As I begin to feel some of the blessings of recovery, and the fog is beginning to lift from my mind, it is becoming more clear to me just how many blessings I have missed out on because of my addiction. I am coming to understand how much my addiction has harmed me and my family.Like many others I truly missed out on a lot of blessings in my life because of this addiction. For example, the blessing of feeling good about myself. The blessing of being able to hold my head up, of associating with others without feeling inferior, without having to hide who I really was.
The blessing of feeling good about myself-
This important blessing escaped me for most of my life. Even though many other people felt good about me, and complimented me for my accomplishments and my "goodness", I couldn't feel good about myself because I knew my "dirty little secret". I knew the "real me".
I even told myself that it was good not to feel good about myself. If I felt good about myself I was being prideful. What a lie! The truth was I didn't feel good about myself and yet I was STILL full of pride, because I wouldn't turn my heart and will over to the Lord. I have only recently begun to feel good about myself...and that has only come after I came to realize my own nothingness. It's strange to think that by admitting my powerlessness I have come to feel good about myself, but it is true. Because as I became aware of my nothingness I also became aware of God's all encompassing power and love. And that has given me hope and faith and I have come to be able to love myself.
The blessing of associating with others without feeling inferior-
As I have come to feel good about myself I am beginning to be able to associate with others without feeling inferior. This is coming a little more slowly for me. I think one of the biggest ways my addiction has hurt me is that it has changed my personality and made me less outgoing and less willing and able to make friends, less willing to allow others to get close to me.
Even within my own family I have avoided getting too close. "How can I teach a lesson in Family Home Evening about honesty when I am carrying this secret?", "How can I talk to my son about sexual matters when doing so would make me feel like a hyporite?" And I have hurt my wife and my relationship with her by making her feel like I am only interested in her as a way to fulfill my selfish desires. All of these feelings of inferiority served to entice me to do things or avoid doing things that fueled my feelings of inferiority even more. It was a vicious, self-defeating circle.
I have not had any close friends since my childhood, and I am coming to find that this is not uncommon among addicts. It is not that others didn't want to be friends with me, but I couldn't allow them to get to close to me, for if I did they might find out what I was really like.
Now, as I am beginning to come out of my addictive shell I am trying to make friends again. It is easiest among fellow addicts in my Heart t' Heart group because they know "the real me". But I am trying to branch out and allow myself to be vulnerable to others and allow them to get close to me. I am not as afraid to let them get to know the "real me" now because I am feeling better about the "real me".
The hardest part has been my relationship with my wife. She knows the old "real me" and doesn't like it too much. And she is having a very hard time becoming acquainted with the new "real me". But the Lord is blessing me with patience and He is blessing her with a desire to trust the new "real me". I am amazed at how the Lord is blessing her with a willingness to still try after all the hurt and disappointment she has experienced because of me. And I am amazed at how He is blessing me to not feel resentment towards her (as I most certainly would have in the past) as the process of becoming reacquainted with each other is more difficult and moves more slowly than I had hoped. Truly we are being blessed and nurtured by the Lord.
I bear my witness of the reality of the blessings of the Lord as we seek His will in all that we do. I love Him with all of my heart and thank Him every minute of every day for the new blessings that I am beginning to experience. Blessings that have escaped me for most of my life.