Saturday, July 30, 2011

Recovery Meetings

I can't figure out if this post should go under the topic of "whining" or "getting it off my chest" or perhaps more optimistically "constructive criticism".

I attend weekly meetings at the LDS Family Services addiction recovery meetings. These meetings have been a powerful tool in my recovery efforts. They are patterned after SA meetings, yet follow gospel principles to allow the spirit and gospel truth to help is in our recovery.

Lately, the meetings have undergone some changes. Most of which I am struggling to reconcile. My brief summary of each one and my feelings about them:

1) We are not allowed to clap after a person shares their days of sobriety. This one perhaps doesn't seem like a big deal. But unless you've been an addict who struggles to make it through even one day without acting out, it's hard to understand just how good it feels to have a group of men clapping for your honest efforts to be sober. Be it one day of sobriety or 800, the clapping for my brothers and their recovery efforts was on of my favorite parts of the meeting. I'm not sure what damage this caused or what the reason for removing it from the program, but I sincerely miss it.

2) Closely tied to #1, the program no longer gives out tokens for sobriety landmarks. Small tokens were given out such as a CTR ring for 30 days, a tie tack for 90 days, a plaque for 180 days, and a painting of the savior for one year.  Again, for those of us who are addicts, seeing ourselves as being worth celebrating is very difficult. We often see ourselves as not worthy of any praise. These small tokens meant a lot, and it's a shame they are no longer allowed.

3) This one is the issue I have struggled with the most. We are no longer allowed to introduce ourselves as "Recovering addicts from pornography" (or sexual sins, or lust, or anything else specific). We must only say "I am a recovering addict". My issue here is simple. For many of us biggest gain we get from going to these meetings is removing the shame we feel about our addiction. We see that there is hope of recovery. Removing that shame is a crucial part of recovery. Now, it seems that the recovery meetings are basically telling us that we should be ashamed of the type of addict we are, so ashamed that we aren't even allowed to say it in a group of other addicts.

There.  I feel better now that I got that off my chest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ups and Downs

I've struggled lately, with a lot of things. I slipped up a few months ago. It wasn't a big slip up, until I compounded it by not being honest about it. Instead I tried to sweep it under the rug and hope no one, especially my wife, wouldn't find out. I don't know how long it will take me to learn that this method doesn't work, and is in fact very damaging.  But apparently I haven't learned the lesson yet.

The trouble with this kind of dishonesty is that the lying probably hurts my wife more than the actual acting out. Just as important, I can't really regain my focus on recovery until I am being honest about my sobriety days and what I've done. So I'm held back in the two areas of my life that need the most work. My relationship with my wife, and my efforts to gain recovery from my addiction to pornography.

That is the down side. Still struggling with both recovery and sobriety, and still struggling with honesty.

The good side. When my wife confronted me with what she knew, it caused some really deep reflection on my part. Instead of insisting I was "doing better" I tried to honestly look at where I was in relation to recovery. This wasn't pleasant. The truth is painful. Over the last 12 months I have regressed. However, returning to Step 1 and admitting honestly where I am is the first step to getting better.

So now I feel on an upward slope. Gaining some ground and feeling better about myself.

It seems to be an endless roller coaster.

One day at a time.