The whole meeting thing can feel like a catch-22. I had real trouble buying into the concept that I needed meetings. I mean, please. Put my shoes under the bed and ask my Higher Power to keep me sober? Are you fucking kidding me? Joining a cult of coffee drinking Higher Powered nutters was going to help me quit porn and fix my sex drive?
The open meeting last week was great. I got there about 15 minutes late, so after we finished the readings I ended up qualifying all by myself. Normally this isn’t’ a big deal. I have this little introductory riff down pat and I usually rattle it off almost without thinking. Well, with visitors there, I could barely remember my name! I never expected to be so nervous. Anyway, I ended up sharing an edited version of my acting out behaviors, even though I’d planned to qualify just as if it was a normal (closed) meeting. When I started the part of my intro that goes, “I have been sexually sober since …” the chair stopped me to let me know that we were not sharing our sobriety dates.
Well shit. After blabbing about all the sex this and porn that, I wanted to be able to hold that sobriety date up as a shield so the visitors would know … that I’m okay now. I was gross before but now I’m not.
Listen, I really do know that I’m not gross. I’m not evil, weak, dirty, bad. I’m not a slut, whore, pig, or pervert. I know all that, I promise.
Now, if only I could move that knowledge down into my heart, that would be nice. I’m working on it, but it’s a helluva tough job.
Which brings me back around to my point that addicts need meetings. It’s because we think we’re pieces of shit. After you’ve gone to a few meetings and heard a few stories, if you’re a sex addict you’ll begin to realize that you belong. After awhile, as you get to know people you’ll begin to see them as individuals. This one’s mother is in the hospital. That one’s ex-wife has poisoned the children against him. Someone else is in tears, ready to quit because they just can’t stop.
Sooner or later you’ll have the opportunity to watch someone who obviously thinks they’re a piece of shit. When that happened for me, I felt such a wave of sadness and hope mixed all together. Sadness because I knew that he looked in the mirror and could only see the asshole that broke his wife’s heart and destroyed their marriage. To me he seemed lost, brave, egotistical, and immature, which was hopeful because he truly wanted to change. I didn’t see a piece of shit. But that’s not a particularly astounding revelation. I think even for the visitors at our open meeting, it’s easy to see that nobody there is a piece of shit. We have a lot of brokenness and pain and a ton of character defects, but we all are worthy of life.
The profound moment is when the light bulb goes off and you know, deep down in your heart that you are like them and if they are worthy then so are you.
Reading about it is nice, but you’ve really got to experience it for yourself. It’s worth the risk of going to a few meetings to have that experience.