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March 15 • Our Power Hours

Day 249 When I was acting out, I was well-aware of the sense of power that gave me the confidence to be stupid and fearless. I convinced myself that I was coming into my own and that the constant depressions and guilt would eventually even out. It never dawned on me that the power I was clinging to was the addiction itself. I have resisted the ‘power’ issue because I did not believe myself to be a person that could be swayed or seduced by such egocentric needs. Now it makes sense as I recall the long brooding days and sleepless nights while planning or anticipating some form of acting out, whether it was the anonymous table liaisons or something I believed was personal. I remember thoughts while driving to the next encounter that this was all I had; if I quit now, I‘d have nothing and no one would stand with me, and righteously so. I was resigned to my reality and there was no reason to stop because quitting this meant quitting life as I know it. This despair was a conscious thought, and I believe it was directly connected to dogged thoughts of ending me. Of course, as soon as the act of acting out was complete, I would often have moments of clarity wrapped in shame. But the deeper I slipped, the more convinced I was that this was my present and my future, what little of it I had left. This recognition of the power question is a new moment of clarity for me. While I’ve heard others talk of how powerful this addiction is — and I agree — I have not previously had such a strong recollection of thoughts that indicate I felt that way while in the darkness. I’ve probably said things or written things about this general realization before, but this is still new. Apparently, I KNEW this was all there was for me and, shame and guilt notwithstanding, I moved forward into its traps and beguiling. This understanding is both comforting as an explanation for things I couldn’t accept for so long, yet makes me feel even more ashamed that I was not strong enough, not smart enough, not good enough to simply say “no” in the beginning. The Promises say I will learn not to regret this weakness, and even this addiction. If that ever comes true, it will surely be a gift from God, Himself. –JR

March 15 • Our Power Hours
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