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September 06 • Step One Memories

Day 790

It's been almost a year and a half since I did my first step in a workshop. I don't know why I've been thinking about that recently, and I do not believe I've ever written about it.* I try to journal from what is going on in my life or in my head so let's go back there and see what's stirring.

I had been meeting on and off with the same group of guys for a couple of months. I had missed several of the other first steps due to business trips, so the closer I got to my scheduled date, the more nervous I became. I spent some energy trying to think of an excuse to miss that meeting, but the thought passed when my sponsor told me he would slip into the room for my presentation and to support me. He called an hour before the meeting started asking me where I was and why wasn't anyone else there. He was an hour early. I probably gave him the wrong time, but it turns out that he had to pick up his wife while I was scheduled to start my history, so he apologized and said he would not be there after all. I think I was gracious in excusing him; I did not want to make him feel bad, but my calm began waning, and my angst grew. I did not have anything approaching a supportive relationship with any of the guys in the workshop, and I had no idea how they would react to my story.

Actually, I did have an idea; they would hate me. I would be the guy that crossed the line in my addiction that all of them were still proud that they had not crossed, physical infidelity. I was the guy that had abused victims of sex trafficking without recognizing it. I was the hypocritical preacher that was finally getting my comeuppance. And what if someone in the group recognized me from my story and threatened my anonymity? And what if, and what if, and what if.

The time came and I started reading my sexual history, my first step, from a typed-out narrative. I knew I would never get through it if I had tried using an outline or just notes, as some of the other fellas had done. I had spent hours on this, and I wanted to at least get the words in the right order. Reading got very difficult in several places; I seemed to keep getting something in my eyes...

Forty-five minutes later, I was done. I had taken more time than any of the other men and I don't know whether it was because I had more misdeeds to report or just more years I had to cover. There were a couple of follow-up questions, but I don't remember what they were. Then there was silence. I heard a chair scoot and looked up to see one of the guys walking toward where I was sitting. He required nothing of me, but sat down in the chair next to mine, took both of my folded hands into one of his, and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. He was speaking, but all I could hear was my inner self saying,

"I am safe here. They are giving me what they want and need, not what I deserve."

Every time that guy has seen me since he goes out of his way to call me 'Pastor,' and whether he means to or not, he continues to encourage me by refusing to strip me of that title, even though I've been more than willing to let it go.

My wife knew this was going to be a hard night for me and my thoughts quickly turned to her and how I was going to communicate this experience in a way that would not violate anyone's privacy. I was still thinking about that when I was crossing the parking lot to my car. Just as I realized I should be looking for my truck that I drove to the meeting, my wife opens the car door and gets out with this wonderful look of love, fear, sympathy, and other expressions I couldn't figure out. She put her arms around my neck and told me she loved me. She required nothing of me but to receive her hugs. She asked if I was okay. When I nodded that I was, she said that she'd see me at home, and she walked me to my truck.

My life had changed. The most important person in my world was still there and somehow knew how important this moment was. And I had some new important people in my life, even if they are just a bunch of sex addicts.

Thank you for that night, God, and thank you for the memories that continue to bless me in my journey.


*Upon further review, I find that I did write about that night back on April 4th of this year. However, it was in a different context, so I don't think this is redundant. In fact, it feels like a positive recovery moment to remember it from a different angle.


Moving forward.

Memories left behind. A new life, a new journey. I've built anew.

For mankind... For my kind.

The vessel stares back at me. From every angle, the menacing smile latches on.

Talking walls speak and spell my life story.

My past life.

–Between the Buried and Me, “Augment of Rebirth”


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