Set Aside Prayer

Today I find myself plagued with some self doubt and negative thinking. The Set Aside Prayer helps to keep me present and to remind me that I’m a new person. There are different versions of The Set Aside Prayer. I like this one.

God,
Please help me set aside
Everything I think I know
About myself, my disease,
These steps, and especially You;
For an open mind
And a new experience
With myself, my disease,
These steps and especially You.
Please help me see the truth.
Amen

A New Year In Recovery

I remember this time two years ago, January 2011. A guy I met, who I would later end up sleeping with asked if I had any new year’s resolutions. I jokingly told him, “I want to make sure I can actually keep my resolutions this year, so I’m resolving to drink more and to have more casual sex.” Pathetically, I thought this line was so cute and clever, that I used it a few other times that month on other men.

Ironically, I ended up breaking that resolution less than six months later, in June 2011, when I went into recovery for sex and love addiction.

Before that time I had such resistance to 12-step programs. I had even looked up statistics about their failure rates, and would cite then whenever 12-step groups came up in conversation. “Those people are just trading one addiction for another. They might no longer be addicted to drugs or alcohol, but they are addicted to meetings.” Years and years before I had spent a few months in OA (Overeaters Anonymous). At the time, I didn’t feel like I belonged there. Although I was (and still am) overweight, I couldn’t relate to the obsession with food and the extreme body hatred. In fact, being in those meetings triggered more issues with food and body image than I came in with.

Soon after my OA stint I went to my first meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. At the beginning of the meeting, someone read The Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction. I had all twelve. Every share at that meeting, I could relate to. There was no way getting around it, I belonged at that meeting. So I went to a few more, but then I used my best worst thinking and determined that finding someone else to obsess over was a much easier way to get over whomever he was.

A couple of years later, after I had dropped close to 3 grand on a psychic that promised to reunite me with my “one true soulmate,” I was at a bottom and dragged myself to a couple more meetings. Again, I knew I was where I was supposed to be, but didn’t want to believe it. Instead of sticking around and waiting for the miracle, I chose my tried and true method for getting over an ex — getting under someone else. After that I put my heart in soul into acting out. I thought I was “cured” from love addiction because I went a few years without getting obsessed with any of the guys I was seeing. And as for the sex addiction? I was just a young, adventurous, open-minded woman, with an active social life, not a sex addict.

Then I met HC. I knew minutes after meeting him that I was fucked. Something in him triggered a chemical reaction in me that was like I had just shot myself up with heroin. Being with him was absolute ecstasy and I was instantly addicted. When I finally decided to get clean from HC, I knew I could not do it alone. I was desperate and fully recognized how absolutely powerless I was over my addiction to him.

Six months. Six months. Six months! That was the mantra that was going through my head all of the summer of 2011. I promised myself this time I would stick it out and go to meetings for six months, that I wouldn’t contact HC for six months, and that I wouldn’t date anyone for six months. I had many fantasies about what would happen at the end of those six months. Most of them involved HC realizing he missed me and couldn’t live without me. The rest imagined me meeting my future husband six months and one day later. All of them involved me being 100 percent better and living a life that was entirely problem free.

A year and a half later, and my life is far from perfect. It is nothing like I imagined it would be, but it is amazing. My life is filled with joy, love, and acceptance. I’m so grateful and so happy to be celebrating a new year in recovery.

Letters From An Angry Addict

iStock_000003237600SmallAs a child, I never learned how to properly deal with emotions. Rather than express fear, sadness, angry, anxiety, etc. I learned how to use things to dull them and stuff them down. Now that I’m no longer using, I am left with all of these emotions and have no idea how to appropriately express them. For example, I know it’s not cool to yell at someone who frustrates me at work. Before I would have maybe sent a sext to a guy and used the attention to feel better. I can’t do that now. I have to experience each uncomfortable emotion and then sooth myself in a healthy way.

The other day I told my therapist that I have no idea how to sooth anger other than verbally attack the object of my anger. She suggested that I write letters that I never send. Here’s a couple that I wrote today. Note: I know these are pretty mean, but that’s kind of the point since none of the addressees will ever read these (maybe with the exception of  the comment lady, but I seriously doubt she’s coming back again). I would never actually send any of these.

*****

Dear Egomanic I Once Dated,
Guess what? I only dated you because you looked kinda like another guy I wasn’t over yet. Not sound logic, I know, but that’s not the point. The point is that the whole time I dated you I was still hung up on that other dude who, btw, was way more fun than you. I don’t know why I put up with your cloying, condescending, and presumptive “concern” that I was getting too close and that you didn’t want to hurt me. Bitch, I never even came close to falling for you. I also don’t know why I didn’t just punch you in the balls the first time I said, “I missed you,” and you replied, “thank you.”

I told you that I was in recovery for sex and love addiction because I still considered you a friend and wanted to let you know why I wasn’t around, not because I was trying to get back together with you. Since you are you, though, you assumed the later. Not sure why I didn’t see that coming. Part of me wishes that I had told you about this blog so I could sit back and enjoy all the extra page hits as you combed through each and every entry trying to find out how many times I had written about you. Spoiler alert: zero.

xoxo,
Imperfect

*****

Dear Bitch Who Commented on This Post,
I don’t like your tone so I’m not going to accept your comment. Since reading comprehension (along with spelling, punctation and grammar) obviously isn’t your forte, let me break it down for you. Number one, I haven’t been on a dating site in a year and a half as it is one of the behaviors I abstain from in sobriety. Please “read” (in quotes because I know you just skimmed) more than one post before you decide to give me a lecture in the comments section of my blog. Number two, I did meet him in public for our first date. Thanks for victim blaming and implying the whole thing was my fault, though.

Oh, and number three… Fuck You!

Take Care,
Imperfect

*****

Dear Mindy,
Your husband (you know, that dude you’re married too who used to be hot but now has a face only meth could love) cheats on you all every chance he gets. He invites strangers over to your house when you are out of town on work trips. He does drugs and has sex with them while your children are asleep upstairs. He cheats on you constantly, even when you are in town. Don’t you wonder where he goes all the time at night?

I know I shouldn’t be angry at you, and that your marriage is none of my business, but I am. Your husband lied to me repeatedly, swearing that he was divorced from you. He hurt me a great deal. I honestly don’t understand how you could not know what he’s up to. I feel a lot more compassion toward you than I feel anger, but I do feel anger. It doesn’t seem fair that he gets to  be such a creep and still be married to someone who is as beautiful and successful as you seem to be. Please do me yourself a favor and leave him.

Thanks,
Your husband’s former fuck buddy

*****

Dear Asshats Who Park on My Street and Take up Two Parking Spots,
Hey idiot, take a look around the neighborhood. Notice how every other car is parked just a few inches from the bumper in front of it? That’s cause there is limited street parking in this area (not sure how that escaped your notice) and everyone else who parked his or her car was considerate of that fact. Nothing breaks my heart more than coming home late at night and seeing your piece of shit car parked directly in front of my apartment building with half car space between both the car in front of you and the car behind you, forcing me to spend half an hour scouring the neighborhood for a space. Go suck a bag of dicks you fucking moron!

Cheers,
Your Friendly Neighbor

*****

Thanks for indulging me this writing exercise. Hope I didn’t offend any of you with my anger.

Sex, Love… and Work

The last couple of weeks I’ve been dealing with an extremely shitty challenging work assignment. While I don’t want to bore you all to tears with my litany of job related complaints (I gave serious consideration [not really] to titling this post OMG My Job F-ing SUXX!!! before I remembered that whiners are assholes), but I do want to point out some parallels I’ve notice between myself as an employee and myself as a sex/love addict. I…

1. Am completely at a loss when it comes to setting appropriate boundaries.

2. Always settle for crumbs.

3. Am never “right sized.” I’m either too good or not good enough for a man and/or a job.

4. Go after shit I don’t want (loser guys, jobs I’m over qualified for), because I know I’ll get it.

5. Rarely go after what my heart truly desires (a good man, a job that fulfills me) either out of fear of rejection, or belief that I’m not deserving.

6. See rejection and judgement when none actually exists.

7. Push and poke just to see how far I can get.

8. Neglect self care and always put the “other” in front of my own needs.

9. Can be a fucking bitch.

Thankfully I’ve made a lot of headway in these areas when it comes to sex and love, but am still struggling with these character defects in other aspects of my life. I’m confident, though, that as I continue on this path the transformation will happen in throughout my life.

Also, because I believe in practicing gratitude, I need to put it out there that although my current job isn’t my dream job, it certainly doesn’t suck (or even SUKK). Most days, it’s a pretty decent gig. But even in the tough times, I’m still so grateful for this job and for all that it affords me.

The Plastic Surgeon, Part 2*

The plastic surgeon was a busy guy, so our second date took place couple of weeks after the first one. We lived about 45 minutes apart from each other. Since he had driven down to my neighborhood for our first date, I agreed to drive up to his place for our second date.

The plan was to meet at his apartment, then go to dinner. That was the plan. I had even bought a new dress for this occasion. I looked really pretty.

When I got to his place he was dressed casually. He had a white teeshirt on and sweat pants. His hair was wet. I had the impression that he had just gotten out of the shower and wasn’t done getting ready yet. He offered me a glass of wine, which I accepted. I thought he was going to go finish getting ready while I waited for him, but instead he also poured himself a glass of wine and sat down on the couch with me.

We talked for a bit and then started making out. He was aggressive. My dress stayed on, but he pulled my breasts out and started sucking on them. Then he put his hand under my dress and in my panties. I stopped him, “When are we going to dinner?” I asked.

“In a bit,” he said.

I got up, thinking that if I stood up and started walking towards the door, this would encourage him to follow suit. I no longer cared that I was in a nice dress and he was in sweats, I just wanted to get out of there.

He didn’t get the hint, or more likely he didn’t care. He walked me back to the couch and sat me on the armrest. He started kissing me again. Eventually he had me so that my back was lying on the couch, but my hips were up on the armrest. Despite my initial protests, he was finger banging me, and I was letting him. My dress was still on, even my panties.

Then all of the sudden he was inside me.

“No!” “Stop!” “I don’t want to do this!”

He had me pinned down, but I was fighting back. I was kicking, hitting, scratching and even biting him, at least trying to. I was telling him to stop, telling him no, trying to get him off of me. But he was so much stronger than me. Eventually I realized there was nothing I could do. I went limp and resigned myself to the situation. I stared into space and tried to go somewhere else in my mind.

A few minutes later, when I could tell he was close to cumming he asked me. “Do you want me to stop?”

Very softly I said, “no.” I don’t know why I said it, but I did. He knew that’s what I would say, too. I don’t know how he knew, but he knew. Less than a minute later he pulled out and came on my stomach.

He cleaned me off. I was freaked out. I was shaking and may have even been crying. He held me and kissed me, comforting me when his actions were the very ones I needed comforting from. Unbelievably his bullshit caretaker act had the desired effect. I was scared and emotional and he was acting sweet and soothing. This asshole knew what he was doing.

We started making out again. This time he was gentle, less aggressive. He took off my dress and underwear. We had sex again, this time consensually.  Afterwards he used a line that I’m sure he’d used a hundred times before, and a hundred times since. He told me that he had to wake up early for surgery. I got dressed and went home. We never did go to dinner.

I have so much shame about this story. I’m ashamed that I went to his house and made-out with him, thinking that we were actually going on a dinner date. I’m ashamed that I said, “no,” when he asked if I wanted him to stop. And I am most ashamed that I had sex with him a second time, after he forced himself on me.

I didn’t report him to the police. How could I have? I let him finish. Then I had consensual sex with him right after. No one would believe that he had raped me. Can I even call this rape? I said no several times. Told him to stop. Tried to fight him off. Made it clear that I was not a willing participant. But then, at the end of the act, I gave in.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first time that this piece of shit had done this to someone. Maybe if I had gone to the police, I would have found their were prior complaints. Maybe they already had a file on him. Maybe they would have listened to me, but then what? I would have been picked apart on the stand. I think about the Kobe Bryant rape trial and all the other high profile rape cases I’ve read about. The victims are vilified.

In college I had a roommate who was raped by a stranger. She did everything she was supposed to afterwards. She went to the hospital the next day. They did a rape kit. Physically it was clear she’d been raped. There was tearing, and bruising. She went to the police. She even picked the guy out in a line up. But the DA still didn’t think there was enough evidence to press charges.

If there wasn’t enough evidence in that case, which seemed so clear cut to me, then why would I even bother? It would have been my word against his.

The plastic surgeon knew what he was doing. He chose his mark well. This wasn’t the first time I had been sexually assaulted. He could smell the “victim” on me, smell the low-selfworth, and lack of boundaries. He knew that he could get away with it.

I did a fifth step around this resentment the other day with my sponsor. I cried. Not just cried, but bawled like a baby. Believe it or not that was the first time I ever cried about this. Normally after I do a fifth step around a resentment I feel lighter, like I have released it, but not in this case.

I feel like I am just now getting in touch with this anger. And I am so angry. Not just for me, but for the other women he has doubtlessly done this too. And I am mad at all the other lowlifes out there like him who know how to pick and manipulate their victims, too.

Someday I will release this resentment. Not for him, but for me. Someday, but not today.

 

* This is a continuation of an earlier post, which can be found here.

Done Wrong


I’m not really sure why this song came into my head today. I think I may have heard the phrase “done wrong” earlier, and my brain called up “Done Wrong” by Ani Difranco, which I hadn’t heard in years. Also, it’s raining here, which is very uncharacteristic of the time and place. It’s more of a pleasant summer rain than a cold, hard rain that is about to turn into snow, though. Still, an association is an association.

As I’m listening to the song now, the big revelation is I feel nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I feel a sense of nostalgia for the times I used to listen to this song and get all weepy/angry thinking about THAT FUCKING PRICK! (whomever he was at the time; fill in the blank). Yes, I get nostalgic for shittier times. It’s called being addicted to drama. But now, there is no guy to internally rage at. No one has done me wrong lately. Even with the men who have done me wrong in the past, I don’t think it would be 100 percent true to say “I’m over all that.” I’m not, but I’m getting there. My general sense of outrage at the collective group of assholes who have done me wrong has gone from a passionate boil to a low simmer of mild irritation.

I’ve been working on my fourth and fifth step. It’s clear that this is directly responsible for turning down the heat on my giant soup pot of rage. Right now I am going though all my resentments, there are a fuckload of them, and examining my role in each one. It’s hard to hold on to all that anger when I take an honest look at my participation in whatever caused it.

For today I can listen to this song and appreciate the beauty of the poetry, without wallowing in the heartbreak.

Fourth Step and an Update

The longer that I go without posting anything here, the weirder it feels to write. Well not to write, per se, but to write for this blog. I’ve been writing a lot recently, but in a different format. I’m working on my fourth step, which, in case you are unfamiliar with the 12 steps, involves a lot of writing. 

I miss blogging, though. Writing for an audience is a much different experience than writing only for oneself. So instead of obsessing and procrastinating writing the perfect “I’m Back” or “I’m Still Here” or “Sorry I’m a Bad Blogger,” or whatever post, I’m just going to dust off the cobwebs and jump right back in with a quick update.

I’m still kicking it in recovery, working on building a bigger, richer life, and taking it one day at a time. I apologize if any of you, my dear readers, (hoping I still have dear readers and not just a bunch of tumble weed and random hits from people goggling pics of Paris Hilton) were worried that I was on a long craigslist/HC/Carson bender; quite the contrary.

As I’m writing my extremely thorough (read: fucking loooooooong as fuck) fourth step, I’m digging up a lot of history/shit/gems (all depends on how you want to look at it) I didn’t even realize were there. There are a lot of stories in my past that I completely forgot about. Mainly, because I wanted to forget them. I keep finding myself thinking, “I really should share this story on my blog,” but at the same time I am feeling more possessive of my memories that I ever did before. Maybe it’s because I’m starting to adopt some healthier boundaries. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid the more I share about myself, the more recognizable I will become. I don’t know why, but I am feeling a little shy.

I plan to write at least one blog entry a week. Maybe it will be a story from my past about some tool that done me wrong (and my part in it), or about something I’ve been holding on to since childhood, or maybe it will be an update like this. So keep checking back for more.

What Addicts Really Want

On kink and casual sex sites it’s common to see terms like “cock worship” and “pussy worship” bandied about. I never quite understood exactly what these terms meant, but my best guess is amazing head delivered by someone who cannot get enough of the receiver’s genitals. While not everyone on these sites is a sex addict, many of them are. I’ll go out on a limb and say I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about worshipping genitals who wasn’t an active sex addict (sorry if I’m offending any non-addict genital worshipers who will undoubtably find their way here after googling “cock worship” and/ or “pussy worship”).

It’s interesting that worship, a term which literally means reverence or devotion to a deity i.e., a higher power, is used in this context. I picture religious pilgrims knelt down in prayer between a stranger’s legs. Why not say “I’m into cock adoration” or “pussy devotion,” or maybe, “I want to venerate your genitals”? These words all have the same meaning as “worship,” without the spiritual element.

I was never into worshiping sex parts, but this reminds me of other behavior I did have. When I was active in my love addiction, I spent most of my free time looking for that perfect partner. I thought once I found the man who would take care of me and make me feel whole, then I could start living my life. Having this man in my life seemed almost as essential as oxygen. Once I found him, then I could work on my career, my finances, my writing, and all my other hopes and dreams. I didn’t realize it then, but what I was really looking for was my Higher Power.

Similarly, on the BDSM sites I used to frequent I was quite literally looking for a man that I could turn my will and my life over to, which is basically Step 3. Except instead of making a decision to turn their will and life over to a dominant, 12-steppers turn it over to the care of a Higher Power.

This all seems so obvious to me now. The whole time I thought I was searching for an amazing lover I could lose myself in, who would take away all my pain; a boyfriend that would save me from myself and make life tolerable; and a dominant who would take over and make all my decisions for me; I was actually looking for a Higher Power.

I don’t presume to speak for all addicts, but it seems like this could be a major component in most addictions. We’re trying to fill a God-sized hole with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, men, whatever we can find. It’s an impossible task. There will never be enough of anything to fill that hole. Note: I don’t think Higher Power and God have to be synonymous. For me, they are, but I know many atheists and agnostics in 12 steps who put their faith in a non-god higher power—nature, for example.

The more work I do on my recovery, the greater my relationship with my Higher Power becomes. And with that relationship comes hope, peace, and serenity, and everything else I thought I would gain once I found the perfect man.

Acceptance is the Answer

From page 417 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.

Straddling the Line

I try to stay fairly positive on this blog. One of the reasons I started it was to give hope to other sex and love addicts still suffering in their addictions. I have been having a hard time the last couple of months, though. I slipped up a bunch in December. Since then I have been more or less sticking to my bottom-lines. There is a big difference between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and I’ve only been doing the former, finding sneaky ways to act out without breaking my bottom lines.

I met Carson at the end of December. In The Downward Spiral, I mentioned that I was going to meet someone off of Craigslist. I did meet him. Like me, he’s the typical person you’ll meet on Craigslist: damaged. We have a lot in common, actually. Carson is attractive, and talented; but going through a hard time. He recently lost his job, he’s broke, he just got a DUI, and he’s extremely depressed. If it wasn’t for SLAA, I would have had sex with Carson that night. Instead I just listened to his sad story.

After our initial meeting, we had some flirty texts and phone conversations until I felt guilty about leading him on and told him I was in SLAA. I also told him I couldn’t have sex outside of a committed relationship. Carson, who really is a good guy, understood and we started a platonic (ish) friendship. Which would be fine, except that Carson is an unavailable male and unavailable men are my drug of choice. I’ve been using Carson.

I keep trying to see how far I can push things with him. Then I get mad when he respects the boundaries I had previously put forth. I keep twisting his words around, using them to play out this sick narrative I’ve had in my head since childhood: I’m the girl that nobody wants. In my head, Carson (who has completely valid, healthy reasons for not wanting a relationship) doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me, because no one ever would want to be in a relationship with me.

The thing that is surprising to me about this “friendship” is that there is the same exact dynamic going on that was present in all of my previous love addicted relationships. I would choose men who were clearly unavailable for a longterm relationship, start a casual sexual relationship with them and then get hurt when they didn’t want a longterm relationship with me. I thought taking sex out of the equation would magically change all of this, but apparently that’s not how it works.

Friday I was working near Carson’s apartment (I work in different locations everyday) so I stopped by for a drink after work. I was more than sufficiently buzzed after two beers (they were strong), but had a third. Carson also appeared to be buzzed after two beers, but kept drinking…. and drinking, and drinking. I had previously suspected that Carson might have a drinking problem, but Friday confirmed it.

His intoxication was not attractive. I wanted to leave, but I needed to sober up before I could drive. At one point I was laying across Carson’s couch, and he came up behind me and swatted my ass. This spanking was the closest I’ve come to sexual activity in eight months and it really turned me on. At the same time, I was repulsed by how drunk he was. When I stood up, I let him push me up against the wall and spank me a few more times. But I pushed his hands away when they tried to go down my pants and up my shirt.

If he had been less intoxicated, I know I would have let Carson fuck me, but instead I found him gross and out of control. When, barely able to stand up, he slurred, “Let’s go get a bottle of wine,” I knew it was time to leave.

I’ve been straddling the line between acting out and recovery since December. I am not having sex with anyone, but I’m also not doing step work. There has been no forward motion in my recovery, or my life.

There is another inappropriate relationship I’m engaged in as well. I reestablished a friendship with my ex-Dom Anthony. I have started to write about Anthony at least half a dozen times on here, but there is so much complicated backstory I don’t even know where to begin.

Yesterday I was talking to my sponsor and she said that I am making Anthony my higher power. She’s right. She also said that both Carson and Anthony need to go on my bottom lines list. She’s also right about that, but I don’t want to deal with adding more qualifiers to my no contact list. One is hard enough already. I told her I wasn’t willing to cut off contact with Anthony and Carson at this point, but I would pray for willingness.

I’m also struggling with food. I don’t want to do anything right now but eat, or act out. At some point I know I am probably going to end up in Overeaters Anonymous, but I feel like I have to get my SLAA issues under control before I add another 12-step program to the mix.

For today, I’m praying for willingness — willingness to stop stuffing my face; willingness to stop doing whatever it is I’m doing with Carson; willingness to stop my dependency on Anthony; willingness to start Step 4; willingness to get out of bed; willingness to clean my apartment; willingness to find a better job; willingness to become a healthy person.