I had blog written up for tonight, but I've opted to hold off on posting it because it seems to me that I've had a few, oh -- let's say "directions" pointing this way.
I wrote a blog on it yesterday. The day before, on Spiritual Progress.
I met with Sponsor tonight, I had a couple more assignments I needed to go over before I could complete Step Four. I'm so very glad that I've got this opportunity -- as I've mentioned previously, I've been trying to get passed this for over a year.
Meanwhile, I have a sponsee brother (I guess that's what you call him, but we'll go with SponseeBro) who happened to show up at the same place, so we all began chatting about step work. This is new stuff to me, sitting and talking about stuff with other people, men nonetheless. Well, let me backup a minute...
I was at a sober active group function the other day, and two people needed rides to a meeting. I was headed in the direction they were anyway, so I offered to give them a lift. We all hopped into the car, and very shortly afterwards, a conversation ensued. Now, for the sake of anonymity, I'm going to make up the names and adjust the conversation a bit, but this is essentially, briefly, what was said:
"So, Steve -- I've been thinking about my relationship with Ann. I think you're right."
"Ya -- well, it's a tough one, but you have to take care of yourself, too, Bob!"
"I know, but it's the kids I worry about. Thankfully they don't know anything about what's been going on. Ann and I have pretty much kept it to ourselves, so they have no idea about the physical or verbal threats she's made to me."
"Well, the kids are important! They're going to have to live with it as much as you are if it gets any worse!"
This is how the conversation went, talking about stuff that I would call very personal (it is more personal than I'll write about), and all of this took place right in front of me. I don't know one of them that well, yet the troubles and the advice bounced freely back and forth; it made no difference that I was in the same vehicle hearing all of it.
This is very, very odd to me. I don't ever recall having a conversation like this before in my life, with anyone. That is to say, although the details would be very different, the fact that they are talking about such personal and private things in their lives at all, that's what threw me off. What in the hell? This made no sense to me. I still can't wrap my head around that.
Since when do people talk to each other like that? When does a person begin telling other people about things that are going on "behind closed doors?!" Aren't they embarrassed about it? And what if the other person goes around telling other people?! This doesn't make sense to me! I imagine that it would be like this conversation:
"Hey, let me tell you some of the most embarrassing, frightening things in my life, okay?"
"Oh, awesome! I'll just go and tell everyone and make fun of you behind your back, belittling you and making sure you're judged in the worst possible way!"
"Sweeeeeet! I can't wait for everyone in the fucking world to trash talk me behind my back so that no one will ever want to have a thing to do with me again!"
This may seem like an absurd conversation, but believe me, Left Side and Right Side are damn good and sure to make it clear that this is what will happen if I say anything to anyone. And for years and years, I believed them. Often still do, actually, although I'm beginning to wonder if they're right.
... So there I sat, with Sponsor and SponseeBro, and we were discussing things. Like, stuff in life. Like, even spiritual stuff; things about God and trust and faith. SponseeBro then decided to recite a quote, which I've heard him say before, and have heard several variations of in the past. Mashed together, they go, quite paraphrased, something like this:
I came to a Darkness which ended the Light. What was beyond the Light, only the Great Spirit knew. Standing there, I pondered, "Shall I go back, to return to the Hell I've escaped? I know what is there, and there is the pain; but at least I would know. Stepping into the Dark Unknown could mean certain tragedy; but could also mean certain peace."
Recalling the fears, the pain, the loneliness, and self-hate, I was as afraid of going back as I was of going forward. I wondered the moment of Truth; would I land on solid ground? Or fall into assured Death? I released to the Great Unknown, a prayer of hope, belief, and trust; a faith as mighty as I could muster, and forward I stepped. I watched the Dark Shadow swallow my foot, then my shin, and my knee; and then I lowered my leg...
SponseeBro's was much more elegant and profound, but this is how I remember the alloy of parables and poems I've heard over the years. The reality is, we really don't know what is in store for us. We can consider all the possibilities that there may be, but all we can do is move forward and trust that all will, ultimately, be okay.
So I wrote my sex inventory tonight. Anyone that knows me will understand that it is a very short list; but there is a seed on there that was sown from which I reaped many years of sorrow and pain; but worse, so did those affected by it.
I handed, reluctantly, the short list to Sponsor. He looked a little surprised that it was as short as it was -- but it is what it is. Afterwards, I felt completely ... split open. Is this what it is like to trust another person over such matters? I don't like it. I feel naked, and vulnerable.
I believe this is coined "Trust." Ho-ly Shit.
But I suppose that this is a necessary step if I'm going to understand why Bob ever had the nerve to discuss what he and Ann were going through. If I am to know why he was okay with talking about his apparently failing relationship, I have to find what he's got; the ability to trust someone with all his darkest secrets, knowing that they won't go around and spread rumors or hate.
I certainly hope that my foot lands on solid ground, because this isn't something I wanted to do -- but it's move forward, or go back. And I don't want go back, not unless it is to intentionally die -- but these days, I don't want to die. I choose to live.