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July 19 • I Had a Dream

Day 741

Inspiration, encouragement, and disillusion can pop up from the most unexpected moments and places. I do not claim to know how much is directly connected to the will of my Higher Power and how much might be the complex biochemical workings of my brain that He designed. Either way, I welcome them and believe in them.

I had one of those dreams last night that was so real it took me several minutes after waking up to calm down and decipher what was real and what was unreal. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of what transpired, I'll re-state that I am a sex addict, and the dream was related to my weaknesses, my recovery, and my longing for sobriety.

It was one of those dreams where I was the main character, and I was also the narrator. More specifically, the narrator's role was mostly that of a translator communicating and commentating with my real-world unconscious conscious as the dreamworld events unfolded.

The moment I recall most vividly was when I had given in to a temptation right out of my anonymous fantasies of years ago. What stands out is not the activity on the screen of my brain, but it was the voice of that narrator speaking softly into the microphone, much like the stage manager in Our Town. He was assuring all listeners (me!) that no matter how pleasant or desirable this event seemed, it was all a lie, and it would extract a high price. I remember thinking that if he's so sure that this will turn out badly, why doesn't the voice try to stop it.

A few Rapid Eye Movements later, when everything turned from fantasy to the hellish consequences that the narrator predicted, there was a clarity bordering on a divine interjection. As if I had never had this thought — and I don't know that I have — it became clear that nothing is stopping me from returning to the shadows of sexual addiction except my desires to stay sober today. That may seem obvious, but as I rolled that nugget around, I realized that I assumed it was the program that would keep me sober, or my wife, or my kids, maybe my Higher Power, or the fear of consequences. But that's not right.

My dream had the full three-acts of a compelling drama. The first was filled with slippery slopes, and things I was convinced were innocent indulgences. Act II was the failure of will, and the momentary escapism that was always such a part of my addictive actions. Act III was not the happy-ever-after resolution I expected. Act III was awful, just as the narrator warned it would be.

My first conscious thought was, "How will I get out of this without divulging what had occurred?" My sponsor made a cameo appearance just then, seemingly as I drifted back to sleep. He reminded me that my commitment to honesty is more important than my commitment to sobriety and that long-term sobriety will be extraordinarily unlikely without the difficulties of telling the truth. That's when I woke up and started sorting through my emotions of fear, failure, and choices.

Was this a warning from the great beyond, or just my sober brain sending me a friendly reminder of what this war is all about? Or maybe the answer is behind door number three?

Would knowing the answer change the impact it has had on me?

By the time I had gotten out of bed, my head was mostly cleared of the cobwebs stretching between dreams and sunlight. I felt good, light on my feet, even.

I am still an addict. There will still be bad days and temptations. I do not accept that the failures have to happen, but it will not be a failure of the program or anyone in my life if they do. I own this, and I know there is a point where my addict can take over my decision-making, but I also know there are many sober moments when I can say 'no' and 'get the hell away from me.'

Doing that, I will stay sober this day, maybe thanks to last night.



We make excuses but you know damn well

A dream's a story only you can tell

You've tasted heaven and you've been through hell

But your mind keeps driftin' away

And your mind keeps driftin' away

Another sunset another dawn

–Christopher Cross, “Driftin' Away”



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