Recovery and sobriety are not easily achieved. It’s been an arduous struggle to fight my demons and learn to look deep inside my very soul to exorcize them.
    Rigorous honesty was the first struggle. It took everything I had to always be honest and truthful no matter the consequences.
    Next came taking responsibility for what I had done and the damage I had caused. I couldn’t change the past but I could change who I was today. Taking charge of my life was paramount to regaining my sanity.
    Finally, never give up.
    Recovery is not a straight line nor does it need to be a roller coaster either. With all of the tools, fellowship, sponsorship, step work, my Higher Power, etc, the journey has been less of a struggle. Every time I worked a little harder at being sober and staying sober, the ‘Promises’ of SAA began to materialize. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but they did and continue to do so.
    As I reflect back on the last three years, it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park. But with the help of my Sponsor, my Brothers & Sisters in SAA and my Higher Power, today I have the gifts of serenity in my life and peace in my heart.

  3. Recovery as a Gift???? In December 2010, I gave my spouse the best gift we could possibly share together….. A surprise she never saw coming, a secret that not even Santa would want keep …… That I was a SEX ADDICT and I need help ASAP …… Talk about surprise, that’s the understatement of 2011. As I have been in recovery for about a year, I use to cringe at the idea that recovery was a gift, or that I could celebrate anything about this sex addiction because what it did was rip my heart right out of my chest and totally devastated my wife who would now have to accept this gift we never asked for.

    Today, literally 1 year and 22 days later, I can say with all confidence that this has been the greatest gift I have ever been given. To be in recovery, to have friends in fellowship who I am able to learn from their strengths, hopes and experiences… To have a wife who has also joined me in this battle to seek recovery for her codependency, to have a sponsor who doesn’t care about what I have done, but has invested time to help me become the person I need to be…. to experience the grace of God in a new way, what more could I ask for.

    I believe that God has allowed this gift of recovery to be given to me and other sex addicts in order share this same gift of hope in recovery to others suffering out there. Maybe someone, somewhere is probably thinking what I was thinking over a year …. When will this insanity stop… It’ll stop when you accept the gift of recovery.

    • Thank you for sharing! I am that someone…somewhere person reading your post. My wife told me 4 days ago she wants a divorce. She has had 4 1/2 months to think about it since I told her. I spoke to my sponsor earlier today and he told me to detach. Detach? Really? Yep. Detach. Don’t focus on your wife’s stance. “Focus on you.” You can’t change what she is thinking right now. You have no control over that. The only person you have control over is you! I remember my sponsor telling me, “The only way to save your marriage is to focus on yourself.” Now, more than ever, I know what he means. So, what does the future hold? I do not know, but I do know one thing for certain, I will recover with the help of my Higher Power.

  4. I am still burried deep in my addiction. It is nice to hear that there is hope at the end of the tunnel for most men and women. I’m just not sure that is the path offered to me.

    • Someone once said that “recovery is not for those who think it, it’s not even for those who want it… It’s for those who do it”…..

      You cant do it… Neither could I… “I needed a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity” (step 2)…

      Glad that your checking in on the blog, keep coming back….

      God Bless

      • For me I know the path is “offered” whether or not I walk down it or not is a completely different story. I have been in 12 step rooms since 1989 and SAA since 2006. Today I have about 60 hours completely sexually sober and honouring my inner circle boundaries. For the past 2 months I have chosen to walk another path to be in active addiction.

        While I have immense gratitude my last physical acting out is quite a while ago now, the same obessesion and compulsions consumed all my mental and physical energy for the last two months.

        All this addict needs to walk down the path that will eventually lead to serenity is to truly truly accept my powerlessness and to be willing…. just willing not doing…. but doing make the peace come faster.

  5. I, in my active addiction keep asking when will this Insanity stop. When will I be able to look the world in the eye (even for one day) and not feel the extreme shame, guilt ad remorse I constantly feel. When will life stop being so unmanageable and insane? When will my children connect with a real dad or my wife with a real husband.
    When will I stop living in the constant fear of getting caught, losing my wife and kids, losing my job, losing my soul and life eventually?
    I know the answer is right in front of me.The Gift of Recovery and this fellowship and my higher power. I need to stop fighting and start doing.
    I am not sure whats in store tomorrow, but I know I have the choice, just for today, if I am willing to let go of my feelings, follow directions and do the next right thing.

    • I understand what you are saying I too know what it is that I need to do in order to recover. It just seems like for some reason I just can’t get myself to completely go there. Sometimes I wonder just exactly what it is going to take in order to convince me to change and that scares me. I do have a sponser and am trying to work the steps of this program. While I haven’t gone into my inner circle behaviors as of yet I am only 12 days into the program and my middle circle behaviors are glaring. I can’t wait for this to become a gift because I do know that it can be and I can have a peace about myself with it the same that I do with my AA program. I really just need to pray for total surrender. Thank you for having this blog.

  6. My sponsor asked me to post tonight because of where I am spiritually. He suggested I look at some of the topics – but this topic that showed up first is PERFECT. because recovery is a gift and I have been been given that gift and am extremely grateful for it. I forget ALL THE TIME what I have to be grateful for. I need people like my sponsor to remind me that I am ok. I am grateful for everything and look forward to a great 2012. More to come…….

  7. I’m coming upon seven years in recovery and I’m humbled by God’s grace that He has seen fit to keep me alive and well. Truth be told if I had relapsed, I would have been found dead, period. I have no illusions that if I went out that I wouldn’t be alive. I’m crystal clear my addict wants me dead. Not probably. Absolutely!

    Fortunately for me I have a gift in my life and it’s called PROGRAM. Each and every day that passes and I’m still alive is the GIFT. Program in conjunction with my Higher Power, has led me down a rightous path of sobriety. This path was not without it’s pitfalls, fortunately my Higher Power’s guidance has steered me clear of the obstacles that life presented to me.

    I know that this gift of program is directly related to my relationship with my Higher Power. In fact, so much so that it is said in the rooms that my soberity is contingent upon my spirtual relationship. This is why I pray each day to my Higher Power and am grateful for the guidance He has shown me in these past seven years.

    Another gift of recovery is the intimate relationships I have developed over the years both with men and women. I no longer fear conversations that once intimidated me or worry that I’ll say something inappropriate. Today I have matured to the man I am. I’ve read PROVERBS for last seven years and have a better understanding of life and men. PROVERBS has honned the edges of my mind to walk a rightous life with fear left behind me. I thank my Higher Power each and every day, for this gift of RECOVERY, that He has sought fit to place on my path, allowing me to walk tall and speak with integrity.

    Thank you Papa for all your GUIDANCE, LOVE and LIGHT, all through the day and all through the night…

  8. Recovery is a gift in the sense that it provides a person with new eyes to see the world and oneself. Looking at my addiction makes
    me notice other areas in my life that im not enhancing. I feel that im not truly engaging in life because of pain and fear and low self esteem. Insfeead of me working towards improving myself i have a practiced apathy and laziness that overruns my personality and sabotages my goals. acting out is a symptom of my condition of just going thru the motions. If i have a sexual urge instead channeling that into tesults i just act out becuase it’s easier. I dont have to be afraid of rejection or failure. But this disconnectes me from life. If i work hard and put in effort i can succeed in solving my problems. I must have paitence because acting out is a qick fix that won’t solve my root problem.

  9. Recovery is a gift in the sense that it provides a person with new eyes to see the world and oneself. Looking at my addiction makes
    me notice other areas in my life that im not enhancing. I feel that im not truly engaging in life because of pain and fear and low self esteem. Insfeead of me working towards improving myself i have a practiced apathy and laziness that overruns my personality and sabotages my goals. acting out is a symptom of my condition of just going thru the motions. If i have a sexual urge instead channeling that into results i just act out becuase it’s easier. I dont have to be afraid of rejection or failure. But this disconnectes me from life. If i work hard and put in effort i can succeed in solving my problems. I must have paitence because acting out is a qick fix that won’t solve my root problem.

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