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June 10 • "You suck!" –my addict

Day 702 Some people have it rough, a lot rougher than me. I saw a story on TV this morning that included a sports reporter just doing his job, but I am aware of his personal challenges, such as his physical ailments that have plagued him for twenty years. His body has failed him repeatedly, and he is still plugging away on a daily basis, doing his job, providing jobs for others, and just living life the best he can. He has every excuse to quit, but he chooses to get up every day and be the best he can. In addition to the guilt I feel about my behaviors as a sex addict, I have always struggled with the guilt of having every advantage, and doing much less in my life than others who had to fight for everything. My view of that is, honestly, not very legit, but it is consistent with my self-punishment tendencies. I have sugar issues, knee problems, arthritis, I lost a brother much too soon, I suffer from too much serotonin (or is it too little?), and oh yeah, I'm an addict. We all have something, and while my bumps are perhaps smaller than most, they've been enough to break me down into puddles of tears and shadows of despair. Tomorrow's problems may be worse than I can imagine, or I might continue to be relatively fortunate; either way, the question should not be 'what's wrong with me?', but rather 'what can I do with what I have been given?'. My addict tells me I do not deserve anything except the momentary pleasures of pain-killing stupidity.
My recovery informs my daily life with understandings and tools for being the person I want to be. My addict tells me I am a failure with little hope to get better. My program tells me how I have failed and that those acts of desperation need not define me; that there is a way to live better and more fulfilled. And then there's the persona. I've had great careers in journalism, politics, and ministry, where I consistently had a reputation as a high-capacity over-achiever. That is not an image I'm trying to undergird on this page as a legacy; it is just a contrast between what people have expressed about me vs. how I saw myself. It is a conflict between real-world success, and what my addict keeps telling me is merely the failures of a man who should have accomplished so much more than I did. Today I am sober. It is not because of my accomplishments that I am no longer in the dungeon of addiction. It is not because of my acting out that I have to live one day at a time. I am sober because I am a sex addict and the alternative is awful, and because I've learned that I have not been sober for much of my life. Today I am sober, and I am doing the work that will give me a chance to be sober tomorrow, despite my short-comings, my talents, or my good fortune. Despite the good and the bad, I am sober today, and that will be enough. –JR

June 10 • "You suck!" –my addict
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