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Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

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Step.

Another step taken.

Another step taken in this journey.

Another step in this journey of steps.

One journey.

Twelve steps.

Repeat.

The Turtle has been away .. away from blogging … away from the journey … on sabbatical.

The Turtle has been away because it is hard to find time to blog when there is no access to blogging while at work. The Turtle has been away because the journey is difficult and it is not always easy to recognize progress. The Turtle has been away because he is going through a dry spell. Spiritual dryness.

But there is reason to celebrate! After going through the pain of knee surgery and the loss of running as a source of exercise and meditation, I have returned to health. The return to running reached its culmination with this past Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon. I not only was able to participate and finish, I actually set a personal best time!!!

So now I feel like it’s time to return to blogging and participating more actively in this journey of steps that we all “recovery.” I am a sex addict who struggles with internet pornography and this blog is a tool I use to journal for my own development and to share my story with others.

It has been month’s since I have been on this blog. What has happened? Have I abandoned the Battle for Purity? Have I relapsed? Or has my recovery become complete?

No … no … and no.

Generally speaking, the journey has continued. I continue to struggle for purity and I continue to have ups and downs in that struggle. I can look back over the past year and see progress … but not perfection. The frequency of acting out with pornography has been declining. But I am nowhere close to the goal of purity to which I aspire.

That’s what makes this road so difficult. I want to be better … I want to no longer have the urge to act out. Anything less than purity or sobriety is a great disappointment to me. But I cannot let this disappointment turn into despair. I cannot let the absence of perfection lead to a willingness to give up altogether. Jesus came to this world, took on the form of humanity, and surrendered his life that I might be restored. My job is to keep fighting to be the man He calls me to be … especially when it is hard.

So here I am. A Turtle in recovery. A Turtle who seems to be always short of the goal. But a Turtle who will keep moving toward the goal.

One step at a time.

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My deal with God is simple today – he takes care of the abstinence; I take care of meetings, phone, and asking for help. In a way, I had an improper use of will for a long time. Trying to will myself not to act out never worked. But what I could will myself to do was to go to meetings, pick up the phone, and ask for God’s help.

+ SAA Green Book, 195

I have been struggling lately (how many of my check-ins star this way???). I started attending Wednesday Night SAA meetings to help with the process of surrender. I know that I cannot win the Battle for Purity on my own, and I have also learned that surrender and obedience are part of the formula for success for me. I need to be able to offer my obedience to something as an act of surrender. I cannot get this from my SALT Group because I am one of the leaders. So I went back to SAA (and still participate in weekly check-ins with my SALT Brothers).

Going to these weekly meetings has been helpful. I take off of my shoulders the responsibility for determining what is needed to stay sober and surrender to the guidance of the group. I take away from myself the right to be the judge of what is appropriate. I acknowledge that I am powerless over my addictive sexual behavior and that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.

But lately I have been bothered by part of the meeting. Each week we check-in with whether or not we have had a sober week. And almost every week I have to confess that I have not had a sober week.

This didn’t use to bother me as much, but it has really bothered me lately. I want to be able to tell the group that I have come a long way, that my acting out isn’t what it used to be, and that my slips are only once a week as opposed to week long binges. I want to be able to say that I have been “mostly sober.”

For the past two weeks this issue has bothered me so much that I have skipped the meetings.

That’s a mistake!!!

Yesterday was a meeting day. I started the day making the decision that I wasn’t going to attend because I had a single slip last week. Then I acted out again yesterday. This is a cycle that is going to rob me of my life. I have to surrender. NOW!!!

So it is time to go back to the basics.

It is time for the Serenity Prayer. I surrender what I cannot control – my addictive sexual behavior. I take responsibility for the things I can change – going to meetings, making phone calls, asking for help. And I give thanks to God for the grace that he gives.

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A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY


RECOVERY – AN INCH AT A TIME


“Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more.”
–Louis L’Amour

How much fuller each day feels when we can be patient and accept the inches we have progressed. Yet, we are aware of large problems which require miles of progress. We may want others in our lives to change quickly, we may be impatient with a work situation, or we may feel angry about an addiction.

Perhaps the spiritual message to us is we need to surrender to time. We are on the road moving in the direction of recovery. The forces of progress are at work. Our growth now may come in learning patience and trusting this process. Looking back we might see a mile of progress. It was made an inch at a time.

Today, I will accept my progress. There are many rewards already.

From Touchstones: A Book of Daily Meditations for Men ©1986, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.


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The Turtle feels grounded.  Grounded in a good way.  Lately it feels as if there has been a certain “groundedness” to the Battle for Purity.

I am still struggling in the Battle.  Purity is still the goal and still seems just beyond my grasp.  But for whatever it’s worth, I feel as if things are getting better.  I am acting out less often — about once a month.  And that feels like an accomplishment to me.  I don’t want to settle for this — I definitely want to continue the pursuit of perfection in the name of my Savior.  But I also don’t want to drown myself in shame for not yet realizing that goal.

There has been a change in my program.  I have returned to an SAA group (a twelve-step group for sex addiction) that I used to attend.  I am attending the group weekly.  There is nothing profound about the group.  We recite the serenity prayer, read through the twelve steps, check-in on whether we have had a sober week, listen to someone give a “step talk,” and then have a more detailed check-in with a small group.  But the regularity of checking in with a group of other men face-to-face on a weekly basis has given strength to my quest to overcome my addiction to internet pornography.

I feel grateful to be part of such a group.  I feel grateful for what the other men give to me by way of their affirmations and support.  And I hope that I am giving something back to the group in return.

It’s another step in the Battle.

Every step counts.

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THE CYCLE OF ADDICTION
(by Phil Monroe)

 


Often the cycle starts with certain triggers, external or internal circumstances that remind us of the allure of the pornography. These can come in the form of thoughts, experiences, feelings, situations, etc.

This leads to tempting thoughts in our own minds. We begin to ponder the idea of going back to the pornography.

This leads to “SUDS”: Seemingly Unimportant Decisions, the little decisions we make that get us closer to the object of our addiction. For instance: “I’m just going to check my email, nothing more.” “I’ll just get online, there’s no harm in that.” “I’ll only look for a little bit, but then I’ll stop.”

Finally, there’s an indulgence. Many times this indulgence is justified by a false sense of control: “I can handle this.”

You may also notice that there is a direct line from the triggers to indulgence. This is because many of us have been in this cycle of addiction for so long that we can’t even recognize when the tempting thoughts or the SUDS appear. We mindlessly move quickly from the triggers to indulgence.

After a time of indulgence we have these defeated interpretations of our sin. We have broken the promises we made to ourselves. We think we might as well just continue sinning because we have already indulged. This often leads to continued indulgence.

Eventually we get tired of that cycle of indulgence and defeated thoughts, so we move to the next stage of guilt, which really just prolongs the same defeated thoughts.

To assuage our guilt, we move into a time of penance: we try to get ourselves “clean” by doing something good.

This leads to a time of abstinence.

 

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Well, it’s time to take what I’ve learned over the past several days and put it into practice. Let’s see if I can figure out my feelings and do a check-in. 

FEELINGS

Sadness, fear, anxiety, hope, gratefulness

ISSUES

Keeping up with work load and re-connecting with Beth

NEEDS

I need to surrender all to Christ and give myself in obedience.

SOBRIETY

I have been sober since November 27th.

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DIARY OF AN ADDICT
(Repeat Post)


There were good words for the addict at today’s meeting. Conversation and reflection today gravitated to the issue of control. A number of the recovering addicts talked about the issue of control in their world. What things do we do to try to impose our wills on our surroundings?

One of the men pointed out that the greater the amount of stress he is experiencing, the more he tries to control. And we all agreed that we tend to put most of our efforts into controlling things we have no power over. We try to manage stress levels, triggering events, other people’s thoughts and behaviors, the flow of time, etc.

And we all tend to spend little time working on the things we do have power over: making phone calls, reaching out to other addicts, going to meetings, taking daily inventories, etc.

All this despite the fact that we begin and end every meeting with the Serenity Prayer. No wonder we’re addicts!

So today’s lesson for the addict:

Listen with your heart to the words of the Serenity Prayer!

THE SERENITY PRAYER

Wisdom comes from understanding what things we have power over, what things we don’t, and then focusing our efforts accordingly.

Addict, may you find serenity!


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