“Changing old routines that are associated with our addiction is an important tool for staying sober.”
Tools of Recovery, page 13
I immediately felt at home in SAA, but worried that you would not accept me. I was married to a woman but acted out with men. I helped others but couldn’t help myself. You welcomed me; no one shamed me; I belonged. I took your suggestions: went to meetings, found a sponsor, made phone calls, and started the Steps.
In addiction I would sexualize uncomfortable feelings into acting-out fuel. A month ago I was at work on a Friday, my traditional acting-out day. It was a slow day. I felt uncomfortable, and all the old pain and fear came back. I dipped into what my sponsor and I call dysphoric recall—regret, shame, and hopelessness.
But this time, I had choices for addressing those uncomfortable feelings and memories. I made phone calls and texts to my sponsor and program friends. I even had the courage to let my wife know what was going on. She appreciated my trust in her. The day came and went, and I stayed sober.
I’m still me and can still struggle with negative self-talk like, “I don’t deserve grace, forgiveness, or belonging.” When the old tapes re-emerge, it’s a clue that something may be going on in me, and I need to reach out. With the tools of recovery, I can recognize those uncomfortable feelings for what they are and let them pass as they always do.
This feeling will pass whether I act out or not. Today, I have choices.