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September 30 • Dreampt a Little Dream...

Day 814

It's been 770 days since I last cried about my shameful behaviors as a sex addict. To the best of my recollection, that was the only time I've shed tears about it. It has now been five days since I've last written about my addiction (the longest I've gone since I started journaling nearly two years ago**). I do not know whether these two gaps are related to why I'm writing this in the middle of the night or not, but something feels out of whack.

That last cry was the evening of the day I disclosed my addiction to my wife. I was filled with shame and embarrassment, and fear of being rejected by her. My tears were from that place of "What have I done?" and were accompanied by my reciting that phrase over and over between the sobs.

Fast forward to the last couple of hours.

I'm not big on reading too much into dreams, but I am nonetheless aware of the power of the mind to translate our stresses and joys and day-to-day concerns into nocturnal adventures. I have not yet made any direct connections or translations that would explain this night's dreams, but it seems significant that I woke up heaving and sobbing.

Although my scores from the addiction assessment I took after a few weeks of recovery (Am I 'still' a Sex Addict) indicated that in-patient rehab was the best chance I had for sobriety, my lack of insurance and money prevented me from going that route. I've since done a lot of work with a counselor and multiple 12-Step meetings and workshops, but never at a rehabilitation facility. I do not say that out of pride — more regret than pride — and I would not want my experience to discourage someone else from seeking in-patient treatment; I wish I could have done that. But I digress.

Last night I dreamed I went to rehab. It is only the second or third time that I can remember dreaming anything about my recovery, or my acting out for that matter. But this was the first time that my brain took everything I've heard from fellow addicts and everything I've imagined about in-patient treatment and bundled it into a single why-the-hell-can't-I-wake-up night-trip.

As I dreamed through the stages of treatment, I would wake-up enough to not want to go back to the nightmare, but then sleep would return and the playground in my mind would pick up right where it left off, usually entering into a next phase of recovery in a place that was not my home.

Already the details are fading, as most dreams do, but burned into my mind is the last thing I remember before I was awakened by my wife's murmurs and my three-pound dog standing on my chest, both wanting to know what's wrong...

I was in a therapy session filled with other guys. Between the counselors and the patients, there were several people I knew; I kept hiding my face, trying not to be identified by anyone. Some were from my actual recovery circles, some from my normal/former life, and a few were 'ripped from the headlines,' as they say. Each recognition of someone I knew, and each testimonial from someone famous, brought me closer to breaking. Eventually, I was on the floor in a fetal position sobbing uncontrollably. Counselors and addicts alike were trying to console me and telling me to breathe. Someone was pressing their hand to my chest as if to physically slow down my raging heart or my heaving lungs.

Then I woke up with a YorkiePoo staring at me, and my wife's gentle hand trying to get my attention by pressing her palm on my chest, somewhat akin to how she attempts to interrupt moments when I'm snoring. I suspect she will not remember the sobs and curling of my crying when she wakes up; there were no tears on the pillow, no knees against my chin. I continued to take breaths in deep unnatural ways long after she fell back asleep and the dog nestled back into the blankets at the foot of the bed.

After a few minutes of processing, I was determined not to go back to sleep and concluded I couldn't if I wanted to, so here I am in my PJs writing it down to the light of my laptop. By the time the sun comes up, it will probably seem like nonsense, anyway, but right now it feels important to capture some of these memories. As awful as the dream was, something about it has my attention. Some of the emotions I don't want to forget.

That last moment of lying curled up on the floor — unable to respond through my grief and fear to the people trying to help me — is a powerful memory. Maybe I'll just sit here in my easy chair and contemplate the possible meanings or warnings that my unconsciousness — or my Higher Power — might be trying to communicate to me.

Hopefully, I can do that... without drifting... back... to... sleeee


**If the last five days of my journal are now complete, they were written from notes I took along the way. I intend to finish those soon. They will likely be influenced by the events of the past few hours, though I will try to separate them as much as I can. I'm not sure why that's important to mention, but there it is.


Take me in your hands and shape me

Wake me from this sleep to then begin again

To live again

Create me

–Neil Diamond, “Create Me"



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