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Day 928 • I'm baaaack...

I've been gone a while. You may have noticed that the above tally of my sobriety date suddenly jumped from 833 to 928. And the date? Well, I don't want to act like I'm doing this every day if I'm not. I'll forgo the dates unless there's something about that day's entry that is relevant to the calendar, and just track the days for awhile.


For nearly two years, I journaled through my pain, progress, and protestations. I was writing 50 to 5000 words every day as part of my daily plan to keep my addiction as far away as possible. There may have been a few 1-3 day periods when I had to play catch-up, but I was still amazed at myself — maybe even impressed — that I had maintained such daily discipline. My computer tells me I wrote more than a million words in the past year alone. Then I stopped. I unceremoniously ceased creating content.


The reasons for my literary lapse were numerous. The excuses I leaned into were all legitimate and rationalized and bullshit. I prioritized family issues over my writing, helped my wife with her tasks instead of mine, and gave in to the fatigue of COVID (that one was real. Mostly.).


At some point, I began believing that maybe I didn't need to work the addiction problem quite so hard because, after all, I had not acted out sexually in more than 800 days. I must be cured!


I still don't know whether that thinking was a justification for not writing, or if not writing and staying sober was convincing me I was done being an addict.


After months of my being concerned that my wife was growing weary with the time I was spending on the program, I began getting pushback from her that I wasn't spending enough. Specifically, she said,

"You've been scaring the hell out of me. For two years, I saw the benefit of your journal and you working your plan, and suddenly you don't need those things anymore?"

I became defensive and not completely honest with her when I insisted I was doing fine.


I was still attending three meetings a week. I was sharing a little less as the weeks went on, but I was still there. I was multitasking on the computer during virtual meetings, but I was still there. I was nearly constantly 'writing' in my head because I missed it and knew I needed to get back to it, but I kept making excuses for why I wasn't doing the work today.


At my 12 Step meeting yesterday, I offered the topic of the "ebb-and-flow" of daily plans and asked for the group's Experience, Strength, & Hope. I was expecting a recitation of the seasons of recovery when people are more faithful to their daily plans than they are during their seasons of confidence, strength, and growth. I got what I was hoping for, except for the part that wasn't what I wanted to hear.


The first guy who shared, Mr. Solid, had just been caught — by his wife — engaging in his old pornography rituals. He checked-in that he had been lying to her for months about his sobriety, as well as to this SAA group (that he started) and to himself. He reset his sobriety date to six days ago and is now, presumably, trying to reboot his wife's trust.


The next guy recounted his repeated relapses, all of which followed a period of confidence and not doing the daily work. The next guy, and the next guy, shared similar stories. Damnit!


Today I am recommitting to my daily plan involving reading and writing about addiction and my desire not to find out whether my last rock bottom was really as far down as I can go and still survive. I'm content believing that I've seen the bottom, and I want never to go back there. I'm also re-evaluating my three circles; maybe I need to put HONESTY in the inner ring of how my addiction manifests in my life. If I do that, I'll probably have to include pornography, as well.


If lying resets my sobriety date, history suggests that my home 12 Step group could save some money on Serenity Coins.


There was one day out of the last ninety-five when my wife was lamenting that I spend too much time in meetings. She also shared her disappointment that she alone was insufficient to get me out of my addiction. She clearly wants this to be over as much as I do.


A few days after that emotional evening she told me that she was scared. It was after that when she said she knew how important the writing and the meetings were to my recovery. It was after that when I realized she might be more afraid of me relapsing than I am. We talked about how much she knows that she has no control over my addiction. She has influence, but she understands — mostly — that she cannot heal me or even keep me from acting out. Fear is a powerful force that can lie to us about what is really bothering us.


Maybe I don't have the control to keep myself from acting out. Maybe there is no maybe about that, at least not without my Higher Power. However, if I invest the time and energy into my writing, the program, and rigorous desire to be a better person, I'll have a lot less time and opportunity to screw up.


I think I've been lucky the past three months. I've also had a lot of miserable days when I didn't really know why. Luck did not get me into this, and luck won't help me deal with the consequences of acting like I'm out of it.


Today, I will do the work. I'll worry about tomorrow when it becomes today.


–JR

 

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