I’m a passenger in my own life

Time for a check-in. I’m at a low point in recovery. Often what happens is that the acting out increases until I reach a certain point where the negative consequences start to become more obvious, and as a result I gain a glimmer of motivation to get back on track. It is an easy slope to slide down – initially the acting out is mild and not having any ‘obvious’ consequences, so it continues, getting a bit worse steadily until I’m not getting enough sleep, becoming distant from, and irritable with, those around me, and I start to feel really low.

Being ‘in addiction’ (the phrase used for while you are still acting out and not achieving any decent amount of sobriety) makes me feel like a passenger in my own life. I lose more and more control of my own actions and decisions. The other night, I was in the living room ready to go to bed, and I wasn’t feeling even remotely horny; I had no desire to watch porn. Despite that, because I’d been acting out the few nights before, I felt an ‘obligation’ to watch porn. An obligation to my addiction, or my inner addict, I suppose. It was almost with reluctance that I took my laptop to bed to watch porn. This is crazy. I understand that addiction might make me more likely to want to watch porn, and to give in when that happens, but to watch it despite not even feeling like I’d enjoy it, and not possessing any conscious desire to actually do so, is a stark reminder of how pervasive addiction can be.

I know relatively well what routines and activities keep me sober. It is when they slip that I get closer and closer to acting out. Things like daily meditation, going to bed on time, not taking devices to bed, reading my motivational text in the morning, writing my gratitude list in the evenings, not playing too many games, allowing myself to be distracted and not present, not going to SAA or speaking with other members. These all help, and currently I’m doing hardly any of them.

My routines have been severely disrupted by the arrival of my second daughter. Obviously I love her to bits but having two kids comes with a few challenges – for anyone, let alone an addict who relies on routine. I don’t get to go to bed on time. I stay up late on my own regularly as I feed the baby while my wife sleeps. I don’t get enough sleep. My wife and I have little to no quality time for each other (I can’t really remember the last time we had a normal conversation), I am up early to look after the toddler, so I don’t get time to meditate. In addition I’m on a ban from all junk food, chocolate etc, and limiting my daily calorie intake to try and shed the belly, so that’s another comforter I’ve lost.

My daily life is just a bit all over the place at the moment. There’s a few abbreviations to help an addict identify when they’re at risk, and one is the SHIT list – Stressed, Hungry, Irritable, Tired. Well, currently I’m hitting all of those every day! I’m not really grumpy all the time or anything, I love my family and we have a wonderful time together – none of that is in question and that’s all going really well. I’m just not getting the chance to perform the activities and routines that I need to keep me sober, and I haven’t found a way to adapt to my current life situation.

But, this post sort of represents a slightly refreshed view on this. Tomorrow I’m going to get up earlier, hopefully, than my toddler, so I can do 15 minutes of meditation (so far I’ve been doing 10 minutes but I want to try a bit longer). I’ll read my motivational texts, and I’ll write my gratitude list in the evening. Three things I’m committing to, just for one day. Let’s try and achieve that, then look to the next day.

I’m also sitting here alone having got the baby to sleep and put her down. For the last four nights, I’ve gone upstairs to bed and acted out. There’s even a TV with adult channels in the spare room which I really need to sort out. Anyway, tonight, I’m going to go to bed, read for a bit, and sleep. That’s it. One small commitment for the rest of today. Can I do it? It sounds so easy, but experience tells me that what I think in advance can very easily have no bearing on what I do at the time.

3 thoughts on “I’m a passenger in my own life

  1. You mentioned you didn’t have time to meditate and do the some of the things needed to keep sober…..It helps to remember when we justify ourselves with any of our actions or behaviors or reasoning, we lose the most obvious red flags to help us see clearly. Removing all justification will help keep yourself in check and being truthful with ourselves is really the first step for anyone and anything. If you have time or take the time to watch tv or to get on your laptop or to do some of the down time activities and also if you have time to look at porn and or fantasies and or act out, then the self-justification is already active and reactive when it needs to be replaced with truth.
    Another helper would be to replace any thoughts of looking and acting out or justifying them, with the thoughts and feelings of what the consequences are to a maximum and bring in your children as part of that consequence in some way. You have a daughter, using that fact of “it’s someone’s daughter….what if this were my daughter…” etc helps. In other words….replace your triggering thoughts with a full blown consequence/s. See the pain, see the betrayal of yourself, spouse and children. See the guilt, shame and character you know would be knocking there afterwards. See the goodness of God, see His hand pulling you up and see Jesus nailed there on the cross.
    Do you talk honestly with your wife during these moments of thoughts and triggers and also talk with her daily of your thoughts and feelings in general in those areas and other areas with complete honesty?

  2. Thanks. I just found this page looking up S. H. I. T. in Google – it was the only result!
    Anyway, you said that you acted out even when you weren’t in the mood and knew you wouldn’t enjoy it – that’s exactly how I felt and I thought it was only me! I haven’t heard anyone say that before.

    Much as I enjoy porn when the time is right, when I was acting out my use of it became more of a chore – I didn’t really want to but I knew that if I didn’t I wouidn’t be able to settle. So I did, I didn’t enjoy it, but at least it was over and done with untol next time.

    I’m happy to say I’ve now been sober for nearly five years, thanks to SAA and an excellent therapist.

    Now I’m off to read the rest of your site. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks for commenting! Yeah I find it is almost like the habit is stronger than the sexual urge. Like it is just easier to watch porn than think about living my life more productively, even if I’m not actually triggered. For me a lot of it comes down to a desire to escape the realities of life – if I keep watching porn I can prolong the escape, even though the escape itself isn’t that enjoyable a lot of the time! The paradox of addiction I suppose.

      Congrats on your sobriety – what an amazing achievement. Sounds like SAA really can help but I really struggle with it. What would you say have been the most significant factors in helping you stay sober?

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