The Gruesome Truth

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Twelve steps in Sex & Love Fellowship done! 🙂 I totally did them to prove a point, but who cares what the motivation is for positive behaviour, because at least now they are done once completely. I feel really content and I have had the pleasure of experiencing the quietness of mind, even through slippery times.

My major excitement comes at the fact that I can now recommit to the money program. I can address the compulsive need to prove, because that is one of the symptoms, and get to work at setting goals for life and building self worth. For me, through my experience (and now I can say it, because I did put all other programs down, just to work on one) – I need to work programs simultaneously, because really my addiction is forever manifesting and one of my triggers for acting out sexually is financial stress. So I have contacted my money sponsor and tonight I have set the intention to recommit to that program, while running the sex stuff parallel.

Working through Chapter One of Patrick Carnes, “Facing the Shadows” has just smashed through the denial and the cockiness I developed through sustained sobriety. I am a sex addict, who loves to play the victim of crazy lovers or of misplaced love… playing myself a concerto on the world’s smallest violin. When the truth is, I am a hunter, a predator if you must. I am just “a shy little, blonde girl”, so you would never guess it. I got away with this disguise loads in my active drug addiction. I was a dealer, who used to get off on getting away with ‘murder’, because the cops never questioned my involvement in anything.

The truth hurts! While working through the book, I couldn’t stop shaking my head in shame. I know I have a disease, but I am not proud of my behaviour and seeing the beast in it’s vulgarness is confronting beyond words. Thank God I am used to doing my 10th without self-condemnation… that alone has softened the blow. For so long, I chose to turn my back on my past for fear of looking at it. So ashamed of what I have done. Thats what makes recovery hard for my avoidant self. The only way to heal from it is to look at it and learn from it.

Today I am grateful for the determination to carry on. This is more God’s success than mine and I am so appreciative of the fact that I am able to move onto the other side of this pain, where the learning is.

Recommitted

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I have been on somewhat of a wobbly road lately. I have looked a relapse in the face and somehow managed to avoid it. I’m not out of trouble yet and I am treading hard to stay afloat. I guess you can say I’ve fallen into the river, but I am still holding onto a branch on the bank… Just.

I spent yesterday in complete resistance. I have never felt that way towards program before. I literally was ready to give up. Throw in the towel. Call the girl and act out. I white knuckled yesterday. I didn’t do any step work to get relief, nor did I ask God for any help… The result? I acted out with sex with self, for the first time in 5 months. I justify it by saying I stayed connected with my body and it was a once off and brief, but the truth is a slip, is a slip, is a slip… no matter what the nature.

If I’m honest, I have been on the slippery slope for a month now and denial was lathered on so thick, I pulled the wool over my own eyes. As I work through the “Facing the Shadows” book, I am seeing it clear as day. I am a sex addict through and through and 8 months of sobriety just made me cocky. This disease is so much smarter than me!

This morning I recommitted to my program. I am on the 12th step and after thats done, I will throw myself into the money program, because thats the next issue… not the money, rather my self worth. When I woke up, the last thing I felt like doing was getting up 2 hours earlier to do my morning program, but the truth is, that it has been the only thing keeping me sober and choosing not to do it, is choosing to relapse. I pried myself out of bed. Prayer, meditation, step work, journal and Patrick Carnes workbook… I am proud of myself. Today felt bearable and I managed to refrain from using the whip on myself for yesterday’s slip.

The goal for the week now is to recommit to the exercise routine (this includes yoga) – I need it daily – and there is probably a huge calling for some more relationship recovery meetings. My life has gone seriously off track. Not enough for anybody else to notice, but I started obsessing and stopped living. It’s no wonder I am lonely and searching outside of myself for someone to fill the void. I am recommitting to myself (my wife – that awesome woman I married 3 months ago.) – I got distracted by another woman. I pray to forgive myself and continue the relationship with the person that matters the most – Me.

The Life on top of a Lonely Heart

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I feel I should start this off by talking about the gifts of recovery. Well the most current gifts, that is. Last night I got to travel down south to the Bellarine Peninsula to visit my home away from home. A couple, I met almost a year ago, live down that way and they have been the closest thing I have to family here in Australia. I met Jules on the showjumping circuit and have visited her and her partner, Marco, monthly since November.

Each visit they invite me into their home, welcome me. We cook sensational food together. We do the most magnificent, breath taking beach riding that one could possibly hope to experience in a lifetime. We listen to great music, have flowing conversations. Oh my word, we eat until we are too full, you have to roll off of your chair and lie in front of the fire for an hour, before you are able to get up and go to bed. We play rummikub and laugh like no one is watching. It is beautiful, nurturing and free! I am so blessed and grateful. It is one true gift of staying sober.

Each time I visit, I see how far I have come in my recovery. It is like a milestone for me. Each time I realise how much more comfortable I have become in my own skin and how much lovelier, lovely people become. Also their humanness became apparent. Instead of pedestalising these ‘Gods’ who just have their shit together the whole time. I got to see the people behind the front. But for some reason I don’t think it is them who have been hiding, but rather me who was unable to see such vulnerability until such a time as I have experienced it.

Another gift, though it is hard to acknowledge it as that. Is the gift of feelings. I have been somewhat overwhelmed by what has come up for me in the last two days.  In my therapy session I became aware of how I grip onto my pelvic floor as a trauma response, I thought it was only when I got nervous, but it turns out I do it all the time. I grab it when I look in the mirror, because I have this idea of how my body should look and how flat my tummy ‘should be’. I have been so body conscious after the session and have actively been working on disengaging that muscle. My sponsor suggested a way to relax it. I listened to Peter A. Levine – Healing the Sacred Wound – The first time I watched it, I tried it and burst out laughing, but I will continue to practice until it becomes a part of my routine.

Consciously releasing my pelvic floor has given me heightened (or in this case, revived) sensation in the lower half of my body. I feel like the Vagus nerve Levine talks about, has been restricted for a very long time and all of a sudden I have this awareness around sensations in parts of my body, which prior to this release, I have been totally disassociated from. It’s nuts! Makes me ashamed to proclaim body awareness as a pilates instructor. That I can teach awareness and exercise none. – The result is a depth of unprocessed emotion sitting on the floor of my pelvis, that feels overwhelming and at times a little unbearable.

I have this beautiful life, yet I sit here with this sadness and loneliness I didn’t even know was there. This is an old wound, I know. Through letting this muscle go, my guard has started to drop. That became apparent with my Bellarine family. I outreached to one of my support friends earlier and had a massive realisation. I have never been the one requiring the support, so my support network are those I can provide support to, not necessarily the people who are able to support me. I started to break down to her and she asked “where is God in this?” (A generic response) – I thought, “God is sitting right next to me, where God has always been… I am not asking where God is, rather, where are the rest of the people?”

We sat in silence for a bit, then I did what I’ve always done and turned the conversation back onto her. I listened in a broken state, generic and unauthentic. I felt deflated. My friend is a really special soul. I give her no discredit. It is me who, time and again, fails to let people in. Whether it is because I don’t want to be burdensome or if it is because I don’t feel worthy. I continue to shut the door. I put my arm out and I keep you there. Desperate to be close, but too afraid to take a step towards you. Yearning for connection, but turning to bolt when it starts to come towards me. You can have my time and everything I could possible give you, but not me…

It’s interesting. With this new found awareness, I am sure the change will come. Though bleak, the light still peers through the cracks and shines hope into my dark and lonely heart. A heart that has been locked away from the world for a very long time.

 

Almost slipped into the River

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I have spoken before about my addiction to love, or intrigue, rather, being similar to being swept away by a raging river… Turns out Patrick Carnes has the same analogy – I am sure his came long before mine hahaha, but it is funny that the description is identical and I have only just started reading his book “Facing the Shadows”.

I haven’t blogged in a few days and the reason for this, is that I have been in a bit of withdrawal from an intrigue – technically I didn’t slip, but I came pretty darn close and the withdrawal feels just as painful. The only difference, this time,  is that I only paused my life for a little bit and I am back on my feet quite quickly – Thank God!

Having been so swept up in this fantasy with this girl, I lost myself completely. What do I like to do?

  • I love to cook – I couldn’t even spice my nut granola for breakfasts while courting this girl.
  • I love to blog every night – this is my first post in three days.
  • I love comedy – We spoke a lot about comedy while we were intriguing, but it was about shows we wanted to see together and about comedians we enjoyed (which was a massive hook, because I felt supported with my dream to do stand up), but the comedy became more about the motive to flirt than the comedy itself.
  • I love music – she’s a musician, so my world became wrapped up in her music and what she played. What music is she in to and how can I use that to my advantage in the art of seduction – all of a sudden we are talking about sex and music is hardly featuring (it became all about how can I use this music thing, to get what I want –  carefully constructed playlists to set a mood to achieve a desired outcome – manipulation at it’s finest)

My program and my self care went out the window… I stopped showing up for myself and all of a sudden this fear of being alone crept in – I have been single for 16 months and 8 months away from acting out sexually – before this girl, I had absolutely NO problem sitting in silence. All of a sudden I am making phone calls to her to fill the empty space – what is that about?

So how do I cope with this kind of thing? Well, firstly I took a few days off (it is by the grace of God that this happened on a week where I could afford to do that and uni holidays are on for the next 2 weeks). Luckily my fortnightly therapy session fell on day 3 of the process. We could bottom line this new intrigue. I blocked her on social media platforms. We put together a contingency plan should she be at a meeting I’m at (LEAVE! 😉 ) – After the session I went home and took a nap – It was heavenly! I did some work and then decided I wanted to cook.

I spent 5 hours in the kitchen (which for me is my idea of paradise!) – I cooked a Thai red beef curry, but made a vegetarian version with tofu for my flatmate. I found out that if you pressed the tofu and then marinated it, it soaks up flavour much better – The result was delicious – The reward was getting to have dinner with my housemate (carb free I might add, with Cauli-rice as the rice alternative) – She loved it and that is actually what I live for. I put so much love into the food that I cook and to get to give that to someone and see their appreciation and enjoyment is one of my esteemable acts. She made carb free nut bars, which I had the pleasure of enjoying as a treat today.

My therapist gave me the “Facing the Shadows” book and I have been working on that for part of this morning. I am quite triggered, but that is to be expected. Looking at the ways I have acted out sexually is a really good blueprint to make sure I don’t continue to repeat the same behaviour. Aware of how triggering this process can be, I have made plans to see my sponsor tonight and before that I am going to take a bath. As part of my money program I have to shift my budget from driving to using public transport, so that way I will get my walk in too for the day too.

I’m back on track, but fighting hard for my sobriety. 8 months sober and I can still slip as easily as if I was on day 1. This disease is sneaky and much smarter that I could ever hope to be. I am blessed to be on my eleventh step right now, because it is now more than ever that I need God’s help. Working on that relationship everyday is the thing I need to be focused on. One day at a time, one minute at a time. One foot in front of the other. This morning I started by making my bed and the rest followed – This Helped: A little inspiration

Consumed

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An addict resides inside my head
She lies, still and dormant, you’d think she’s dead
She pulls the wool and blocks my stare
So cunning and baffling, I forget she’s there

She stuns me with her cloak of denial
My purest of intentions, turn black and vile
It matters not if you are the softest thing
She’ll drag you along, on a string

No part of you bothered to consider
She’ll blow you of for a higher bidder
For a more palatable flavour of the week
Passes you up as tongue-in-cheek

You try to love her – she tries to score
She leaves you bleeding on the floor
My power gone, I am all consumed
My body a shell, she keeps groomed

To seduce you and to get her way
I am insane, to think I have a say
She may be quite, but she is always awake
Waiting, whip in hand for my mistake

I tear through everything trying to run
I cry in a corner – what have I done?
The pain scars the faces of those I hold dear
Who were scorned by my reaction as I tore through in fear

Shaking my head, my hands cover my face
My mind beats me down, “you are a disgrace!”
Shamefully I glance back at all the debris
God please help! This is killing me!

C’mon Australia, Catch up!!!

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If a multicultural college can get behind gay marriage, with students from countries whose core beliefs are relatively homophobic, to say the least. Why can’t the Australian government?

On Saturday (26 August 2017) we will all march in Melbourne for Marriage Equality. Gay People, Lesbian People, Transgender People, Straight People, Intersex People, Bisexual People… We are all just People!!! Why be the breeding ground for discrimination? I can’t help who I am, nor can I help who I love, why should I be punished for it?

Love is Love and People are People… It doesn’t matter what your preference is!

Today, I became my Hero

I have been hormone fuelled, which for me is the time of the month that feels the most uncomfortable, but man is it effective! Just to recap, I have left a job, where I was being exploited and another time, when moved out of the country and into the city all because of my hormones. This instant is no different!

Last week Friday, I got a call from my team leader offering me my dream job (well, my dream for now, but really a job I can not wait to do!) – He offered me a job as a case manager. He said that someone would get in touch this week to confirm details. I got a call, on Monday, from my other team leader to welcome me to the team. She asked me when I would be starting. Still thrilled and on a high, I told her I had no idea, but I would let her know the moment someone contacted me.

A little disheartened, having heard nothing by Tuesday afternoon, I took action. I sent a text to enquire. Something I would never do – I am an underearner, see for me to come out of hiding and potentially upset anyone, is total taboo. (because I feel responsible for people after all 😉 ) I would rather say nothing and just sit with the unknowing. Anyway, after taking the leap of faith, which may seem simple to many, but in my life, it was huge. My manager called – The big boss. She started to outline the job, worked out the days, so it didn’t conflict with my work rights or uni and started to discuss the start date. I was bursting out of my skin with excitement and used every bit of self control to keep my voice from shaking.

Then the topic of pay came up (vomit!!!) – Thanks to some hefty clarity around my finances, having been in a money program for just over 3 months, I had already worked out my hourly rate and knew exactly what I was willing to accept. She offered me a pay rise on the awards scale, but because of the absence of penalty rates that I usually get for working on weekend, it is substantially lower than what I am earning. “But it’s the job you want Nicole, it’s great experience… IT’S A PROMOTION!!!”, “so shut up and take what she is offering!!!” – That was the voice in my head.

It took every once of courage that I had in my bones and all the help from my Higher Power, to say, “Thank you for the offer, but I am not sure that is going to work.”. She was flexible to hearing my part. I asked her to leave it with me for the evening, to see what I could come up with the numbers. I was scared and in a little obsession. I have NEVER stuck up for myself like that before and the feelings of doubt and regret came creeping in. I spent the evening with the numbers, knowing full well that I would have to turn down the offer. I prayed and called her back this morning. I explained that I couldn’t make ends meet on the wage she was offering me and with compassion, she asked me to send through an email with what we had discussed, so that she could see what she could do.

She sent me an email offering me a higher rate, but it was still not enough. It was flattering, but the clarity on numbers and the commitment to not under earn one day at a time, is embedded in my being right  now. Do I hope she comes back and meets me on the other side? Hell Yeah!!! I would love the job! But a girl’s gotta eat… I asked for what I needed and the rest is in God’s hands. The victory is that I asked… I took a proactive step to changing the way I have behaved, my whole life. That is what recovery is about. I showed up for me. I became my own hero. I became the kind of person I used to watch negotiate and admire for speaking their truth. The outcome is just a byproduct – Leaping off the cliff in faith – it is there, where the success lies.

Had to use the “Power Pose’ outlined in this TEDtalk. Amy Cuddy‘s method really works. Try it. I dare you! 😉

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Addict Uncovered

If you have been following previous posts, you are well aware of the struggle I have been having with intrigue. I have been yoyo-ing back and fourth for several days, about whether or not I should try going on a sober date or if I should just run for the hills. After much contemplation, I decided to run, for fear of loosing control of myself. Being the all or nothing kind of girl that I am, not only did I run away. I asked to cut contact. She respected my boundary, which I was really grateful for, because I was really kicking and screaming setting that one and battling to hold it in place.

We managed to last 3 days. I went to a meeting last night and she was there. I found it impossible to stop looking at her. So at the end of the meeting when her friend invited me to join them for dinner, naturally all resistance crumbled. I said yes and four us embarked on a Japanese experience, where the conversation flowed beautifully and the sexual tension was laid on thick between us. When the night was over I was left totally stimulated and salivating. So naturally I did the ‘responsible’ thing when I got home… I called her! (Hahaha! Bloody hell!!!)

We spoke on the phone for 2 hours and the conversation got really heated at many points. I was engrossed and totally entertaining the sexual intrigue. I was loving it! And hugely ashamed at the same time (typical of my addict behaviour) – I was frazzled by the end and was practically kissing my sobriety goodbye, when she asked me a question that changed EVERYTHING!  She said to me, “I really want to get to know you Nicole. Do you want to get to know me?” – I felt choked up and searched my brain for an answer… I let out a little giggle as I realised, I had no fucking idea! The only thing that was on my mind was sex! Asking me if I wanted to get to know her was as baffling to me, as asking, “What is the meaning of life?” – Hahahaha… Who Knows?!? – Not me!

It sounds crude and degrading and I really mean no disrespect to this woman, she is pretty cool, I think? 🙂 … It was in that moment and through that realisation of not knowing, that the fantasy was shattered and in front of me standing clear as day I saw my addict self. The light shinning brightly on every conversation we had ever had. How they were laced with ulterior motives and impure intentions. They were all driven by sex and seduction. I was delusional!

Now that I have seen my addict self and I am no longer consumed by her, I agreed to meet this woman for coffee. We went with the purpose of getting to know one another… I must say, it is truly amazing how little substance conversations have without intrigue. I feel like I am learning how to talk, it felt so unnatural – like, you have to think of questions and shit… and what do I really want to know? Smooth pick up lines slip out so easily, whereas this felt like stage fright at a comedy festival… awkward and uncomfortable!

So I’d like to say thank you, God! My Higher Power did for me what I could not do for myself. I was able to move through the fear and instead of being left deprived and wanting, I found myself in a situation that was simply was nowhere near as glamorous as the one I had built up in my head. The bubble has been burst and I am left with reality in all its imperfection… It’s Amazing! The truth has set me free – and I even learnt a little more about me today. Winning!

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Spiritual Sulk

 

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I’ve had a bit of a full on 3 days. I found myself in bed by 8:30pm last night, totally exhausted. I have been experiencing some pretty amazing intrigue. I was in a huge amount of obsession about it, until I threw in the towel and agreed to go on a sober date with her. I calmed down and accepted that it was going to happen and I was going with the intention of discovering the truth. Either I would have gone and bursted the fantasy bubble, or I would have found myself really liking her.

Both options sounded pretty good to me, until I had my therapy session and we spoke about those darn red flags and the fact that I haven’t even come off my training wheels yet in the love department. My therapist suggested I go and that it was simply a date and it was really either going to be all or nothing… We spoke about the fact that this woman only got out of a relationship 4 months ago, which was actually a big red flag for me and secondly she shares a very small 12 step fellowship with me, so if it doesn’t work, there may be some consequences and limitations around which meetings I can go to etc.

I sat through the entire session, convinced I was going to meet her on Saturday to burst the bubble. When I got home I didn’t do much, because the rest of the session was quite confronting and I had been smacked emotionally. I spoke to the girl before going to bed and the conversation was heavenly. She played me a song and I fell asleep totally peaceful. The last part of my dream before I woke up was of me kissing her… It was incredible! It was at that moment (or at least the moment when I woke up) that I realised that if the bubble got burst it would be ideal, but what if it didn’t? I would be in some major trouble!!! If I went out and had a really meaningful date and developed even more feelings there would be absolutely NO way of backing out of it. So despairingly and reluctantly, I called it off. I am angry with myself for doing it and I have to talk myself back into the decision every hour or so, but I know it’s the right thing… The timing is off.

It’s short term pain for long term gain. My therapist has got more of an issue than I do about dating someone in 12 step, what I do have an issue with is the fact that after 4 months, I am probably just the rebound and thats not going to change without some accumulation of time. So I have to hit the pause button. I think I will probably need to date a few people out of fellowship first so I can loose the training wheels before I go stuffing up so close to home.

I say all of this with my arms folded across my chest, like a kid whose just had their toys taken away from them. I was feeling sulky and very sorry for myself. I was doing loads of step work for some relief, but the obsession first thing is really hard to beat. It slips in the door before any program can and I find myself loosing time stuck in the fantasy of what I think will be (which is probably the furtherest thing from the truth). I had to hammer out my step work, pray, write about it and listen for God’s answer. I took my computer out into the kitchen sitting area, I started doing even more step work – Then God decided to come in.

I got a phone call from my team leader. He called to offer me the job that I have been dreaming about, just out of the blue like that. I honestly expressed my excitement and this coming Monday the big boss is going to call me to discuss further. The job is as a case manager. I only started working in the industry 6 months ago and have only just started studying. I got the job I was hoping to get at the end of my diploma now and I didn’t have to do anything to get it. I just had to keep showing up and putting one foot in front of the other. The universe rewards good actions and God is looking after me when I am sad. I am grateful and lucky and so freaking blessed! A dream life is unfolding in front of my eyes. Sometimes I have to make some really tough decisions, but thats ok, because if I just keep putting myself first God gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams. God gives me a life worth staying sober for.

Sober Dating Hey?

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So I have had an interesting day to say the least. When I asked for God’s will this morning as per my 10th step and listened out for it, the only thing that came up was sleep. So I went back to sleep for an hour and when I woke up, I saw that the volunteering I do was cancelled due to bad weather. This was such a blessing as I went straight back to sleep and woke up at 8:30am, which was heavenly.

I got myself into a spin, because after 2 hours of solid program work, I picked up the phone to an intrigue. I spoke to her for an hour and the conversation was funny and cool and something I ended up judging myself on, because “I’m not ready!”. I started having “it’s the end of the world” kind of thinking, as I have wasted my whole day just talking to this woman and obsessing about her, I shouldn’t be doing this and I am in so much trouble! My head was firing thoughts like a machine gun and I felt frantic and a bit ashamed.

Instead of doing what I’ve always done and kept these feelings to myself. I shared it with other members, then my action buddy called me. After listing the actions I had accomplished, despite my intrigue, I was actually quite proud of myself. I kept feeling like I was putting my life on hold, when in actual fact my uni work, program, admin and business card design were all going off… Hell I even typed up the minutes for a new 12 step relationship meeting I have the pleasure of being part of opening. I settled after I had the opportunity to acknowledge my work. Then, as if God was watching, just waiting for the opportune moment. My sponsor called me out of the blue. She wanted to share some of her stuff and because we were a mutual support source for each other, before we commenced with the whole sponsor/sponsee relationship… I was able to hear her out and be her support, while sharing my story and gaining some great insight and guidance.

So the result?… Sober dating! Hahaha!!! I never thought I’d see the day I could say that and actually be happy with the words I am putting down. But what a relief!!! All that frantic energy is gone. It’s like I stopped feeling like I was failing this whole thing and just accepted that this was the end goal anyway. I am not going off to marry this girl. I am just going to meet up every now and again and get to know her. That 8 months of abstinence will give me a good enough perspective on what I want and what I don’t. It’s ok to trust that! And if it gets too much, as per my housemate’s suggestion, I can take a time out. A few days or a week, just to reflect, find myself and reassess.

We’ll go to the park on Saturday and just spend time getting to know each other. Hahaha, feels healthy. I am happy. I was frazzled, I applied program and… Voila! Serenity 😉