Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Secret Shame - - Part 5

I got myself a sponsor and I began to work the steps. The first step was to admit that I was powerless over my addictive sexual behavior and that it had made my life unmanageable. I didn't have any problem accepting that in theory. Even so, it was difficult to let go of an addiction that had, at one point, been my friend.

I began to focus on staying abstinent from toxic and inappropriate behaviors one day at a time. During many points, I had to cut that down to an hour or even a minute at a time. Sometimes I simply felt as if I was coming out of my skin. Whenever I could put together a few days or weeks of abstinence, I would feel as if God had worked a miracle within my life.

Then I would find myself allowing myself to fall back into the addiction. Recovery wasn't going to be easy and no one made that promise to me. Even so, I kept going to meetings. I felt as if my emotional life depended upon it. Truth be told, I always felt better after I'd gone to a meeting even though it often felt like pulling teeth in order to get myself to attend in the first place.

Within a few months, I gave a formal first step presentation to the group. I talked intimately and honestly about my sexual behaviors and how they had made my life unmanageable. It truly helped me understand how powerless I was over the addiction at that point in my recovery.

I felt a tremendous weight lifted off me following my presentation. I was told by the other members that they loved me and could relate to my experience. They told me how honored they were that I honestly shared my story with them. It was such a cathartic experience as years of shame seemed to melt away.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with newly recovering people, I went out of the program a year and a half later during a difficult period in my life. The subsequent shame of not coming back only kept me away that much longer.

I went back into my addiction with a sense of sad resignation. I became apathetic and managed to let go of my guilt toward cheating on my partner since we had stopped becoming sexual with each other. I rationalized my outside sexual behaviors as acceptable since I deserved to have sex.

Truth be told, I was the one who had stopped that part of our relationship. Unable to allow or know what intimacy was, I preferred to have sex with others. It would be a long time before another bottom finally brought me back into recovery. That happened twelve years later.

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