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Feb. 18th, 2010


End of the trail.

From my first entry on May 16, 2007 ...
"My goal is for this journal to eventually "peter out" for lack of a better word. It may be due to giving up, but I hope it is because as I get further in my walk my need for a tool to depend on will decrease.Hopefully leaving something in my wake that will be useful for someone else."

It's been almost 3 years since this first entry, and I am almost 2.5 years sober now. I can honestly look back at these few years and say that although tough, the decision to turn away from this way of life was the best thing I could ever done. The 12-Step fellowship that helped me on the right road really did allow me to become happy, joyous, and more importantly - free. It allowed me to have goals again, free time, hobbies, and definitely gave me back a relationship with my spouse and children.

So I come back to my journal, which I really did depend on, and look at one of the first opening paragraphs. I had hoped this tool would outlive it's usefulness for me, but be a worn path for another to follow. I think I have accomplished that.

So although I am writing the final chapter here, know the epilogue is a happy one. I got my life back.

So if you are here because you know someone suffering from this addiction, or suffer yourself, I hope you find some comfort or guidance in my writing. Feel free to start at the first entry and work through, or search the archive for a topic that strikes you.

Maybe some of these links will help in your search:

Keep in mind, I am not a saint and at least 1/2 of this was written as I was in addictive mode, figuring my way to the 12-Step process. So there is very frank talk of sex, masturbation, and occasionally foul language. However, I think you will find a lot of insight and hope as you read along.

So for those reading this entry, I wish you luck. Remember this is bigger than you and you will have to go outside yourself for help. But once you take that huge step - you suddenly can stand tall, look the world in the eye, and stand free.

Good luck in your journey and may God guide you as only he would know how.

If for any reason you need some one on one guidance, please feel free to e-mail me directly at sawyerswalk @ gmail.com.

Jan. 21st, 2009


One Big Holy and Dysfunctional Family.

There is a step beyond "surrender" in your recovery, it's call "acceptance". I remember once, a well respected SA once told me - "I haven't surrendered anything that didn't have claw marks in it". When we surrender and give things to God - we in essence admit powerlessness and the desire to worry about it anymore. But time and again, our own will power comes welling fourth and we have a tendency to reach out and grab back what we surrendered to God.

The good news is no one is perfect, I have done this many times. God is patient enough that as long as you open the door of "willingness" the crisis you surrendered only 2 days ago (and grabbed back yesterday) can be given back to God. You essentially give the wheel back over to one that can drive a little better than you.

But that constant, "here you go" and "I want it back" can get tiring over the long run - like a bad game of "hot potato".

That is where "acceptance" comes in. It's truly letting go and leaving it be. At first you mourn as if you failed, but I came to realize "acceptance" is not that this crisis will be as it is forever. It just means, this is how that crisis is now and may very well change in the future. It could very well suck for the rest of my life, or after truly letting go - God can finally work and turn it into something wonderful.

I am glad acceptance is not really hammered home early in the steps, and only mentioned briefly in the steps as a whole. Because addicts as a whole balk at just the concept of true "surrender" let alone "acceptance". And those I see God teach the next level of surrender are not taught until well into their walk through sobriety. If this was introduced to me early on by the steps or God in general - I would have had a couple choice words, given the finger, and lit my Whitebook on fire while I danced a jig on the meeting table and told everyone that they could go to hell.

Luckily God waited a bit before introducing this concept to me. But, the concept sucked none-the-less.

# # #

From November through the beginning of January I was taught this lesson. I was in a very deep and dark place where I teetered on throwing out my sobriety for the sole reason of coping. I saw the bad path I was heading and was freely choosing to do so - if for no reason but for "relief" as fleeting and unsubstantial as it would be. To be honest, my responsibility as a sponsor kept me holding on and reaching out - multiple phone calls, seeking very sober SA's, asking my sponsor to breakfast and being honest, and picking up the meetings with the counselor. Anything I could do to keep my head above water till this passed. I kept telling myself to hold on, eventually this would come to and end and I would know why I was going through this.

You see, I saw a marriage coming to an end. While everyone in SA is fighting to keep a marriage - my counselor is seriously trying to convince me that I may one day need to separate from my wife to give us a chance to seek help together. I was miserable and as my counselor put it - "I would almost rather be single and lonely, then be married and very lonely". I felt discarded, unwanted, and frustrated. I realized for the first time that I was not always wrong because I am an addict. I was sick, not bad. I also learned what healthy expectations were and that my wife may not be fulfilling what a role is as a wife. I also learned that we truly were from different worlds, that opposites attract, and that we were seeking things from the other that did not come naturally. In short, the addict was getting better - but the family was not. My wife was refusing to seek help. *I* was doing everything *I* could to improve our relationship. (Seen here holding the steering wheel with a confused look on my face).

I was, in my mind, a failure as a husband and to God.

But then I attended Mass by myself and sat in the front of the church for the first time in a long time. The Deacon gave a Homily that hit so close to home, delivered such and epiphany, that I was struggling to keep it together in the pew.

He held up a Fontanini statue of the Holy Family - Mary and Joseph smiling at Jesus playing on the floor, Mary washing a dish and Joseph tinkering with a wooden tool. The Deacon went on to explain we are called to be a Holy Family which many people just write off. I mean for God's sake - you have the sinless Mother of God, Dad is a Saint, and well ... God himself. Kind of a high bar to hit - don't you think? Because we put them on a pillar, it's almost unattainable and many don't even try. When things get tough, when they don't "feel" in love - they just divorce.

But here is the kicker, he said ...

"Lets put this in a different light - In short you have a pregnant teenager scared for her life, a husband who is engaged to someone who turned out not to be what he expected and himself was not the husband he wanted to be. Joesph, essentially takes a vow of celibacy just as Fr. Jose has because he has to. Oh, and they are fleeing their country for their own safety".

Makes it seem a little less Holy doesn't it? Makes your family look a little less dysfunctional?

"So how did Joseph do it? Through acceptance. It is what it is and he accepted his role. They both did what they believed God wanted them to do."

Ok, that hit home.

"And it also calls for faithfulness, not success. God doesn't ask you to be successful - he asks you to be faithful. Just do what you believe he asks of you, and allow God to handle the result."

At that time I started to cry, and for the first time in this 2 year journey - I accepted my family as it was. I told God right there in the pew and spewed fourth in prayer what I just learned.

# # #

The next day, my wife tells me in conversation she is willing to go to counseling with me. Not going because she has to - but going because she wants to.

Now, 3 times a week I get to peek inside my wifes world. She only shares when it is safe - when we are at the counselor, or when we do a 5 minute exercise 2x a week that he assigned us. Other than that, it's back to the dysfunctional life we have - but we make it work.

I now realize how we are trying to please each other but the other is not picking up on it. I realized how deep my wifes natural instinct runs to protect herself. I realize now how long it is going to take to start heading in the right direction.

But for the first time, we are heading in the right direction together.

Because I was faithful, not successful.

Remember the Purpose, better yet - Remember where you came from.

Wow, September since I have last journaled - that surprised me. Especially since I have had an entry turning over in my head for a few weeks now. I can now understand why my friends are wondering where the hell I am, for some of those at npsupport.net I dissapeared like a fart in the wind. To those, especially Mayberry - one of the few SO's I have made friends with and respect, I apologize.

But let me explain something for those of you that follow my journal. I hate bloggers who write because they have to - because they feel they have to fill the silence. Writing because you feel you have to write produces only verbal diarreah in my opinion. Write because you want to, write from the gut, and write for only you. Which leads me to my very first entry on May 16, 2007 when I was deep in the throws of my addiction..

"My goal is for this journal to eventually "peter out" for lack of a better word. It may be due to giving up, but I hope it is because as I get further in my walk my need for a tool to depend on will decrease. Hopefully leaving something in my wake that will be useful for someone else."

I think, and I am as excited as I am sad, my need for this tool is starting to peter out. I will always have a need to journal in this addiction, but as transition from sobriety to recovery, the major milestones come fewer and farther between. I still have them, as my next entry will show, but I now am applying what I learn.

(putting on his flame retardant suit)
I also came to understand that virtual support, as great as it may seem, was not a healthy place for me in the long run. It does have it's place, and to be honest if it was not for the initial help at npsupport.net I would still be acting out and worse than ever. Especially since addiction drives you from the real to to unreal, from outside yourself to within, from true friendships and communication to hiding behind a monitor. I finally came to understand I had to get outside myself and get "real" help. I had to seek counseling and the support of real people (SA Group).

Virtual support, in lieu of nothing at all, is definitely a positive thing. However it may also lead you to the land of drum circles and free hugs where you can get comfortable being around others with no sobriety. A bunch of drunks that just acted out 2 days ago, can not give you healthy advice when you ask "how do I stop" for the 100th time.

Keep in mind, I said "May lead to the land of free hugs" not "will". Wes, has done incredible things at npsupport.net and has sent people on the road to recovery. There is a special place in heaven for him I think. There are those with long term sobriety who honestly help and lead. There are resources, accountability circles, and many other tools. It is a great place to start, but as you start to take steps forward there may be a "next step".
(/putting on his flame retardant suit)

It took my counselor to point out to me that every friendship has cycles - spring, summer, fall, and winter. Just because a friendship, be it with a old friend of 20 years or 2 weeks comes to a natural end - there is no need for guilt or mourning. Honor it, remember it fondly, and keep looking forward. Sometimes that applies more than to just friendship. So as my journaling comes through what I believe to be the "autumn" of it's career - I hope those who I may slowly lose contact with in the virtual world will understand.

And hopefully, I can leave something positive in my wake for once.

Sep. 29th, 2008

Bug Eyed Earl

"Ho-Ho's'" Revisited.

Well, I have gone past the "This is a F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C idea", to "WTF was I thinking" as it pertains to my fight against "Ho-Ho's" last week.

In contrast to addiction, OCD is an odd thing. OCD can trigger so rapidly that sometimes I can't tell I am in a cycle. With addiction I can sometimes see it is coming and adjust on the fly - my program, my relationship with God, making a phone call. However, I don't have such a handle on my OCD. What you saw in my journal last week was me in the throws of an OCD cycle with Sawyer having a faint glimpse that he may be having an "episode" - hence the reach out in my journal. I was hyper-focusing on the concept of this triathlon.

It's interesting though, my "programming" from the 12 Steps naturally put some catchall's in front of me. I truly turned to God and asked what he would like me to do - which forced me to slow down. I asked the opinion of my wife, sponsor, counselor, physician, and friends which was in essence a "self-check". I spoke to others about the commitment as to not impact my family, which I would never have done.

Sawyer a year ago would have informed his wife he needed a grand for equipment, hired a personal trainer for 4 days a week, joined a gym, and probably would have hurt himself before quitting and getting really angry.

The response from my last journal entry was interesting and unexpected in some cases. I had two good friends on NP.com speak up and flat out ask me - are you obsessing or switching addictions? Which was the call out I needed, it stopped me in my tracks, and made me really ask the question of myself. My initial response was, "I am excited" and "I don't believe this is an addiction" but it made me definitely slow down and pay attention to what God would be relaying to me through others. Which was promptly followed by my sponsor asking the tough question - "Do you have the time? One of your defects is getting overloaded."

Hmm, Good question.

What I was not expecting was my wife of all people being supportive. Matter of fact, the next day she sent me a practice swim schedule and offered to teach me how to swim properly. I damn near fell over, she never cares about anything I really do. I expected my physician to tell me I was too out of shape - but he only encouraged me and is setting up a test to make sure I could handle it. My counselor thought it was a excellent idea and said it would probably be very beneficial in my recovery at this stage.

But a week later I am coming to my senses. The high of that brilliant idea is wearing off. Fear of the unknown is slowing me down. Intimidation of the whole idea is starting to cause me to second guess myself. However being fearless is not the absence of fear, it is having fear and facing it anyway. Cause deep down inside, it would mean a lot to me if I could do this. I want to prove to myself that I am not the same man anymore.

However, I am still very much in the discovery stage and am not rushing into anything including purchasing equipment. I have an exercise stress test in a week and a half and I am going to see a podiatrist about getting orthotics for my shoes. If I can pass both those, still enjoy the gym, and God still seems to not be putting any obstacles in my way...

Well, I'll make the decision then. Till then, please pray for me - pray for discernment, courage, and desire to follow God's will no matter what the outcome may be.

Sep. 24th, 2008

Shit My Pants!

I like me some "Ho-Ho's"

"I would actually laugh at you for your crazy idea. The problem is, you come up with these crazy ass ideas and actually do them".
- Duckee (over 3 years ago)

Sawyer's Crazy Ass Idea Accomplishment List
(And No, I had ZERO experience in doing any of these - I just decided to do them).

  • Restore a 20 yr old Pinball Machine that looked like it was blown up by a cheery bomb - Check.

  • Restore family heirloom 8ft Cedar Chest - Check

  • Carve a walking stick and track it 2000+ miles up the Appalachian Trial - Check.

  • Train for 8 months and backpack 30mi of the Appalachian Trail - Check.

  • Restore a pool table - Check.

  • Trace my family tree all the way back to the 1700's based on a piece of paper I drew when I was 12 - Check.

  • Get Sober - In Progress

* * *

Every addict has a plan coming into the 12 Steps. We all do, because we all are control freaks. It usually jacks us up pretty bad when we realize our nice laid out plan is not going to happen in the way we expect or in the time line we lay out. Planning is best left up to the normal "earth people" that are better equipped to handle it. In my specific case I have been working very hard not to plan too much because it can set false expectations and separates me from God's will.

But then I struggle with Gods will, Free will, and my own desires. How do I keep my will open to God's influence and yet have my own desire. I am still pondering this one.

But I have come to a working theory. If addiction is the result of natural instincts or desires gone astray, an addict has to be very careful when stating - "I want...". Planning and obsessing about a desire can become a slippery slope for an addict. However, maybe it is OK to have a goal or desire and stay open to the path that gets you to that goal.

I remember being so frustrated with God a few months ago when I was asking for direction in making a choice. I knew what I WANTED to do, but what did God want? He seemed to be quiet on the matter. My sponsor then listed the 10 good things of this choice, then the three bad and asked if there were any obstacles in my way. When I said 'No", he laughed and said...

"Are you waiting for? The sky to part, a light to shine on you, and God to say - 'Sawyer, I approve'? Sometimes you make the choice and let God sort out the results - if he truly does not want you do go a route - he will put obstacles in your path to make you think twice".

In essence, free will is a funny thing to me. So in my infantile (and probably wrong) way of understanding, I approach decisions in this manner - I can have goals and desires, but I should trust in God to get me there and trust that God will place obstacles or warnings in my way if that not be his will.

So lets talk about my will a little bit....
When I came into the program a little over 16mo ago I didn't want to be the same person in two years - I wanted to be sober, I wanted my confidence back, and I wanted leave the old person behind. From my attitude, to growing a goatee and cutting my hair different. I definitely wanted to lose weight. Two items have come to fruition, the others haven't even started yet. I also came to realize, this stuff will happen on it's own time, if it be His will, and I am just going to take it as it comes.

But, I am also going to be a little proactive and I may be tossing around another crazy ass idea.

I am a big boy, and also seem to be suffering from what a fellow SA has dubbed the "Ho-Ho" affect. Many SA's start to eat when they go through the stress of getting sober and gain weight. Matter of fact, some switch addictions to food and end up also joining Overeaters Anonymous. I am not at that point, but I seem to love me some "Ho-Ho's".

I also hate how I feel - tired all the time, heart races for no reason, and I seem to constantly crave sugar and caffeine. I worry about my health and want to see my daughters get married. I don't like how I look, I don't like how I feel, and I am sick of it.

So I am exercising at the gym 3x a week at lunch. I work out for 45 minutes, shower, and come back to the office and I LOVE it. It's almost like having recess at work. I have been at it for 2 weeks now, found a gym partner who is as in poor shape as I, and am having fun.

But I also know that I will get bored soon and need some sort of goal to hit. I can't plan a hike to some big ass mountain, my hiking partner is now my wife and she is tied up with the new kid. So what do I do?

Sprint Triathlon?

Am I fucking nuts? I don't know how to swim, let alone 400 meters. I think I can bike. I couldn't run farther than a block, even if you dangled a Ho-Ho in front of me. I am overweight, I know shit about Triathlons, and have no idea what I am doing.

Sounds like a fantastic idea.

Too be honest, I haven't made a decision yet - to make sure I am not allowing my OCD to grab this and cause it to be a flash in the pan, I am doing a few things. First, wait a week. Second, talk to my counselor and sponsor this week. Third, see the doctor on Friday. If I pass all that by next week, and haven't scared myself into running away from this idea like a little girl - I may have a new hair brained idea to add to my list. I have been reading up allot on this, and talked to a friend who has completed his first Triathlon, and absorbing a lot of information.

So Duckee my friend and fellow gym rat, if you are reading this - please smack me into reality and talk me out of this. I like ho-ho's and this triatheon would be the craziest idea yet.

What do you all think?


Sep. 23rd, 2008

Ball and Chain

Sober is not well.

"I am sober, but not well..."

That line in a previous entry caught someone off guard and confused them some. I had to giggle when he had mentioned it in response to my journal entry. I giggle because I remember scratching my head and asking myself "What the hell does that mean" when I heard someone state that in a meeting months ago. I kind of shrugged it off and forgot about it until it made sense a few month later.

It means exactly what it says - sobriety is not well. I will never be well, I will never be completely free from what is essentially a sickness. I can have sobriety, I can even hope to attain recovery, but I will never be "well", I will always be "sick".

That is important, because there comes a time in your program where you come to the admission that this is not 12 Weeks and I graduate. You come to realize that you will battle this for the rest of your life - your program, sponsorship, constant re-work of the steps, meetings, and counseling will be a part of your life forever. It is that point that the big charging elephant that you had started to face charges one last time. For some, it is then you can be overwhelmed and knocked off the path. I would be lying if I said it still doesn't come to mind now and again - usually when I am at my weakest - and a sense of panic and anger sets in.

But you face it, you mourn, and then you put your head down and push forward one moment at a time.

* * *

I came to realize this morning exactly how "not well" I am.

I thrive on structure, as every addict does. My ADD and OCD make life difficult without routine. Otherwise, I wander all over the place and essentially just spin my wheels. For me though, structure can border on control, which is a real defect of mine. So this is an aspect of my life I struggle to manage properly. It's tough, if I have no structure I can completely spin in the wind. If I have too much structure, I fall into controlling my environment. If I have just the right amount of structure, and you throw me a curve ball with a few late nights a work, structure collapses around me in all aspects of my life like a row of domino's.

And a baby does that too you.

Lust hits have been increasing, especially in the past two weeks. Lots more random images out of nowhere spin in my head, or an increased difficulty of an image leaving my head if I accidentally saw it (i.e. a girl walk by unexpectedly in the gym, etc). I doubt it is coincidence that in this time I haven't been to church in weeks, I haven't been calling other SA's, and I have even forgotten to say my 3 SA prayers each morning. I find myself more irritable, more irresponsible, and even starting to fall in to my old habits of avoiding others and hiding my actions.

The only thing I have done right in the past 4 weeks is make a call or two when I realized I was really hurting and make sure to make at least a meeting a week.

To try and get back on track I am planning on accomplishing a few things this week. I am trying to get to the Sacrament of Confession this Week. I think I am going to try a 1st and 4th step list just to see what shakes out in an informal inventory. I am "interviewing" a possible sponsee tonight. I see my counselor Thursday, and I am going back to church. I am hoping if I give myself the shot in the ass this week and then go into maintenance mode that God will start to work within me to help manage my addiction a little better. In either case I need to run this past someone else instead of formulating plans in my own head.

"Without God, I can't; Without me God Won't" (SA Whitebook). Hopefully by taking action, although I dion't feel like it, God will respond in turn.

Whew, I am tired - this entry kicked my butt. I normally write very quickly and right well without effort. I think it is the lack of sleep and allergies. So if this seems more like babble then an entry, I apologize. I have another "crazy idea" in my head I wish to journal out - but think I will wait to journal about it until I can think straight later today. Need to go grab some caffeine or something.


Sep. 16th, 2008




Last year at this time was a painful one for me. I had fallen for the 3rd time and lost my sponsor after 3 months of working the program. Then I had the indignity to not only sit down with my wife and explain that I had acted out, but that I also had to miss our anniversary dinner so I could meet someone from the program. I was in a bad place - I was ashamed, on a chemical hangover from acting out, angry as hell, angry at everyone else, utterly exhausted, embarrassed, and scared.

I also had just gotten an ass-ripping by someone I truly respected in the program. I remember essentially staring at him in complete shock as if he had whirled me around, bent me over the side of the couch, and paddled me with a gigantic stick.

September 10th, 2007
That day was not a good day.

It's now a year later. Last week not only did I have dinner with my wife for our fifth wedding anniversary, I accepted my 1 year sobriety chip the night before. I attained something I never thought I could attain.

I never thought I could attain this level of sobriety because just before entering the program last year, I was at my worst. I had just racked up almost $700.00 on my credit card and satellite bill for the month on porn. I definitely couldn't go beyond 24 hours before acting out and usually lasted only a few hours. I was emotionally numb and an emotional wreck. I was petrified because I had exhausted what media I had that really turned me on w/o crossing moral boundaries. I was terrified I was having thoughts of crossing those lines into adultery or worse. My wife and I were distant, I had no relationship with my family. I was an addict. So to claim a year sobriety is something I just did not think possible. Hell, 48 hours was almost unattainable to me.

I officially have a drop in the bucket, and that is all it is. In the virtual support world, a year of sobriety from sexual addiction is an eternity. However, in the land of the "earth people" (out here in the real world) a year of sobriety is only a good start and not long. You can pretty much claim sobriety now, but not recovery. That is at least another year out. I hope over the next year to cross from sobriety to recovery.

So what changed? Well as I reread my old journal from September 10th of last year I noticed a few key things. (Besides being a giant "Whoa is me Drama Queen". Good God, I even annoy myself re-reading my whining in that entry).

First, I officially started the true process of surrender. I did not surrender completely - that came in stages over about 3 months. For the first time, I truly said "fuck it" and did not try to control ANYTHING, especially my recovery. I literally lived moment by moment putting blind faith in God for a bit. Over the next few months, God actually broke me down even more until I grasped the true meaning of surrender.

Second, I shut up and sit down. Then I put blind faith in someone else in the program with more sobriety than I and did whatever he said - no matter how little sense it made or how angry I became at him. If he would have asked me to dress up like Charro and sing the "Chiquita Banana Song" while I stuck a carrot in my ear - I would of done it without hesitation. Because I came to the conclusion that as an addict, most things don't make sense - so trust my sponsor, and do it with a smile.

Finally, I owned up to it. All of it. Be it through making a call at 2am to a random stranger where I asked for help, or pouring it out in my 4th Step Work, or facing fear in my 9th Step. I finally stood up and took responsibility - for all of it. I changed my attitude, I accepted responsibility, and I worked toward repairing relationships without any expectations that it would turn out OK. I even began to financially pay back the family for the money I had wasted. I did this all with the guidance of my sponsor and my SA group.

For anyone starting out, that is the first step - stop being a drama queen, pony up, and do what your sponsor says.

And now, a year later - I celebrate my sobriety, my anniversary, and the birth of a new child. I have developed a relationship with my family. I have non-sexual intimacy with my wife which allows me to spend time with her and enjoy being her best friend. I even have been lucky enough to develop a sexual relationship with her that is healthy in which we are repairing bad experiences of our past. I am a father and am around more just to be with my children. I am emerging from the isolation that addiction drives you to. I am rebuilding in a healthy manner - but had to be torn down first and go way outside myself for help.

It's funny how things come full circle. I remember sitting at this desk a year and a half ago writing my first entry. I had originally planned this be a road map for another to follow. I know now, this was due to my big ego, I just wanted to be validated as a big man for beating this thing - my journal would be that tool. It's only after I let that go, admitted defeat and journaled for me (not another) that I started to get better and turn this not into a tool for others, but a story about me.

Because as I learned in sponsorship, I can not make anyone else better - I can only point the way by my own experiences. I have walked a mile in the shoes of an addict, and hopefully can help others as a recovering addict.

So a year later the story of an addict comes to a close, but the adventure of recovery begins. It is my hope, that in a year from now, I will be writing about my trials in recovery over the period of a year.

But that is looking ahead, for now, I take it one day at a time.


Jun. 25th, 2008

Ball and Chain

There Is No Spoon.

- Neo, 'The Matrix'

In the original movie 'The Matrix', the main Character Neo has a turning point. He has woken up from what he realizes was a false reality, only to live in a true reality which grants real freedom. But in gaining freedom, Neo realizes this new life is much tougher to accept.

So he learns about his new reality, listening to others, learning, flexing his new abilities as a baby would her fingers. If learning to adapt was not enough, he is told he is "the one" - somebody he never believes he can be. Others say it, others believe it, he may even have flashes of faith - but never truly accepts it.

So the story goes on - Neo is constantly running from what he believes is an overwhelming force while fending off what he can with what little he has learned. He tried to stop and fight, imperfectly, and gets his ass handed to him more than once.

But there is a critical point at the end of the movie where it all comes to a head, The character has gone through hell and comes back from the brink of death, broken and bleeding. Thinking Neo left for dead after their last battle, the overwhelming and unbeatable antagonist turns in surprise when Neo arises again. In blind rage the evil one fires over a hundred rounds from his gun to finally put an end to this game.

But Neo slowly looks up at the oncoming bullets and in a final moment of clarity and acceptance, holds up his hand and says "No.". Time stops, the bullets halt, and then they fall to the ground.

Neo finally accepted who he had become.

* * *

Somewhere along the way, I found my dignity.

I am not exactly sure where I left it - under a rock, on top of a mountain, or in a mason jar under the bed. All I know is I found it and I really, really missed it. It took 2 years of self discovery to find it last time, at the end of one of the toughest trials I have ever experienced. Funny thing is I am not sure when I lost it. However, I think I lost it around the time I got engaged.

I am not sure how or why, but I know at that time I began to doubt myself and who I was. I allowed someone with a very strong personality put doubt in my mind. Coupled with addiction which exacerbated co-dependency, improved my ability to rationalize, and completely render useless my ability to handle emotion - I managed to lose who I was and my dignity.

But I found who I am on a mountaintop and found my dignity under a rock and am fumbling with how to incorporate them back into my life. Because during a time when all those around me are saying "I can't live with out my wife", "Please wife don't be angry with me" , and "I don't know what I will do without you" - I am turning to my wife in a moment of clarity and acceptance and calmly saying "No".

My sponsor says I am truly hitting acceptance - this numbness and sadness I feel is acceptance. But at the same time it is coupled with just a hint of relief and freedom. You see, my marriage is broken and I realize that now. I realize I can't love my wife to the point that she will love me back in a manner I need. I realize I can't clean the house enough, tell her I love her enough, or do enough loving actions to get her to acknowledge me when I speak to her.

I am realizing now that respect and communication are not unrealistic expectations. That I can ask for those and not be acting as an addict. I don't have to do my time in "purgatory" because she put up with me for X years so I have to give her just as many. I don't have to accept this because I am not a bad person, I am a sick person.

Progress will not happen until something breaks and I have never allowed our marriage to get to that point. I have always people pleased, capitulated, or rolled over to keep the peace. I don't have to do that anymore. I am responsible to keep my side of the street clean and take the next right action, but I don't have to buttress the marriage anymore. Because frankly, a stronger marriage may not be able to be built until this collapses and we can rebuild together. This will happen on God's time.

So as I mourn, I also really put trust in God's hands. I am not, and will not, control how this repairs. It's time to put my marriage on His time line and just wait, pray, and do the next right thing.

Because in the end, there really is no spoon.

Jun. 20th, 2008

Super Calvin

Writhing in Agony.

Is it possible to go to the point of no return? I believe so, barring any miraculous intervention. I have read about it, I have heard others speak of it, and the thought of it gives me the screaming creepies. I have seen others go waaaay down the path of addiction, to the point of some disgusting stuff, but in humility they walk the right road and seem to recover.

But there are those that I see just writhing in addiction agony. Cycle after cycle of beating back the addiction in white-knuckle willpower or prideful self knowledge executing a plan only the addict understands. Even worse, those that know of the right road, but refuse to release the language of lust (Especially Anger and Resentment). At some point, they knowingly choose and turn their back on God. Sometimes in a sick rationalized way like Anikin in Star Wars 3, when in his warped mind he was doing the right thing by turning to the dark side. Sometimes in a well informed, "No - I won't let go of this resentment".

Beating after beating the cycle goes, it's like watching someone get hit in the face with a 2X4 and collapse to the ground as he writhes in agony. Over and over. I know this has to happen a few times before you break and get better. But the ability for some to take that beating ... I just hurts to watch.

This really, really disturbs me. Because the thought that someone is beyond help (with the rare exception), well... I can't put it into words, I don't think I know 'why' it disturbs me so. It just does.

I think it is because I have seen some fail and choose the wrong path - some quietly, some with well laid out and logical plans on what 'they' will do, some defiantly say 'I will do this' and bring their will to bear, some leave in a fit of middle finger 4 letter word glory.

I see this now, with someone so wrapped up in his addictive cycle that I don't see him ever breaking out of it. I see another teetering now, both paths in front of him, but he has to take the act of "letting go" in conjunction with "surrender". I really don't know if he will do it. I am afraid I have befriended him in the program and that if he falls back into the addictive cycle too hardcore - I have to step away from the friendship.

I guess it is about Fear and Control. In a way I guess I am not properly surrendered in these two areas. I am afraid for others and I want to control the environment to protect them. God can do anything. I can only take the next right action and allow God to sort out the income.

I spent a very long time in prayer for the one I see teetering yesterday. I spent 45 minutes in meditation of the "Sorrowful Mysteries" of the Rosary. I called on the litany of the Saints as if I was fighting for another's life - I prayed so hard. I always prayed for God's will in every case but asked for discernment, wisdom, strength, patience, healing, and even temporary shelter. I called on St. Catherine of Siena (Wisdom), Archangel Michael (Protection and Shelter), St. Dymphna (Saint for the mentally disturbed), and St. Benedict (Protection from Evil). Sometimes I wonder if it even helps, I know we can pray for others - but on the other hand, he has to go through pain before he grows. So who am I to try and ask God to change his plan.

That is my lack of Surrender. I think.

Jun. 9th, 2008

Super Calvin

I have to remind myself ...

... of these two things. I posted this on No-porn.com for others, have them bookmarked in my Bible on my PDA, and have to remind myself of them constantly. So I thought them worth posting here for my own use later.

Cor 10:13 - Temptation, having an out.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I remember this when I am desiring to act out or I see another desiring to act out. Because it reminds me that surrender of the temptation is an act - an act of reaching out to someone, and act of going for help, or even the act to choose to "do nothing" (which means choosing not to act out too). The temptation is there but you have to do something to take your way of escape provided to you from God.

Matt 6:25-27 - Fear, the biggest obstacle for an SA.
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow,nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Many who come into SA, or no-porn, have been caught by their wife, are in financial danger, or are struggling just with every day stress and coping in acting out. Fear drives allot, including a need to control the situation, which we are inherently bad at. Fear drives control,drives us to screw things up in a bad attempt to control, leads to more chaos than we are comfortable with, leads to a need to control that chaos, rinse, wash, repeat. When surrender is truly reached, anxiety fades, and the cycle breaks. Now, this is simple - not easy. I may talk big here, but struggle with fear allot. That is why I remember this passage.

(BTW: From my last post - made two phone calls, surrendered to God in Prayer, feeling better - but awaiting for someone to call me back.)

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