I’m studying Rhyll Croshaw’s book “What Can I Do About
Him Me?” today and the title question really hit me: “How is your life right now in this very moment?”
One day at a time is a common cliche in recovery meetings. But is it really a cliche? Or is living in the moment, one day at a time, how things really have to be if I want to live in real recovery?
A comment came this morning about how addiction is 10% not acting out and the other 90% dealing with negative emotions. I agree so much with this.
I was reminded yesterday of how amazing it is that awareness and surrender change perspective and direction – right now, in this very moment.
My family and I went to an open house of my sister in law’s church in Provo. She left the LDS church about 3 years ago because of a boyfriend she thought she was going to marry. When that didn’t work out, the anti-Mormon venom had already stung her, and I had many feelings of resentment (I was also in the heart of my own addiction so that muddied the water even more).
Going to this church thing was a trigger for me. Luckily, just a negative emotion trigger. But a trigger nonetheless.
I was so grateful my wife could tell something was off. I was so grateful to be able to be vulnerable and talk with her about it afterward on good terms: no blaming, shaming, resentment, rage, self pity, etc. In the past I would have buried those feelings, let them fester, and then blamed or shamed my wife or kids for something irrelevant at a later time, and the cycle would have commenced.
Today is a different day. Today I choose to live a “new normal.” Today I choose to ask myself, “How is your life right now in this very moment?” And the answer is peaceful, content, connected, and ready to live in the moment safely.
It’s truly a miracle to feel again, to recognize emotions for what they are, just emotions that I can surrender to God, another person, and they are lightened.
Living one day at a time is not a cliche at all – it’s the reality of true recovery.
Beck and I were talking about the difference between recovery and sobriety and it always makes me think of an equation:
The Real Addiction Recovery Equation
Where does it start?
For me, it had to start with awareness that what I was doing was not only hurting me, both on the outside but even more on the inside; but it was also killing the relationships I had with those closest to me – my wife and my kids. This is really Step 1 – Honesty!
Once I had that awareness, I had to get sober and stay that way. But sobriety is NOT recovery.
“Sobriety is not the same as recovery. Sexual sobriety is “no form of sex with self or anyone else other than a spouse of the opposite sex, and includes progressive victory over lust.”1 My husband and I believe that viewing pornography crosses the boundary of sobriety as well. My husband could go for years in a state of sobriety without being in recovery. Recovery requires both a “life style change and a change of heart.”2
“[recovery] includes recognizing and admitting to being an addict, setting appropriate boundaries to protect against future acting out, learning to cope with life in healthy and appropriate ways, being willing to work on recovery daily, and changing the underlying behaviors that cause the individual to see out pornography.”3
I’ve felt this in my life. I thought I was “out of the woods” back in 2010-11. I’d been working with a sponsor, I’d worked through step 8 and was working on step 9; “all was well in Zion.” I was sober, what more could anyone ask?
But was I really? I don’t think I really was. Lust was still a common thing. I still looked at women from the chin down, I still browsed online images – even though they weren’t naked (that sounds so minimizing even to write). But I wasn’t in recovery at all. I was “white-knuckle sober” at best.
Sobriety, however, is part of the equation of real addiction recovery – without sobriety, recovery can’t even be in one’s conversation in my opinion.
So, thus far there is Awareness, which leads to Honesty, which leads to Sobriety. Then what?
With sobriety has to come action – recovery actions. What are those?
- Attending 12-Step Meetings
- Going to a professional therapist who specializes in sexual addiction
- Working the steps on a daily basis
- Reading about recovery
- Working with a sponsor – accountability
- Writing about recovery
- Surrendering on a moment to moment basis
I could make a longer list probably but that could turn into a “should be doing” list and that’s an entirely different topic.
I’m going to stop there for now. This will be part 1 of a 2 part post on the Real Addiction Recovery Equation = Awareness + Honesty + Sobriety + Recovery Actions…