When I first started my recovery journey I was plagued with the usual incessant buzz inside my head that only addicts and compulsive neurotics can identify with:
- I gotta get better QUICKLY before I lose my mind
- When do I get outa here? I'm feeling fine and don't need this
- Who is that guy and why is he looking at me funny?
- Can they notice me when I’m looking at them funny?
- I'm so happy!
- I'm so sad …
- Once I get sober I am going to help everyone I can find, it's my mission!
- Why me, God? Why me?
Now don't get me wrong, I think that some of these, or indeed all of them are outright outrageously funny and crazy (especially my virtuosic ability to harbor two thoughts that are complete opposites at the same time, and believe them!); However, I also know for a fact that I had to walk through these types of mental “Blank Spots” and “Twists” (see chapter 3 of the BB) in order to recover.
That being said, it is not a coincidence to me that the instances when I had this type of compulsive craziness inside of me was also the time when I used to attend meetings in which recovery was hard to find and most of the members were only focusing on “hanging on” or “surviving” without our drug, Lust.
I thought that was all there was—I can’t live with my acting out and I can’t live without it so I drag myself across town three times a week and sit in a room with people suffering the same fate and together we pass the time until we recover or die, whichever comes first.
Then one day a member came up to me after a meeting and asked me where I lived which was strange since no one had ever done that before and I thought we didn’t ask those types of questions since were called Sexaholics ANONYMOUS (and obviously I had no idea what that actually meant). I told him the name of my neighborhood and he mentioned that he was from the same area and that together with another member they were planning on starting a new group that will cater to that area of the city. He asked if I wanted to join and help start the group and, thinking that I’m better off with a group closer to home either way, I gladly joined in the endeavor.
I don't know if this experience saved my life but it is no doubt one of those pinnacle moments in my journey.
We started the group and called ourselves “The Three Legacies”. We met in a tiny little room that was an acupuncture clinic by day. We focused on the steps and traditions. We didn’t treat recovery as a duty or our fate as a sorry one. We laughed and had fun. I took one of the two other members as my sponsor and hit the ground running. More members joined and the room was getting small so we started renting a bigger place in the neighborhood even though by this point most of them came from all over the city (and even some from outside the city!).
I noticed something curious started happening to me: I came to the meeting early and left almost 2 hours after it ended - and I wasn't the only one. During the meeting I was smiling and cracking jokes. People had a different look in their eyes and for the first time I saw what Jess L coined as “The SA Shine” all around me. This place we rented had a foosball and ping pong tables where we played before and after meetings while other members sat and talked with each other for hours. We even got complaints from the neighbors that the banter was too loud!
Seeing as “The Three Legacies” was established to cater to a specific area in our city there were indeed many members who lived very close to each other thus something much bigger was happening around us - a community was forming with this group at its center; meals together and going bowling, the students of the group studying for finals together while the married members had playdates for their children together, going to the movies or out on the town, trips to the desert camping under the stars or going to music concerts - you name it.
I can go on for hours about “positive sobriety” and how recovery should be fun but honestly I am just privileged to have had the opportunity to be a part of this community that has saved my life because if all this program had to offer me was being a “dry drunk”, not acting out but also not enjoying a second of life without the drug - I would have been out that door long ago. I needed much more than that, I needed to be happy, joyous, free, abundant feelings of love and fun all around me. My home group, my community, my family has provided me with all of that and taught me that if you aint having fun you're doing it wrong.
Matan C., Jerusalem, Israel