The Gift

Once there was a middle aged man who seemed to be in constant pain. This pain was both emotional and psychological. The pain started many years ago when he was just a boy. He tried telling his parents about his pain, however they were a party to what was
causing it. The boy felt very isolated and found a way to cope with his pain. The coping was through sex addiction. Unaware that he was harming himself he just wanted his pain to disappear. Day after day his pain grew worse. Until one day he became an adult and the pain followed him to adulthood. Still feeling isolated he remained silent of his pains. Then one day he found more progressive ways to deal with his pain. He tried every measure he could to numb himself from the ache. He looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize himself. It was as if there were two people living inside his mind. The one with the pain and the one that everyone else knew. No one knew of his pain so no one asked to assist him. Days grew into months and months grew into years and the pain never subsided. He was so broken inside that even professional help could not break him down. Then one day out of the clear blue, a miracle happened, he found recovery. The man was so happy he got on his knees and thanked God above for the gift. The gift that changed his life. Share the gift.

23 thoughts on “The Gift

  1. Recovery is a gift, indeed.

    And so is this powerful anecdote, as well as the brother who created it. Can anyone in recovery not recognize him/herself in this picture?

    I’m grateful for this program and the inspirational individuals it’s allowed me to meet.


  2. Recovery has given me a new lease on life and one with a concrete foundation. I built a life once that I thought was good but after it fell apart and after going through recovery I realize that it was a life built from addiction. I thank my higher power every day and live the serenity prayer in every task.

  3. There have been so many gifts. My recovery is a gift, being able to take 7 months out of my life at 42 to go to treatment to take care of myself was a gift, being given the means to do that was a gift, being able to be myself for the first time in 42 years and not be afraid is a gift, being able to have healthy relationships with friends and family is a gift, being able to look at myself honestly and recognize my own faults and character defects and continue to work on them is a gift, being able to grow spiritualy and love myself and my higher power is a gift, and most importantly…being able to help someone else in need and give back what was so selflessly given to me is a gift. I could go on and on. This program has changed my life and the gifts just keep on coming to me. I have a long way to go, but I have come a long way from where I was 3 years ago. But today, my gift is having this blog and the message above to relate to because I can see my story in it and I can relate to it and know that I am in the right place and have the right people around me that care about me and about whom I care and that is a gift. Thank you.

  4. Pain is a very human, and powerful tool. It prompts us to move or change, or causes us to be afraid too. For me, pain and fear brought me to our program. Courage and the faith (our program) has given me keeps me in the rooms.

    The pain from low self-esteem was just the fuel my addict needed to convince me to act out. When the acting out did not cure the pain, my addict told me that it was because I had not acted out enough. The more I acted out, the better I would feel.

    The real pain I now know, was that I believed the lie my addict told me. Learning to see and share MY truth is the real gift this program has given me.

    Keep coming back, It works if you work it, so work it you’re worth it, is the gift, the promise, and the truth.

    • If I put forth the 3 essential ingredients of willingness, honesty, and an open mind, my HP gifts me with recovery. As I complete my 90/90, I begin to identify with the experience, strength and hope of other addicts and I am uplifted. As I begin to journal and work on my step work, my mind begins to be cleared of all the garbage I fill it with in active addiction. As I take the suggestions of my guides, I begin to reap the benefits of trying a new way that works. As I pray and ask my HP to keep me sober just for today, I feel a new power flow in. Recovery is a gift and I am grateful to be reminded of that today.

  5. Gifts, recovery has presented many many gifts and it has been my choice to accept those gifts and move forward in recovery or reject them and stay in the pain of my addiction.

    I have spent a great deal of time rejecting those freely given gifts, rejecting advice, rejecting fellowship. Acting out was the only gift I wanted, thought I wanted. The “high” of acting out cannot come even close to touching a nice clean and sober day in recovery. It has been my challange to remember that and put together several “one day at a time”. This is where the gift is, it is a program where there are people like me who understand how excruciating a pain has to be to numb it out with sexual addiction.

    The gift that I wanted and needed all along was/is unconditional love. And today I FINALLY accept that gift from my brothers in recovery. There are a few sisters but my recovery is really, and has been, reaching out to and actually trusting men, other addicts like myself. This is an amazing gift. With much gratitude I read and write on this blog everyday, it has now become a very important tool in my recovery. Ally

  6. The biggest gift recovery gives to me is the ability to start my life over. I don’t need to stay in that place of pain and repeat the mistakes and behaviors that only made the pain worse, never made it go away. While I can’t change the past nor wish to shut the door on it, living in recovery is living in the here and now. I don’t have to let the past drive my behavior today.

  7. I truly believe that I have been given a gift with my recovery. It started with being given the gift of treatment and the ability to take the time out of my life at 41 years old to work on myself for the first time and really start to understand who I am and not be afraid anymore. For the first time in my life I started to learn how to take care of myself, how to interact with others, how to be assertive, how to have a healthy relationship with me so that I can have a healthy relationship with other people. All of these gifts I would not have had it not been for this program and being in recovery.

    Today I can share this gift with others by working my program and carrying the message. I can help others and at the same time I can help myself stay sober. They say you have to give it away to keep it. So I can give this gift away to allow myself to keep the gift that was so freely given to me. Today I feel blessed that I live a life of recovery and have the gifts that I do as a result. I thank my Higher Power, my sponsor and the others in my program and fellowship that have helped me get here and who continue to help me stay here – Thank you.

  8. The pain of my addiction brought me to this program. My addiction had become so overwhelming that I could no longer distinguish between reality and fantasy.

    In a short period of time, the program has given me the gift of truth. The ability to see that my chosen behaviors were destroying me and preventing me from living life in it’s real form. A life full of intimacy, honesty, and happiness. None of these things are possible in addiction.

    Addiction veiled my reality so that all I could see and believe in was acting out. The program has lifted this veil and given me a glimpse of what my life can be in recovery. Now, all that is left for me to do is decide whether I want to live in truth or a lie. The fork in the road is now clearly laid out, and the gift of the program gives me the clarity to know exactly which road to take, there is no guesswork. All I have to do is turn down the path and walk the walk.

    As I hold out my hand and ask for the gift, I see so many hands reaching out to offer it to me. None of these hands were there to help me in my addiction, because I never asked for their help.

  9. Oddly enough, the first gift toward my recovery was the discovery of my illness. I had lived 50 yrs with this disease, never able to escape it alone no matter how I tried. Discovery forced me to do something about this disease.

    The next gift I got was discovery of SAA. Finding SAA wasn’t enough to get recovery, but it was a start of a road to recovery. I never would get recovery without the gift of SAA.

    Lastly, the work I eventually started through the program of SAA began to give me the final gift, that of recovery. Intimacy with my wife and my new friends was something I had never experienced before. Scary as it was, the rewards were amazing. This gift alone made me realize that a life in recovery was beyond anything I had ever wished for.

    Prior to receiving these gifts I had been leading a double life, one public and one secret. The secret life caused me such problems that my public life was full of hypocrisy and fear of discovery. I led a life of inner isolation and loneliness that could only be cured by a temporary fix of acting out. This only increased the loneliness. I now have a feeling of belonging, real self respect and a life free of fear.

    The resulting gifts are only possible by the earlier gifts, discovery and the program. As strange as it sounds, the gift of recovery became the first gift I received towards my recovery. Hopefully I will experience the many more gifts that recovery has to offer. I know that I will have the same relentless pursuit of them that I had of my addiction.

  10. So a sour mood of recent days is hitting me again this evening while I do a homework assignment by reading and responding to this thread.

    I know it’s the addict voice who resents the optimism I read here and hear in meetings. I know that I am unfairly projecting on to recovery my own cynicism. But if I’m being honest, I feel like it’s a tough gift to get.

    I imagine someone giving me a fancy piece of gym equipment. It would be a great gift. Shiny, new and full of all kinds of potential great benefits…but I have to put on my gym clothes and use it.

    Nevertheless, I can’t deny that recovery is changing my relationship with my partner – who had every right to leave me in the dust. And, it has begun an internal dialog that is allowing me to explore my faith in a higher power.

    So, ok, I’ll put on my sneakers and start the workout. Just don’t expect to pretend I’m not sweating or that my muscles aren’t sore or that – sometimes – it just sucks.

  11. Suppose I were a blind man, surrounded by gifts, but I don’t know they are there. I feel sorry for myself, because I can’t see anything good in my life, because I have a handicap, because I am alone. But suppose God opened my eyes and all of a sudden I could see! There are the gifts!

    A beautiful world
    Wonderful people
    Incredible beauty
    Intimacy and love
    Total freedom to choose what I want to do
    A loving H.P.

    Isn’t this what happened to us when we opened our eyes, and realized that our sadness, isolation, and misery, was a world created by our mental blindness, and that with the help of others, we could see it!?

    It’s what is happening to me. My eyes are still foggy, and there maybe some small cataracts still there, but I’m ready for a new world.

  12. Ok, so this is the next share in my series of topics as I proceed through them one by one and it is perfect. Because the gift for me was picking up a white chip. The ability to do that was a gift. A gift from my Higher Power to be able to drop all my defenses and just take care of myself enough to do what I needed to do for me and tell people what was going on and pick up the white chip. It felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I still need to talk to a couple people about it so there is a little stress around it, but for the most part I feel great. I can move on from this having learned what I do not want to do and what I do want out of my life. The gift of this program is that I have a better life today and I can choose to continue on the path of recovery and keep that life and have it continue to get better or I can choose to act out and go down the path of addiction and unmanageability. Today I choose recovery because I know where the other path takes me and I don’t want to go there. I am grateful for my sponsor and my sponsees who have been so supportive of me and others in the program. I need to learn from all of them. And now I need to get to bed, it is late.

  13. I am seeing the gift in little pieces every day. Trying to hang on knowing and having faith that recovery is happening as fast as I am allowing it. I will say I am struggling with the work, only because my disease is telling me I can’t do it. I’m learning slowly how to quiet this disease and take the next step forward toward this gift that I didn’t think I deserved or I could obtain. Your words are sparks of light that move me forward. Thank you for sharing with me the GIFT of your recovery.

  14. “Gift” Woooow this reading is amazing. The initial post was me & almost brought me to tears. This emotional & psychological pain I truly shared! The hurt was so real & painful. It still hurts today but an amazing gift has been given to me! This gift is priceless & brings so much joy to my life! When reading the initial post it saddens me to see the time line of my progression but it’s great to send the gift of change on the other end.

  15. To think that over 70 years ago God gave the “Gift” of 12 Step recovery to the world through two low-bottom alchoholics is, for me, a testament to God’s love for us. Through these two broken men on the verge of death from their disease came a way of life that offers hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, acceptance to outcasts, and freedom from the enslavement to addiction.

    I have been a slave to my addiction for so long…and, my sexual addiction has been a cruel, loveless and all-demanding task-master who has only become more abusive and demanding as time has gone on. Just 2 1/2 months ago I had no hope of ever again being freed from my addiction. I had lost all hope of recovery and despaired of ever knowing happiness, joy, love, friendship, marriage, family, being of service to others, making a mark on the world. I had lost all hope of living life to the fullest with passion and gratitude. I believed my addiction had taken all of that from me forever.

    However, as in the post above, a “miracle” happened – my HP never let go of me and did for me what I could not do for myself…broke through my despair and gave me willingness to find a meeting. As I began attending meetings again, seemingly hoping against hope that I might find an answer for my addiction, I found more than just an answer. I found a group of fellow-travellers who knew exactly what I was going through because they had what I had and many of them had been through what I had been through.

    The joy of hearing another sex addict tell “your” story as they share from their own experience in a meeting. The wonder of watching a “newcomer” take a white chip and start the journey of recovery. The miracle of trusting my HP not only to keep me sober day by day, but to, as it says in the Old Testament, “…restore the years the locust has eaten.” The revelation of who I have been, who I am now and who I can become through working the Steps. The love and friendship of another sex-addict as they shake my hand after a meeting, give me a hug and say, “Thank you for your share tonight, I’ve had the exact same experience.”

    I could go on and on. That’s because the “Gift” that is recovery is the true “gift that keeps on giving.” The gifts and miracles of recovery simply do not stop and, so far, just get bigger and better.

  16. I had a number of failed attempts at recovery. First, I seeked help through therapy. I had a glimpse of hope and began to believe that it would work, And it was working. Unfortunately, the initial therapy work, lacked continued maintenance and I relapsed HARD! Then, I seeked 12-step recovery. The first night I was being shown the ropes by my first sponsor, I again saw a glimmer of hope. I was working that program to the best of my ability at the time. But the program did not fit me. So, I RELAPSED AGAIN! I tried again…I found a known therapy office for sexual addiction in Fort Lauderdale and I found SAA. I began to work the SAA program. I had a tough time getting sober again, but God graced me with the gift once again. I remember seating in a therapy session in Fort Lauderdale, stating “Its been a long ride, Its been a long ride”. As I was making this statement I could not help myself from crying. Thank God I found my fellowship, my fellows, and my therapist.

    I heard a message in the rooms. The message was, if you go back out there is no guarantee that you will make it back. And there is no guarantee that you will die. Living out the next 2 or 3 decades of my life in active addiction is terrifying.

  17. I identify with the middle aged man in this story, save an exception — my addiction started in middle age. Finding myself in a sexless marriage, and instead of dealing and confronting the matter, I sought sex outside the marriage. That led to a spiral as the addictive behavior took hold of my life. For years I lived a double life. The life my spouse, coworkers, family and neighbors knew. The other a man that sought out secret sexual encounters, engaged in bdsm and could not get enough of it.
    I knew getting caught was inevitable. When Tiger Woods infidelity became public, I told myself to stop else find myself in the same fate. I did stop, but only for a short while. I was caught again, lied, caught again and it became unsalvageable.

    Despite the injury that I have created, I have so much to be thankful for. I believe my God has saved me from having a worse life than could have happened. I have the gift of forgiveness from God. I have the gift of love from a devoted GF. I have the gift of my recovery tools, my sponsor, and being employed. My “hitting bottom” could have been a lot worse. Because of the gifts I have, I look forward to the 2nd half of my life, and looking to live in to the fullest, in sobriety.

  18. I can related to the hypothetical middle aged man because I am a middle aged man. I can related because I am a sex addict. But I can not relate to the pain as a child, nor from parents that were a party to the pain, as neither relate to me. My parents were loving, and if still alive & aware of my addiction, would be sad, worried, and no doubt disappointed I allowed myself to get in the condition I am in. My addition is my fault, for I decided to go into the pit. Thinking I liked the pit, I went further and further into it. Until I looked up and realized I was deep into a dark pit of addiction, and wanted out. Then I realized that I could not climb out of the pit by myself. I needed help. It’s like I needed a ladder, or rope; and someone to send it down to me. Thankfully people and programs such as this are there to help me climb out of this pit. Its a lot of work getting out of the pit, definitely more work climbing out…it’s like my addiction is gravity weighing me down. But each day I see myself getting closer to the top and closer to the sunlight above. I didnt’ get this far down in the pit in a short time period, and it wont’ be a short period for me to climb out; but I’m committed to getting out of this pit. I am thankful for my God and his forgiveness and love. That is a gift. I am thankful for this tool. it is a gift. I am thankful for SAA and having a local group. It is a gift. I am thankful for my GF and my sponsor. They are gifts. I have many gifts, even being in this pit. And I am thankful.

  19. Since I truly began my recovery the biggest gift I have received is the gift of life. I wasn’t living before. Was surviving one acting out episode to another going through life at a million miles an hour. Now I have stopped I hit rock bottom and thought my life was over the only way out was to end it. I thank god for being there and my sponsor my therapist and my wife. They never turned their backs on me they loved me through all I have done and they are still beside me helping me and loving me. They have all given me a gift. The gift of life and truly living from out of the dark place that was my addiction. I am learning to be honest, I am learning to love, I am learning to slow down and prioritize the important thing in life. I continue to receive gifts every day in my recovery but the greatest gift I have received and continue to receive is my life. The one I am in charge of with gods love and the support of my fellows and most importantly my wife I am learning to truly live life on life’s terms. Thank you father for your love and being here always for me

  20. For me my Gift of recovery was recognizing i was an addict without doubt and to commit to changing everything that stood in the way of recovery .Another gift i recieved was not being killed by my addiction so i could find recovery and make choices to live a life without the addict in me . without the gift of recovery the addition spirals wildly out of control without knowledge of its existence .Recovery makes more gifts presented to you as you work the steps .Gifts like clarity ,self worth ,patience and time .I know that i had to go through what had to happen in order to find the gift of recovery .

  21. Wow. This one struck at the core of me. When I read it I felt it was my life story. I still feel broken. I want to STOP the pain. STOP the agony. I know that suicide is not the answer. However, I feel that I am still that broken little boy who had to hide to survive. I constantly searching for the right path, that I where I have to rely upon my Higher Power to guide me.

    Higher Power, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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