Friday, May 2, 2008

Hope and Jubilation

These last few weeks at my new job have been a revelation in terms of just how a workplace is supposed to function. I never cease to be amazed by these truly humble, caring, hard-working people that I now call my comrades. I have been embraced as one of their own. My Higher Power has given me such a blessing in this job.

Now, I will readily admit, when working on the floor, pushing a med cart, doing treatments, etc, this is a far more physically stressful job than anything I have ever known since being a dishwasher at Cracker Barrel when I was 16. When I am training in the supervisory role, however, it is far more mentally stressful, but physically a breeze. What is not present, however, is all the emotional baggage that came with the last job.

My life, in general, is doing far better than it was a month ago. School is now coming to a close, and all I lack is this massive paper than I am freaking late on writing, and doing a presentation next week. It is possible that I may get A's in each of my classes this semester.

My fiance and I are doing very well. Life is beautiful, indeed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Catching Up . . . . Life sucks, then you die . . . then . . . serenity?

The last few weeks have been some of the lowest that I have seen in my life, whether in or outside of recovery. Thoughts of suicide have cropped up, and I have consigned myself, for a time, to the silence of sleep. To sleep is to not drink or act out, I reasoned. Sleeping also shields me from my thoughts, thoughts that are at best self-deprecating and self-loathing. However much recovery I thought I had, or how adequate my coping tools, sometimes life is indeed just too damn painful.

From my beginnings at my previous employer I chose to be an advocate for my patients and doing the right thing, and time and again I was told to shut up, to walk the line, and to not rock the boat. This was coupled with my never fitting into the established cliques, being a well-educated male in an extraordinarily female-dominated work setting. From the beginning I was assailed with rumors and gossip, everything from questions about my sexual orientation to gossip about my fiance. I certainly made some beautiful friendships with a number of my coworkers, but the small but vocal minority became ever vigilant in their attempts to get me to quit. I did not acquiesce, therefore they took action to see that I would quit. Things reached such a tempo that on April 10 I penned my resignation to my boss. After almost a year in the most toxic "snake pit" in the United States, I chose to exit this imposed exile of an employment situation and was able to do so with eligibility for rehire should I ever wish. I would rather gag myself with a spoon.

Due to some rather providential decisions on my part, I began orientation for my new job yesterday. Now that's a trick -- quit a job on Thursday, start new one on Monday! :) Not only a new job, but one in a supervisory position. Imagine that. What strikes me about this opportunity is that this place offers greater opportunity for advancement, a far less grueling commute (a 3 minute drive to work as opposed to a 30 minute drive), and slightly better pay. Not to mention far healthier work conditions. Also, in all liklihood, a less stressful job, though I have no assurances of this fact as of yet. Further, I am continually aghast at the professionalism and compassion of my new colleagues. This is what patient care is supposed to look like.

The moral of the story? Despite the most painful experience of my life, I didn't drink, and I didn't return to my bottom line behaviors in my sex addiction. That doesn't mean that I havn't been medicating, I'm sad to say. Pretty badly, in fact. But I have not returned to those things that brought me into this program, that have propelled me into the pit of shame that nearly led me to take my life before I came into this program. And I have learned that, if I do the right things, my Higher Power can and will do things for me that I cannot (or indeed, will not) do for myself. Not have I only been given the gift of recovery, the gift of my beautiful fiance (soon to be wife), the gift of a profession that I love -- I have been given a new lease on life. Every day, as many times a day, if I so desire. God is indeed merciful. And I am grateful indeed.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Intimacy presents itself as a topic time and again at the SAA meetings in our city, perhaps because it is a topic that we, as sex addicts, often knew little of before setting foot in the rooms. Perhaps, in our addiction, we felt we knew what intimacy was. That warm feeling in our abdomen as we completed our latest conquest or trist, or even taking pride in being in a long-term relationship without "cheating" in any direct fashion on our partner, despite our level of total emotional disconnectedness.

Real intimacy, of course, is something far more frightening. True intimacy is the antithesis of the unreal, the chemistry, the idol, the lust, or the connection that had the magic. Real intimacy mirrors who we really are right back at us, challenges us to be even more than we are. True intimacy is, in short, a confrontation with reality as it REALLY is, rather than how we might wish it to be.

Intimacy, of course, precedes, rather than is a product of, the physical union. That is not to say that healthy sexuality between one's partner and one self doesn't create even greater, even more fulfilling intimacy. Rather, the starting point of intimacy isn't the sexual act itself, but the honesty, fidelity, and shared commitment that precedes the act.

We live in a society that lies to us, telling us that "love" just happens. The reality, of course, is that love is a choice. Love is a commitment. Similarly, intimacy is the product of that shared commitment, an experience that lovers experience when they willingly CHOOSE to work towards that end.

In my own religious tradition it is firmly believed that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. What we each hold within us is the indeliable mark of the Divine. One medieval Jewish mystic refers to us as the shattered shards of the mirror of the Divine Essence. Each of us, no matter how wounded and/or self-absorbed, hold within us something beautiful, something holy, something marvelous. We are even called to "become partakers of the divine nature" (1 Peter 1:4).

The relevance of this great mystery to human sexuality is obvious. If sexuality were evil, dirty, shameful, etc. as some folks seem to suggest, it would mean that God was in fact tainted by assuming human nature. Just as lovemaking has the potential to bring unbelievable joy into our lives, we must readily admit that it also has the potential to create unfathomable suffering in our lives and the lives of others. When we "become one" we exchange great energy, great power, an essential part of our being. When we make love we give part of ourselves to another. We make ourselves, our whole being, vulnerable to another person.

Indeed, healthy sexuality contains within it the power to change the world. For if everyone submitted themselves to the vulnerability and self-revelation that true intimacy entails, how many wars could be avoided, how many less children die of starvation, how much less suffering would we allow the world to endure?

Love As Our Deepest Personal Meaning

"..Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value, and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoner of our own egoism. I cannot find myself in myself, but only in another. My true meaning and worth are shown to me not in my estimate of myself, but in the eyes of the one who loves me; and that one must love me as I am, with my faults and limitations, revealing to me the truth that these faults and limitations cannot destroy my worth in their eyes; and that I am therefore valuable as a person, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the imperfections of my exterior ..package... The package is totally unimportant. What matters is this infinitely precious message which I can discover only in my love for another person. And this message, this secret, is not fully revealed to me unless at the same time I am able to see and understand the mysterious and unique worth of the one I love..."
(Thomas Merton, 1979, Love and Living, p. 35).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Havn't posted in a while

Life has been a bit challenging lately with juggling the many and various demands upon my time and schedule. I've discovered that working full time and even part-time graduate school is taxing upon me. I'm just a bit wimpy if you ask me.

As regarding my program, all seems to be quite well. I've frankly felt for quite some time that I have been circling oblivion in terms of working my program, and have thus decided that my best course of action is to do that which I know to be effective -- start reworking my Steps. I've been stuck in doing Step 9 amends for quite some time (my 2nd time through the Steps). It appears to me that I obviously didn't do something right in the beginning and thus I have begun working the Steps again.

All things considered my life is pretty chipper these days. I've had a few minor slides in to oblivion, emotionally, but I am back on track and feeling quite confidant in how I am working my program these days. What I am most impressed with is how my Higher Power has changed my attitudes over these past few years. I am grateful, very grateful, for this great gift of recovery that has been given to me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This Demented Inn

"Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it - because he is out of place in it, and yet must be in it - his place is with those others who do not belong, who are rejected because they are regarded as weak; and with those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, and are tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst" (Thomas Merton).