Daily meetings - at 6:30, 12:00 and 5:00 pm - are just a 5 minute walk from where I'm staying for these first four days. In this morning's meeting there was a powerful atmosphere among the 25 participants. Someone shared that they felt envious when they heard about some acting-out behavior which they had not yet tried. I experienced the envy last week, in my home group, when one guy shared about working in a discotheque and pulling lots of women there.
I feel very small here now - a lot of unrest and fear - lost inside myself. The weather is like a hot summer's day back home, though more humid, with loud cricket noises in the evenings and squirrels running in the trees. At the same time I am willing to be changed by the meetings and the Steps.
What caused me to come from tiny Belgium in Europe to the green state of Tennessee in the Bible Belt of the US? My acting out had become even worse over recent months. I had quit my job (for the 12th. time in 12 years!), stopped going to meetings, avoided any contact with program friends, and started a binge which lasted for two consecutive months. I had spent about $3000 in two months. My ever growing insanity began telling me two horrible lies: first that if I ended up in jail I would actually enjoy it - a little, cosy, easy-to-manage room where I could read, meditate, draw and finally get round to working the Steps; there, (although normally heterosexual), I would be lusted after by many tough men and would have sex every day; that I would even enjoy being raped. Secondly that I would love to work 24/7 in a sex shop in the red light district, cleaning up after other men in the dirty little porn booths, being paid in extra time on the porn screens.
In the final week of this hell, I would wake up about 10, masturbate myself into sleep again until noon. Act out again to knock myself out until 2 or 3 pm, finally get out of bed but only to act out again, as soon as possible, with food, movies and sex. I knew that I had lost all control. Felt scared of what was going to happen. Each day, suicide was becoming a more realistic way out. Today, I realize that I could have died there - another sad statistics of for the year. Only my HP kept me alive.
When, after two months of radio silence, in desperation, I called my sponsor and told him about my relapse, he said that he would have been more surprised if I had kept sober and serene without the program for two months. When I asked him timidly if he still wanted to sponsor me, he replied, “Don’t deny me the opportunity of staying sober by sponsoring you”.
He suggested three options for me: 1. go to a treatment center, 2. take Depo-Provera (a tough medicine based on hormones which arrests lust) or 3. come to Nashville for 90 days, to go to meetings and work the Steps. I phoned a trusted old-timer in the UK who encouraged me to go for option 3. So I chose Nashville and here I am today.