Two Young!!!

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The last time I blogged, I wrote about putting my program down. Now I am a strong believer in if you put your program down, you will be in a heap load of pain. This is true for me in the sense that I relapsed (on the sex stuff). The interesting paradox, is that the lessons come after the pain and I guess it was a risk worth taking. I learnt so much in the last month! Whereas before I was too afraid to stop doing the work, because I thought I was going to die.

I learnt to sit with a feeling. I learnt that I am not going to die when life gets unmanageable and I learnt that when life gets really bad, all I need to do is pick up my program. I have my ex girlfriend to thank for that – or my qualifier as they call it in this 12 step fellowship. We came into recovery together. We broke up after a year and in a desperate attempt to not relapse on drugs I started working a program like my life depended on it. The result was entering into a group, which made top lines a priority (my top lines were going for walks on the beach, doing comedy classes, socialising, talking to people… the list goes on!). For any normy, this would sound like day to day activities. If you are an addict like me, writing out these things as a good behaviour goal, stops me from either compulsively over working or spending the entire day in bed without showering.

It’s interesting, because I started this blog post before I lapsed and now I am finishing it after and the shift is fascinating. I had so much hope and strength in my bones before and now I feel slightly defeated. I am only on day 1 (well tomorrow will technically be day 1) – When I first entered this program, I relapsed that many times, that I was well aware of how each day felt leading up to day 30. Day 1,2 & 3 are all ok, because the high of acting out hasn’t quite worn off yet. Day 4 & 5 whatever pain you were trying to mask with acting out hits like a ton of bricks, compounded with guilt, shame and remorse. In my opinion, if you survive day 4 & 5, you can survive anything. By day 10, some normality starts to enter your life again and you feel like life is actually possible. And by day 20, you start to feel really good. – Well this is my experience anyway. It is by day 20 that I start to feel so good that I forget the pain and 20-23 I forget the pain to such an extent that I become cocky with my recovery – I think I start to glow when I feel that good and all of a sudden people just start coming out of the woodworks (temptations!) – If somehow you can sustain abstinence through this period, the drive to get 30 days outweighs the temptation and, somehow I tend to be able to white knuckle it there. Once I hit day 45 I feel absolute relief. So that is my goal – 90 days, but I will begin by aiming for 45 and doing it one day at a time. I have done 9 months of sustained sobriety, so I am happy to do it again, plus I have therapy in 21 days… pointless doing therapy while acting out.

So why the relapse? One could say it’s from sober dating someone without a secure attachment style. I wish that was the reason, but that was the slip, not the relapse. Last Monday, I unlocked some major childhood trauma in a brain spotting session with my therapist. My dad used to punish me by locking me in the cupboard, until I stopped crying. This happened when I was only 5 years old and cripples me in every area of my life today! The fear of getting things wrong, being punished and abandoned, causes me so much anxiety in work, relationship and even food, I had to sit with this feeling this week. I slipped with this girl, by going too far into physical intimacy. After the slip, I simply recommitted to my program and it was a great solution. I did a meeting every night, started working through the “Facing the Shadows” workbook – Patrick Carnes and picked up my 10th and 11th step.

What got revealed was my pattern of preoccupation – ritualisation – sexual acting out – despair, then the cycle repeats itself. I thought I did a sterling job of arresting it in it’s first cycle, but I spoke to my mom on the phone last night and we spoke about the abuse. She brought up that my dad did it to me when I was going through my terrible two’s… My heart sank, it still sinks and I well up (and I’m still in the fogginess of acting out – so I don’t even want to imagine the pain that is on its way) – I can’t help but picture a two year old girl being thrown into the cupboard and left there. My heart hurts!

I don’t really have that much more to say about that, because it’s still really raw and painful. My life makes sense though, why I am so full of fear and have such high expectations of myself. Why I always want to hide and any expression needs suppression… I was 2 years old, how the hell was I supposed to know what was right and wrong!?!

I relapsed on masturbation and even after I tried to numb out, I am still in tears writing this. I know acting out is not the solution. I also know I am going to be in even more pain soon. I know I wont die though and I know I have the tools to get me through. God has got me, as always! Just needed to get honest. This is my road to recovery. It’s not always going to be strength and hope. I am still going regardless… not sure how, but I am still here.

Recovering My True Self

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Whoo hoo! I’m back!!! 🙂

I have been on quite a journey in the last month. It has been a real period of self discovery! I had been going flat out with recovery, since about April last year. I was in a desperate amount of pain after breaking up with my ex, the woman who I moved to Australia for. Since the break up, I did a step one on her and a step four on her in the drug program, but that really didn’t work. 6 months later, I fell into the love fellowship on my knees and desperate to fill the empty space that was so dark and lonely, it made death the more palatable option. I was scared. I didn’t want to die. It took every last bit of strength and God, to stop me from giving up entirely.

I started the steps in the love fellowship and in the process realised my codependent tendencies, so I started the first 14 days of questions in that too. I was acting out with workaholism and at the beginning my sex addiction was running rampage. I acquired a little self worth in the codependent program and managed to walk away from my job and a boss who was gas lighting me. I also managed to get more than 30 day abstinence with the sex and love stuff too. What I was left with, was the beginning of a life worth holding on to and that darn empty space!!! Somebody suggested therapy. I took the woman’s number, but with the ‘glamorous’ childhood I had, I really didn’t see how I could possibly need therapy (completely overlooking the fact that I had been to therapist after therapist since I was 14).

One day I was at home and I was completely overwhelmed with shame after receiving a message from my former boss. I was ready to throw in the towel and it was then and there that God gave me the strength to reach out to this woman. She called me and it was an instant connection. I had no idea how I was going to pay for these sessions, considering I had just walked away from my job, but I was desperate and I would have done anything at that point. What followed was a gruelling commitment to self recovery – Recovery from addiction, is in actual fact, recovery of my true authentic self (you know the one that was there before the dysfunctional family systems and societal jading).

Since February I have worked through books. Before then I didn’t even read. Books like: Claudia Black – Changing Course; Jerrold Mundis – Earn What You Deserve (Turns out I had a money addiction too); Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan – Money Drunk Money Sober. Charlotte Kasl – Women, Sex & Addiction; Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel; Patrick Carnes – Facing the Shadows. I have finished the 12 steps in the love fellowship. I started in the money fellowship, got up to step 3, put it down and picked it up again. I did an improv comedy course. Have just started listening to a guide to stand up and writing jokes – this was all while working and studying. Every time I put my program down, I would get into a heap load of pain, so I was afraid to stop. I was even frantic around doing heavy therapy sessions fortnightly and writing this blog.

Now I don’t know if I had a spiritual awakening, but it sure feels like one (Many actually! Every time I turn my head one whacks me in the face – it’s like a profound realisation!). One month ago, I threw in the towel on therapy. I went into the session and just said I just cant do anymore. I wanted to live the life I had worked so hard to recover. My therapist supported me in a way so gentle, I have really just tried to carry it to everyone I deal with – it is a love and a gentleness that I had never experienced before.

After making that decision, which for me was the first step toward empowerment and independence, everything started to change. I booked a trip to Sydney. Reconnected with a love interest. Had a near fall out with my best friend, which pulled out my deepest abandonment wound and put me into the most vulnerable place I have ever been – I was naked and frail and so aware of my humanness AND I didn’t die! (I was able to self soothe and even though I had ‘lost’ my best friend, I was ok!) – It was there I let go of the self judgement and shame. I could see my defects and was able to make amends for the behaviour (taking people’s inventory). Seeing my humanness, helped me see it in other people and it is there I found true love for self.

I put my program down for that month, but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I have been able to start dating and start breaking the sober dating guidelines, but I go easy on myself. I am an addict, I am not always going to get it right! I got into pain around the money stuff, so I recommitted. As a result opportunities are falling out of the sky and God is actually giving me the courage to follow up on business and feel worthy of that business and feel good about the work I do. “Gentle judgement free approach to self” – I wrote that down as one of my top/bottom lines a year ago and I finally get to practice it.

Tomorrow I will do 5 rhythms, then go and ride a horse that somebody wants me to compete. I’ll go and watch a comedy shoe in the evening (Nadine Sparks) – an inspiration in my pursuit of my comedy career. And then ending off on a night out dancing in the LGBTIQ community. All four of these things are on my list of esteemable acts. I am blessed. I am working a program, but not like my life depends on it and I am living that life I have always dreamed of. This stuff works and the moments of stillness in my mind, make the work totally worth it!

Feeling love today and feeling SO grateful!

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.

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