Choices

by Bill

My friend Rodney died a year ago today.   He wasn’t defeated by his addictions, because he had plenty of experience in dealing with them both inside and outside of treatment.  He was killed by his choices.

Rodney and I were roommates in treatment.  I was there — after 23+ years “sober” in the beverage and pharmaceutical programs — to deal at last with my sex addiction issues.  Rodney was an equal opportunity addict like myself.  He had varying lengths of time abstinent in AA and NA (several years, this time), but had never dealt with the feelings surrounding his sexual issues, including early abuse.   He knew his triggers, too: he’d pick up the wrong guy, have a little liquid courage to facilitate the relationship, and eventually they’d end up doing drugs together.  That had led to HIV and acute pancreatitis, among other things.  He could not afford to drink again.

I don’t know what demons of his remained to be exorcised, but a few weeks after leaving residential treatment but while still in Intensive Outpatient, he made the choice to work on his chemical addictions while “taking a break” from his sex addiction program.  A couple of weeks after that, he began avoiding my phone calls, and within a few more weeks I heard at a meeting that he was dead.  He’d been found in his apartment, surrounded by empty beverage containers.

My friend knew that a relapse would kill him.  He had trouble managing his physical issues when he wasn’t drinking.  He also knew, from many previous relapses, that his Achilles’ heel was relationships.  He sponsored people in AA.  He was active in his fellowships.  But for whatever reason, he failed to heed the multiple warnings of his experience, his therapist, his medical team and his friends in the program.  He made the wrong choices, despite knowing better.

I’ll never know why, but I can make a pretty good guess.  As a gay male, he had faced harassment all his life, including both sexual and emotional abuse from childhood.  He had sought solace and to silence his demons through drugs and sexual acting out, but whatever those demons were, he ultimately made the choice to do the very things that he knew would probably kill him — and I know he knew, because he said so to me on several occasions.

We are powerless over our addictions, but we are not powerless over our choices.  Relapses occur before we act out, and there is always a point where we can head in another direction, choosing our recovery over our fear of discovering more about who we are.  Rodney taught me that, and a lot more.  I miss him every day.

Rest in peace, my friend.  You were a powerful support for lots of folks, including me.  I sure wish you hadn’t chosen to be an example as well.

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Three Things That All Addictions Have In Common

by Bill

We like to say that an addiction is something that we keep on doing even though it causes us problems. That is certainly the case in many instances, but there is rather more to it than that.

All addictions have three things in common that separate them from other behaviors. These are most noticeable in behavioral addictions such as eating, anorexia, shopping, gambling, sex, and thrill-seeking – – among others – – because they are not masked by the more obvious complications of chemical addiction such as drug-seeking, intoxication, overdose and so forth. Nonetheless, they are common to those as well. Continue reading “Three Things That All Addictions Have In Common”

When Will I Be Ready For A Relationship?

One of the most common questions we hear from people in early recovery is, “How long before I can have a relationship.”  Answers in the rooms of recovery tend to vary, but the most common suggestion is to wait a year.

Put simply, I disagree.   There is, in my opinion, no set length of time, but a year is likely way too short.

Continue reading “When Will I Be Ready For A Relationship?”

Sex Addiction Is Real — Believe It!

My name is Bill, and I’m recovering from sex and love addiction.

There. I said it.   Continue reading “Sex Addiction Is Real — Believe It!”