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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 12:57 AM
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Armor as chains
I hope everyone here is doing well. There aren't many corners of the internet I frequent very much these days, but this is one of them. Everyone here has given me a lot of support, and it's only with the support of family, friends, and fellow travelers that I've made any progress at all.

I am still dealing with a lot of pain. Heartbreak is never really easy I suppose. I am, however, still sober. It's kind of surprising for me to write that, honestly. Usually, when going through any kind of uncomfortable time, I can usually manage of my own will for a while but then eventually I'll succumb to my own addiction and end up losing myself in porn for hours at a time or ending up in someone's bed that I don't really care about or ending up stumbling drunk or all three.

God is certainly one thing that's different. I've decided just to listen. I still don't know what God is, but I'm trying to let God be whatever God is instead of trying to turn God into something that's palatable for me.

Another thing is that I guess I've been realizing that my approach to recovery has been wrong for me, also. On some level, I feel I have always operated on a level of deprivation. That I want to act out somehow -- but that recovery is about resisting that urge and not doing whatever it is that I want to do -- and that is sobriety.

But I guess what I'm coming to understand is that's not really sobriety. Sobriety is noticing the addictive urge is still there, but being able to see through it, to understand what it really is. I guess when I'm in that place -- spiritually and mentally -- where I can see what my addiction really is, not wanting to engage in it is just a natural consequence of that understanding.

I've always sort of conceptualized my addiction as this beast. Fearsome and snarling. But really, that's not right. When I look at the whole spectrum of my behavior -- good, bad, and ugly, I can see how so much of it was done to try to protect my heart. To protect me from pain in this misguided attempt to take care of myself, and love myself. Each time I ran from whatever it was, I was really just putting on another piece of armor. In a twisted sense, my addiction was a way that I tried to take care of myself. To love myself.

So here I am wearing all this armor. All these ways I try to protect myself and that I run and hide from the snarling beasts that populate the world. Then I woke up. What I realized is that all these ways I've tried to protect myself and help myself and love myself, that all this armor isn't armor at all. That they're really chains. It's like I spent all this time putting up all these walls and barriers to protect myself from loss and pain and uncertainty only to find that I've put myself into the middle of a prison of my own creation.

I used to pray to God that God help me become the man that I've always wanted to be. The man that places honesty and integrity ahead of everything else. The man that has compassion for others, and for whom doing the right thing isn't a struggle but is intuitive and comes naturally. The problem with that prayer, and the beauty of being able to see the armor as chains and the walls as a prison, is in the assumption that I'm not already the man I've always wanted to be. That I'm not fundamentally a good person. It's awfully hard to love yourself and to have compassion for yourself if you also believe, deep down, you're not a good person.

I guess what I've come to realize is that I believe I already am the man I've always wanted to be. That recovery isn't about destroying or changing who I am, fundamentally, because that assumes that I'm no good. What recovery is about, I'm realizing, is getting all these damn chains off me and taking all these walls down.

It's a really beautiful realization for me, because I always thought that was so elusive. That to be the man I've always wanted to be was some illusory destination. That I'd never really get there. To understand that I don't need to change who I am is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I've ever felt. I've never really loved myself before. Now I'm starting to see how that works.

But I realize I've still got all this armor on, still sitting in my fortress. I guess I know what the task of recovery is, now. Whenever the snarling beasts that populate this world come around, whenever I've got fear, pain, anger, or loss staring me in the face, I have to take as much of my armor off as I can. I have to take down the walls, brick by brick. It may take the rest of my life, but I owe it to myself to break myself out of the prison I've made.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 08:11 AM
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1. AHA
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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-03-11 05:42 PM
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2. Beautiful post
Thank you
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-06-11 12:00 PM
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3. Very nice post!
I understand and identify.

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