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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Learning Intimacy

The past few weeks, in terms of my sobriety, have been great. I was troubled by not being able to get some traction with my sobriety. I talked at length with my sponsor and my therapist about it. It seemed much of my acting out, came from stress, not related to the church, but from work and life. And a lot of it came from being given a degree of freedom, I've never had. With my parents releasing me from expectations of future behavior, I got a little lost with that liberty. While I recognize that that deep within my desire is to remain in and close to the church, not for anyone, but for me, it remains a quandary.

Last weekend was Seattle Pride, I had a chance to help some friends out with Pride. It felt good to give back and to simply feel safe being me, despite all the crazy stuff that attends Pride. But this happened under the weight of having just returned home from visiting with my family. I told my sister I was a sex addict and she simply hugged me and we shed tears - she thanked me for still being her brother, and not leaving the family. I held her for a while. It felt good to talk openly, freely, and with love to my sister. I felt home.

When I walked through the door, my father ran towards me and hugged me and held me for a moment. It was a great feeling!

At home, given my work with the community, I was asked to do some things for them that would require taking on more responsibility. I acquiesced. I arrived in Seattle with a heaviness, not of emotion, but of the potential of my future and where it will be headed, as I assume more and more responsibility my community is asking me to. The trajectory of my life has changed. All through this I was sober. And it felt great. I was not online or surfing the mobile apps for guys to cruise on, I was not lost in lust or fantasy about relationships. Rather, I was focused on two things: 1) my sobriety and 2) my future. 

Sunday afternoon, after returning home from Pride, I was exhausted. I did step work and eventually went to bed. I woke up sober. That day was rough. But I made it through the day, making program phone calls, and then went to a meeting in the evening. I shared about how I wanted to find someone to act out with. I left the meeting feeling settled, and phoned my sponsor, we talked about my plan for the evening. It was a good plan to keep me sober. 

I got home and started to work on my dissertation a bit and then I received a text message from a guy I got to know, Peter. This addiction is insidious! As soon as I received the text message, in which he invited himself over, I was lost. The euphoria took over. He came over and stayed the night. It felt good, but I also knew it was detrimental to my sobriety, my mental and spiritual health.

We watched a movie and then he feel asleep in my arms. We moved to the bed and there slept with each other throughout the night (though that was punctuated by moments of nonsleep). In the morning, we simply cuddled till 1pm, laughing, talking. There was a part of me that was fulfilled by that encounter, yet I remained mostly empty. I knew he would not stay. Sure he might send another message in a month or so, but it was not permanent.

When I got to the office, Tom called me excited to fill me in on his life away from Seattle. It was nice to hear from him. After the phone call was over, I reflected on that experience with Peter, and realized I deserve more than to simply be used by someone to feed their addiction, and that I have more integrity and love than to use someone to fuel my addiction. A new insight for me.

Throughout the week as I worked on my program for recovery, Tom phoned a few more times. However, I knew with each phone call, the reality of anything happening between the two of us diminished. I think he recognized that as well. Strange how much can happen in a week.

I went to the LGBT running club on Saturday morning, Tom was there. I did not expect to see him. He slowly made his way toward me. Instead of his usual excited greeting and hug, he just stood in front of me staring me in the eyes, then he smiled at me, I smiled back and we went our separate ways on different trail runs. I've not heard from him since.

I think this is a good thing for me. What that experience with Tom made me realize with greater clarity was simply that I want a fulfilling, intimate, healthy relationship. And those kinds of relationships do not have to be sexual. I can have that kind of relationship with friends and family. It is the kind of relationship that allows one to transcend loneliness and be OK in solitude. It is my hope that perhaps one day, I can have that kind of relationship with God.