Monday, May 19, 2008

Shame in the World of Sex Addiction

What does one do with the shame?

Perhaps you left your sex addict. Perhaps you stayed. Perhaps you left and then returned for reasons that are only known to you. Perhaps you don't know what to do. Perhaps you are a sex addict. Or a co-addict. Love addict. Romance addict. Relationship addict. Perhaps it's all of these. Perhaps it's none. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

Perhaps you are me.

At the end of the day when I am laying my tired body down to rest, my mind begins to wage war. The images scorch before my mind's eye, searching for a place to make their home.

I no longer want this body to be home to the memories. And so, the endless riddle is, what does one do with the shame?

When it began to dawn on me that my partner had a sexual addiction, I did nothing. I believed that if I loved him through it, showed him my unconditional love, that somehow he would be healed. And in doing so, I nearly destroyed myself. And honestly, when I say I did nothing, that is not true.

I enabled him.

I became a willing participant. I owned his shame. I owned his disease. And for a while, I believe I became his disease.

In my journey towards recovery, I have had to face the very real fact that I absolutely cannot change the past. I am a natural born control freak, so this has been challenging for me to accept. Shame revisits me often. I greet it like an old friend, cry with it, scream with it, and sleep with it. It visits me in my dreams, in shadows of pain, in twisted memories. Always exaggerating the evil it thinks it is.

And yet, in moments of clarity, I have come to realize that shame is nothing but love at the other end of the spectrum. I am propelled towards love and forgiveness with shame licking at my heels. I cannot seem to run fast enough. The awakening for me has been in the realization of this concept: anything that brings us back to love, is simply love in disguise. And so now, I tell my old friend that it is no longer needed, it has already done what it was supposed to do.

Shame has inspired within my soul a longing, a search for perfect love and complete forgiveness, acceptance, and redemption, and, yes, a soul mate, beautiful sunsets, full moons, magical beginnings, and happily ever-afters.

And I am finding that this road is leading back to Me.

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