So, I understand that the title of this post is a bit odd. I am not talking about the quality of the activities in which I engaged during the relapse, but rather that the rebound from the relapse has borne more insight than any that have preceded it. I would suppose that it is a sign of my increasing mental and emotional health that I am able to see things as I do right now.
On the one hand, I would much prefer that I had not relapsed, but at the same time, the things that I learned from the experience do seem rather important, and I don’t know whether I would have learned them nearly so effectively through another means. (there certainly are other means by which to gain said insights, but as long as I’ve relapsed, I may as well extract as much positive out of the experience as I can, so that even a negative event may have a positive meaning.)
The following is my relapse prevention sheet that I completed not more than a half hour ago. I don’t know that anything on there will mean as much to anyone else, but perhaps walking through mine will help others to analyze events in their own lives in order to find meaning in events that would otherwise be seen as simply dreadful.
Relapse Prevention Sheet
Waking up, calm after the storm of a physically exhausting weekend, skipped church due to illness, chatting online.
I was in a place where I was longing to be loved. I was longing for receptive emotional intimacy.
Sex act A is the means by which I will fill this emotional vacuum.
The emotions that happen in sex act A may fulfill the emotional vacuum that you feel, but it comes with a price.
There are almost always more than one means by which to fulfill a need. What else will make you feel the way you think engaging in sex act A will make you feel?
This is the way I feel vulnerable, and safe in my vulnerability.
There are other safe ways to be vulnerable. Your brother-in-law is someone with whom you can feel this way.
Where can you go to feel safe, and let down your guard?
There’s too much momentum here. The thoughts just keep coming back, regardless of the techniques I use to try to get away.
Momentum, while a force of nature, can be overcome. That being said, a need is not filled by deprivation, but by satisfying the need.
What is it I am trying to get by doing this?
Because I was feeling ill, I had isolated myself. I had only cursory interactions with any of my friends, and because of this, I became lonely. Well, lonelier than usual. I turned to those who I could chat with in spite of my illness, via the internet.
I had let up on almost all of my dailies, and was not really trying in anything. I was keeping my head above water in most things, and letting the others slide. I had not done laundry in weeks. (I have a lot of clothes…)
Each thing I had to do on Monday seemed to offer a slight reprieve, but little more than that. My meetings at CU distracted me, but as soon as I left, my mind returned to sex act a. Each distraction was a brief fire to be put out, after which I could return to my seclusion and indulge my fantasies.
Sobriety is now reset.
I don’t know if it is that I have been thinking about the positives from what I’ve been learning in the last few days, feeling the love of God and man, but I find it much more difficult to come up with negative consequences this time around.
Recovery Techniques and New Behaviors:
I’ve started doing my dailies again. I think I am going to pick one day a week on which I can ignore every single one. I’m also going to implement a daily in which I will be purposely screwing something up on a regular basis, and not correcting it. I hope that by this I will be able to condition myself to be ok with imperfection.
When I was driving home from the store on Wednesday night, I started to cry, and then I said to myself, “Let’s make this a positive cry.” At that point, I started to pray, thanking God that he allowed me to still be alive. I mentioned that while I was uncertain of the differences between me and Onan, I was glad thankful that I have another chance.
I’ve become closer and more open with my brother-in-law. He is one of the few people who I don’t feel I’ve imposed upon if I ask him for help. I’ve asked him for help, and he is giving it. He is becoming an anchor for me.
I’m learning to be imperfect. I’m learning to forgive myself my mistakes. In fact, even the previous statement seems to be less accurate. I’m beginning to think that mistakes are not to be forgiven, simply to be learned from.