“In the place where repentant sinners stand, even the completely righteous cannot stand.”   – The Talmud, Berachot 34b

I was captivated by the profoundness of that quote. We know what a difficult journey our lives have been, but when we do recover, G-d, or our Higher Power, forgives us.

Why then shouldn’t we forgive ourselves?

When I first entered SAA, my shame and guilt were so overwhelming I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. The weight of the past was heavy on my heart, I had hurt and damaged the people I loved the most, including myself. I had gone against everything I believed in, morally and ethically, as I was taught as a child. My acting out had reached dangerous levels and the urges, compulsions, and memories were eating away at me.

The Promises say that “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it”, but I was full of regret and couldn’t bring myself to face my past. All I wanted to do was to shut the door on it, after all, what would be regurgitating my past achieve? Why go there, I’m in recovery now and there’s nothing I can do about the past.

Then, at one SAA meeting I decided to share about the agony I was going through. I had been beating myself up so bad I hadn’t slept for days and I was losing weight because I wasn’t eating either. Not until a fellow SAA member came up to me after the meeting did I have a breakthrough. He said, “you have to forgive yourself; a life lived without forgiveness is a life of pain.” Everything I was hearing at the meetings about living in the present suddenly made sense; I was still living in the past!

It was a G-D SHOT. By acknowledging that I am not perfect and that the wounds inside me needed healing, I was able to see that who I had become (a sex addict) wasn’t who I truly am. The baggage of my past needed to be confronted and dealt with, and forgiveness was the key. I needed a Sponsor and I needed to start my Step work to face that baggage in a structured, healthy manner. I also had to deal with real feelings of anger and betrayal for all I had done. This was going to be a long process of change and making amends but I had to forgive myself if I was going to move forward. So I did just that, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “I forgive you”. I cried and reached out to my brothers and sisters in the program. They comforted me and reassured me that my life would get better.

It has gotten better. The Promises have come true by working the Steps and forgiving myself and today I have found who I truly am, a person of honor, integrity, and trustworthiness.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Anonymous

The Illusion

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.