I don’t know if I can adequately reproduce in words the absolute fear that I had about attending my first 12 step meeting. “What would people think?” “Who might be there?” “What if someone found out?” “What if someone I know is there?” “What if it’s a room full of weirdos?” After several months of fretting and “thinking about it” I finally got up the courage to … ask a friend to go with me. Seriously! I called a friend and asked if he’d go with me to a group meeting. Did I mention that I was absolutely terrified?
It is still weird to look back with the eyes and experience I have today on the events from not too long ago. I forget how locked up my emotions were. I forget that I was a pressure cooker of stored up emotional baggage from years and years of locking it all away — there was NO WAY I wanted that sucker opened. I forget that I was completely surrounded by the impenetrable COCOON OF SHAME™! I barely had the courage to tell a private counselor things. I had only just started a 3 person private group meeting to discuss pornography addiction with a couple of close friends once a week. I was not ready to open up to the world just yet. Not by a long shot.
But, I had a friend who had beat his addiction and I wanted what he had. He was a wide open book. He wanted to shout it from the roof tops that “Pornography is addicting, it ruins your marriage, you need to stop, and it can be beat!” I liked his courage. I thought if I could just borrow it for a one hour meeting that maybe it would kick start my own courage and then I could become more like him. Turns out I was right — you CAN borrow someone’s courage.
I will be forever grateful for my friend who went with me. He didn’t care for the meeting, but it freed me from my fear and led me to my freedom from addiction and I want others to have the same opportunity.
If you live in my area, I’ll be passing out “Hi my name is Mike” business cards to local church leaders with my website so you can contact me if you need to “call a friend” to join you for a meeting. I’d be honored to join you! If you don’t have a friend in your area, look up a meeting at either SAAPP.org or the LDS Addiction Recovery Program websites and send me an email first. I’ll send you an encouraging note and I promise that you can do it! Nothing bad will happen. You might get embarrassed (it is a normal human emotion after all), but that’s okay, it didn’t hurt me. I got over it. You might see someone there you know — I have, several times, and we’re better friends for it! And you know, they will think something about you. They will think, “Hey! There’s a guy with an addiction who is fighting to overcome it. Good for him!” or “Hey! There’s a gal with an addiction who is fighting to overcome it. Good for her!”
Be BRAVE my friends! You can do it. You really can. And once you go — just keep going! Work the program. Find a sponsor right away! Ask for help. You will be embraced and guided to your recovery. I know because I’ve lived it. The freedom is real. The peace is pure joy. You will be happy!
My name is Mike.
PS. I didn’t actually Trademark the “COCOON OF SHAME” — I just thought it looked cool to put the ™ symbol after it 😉