For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

- Mosiah 3:19

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Out of the Mouth of Babes...

Well I guess the guy is not quite a babe in both the colloquial and scriptural sense, but nonetheless the sentiment is apropos.

Last week I had tea/coffee with a guy I met on campus. We met up at a coffee shop, he's 24 and a Philosophy major, we talked a bit about Kant and our misgivings and then confessed our fascination, admiration, envy, and love for the man. The categorical and hypothetical imperatives are wonderful topics for great conversation. Anyhow, we met at the coffee shop and we talked about a host of things.

We got to know each other - it felt oddly like a date. Meeting someone for the first time and asking questions to get the to know the other. Jokes, nervousness and flirtatious commentary was sprinkled throughout the conversation - turns out I'm quite oblivious to these well accepted dating ques.

Anyhow, we got on the topic of me being Mormon, being gay and the process of coming out. He came out to his parent in High School and then to paraphrase or rather quote him "When I got to college, I went wild and explored..." He then said something interesting, "After I explored, it got boring. I was done with that and now just looking for something more than that....though don't get me wrong that is great, but I'm looking for something more." I was relieved. Here was a guy who understood me, he understood implicitly the struggle, the sense of a loss of safety, a loss of a sense of place, a loss of a sense of belonging. Then more importantly he understood how I then stood at the doorway to a new life - starting at a foreign world. A world that will be changed, how I interact in it, how I interact with others will now be very different because of who I am accepting I am and how I see myself. I felt at home, I felt comfortable. He was 24. I'm 33 and have sought for this sort of deep understanding - it seemed to be elusive.

I sought out some understanding from my Bishop and Stake President and found nothing, I sought it from friends, again found nothing, I sought it from family, and there was fragmented understanding, I sought it from people in my Addiction groups, again it was elusive.

Yet, here was a 24 year old kid, wise beyond his years, nervous, flirting, but able to see me in a completely vulnerable space and simply acknowledge it and say it will get better.

I felt, in a word, safe.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Running Uphill

I just got back from a recovery meeting. As I reflected on the meeting and my life, and where I am, it occurred to me that there is a certain aspect of the illusion (of why I act out) that I continue to believe and hold on to. That aspect of the illusion is about finding completion, fulfillment, wholeness, a sense of serenity, peace and safety. In my addictive mind, I tend to think that one of these men I act out with will want more than sex, but that he will want to spend his life with me. Yet it always goes like this: I meet him online, we chat for a bit, then either he invites me over or I him, he comes over, we chat for a bit, then move on to sex. After that portion is over, we lie together for a bit, I then make an excuse, "I have to be up early..." He gets the cue and and leaves, or I leave. Or after that portion is over, he simply says thanks and leaves. Except for those weird relationships (which I blogged about), I never see these men again.

Yet, I continue to go back because I think that I will find someone to fill the God-size hole in my soul. As I rationally think about it, if the hole is God-sized, why the fuck am I looking for a guy seeking "anonymous fun" to fill that hole? But I continue to go back, because the illusion of finding fulfillment remains. I continue to think I can find it there.

This morning in the recovery meeting, I realized that I continue to grasp on to that illusion; I realized further that the tools of the program, if I but simply practice them daily, can break that illusion to pieces. Yet I'm afraid to let go of the illusion - it has been a comfort to me for years, it has always been there for me, it has been a friend (not ever a good one), but it has been a constant friend. As I now desire sobriety, letting that friend go is hard (however dysfunctional our relationship has been).

I was reminded it happens one day at a time. This reminded me of running uphills. As I train for races, I try to find hills to train on. On Saturday I did a long run, at mile 8, I encountered a long steep hill. Trying to maintain my 8:30 minute mile pace up the hill was especially difficult, because I kept looking to see how much farther I had to go, I kept trying to look for the top of the hill. When I would spot the top I became discouraged, my legs would buckle and my mind would say, "Stop, you don't have to run, you can walk." With legs in pain, labored breathing, and trying to see the end from the beginning of the hill became overwhelming. I wanted to quit. At that moment, I simply put my head down and looked at my feet...telling myself one step at a time, "don't look up, just look at your feet...keep them moving." Eventually I got to the top of the hill. I thought it was over, but I was in pain, my body wanted to stop. Despite having run up the hill, I still did not fully recover from the hill until about a half mile later.

I thought about that experience in relation to my recovery. It started to make some sense. I can put my head down, and allow the tools of the Sexaholics Anonymous Program to dash the illusion that hinders my progression to pieces one day at a time.

I am worthy of love. I can be fulfilled. As Elder Anderson once said faith is a decision. I hope I can consistently, and daily affirm to myself that God's love can indeed make me whole, if I but simply put one foot in front of the other, He can fill the hole inside of me.