Wednesday, June 26, 2024

In Accordance with the Taking of Step Five

My last SPAA recovery themed post wrote about taking AA Big Book Steps One, Two, Three and Four. This post delves into experience taking the supremely confessional and purgative Step Five. (SPAA stands for Sex and Porn Addicts Anonymous) 

I consider it a sacred step; its process breathes with lungs of prayer and connection with God and man. After Step Five, I had no more hidden secrets, none in my awareness, and this released an enormous burden of weight I didn't realize I had been shouldering until after having taken the step. 

Step Four's fact-finding mission of self-discovery revealed the faults of my character which I had hidden from myself. I had been too often reacting to faults in others, faults inside me which I had projected onto them--- an escape hatch out of avoiding responsibility for fixing my own self. Step Four opened the curtain. It allowed sunlight to shine upon what darkness had previously hidden. 

When I took Step Five, I admitted to this newly discovered knowledge, to myself, to another person, my sponsor, and to my conception of a Higher Power. The result transformed me, I believe mostly because of the admission to my sponsor. Why is that? Yes, to myself, great, to God, great, wonderfully needfully great, someone who could rat me out? Reflect upon the trust I needed to have in that person. This IS God becoming human. 

And that's the sense of relief that occurred in me. A lightness. A sense of freedom. The sense of the cleansing of the soul never before experienced. For the taker of the step, the final stage of the Step Five process be alone with God in reflection. In my process, I prayed my heart out with prayers of thanksgiving for the tool of Step Five. I was like in the bosom of gratitude, in the hands of a Lord and God whose love for me is without measure.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

El Viaje, por Emily Gelvez


Gracias Emily por tu obra al este blog. Emily es una immigrante desde Venezuela ahora viviendo en Ecuador. Pero el viaje de ella a Ecuador no solo era una transicion a un pais extranjero. Era una transicion del alma de ella, del espiritu de ella y el corazon de ella.

Nadie te dice por cuánto tiempo será, y nadie te dice que será tan difícil exponerte a un nuevo mundo, dónde eres vulnerable para todo. Caminas confundido entre la gente esperando que alguien te diga que todo va a estar bien. 

Es una sensación de adrenalina, de ver lo desconocido para ti. Miles de preguntas pasan por tu cabeza y sin encontrar alguna respuesta, solo eres tú y tu maleta, que por cierto se vuelve tan pesada por todas esas espectativas, sueños, ideales que terminan convirtiéndose en miedo. 

Pero la vida es así te presenta momentos donde debes tomar decisiones, las personas te dicen "debes arriesgar si no nunca sabrás si lo puedes lograr o no", pero en el fondo saben que será difícil. Pero aún así decidí hacer mi maleta y enfrentarme a lo desconocido. 

Al salir de esa terminal respire aire fresco, en el viaje me sentía que no podía respirar y no era por la altura o el clima, pero ustedes ya saben tenía un nudo en la garganta por todas aquellas cosas que había dejado, familia y amigos y quizás algunos lugares que siempre frecuentaba, pero me dije en voz alta, es momento de avanzar...

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Is Any or All of This for You?


Been going to the SPAA meetings less, now only on Mondays and Thursdays.

I pushed myself away from attending daily meetings in order to distance myself from listening to litanies of depressing shares I often encounter in the meetings. But the two days of meetings capture my interest and convince me to share more often and more willingly.

Despite the above sentiment, I find a tiny glimmer of light in the pitch-black cavern of despair about addiction to pornography, because that glimmer is what SPAA offers to its members. Hope. As of this publication date, I have 200 days of back-to-back SPAA defined sobriety, a gift of this hope; That definition is no viewing of pornography, no masturbation and no sex outside of a committed relationship. Here is a Doctor's opinion about the SPAA program of recovery.

I offer two major highlights to stress what I find prospers my recovery from my sex and porn addiction.

One is to work the 12 Steps, this post about Steps One through Step Four.

Doing Step One as worked in the SPAA program dissolved any and all surviving notions in myself that I’m NOT a sex and porn addict. The evidences as I wrote out the Step One dissipated any and all  lingering vestiges of doubt.

Step Two dovetailed with Step One in that it convinced me of the myriad forms and instances of my insane behaviors when it came to sexuality. It cautions me today to be aware of these proclivities which threaten where my sobriety lives in relative peace.

With Step Three I decided to turn my will and life over to the care of God as I understand God. When I first took Step Three in the OA program of recovery, God planted a tiny seed in the soil of my soul that has grown deep roots. These roots steady a harmonious relationship with Him even while tumult shakes the outside exteriors.  

When I worked Step Four, and listed the people I had harmed, this prepared the path towards making amends to them. The amends freed me of guilt and in most cases restored health to infected relationships. Step Four also cautions me to be aware so as to avoid inadvertent future harms to those currently in my life.

Step Four sets up a template for work that when followed deepens understanding of my nature. It answers the questions of how that nature has been warped. It reveals patterns of self-concepts and thought processes which limit my personal freedom. Working the steps shines lights of truth about myself in a manner indispensable. For instance, I cannot forgive myself for the errors of my past behaviors unless they are recognized.

On to the next, number two is to be sponsored and be a sponsor.

My SPAA sponsor’s work as the guide through the working of the steps has been indispensable in the ongoing work of my recovery. I need his guidance and he supplies it with an understanding of my defects of character, especially those magnified by my addiction to porn. Not a defect in me has been foreign to him.

Disclosures between us of an intensely personal nature cement a bond between us, not only of friendship but also of comradeship in the common SPAA task of regenerating our souls. Working with my sponsee in SPAA also is integral to my recovery process. His recovery welfare is what most matters to me. I share the experiences I encountered while doing the step work, how I worked the steps and how that work benefits my own recovery journey.

I am finding it true the aphorism that the sponsor gets more out of sponsoring than does the sponsee.


Saturday, March 16, 2024

Some Math about How It Works

Women. Young and beautiful. I deep inside my gut sense the hurt I would feel if a woman in a relationship with me were to eye flirt at another man. I myself feel entitled to eye flirt, and that's one form of what SPAA terms "edging." It's a precursor to acting out. My main goal in life is to stop acting out, and today, I have 156 days of back to back SPAA sobriety. I am helpless, without the power needed to stop edging and acting out. However, I find and utilize the Higher Power of the SPAA fellowship, plus my personal "concept" of a Higher Power, which is Christ Jesus. I do sometimes in my bones share that gratitude expressed by members who voice a sense of peace and tranquility, despite their having two days of SPAA sobriety. I lived through decades of life completely incapable of stopping myself from masturbating for even two days in a row. Two days of SPAA sobriety IS a big deal. 

Here are three reasons I value my membership in SPAA.

Through SPAA membership, I have stopped doing what I believed I could never stop and what I most wanted to stop. I most wanted to stop because this addiction to sex and porn is by leaps and bounds the most intractable of my other forms of addiction. It was my greatest master and I its most enslaved slave. However, a link to the chain of the shackle of this enslavement has been sundered. The paradox is that this remains true even though I am and will always be a sex and porn addict.

The second reason is that the Big Book promises have come and are coming true for me! Not in AA, nor in OA, have I EVER worked the 12 Steps with the intensity and fervor with which I have worked the steps in SPAA. Not to say I don't backslide, because I do. But I am single, and no longer seeking to objectivy women. I seek to get to know female persons as the individuals they are. Another gift is that I am far, far less conflicted about my sexual identity. Through having worked the steps, I am starting to realize I'm predominately heterosexual.

The third reason is we in the fellowship speak one another's language. We feel at home with one another. We also believe we cannot maintain SPAA defined sobriety without mutual support. As time passes, we become more and more comfortable with one another, develop friendships. We become like family. No matter the squabbles, deep down we love one another. We laugh. We cry sometimes. We men and women in the fellowship learn from one another. Wisdoms get clarified. And in my experience, hope renews itself inside every meeting.  


Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Jesus Concept of a Higher Power

I am an addict in various programs of recovery. But the most problematic, the most egregious cast me by the fortunes of Divine Providence into the fellowship of SPAA, Sex and Porn Addicts Anonymous.

Inside the bottomless pit of that abyss of hopeless enslavement to edging, when I admitted to myself my utter powerlessness over mastery of this disease...I took Step One. The first of the twelve steps of the ladder I climbed to freedom out of the abyss.

Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson co-founded the movement that constructed the manual of suggested instructions on how to work these twelve steps.

Simple, but not easy, but for those of us who had no choice but to live or die, die literally and figuratively, who chose life---the 12 step work incarcerated these addictions in a maximum security prison, an Alcatraz so to speak.

The continual working of the steps provided to me the security of that prison by a spiritual growth vibration of frequencies of alert living in the moment. The bad vibes rear their ugly heads not withstanding. 

Onto another branch of the tree.

I cannot comprehend how, with a limited capacity to  comprehend. The Higher Power for this man grows on a tree, it's a Pinecone. The Higher Power for this woman? The Universe itself. No Higher Power exists for this other man, an atheist who nonetheless has been clean and sober for decades.

Based on a variety of personal experiences, my conception of a Higher Power is a Risen Lord Jesus Christ. A man who thirsted grasps thirst. A man who grieved the death of a dear friend grasps grief. A man who suffered physical torment grasps physical torment. A man who grasps glad joy grasps the gladness of joy. In these manners, my Higher Power intimately grasps my humanity because, in my conception, He IS truly human, and truly God, and His Divinity empowers capacities in me of which I am not capable.

The working of the 12 Steps had granted access to this Power which has brought and is bringing a life to me "beyond my wildest dreams." 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Counting One Day at a Time


Last night, today, an awful damaged rotator cuff pain, and yes, as a seventy-three-year-old 12 Step recovering alcoholic, drug addict, food addict and sex and porn addict, I do my best to keep a clear head. But the level seven on the one to ten pain scale demanded relief measures. So, I swallowed the pain killer pills; got skyrocketed into a drug like high. And it drove me to a place of reflection about my body. Deprived of level headedness, I laid in bed, and my body embarked on its craving for a happy ending massage. Radical honesty. It’s emphasized repeatedly in the AA Big Book as an absolute prerequisite in order to recover from addiction. What’s my radical honesty now? I don’t care how much numbing myself with pain killers endangers my SPAA defined sobriety status ---no looking at pornography, no masturbation, and no sex outside of a committed relationship.

However, I lock and jail these addictions, a day at a time, and the counter statistics echo the handiwork of a Miracle Maker, the concept of my Higher Power--- The Triune God. No alcohol: 6 years, 11 months and 18 days. No marijuana: 209 days. No SPAA slips: 88 days. No compulsive eating: 88 days

This Power greater than myself abounds also in the following communities of recovery and their meetings in which I participate. Overeaters Anonymous, Sex and Porn Addicts Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Although not often, but as well… Narcotics Anonymous.

If I had gone out to get the happy ending massage, if I had consented, since addictions are progressive, I would have been in deeper pits of black tar sex addiction than ever those pits of black had been in past decades. $25,000 on American Express during one week end at Mustang Ranch in Nevada. Pitiable and incomprehensible demoralization. The abyss. But by the grace of God, no. A grace unmerited and without which I would have probably overdosed myself to death or committed suicide. Instead, today, I listened to member shares at AA and SPAA meetings… and learned and empathized.  I prayed for 15 minutes, I listened to an online Catholic Mass, I danced to exercise music for twenty minutes, and I practiced Spanish for 15 minutes. By the way, my body DID NOT want me to practice my audio daily Spanish lesson. My body rarely does. But I do sense the good type dopamine of feelings of self-fulfillment engendered when I find myself talking in Spanish with an Ecuadorian, mostly being understood and mostly understanding. (A Californian, I have lived in Ecuador a decade)

When I work the SPAA program, thus decreasing the frequency and intensities of my objectifying women…I then can experience whatever it’s like to getting to know a female human being as the human being she is. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Journey Moves Moves Towards Recovery

As of this writing, I have 60 days of back-to-back SPAA defined sobriety. The relapse excuses? There are no excuses. I went to my pre-programmed always-works-never-lets-me-down escape valve. I watched porn and masturbated. But indulge the writer as he writes about circumstances, compares, and offers estimations of progress despite the book cover of defeat.  For about four months, I had had absolutely no access to my monthly pension money. I had been unsuccessfully, desperately seeking resolutions while my supply of savings dwindled to a one month capacity to meet minimum financial obligations. I felt like I was in a bed of quicksand in a night so black not a glimmer of light could be seen. At that point in time, I lost about seven and a half months of back-to-back sobriety. But I did not lose the progress of that change in mentality, what’s called the psychic change sufficient to bring about a radical change in attitude and outlook upon life. When I first started the porn free living journey, I would act out on account of, what now, but not then! Seem miniscule triggers---being lonely after the good vibration fellowship of an AA meeting.  Or just because it was a Monday.

I go to SPAA meetings daily. That is a commitment to myself and to my Higher Power which I mandate to myself to respect.

Daily at our SPAA fellowship ZOOM meetings, I see and listen to shares from members of despairs, of hopes, of slips, of agonies, of reflections and new understandings. I hear laughter and laugh often, and sometimes crying.   I see faces and know people who have become not only friends but teachers. I am reminded, daily, that I am a sex and porn addict. These daily reminders motivate me to work the 12 Step recovery program with earnest endeavor. I am reminded daily of my default tendencies are to lie, to rationalize, to find fault in others and to justify my behaviors. I worked the 12 Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous twice. But the fullest ranges of my brokenness as a human being and its depths, the consequences of their damages to myself and to others---these were not grasped until after I had worked the 12 Steps in the SPAA program.

I thank my sponsor in SPAA for his over-the-top support and guidance during the year long working of these 12 Steps.