The madness of addiction…the crazy cycle of deceit…
When I finally hit bottom, God provided a miracle with the resources to check into one of the best addiction facilities in the country, a place called The Meadows.
I remember as they walked me through the facility we walked by the Art Room, I looked in at people doing art projects and said “Well there is a room I won’t spend any time in”. The counselor responded “Oh, you will learn to enjoy that room”. I thought “NO WAY!”
The reason I did not want to go in the art room was a fear of failure. As strange as it sounds, it is quiet normal in the mind of an addict. I had failed in my marriage, failed in my family, failed in my relationship with God…But I had a fear of failure.
You see I cannot draw a straight line and I don’t want you to know it, so I am not going to go in to an Art Room and look foolish. I learned a lot about myself in that room, I learned to laugh at myself, I learned that doing my best felt better than not “doing” at all. I learned to Fail Forward by celebrating my weaknesses and learning to change how I saw myself.
One of the reasons they have an Art Room is because addicts are very creative people. I had lived an almost double life for more than 8 years, I had lies to cover lies. If I saw you on the street I had to think of which life you knew me in…it was a hell on earth, but as much as I wanted out, as much as I wanted to change my destructive habits…I did not want to change. Does any of this sound familiar to any of you? You want to change as long as it does not require you to change!!
Oh I had the desire to change, but not the process. There was pain in my life to change, but even seeing the destruction of my children was simply not enough pain…I wanted to change, I just did not want to change. I wanted the results, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to improve my life….I just could not let go of the addiction, the pain was not great enough…and then there was that fear, that fear of change, that fear of letting someone else know who I was, that fear that I can still feel today writing here on this blog, that fear that says…
“If you knew me, if you knew what I have done, you could not possibly like me.”
To change your life, you must make changes, you MUST face your fears or your worst fears, your worst nightmares will end up as your reality. I was afraid of an Art Room but it helped me several weeks later to walk in to a room where there was an SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) meeting going on. Many of you need help but you are afraid to walk into a meeting of those dealing with sexual addiction. I used to actually be afraid that I would walk in and know someone in the room…talk about NUTS!! What were they going to say! I actually did meet someone I knew and for a time we helped each other.
I was afraid to let go of my addiction. What if I let go of my affair partner and my marriage did not work out? What if I leave my wife and I found out I am not as happy in my new life? If I stop looking at Porn how will I get that high in my life that makes me “feel” so good? I had to face changes, I had to face my fears, I had to walk in to that room.
If you want this addiction out of your life, you will have to change. YOU HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE, TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results!
Here are the top five things I did to change my life (what really changed my life was 12 steps, not 5):
1. God. I attended small groups in a church (which I sought out) because they had groups dealing with sexual addiction. I attended church, I read my Bible, I read Every Mans Battle, I read as much as I could about the man God intended me to be and how to get there. I also prayed for recovery and I listened to nothing but positive, Christian music. I put God everywhere I looked and He was there.
2. SA, SAA, SLAA, Celebrate Recovery. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days. I found other meetings through my association with the incredible people I meet in these groups. YES, it was hard to go to the first meeting but the people I met in these meetings are some of the most honest, loving people I have ever met.
3. I found an accountability person (actually more than one). Another man, a peer, someone who knew what I was going through. You have to do this, you cannot fight this on your own and your wife cannot and should not be your accountability partner. She is your wife, not your mother!! You more than likely have been disrespecting her, mentally abusing her, and now is not the time to ask her to hold you accountable. Sexual addiction is an addiction of isolation, you need male friendships in your life and this is where you start.
4. I took responsibility for my actions; no more blaming, no more “If you would not do ______ then I would be OK”. Stop blaming the way you were raised, what you did not have or how you were abused as a child. This is a time to realize you made the choices which brought you to this point, you and you alone are responsible for your actions. I had always blamed my wife for my actions and it was false. I used that blame to try to justify, in my mind and in conversations with others, the deplorable things I had done in my life.
5. I had to change and expect nothing from my wife and family in return. This one is hard, I mean why change if no one cares. YOU HAVE TO DO THIS BECAUSE YOU WANT TO, not for someone else, not for your kids, your parents…You have to do this for you, because YOU want to be a better person, a better husband, a better father.
I had to let go of expecting my wife to change just because I was changing. As an addict I lost all trust from my wife, I lost my integrity. When I was no longer acting out I wanted my wife to take note of my changes, I wanted her to say “nice job, way to go”. I also wanted her to change some of her habits. This was a hard thing to do and it is why you need an accountability partner who has been where you are, a person who can say “nice job, I am proud of you”, a person who understands where you have been and has a map to where you are going. You must let go of all the anger in your life and expect nothing in return…it is hard work.
Guys, go find a meeting. Stop this madness in your life, make changes in your life. Go get a real accountability person in your life. Not someone who will tell you what you WANT to hear but someone who will tell you what you NEED to hear.
When you go do these things then come here and share them and we can all celebrate together…we can celebrate the changing of a human being, the changing into the man God created, a Great man of God.