When I first started reading blogs written by other sex addicts, one of the things that really bugged me was when they just quit writing. I hated that! I mean what the heck happened? Did they decide they didn’t want recovery after all? Were they acting out again and miserable? Did they die? Did they get better? So I was determined that if I started a blog, the one thing I’d never do was just drop off the blogosphere without a word. And then of course, I do that very thing I promised myself I wouldn’t do.
For all of you who have wondered – I’ve been doing really well. I’m still sexually sober. I still haven’t made up my mind about whether or not I should drink, so I’ve remained abstinent from alcohol. I still don’t smoke. My husband and I are getting along great. We are happy.
Figuring out what to do with the time I used to spend navel gazing and porn surfing has been a big part of my recovery. I imagine that’s true for any one struggling with any kind of addiction. And over time, I’ve become more and more involved with life and less and less interested in thinking about sex addiction.
I used to be really afraid that I’d feel the way I do now. I thought that to stay in recovery meant that I’d have to stay vigilant because drifting away from recovery is . . . dangerous. I might quit going to meetings. I might lose my focus. I might slip. After all, it’s an incurable disease and I’m always going to be an addict. But the truth is, I don’t feel afraid. And I don’t think it’s because I’m getting cavalier or taking my recovery for granted, I think it’s because living in recovery from addictive sexual behavior is NOT living in fear. It’s living with choices.
Yesterday I was faced with just such a choice but you’ll need a bit of background to understand what happened.
Part 1. There’s a blog I visit where the owner is anxiously awaiting the TruBlood series. It’s a pain because she puts in music and little video clips but I ignore them and scroll down to the posts I’m interested in. It wasn’t triggering and I didn’t really give it much thought beyond my mild annoyance.
Part 2. I’ve been trying to exercise for longer periods of time. If I’m going 30 minutes, an audio book or some tunes work fine but I’m trying to stay on the treadmill for a whole hour. Hulu has been helping me. I pick a tv show and watch it. During the commercial bits, I rest. So far it’s been working like a charm! I’m distracted enough to exercise for the entire length of the average TV show. I’ve been alternating between Lie to Me (which I love) and Castle (which is dumb – but one of the actors was great in Firefly, which I loved).
Part 3. Sometimes the buffering isn’t great and the show stops and starts, which annoys me because I remember how tired I am and how much I want to get off the darn treadmill.
This brings us to yesterday when I found myself trying to decide which past episode of TruBlood to watch after Castle went on the fritz. Now TruBlood isn’t a bad series. I don’t mean that at all. I saw a few episodes last year and I’ve read a few of the books and there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re entertaining. But I had a therapist who was into dark, demonic sex and a childhood that left me with a deep streak of self-hatred and a coping mechanism of compulsive sexual behavior.
As I was reading through the episode descriptions and trying to decide which show I wanted to see, I got one of those lightening bolts of clarity. I could rationalize watching that show till the cows come home, but no matter how I spin it, this is not a series that I should be watching.
And that’s where recovery is: in that moment of clarity I got to choose to watch something else. And while I’m sad that I can’t watch whatever I want, realistically, there are a lot of other things to watch just like there are a lot of other things besides alcohol to drink. And that makes me feel like smiling because I’ve come a long way!
If anyone reading this is struggling with addiction – I sincerely hope you don’t give up on yourself. It really can get better!