It’s been 6 years since I embarked on my journey towards the unknown freedom that I so desperately needed. I rediscovered many long lost treasures, and uncovered many unexpected hurdles and blessings. If I was to imagine what my life would be like now, I don’t think I would have believed it. How I’ve grown as a person and how my life has been enriched by slowly abandoning the self-harming addictive behaviors has been an unimaginable gift, a gift born of compassion, and of patience, and love.
If I could say thank you to everyone who has helped me along my path, that helped me when I was blind, and when I wanted to see, I could never finish thanking everyone. A million thank you’s in awesome gratitude I send out in all directions.
I’m going to talk here about a lot of personal experiences. Recovery stories can be very motivational, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s recovery is different, and we all have our own story and our own path.
A little history
Before I started seriously addressing my issues, I was at over a decade of porn and masturbation abuse. From a very early age I was obsessed with erotic and pornographic images, using them at any occasion to escape from my abusive childhood, and cope with feelings of alienation. By the middle of High School it had become a pretty big problem. One that I always knew would need to be addressed sooner or later, but never seriously considered how much it would effect my life in the long run. It was my security blanket, my little friend, a relic left over from a time when the only choice I had was to escape from my cruel childhood reality by dissociating in addictive habits that pacified my emotions so very well. Except now that I was old enough to process and examine these feelings in a healthy way, I found I could not, or did not, want to quit the crutch. It was just too easy, far easier then facing my shadow, and dealing with all the twisted trauma and emotions I was running from.
Once in my mid 20s, my life was a mess. Estranged from friends and family. Chronic sleep deprivation and crippling depression. A career that was falling apart. I knew I had no more time left, and I needed to address this issue sooner or later.
What has changed?
Today I am more free to make self-caring actions and less inclined to make self-injuring actions. I’m no longer numbing myself as I once was. And although a craving my come up now and then, it’s never as powerful as it used to be, and I know just how to address it in a mindful and compassionate way. I’m healthier, since I’m not chronically abusing my body anymore. I’m more available for my friends and family, and as such have a deeper and more meaningful connection with them. I enjoy having the freedom of choice and confidence that I can fulfill promises made to friends, and not let them down as I once did when my addiction would dominate my life. I’m more motivated for my projects, and for moving my life forward.
What did I discover & rediscover?
There are many, many gifts that came from facing my shadow. Things that I could not have dreamed of, discovering myself for the first time. Taking where I had left off emotionally as a teenager, when the addiction got really bad, and just running with it to seeing where it led me. Now I’m more authentic, more honest, less afraid to be who I really am. Basically I lifted the blocks stopping me from blossoming into my true self. I faced and followed those dark scary emotions, and after a time to process them with patience and compassion and mindfulness, they turned into a true treasure. A treasure I would not trade for anything.
I rediscover my ability to be sensitive, to know when enough is enough and not push myself too hard. How to be open and intimate with friends and family. How to be happy with less and more content. I’ve rediscovered my love and capacity for creativity, this website is a testament to that as just one example. And I’ve rediscovered how to love myself for who I am.
What has the past 6 years been like?
My recovery was, I think, in one of the worst categories. For the first 3 years it was a slow, one day at a time process. Some days the only thing that could keep me going was that there was no option to turn back to my old ways, to do so was certain death for me. But I knew too much, I got a taste of freedom with every short or long sobriety. And slowly month after month, year after year I saw progress. I knew that if I could make it through this day, then that was one day closer to my liberation.
One of the most pivotal changes for me in my recovery was through my SAA sponsor, who taught me that I was worth it, that I was worth the freedom I was seeking so hard. He taught me that I was deserving of love. It hit me hard, like a freight train. This was something no one had said to me since I was a child, and was a very big turning point for my recovery.
As time went on, my health was really taking a toll. It was hard putting myself through the constant yo-yo of withdrawal and relapse, and forcing myself to observe my painful emotions every day. And at around year 4, I had a terrible depression, a depression that almost ended me. But I pushed through, knowing that this was the only way to save my life, and it payed off. Almost like a flash point, after years of being present with my emotions, I saw who I really was, and I’ve been following that path since.
In short I realized that, along side the deep self-loathing and insecurities, one of the main feelings I was running from my whole life also included strong repressed gender dysphoria. Once I realized this the only clear path for me was to finally embrace who I really am. It took a long and painful reflection period to come to this clear realization, but I would not trade my path for the world if this was the only way to get where I am today.
What are you looking forward to?
In a lot of ways I’m still picking up the pieces of my life, and looking on the horizon with big plans. We can never move backwards, only forwards. No matter what shape the pieces of my life are in right now, I will use them to rebuild it. I’ve already set into motion really big life changing plans and goals that I truly and honestly know are the right decisions for me. I’ve never been happier, and I’m very excited for all the possibilities life has to offer me right now.
Thank you all so much for supporting me and Building The New. To be honest I don’t know what future this blog has. It may be shut down eventually, but I would love for someone to take it over if they have the spirit of mindfulness and compassion to keep it going.
Until next time.