The Wonderful Tool Of Bookending

My name is Matan C. and I am a recovering sexaholic from Jerusalem, Israel; I am sober joyous and free from September 30th 2016 by the grace of a loving Higher Power, the 12 Steps and Traditions, my Sponsor and Sponsees, my Family, this Fellowship and a wide variety of recovery tools, one of which I would like to share with you now.

When I started my way in SA, my sponsor and other long time members (both living and via recording, non-living) gave me a gift – they handed me a large toolbox filled to the brim with all sorts of gadgets, ideas, actions and behaviors I could use to stay sober and happy.

This toolbox is really magical, it’s kinda like Mary Poppins’s (or Hermione Granger, depending on how old you are) bag: there is no problem or situation that doesn’t have a solution in this toolbox. Resentment? Inventory; depression, sadness or loneliness? Service work and connection with others; lust? 18 wheeler at the end of the White Book; RID (restless, irritable, discontent)? Prayer and meditation. A tough or potentially hazardous task at hand? Bookending.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines Bookending as: “to begin and end (something) with two similar things or with the same thing.” The phrase stems from the function of a physical “Bookend”; that piece of metal you place at the beginning and ending of your bookshelf to stop your books from falling off and making a mess.

I, too, as a staggering and powerless (but not helpless!) lust drunk, can create quite a mess if left to my own devices, even worse than a shelf of books falling to the floor. Let’s try to give a few examples to demonstrate what I mean:

  • Let’s say I am not spiritually fit and my wife (or boss) asks me to look up something online, and I do so without taking anybody with me on this potentially hazardous journey, isn’t there a chance that I will wander off to places I don’t want or intend to?
  • If my physician recommends I exercise regularly but all the people at the gym or the area I work out in are lust objects to me – wouldn’t going into that kind of a situation “unarmed” be a bit foolish?
  • Say I have a deadline coming up at work, or even in SA, like maybe I was asked to write a little piece on bookending for the next issue of Essay but I can get myself to sit down and do it, wouldn’t it prove helpful if I bring some backup with me?

In my country and language we call Bookending a “circle”; circles are meant to be closed, if they are not, they are hardly a circle. At the end of the day we can also call this tool an “accountability circle,” a pledge or a commitment to someone other than myself that I will get something done a certain way in a defined amount of time. Let’s use those same examples from above to tie this in:

  • Let’s say my wife (or boss) asks me to look up something online, and I don’t feel comfortable enough doing so alone, or I think it would be wiser to bring someone in on this with me – I send a WhatsApp message to a recovering friend or group of people and “open the circle” for the period of time I think it will take me to get the job done. There, I now have other people with me on this task and I am not surfing the web by my own power. Once finished with the task I’ll send another message and “close the circle” or bookend.
  • I want to exercise regularly and all the people at the gym or the area I work out in are lust objects to me – I can call a recovering friend and pray together about the coming exercise session, “opening a circle” for the hour I intend on being there at the end of which I promise to check in with the same friend to “close the circle” and bookend together.
  • There is a deadline I am fighting my best to beat but nothing is happening, it’s not even lust but I just can’t get myself to sit down for enough time to get anything done – I will “open a circle” with a recovering friend (in my case I have a designated WhatsApp group just for this – we update each other about our progress on tasks at work) for the next task I want to get done at work and “close the circle” only to open it up again for the next task (I usually use the “pomodoro” 25 mins time cycle at work). Most days this is the only way I can get anything done.

Bookending, circles, accountability partners – there are many names for this simple truth: I am a staggering, powerless (but not helpless!) sexaholic that needs all the help he can get to succeed in getting some very simple things done (like staying sober or sending an email to my boss or writing a short piece on bookending for Essay). I don’t know why this is, and I’ve stopped trying to figure it out. In fact, I’ve stopped trying to get simple things done by myself and today I take any and every help I can get from that amazing, magical toolbox called SA. Bookending is just one of them and I can highly recommend using it together with all the rest.

Love and Light,

Matan C., Jerusalem, Israel

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