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February 28 • How Do You Like Me Now?

Day 234


It has been a long time since I've had a sense of dignity about myself. Even when I was trying to out-perform my shame, even when I was meeting with success in life, I always knew I was a hypocrite. When I started acting out, what dignity was left went out the window, leaving just me and my body looking for magic in sex and flirtations. Anything that affirmed me — and especially from women — was what I was seeking, was what I thought I needed.


I'm trying to learn to live without that obsession. It's not just about the sex; sometimes I feel like the sexual compulsion is the least of my issues. That doesn't mean it's the least of my offenses, but not doing something is a lot easier than not thinking something. And how do you talk to people close to you about that??


It's enough that people that love me worry about what I'm doing; how do they deal with what I am thinking, and what they think I'm thinking? I don't know, so I push down the thoughts and mental struggles, even knowing that this approach was a big part of what led me into troubled waters. But I do not know how to find this balance, and that's just who I am right now.


Tomorrow I will be someone better if I keep working the problem today; or someone worse if I don't.


Last night at my weekly workshop meeting, I heard another addict give his First Step. It was an awful experience. My first reaction as he was sharing was incredulous judgment at how severe and repetitious his acting out was. Then, of course, I began hearing my story in different circumstances as he talked about his obsession to prove himself worthy of the accolades of his friends and family, as well as professionally. And when he felt the most unworthy, he was the most vulnerable to his addiction. I found myself face-to-face with my own shame for my behaviors, as well as a new shame for the opinions I was forming about this guy. Fortunately, I was able to release those "but for the grace of God" arrows before they hurt anyone; now if I can just release some of the shame of my story, I'll have progress.


–JR

 

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