Who Am I?

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Living according to my truth is a challenging endeavour! I would like to adopt a more androgynous style, but not even sure where to begin. I look at men and I think, “Damn! I love what he is wearing!”. I realised I have a crush on Jonathan Van Ness from the Fab 5 in Queer Eye – I don’t mean a romantic crush, I mean, I love the way he looks! That lushes, lovely, long hair – he is just a beautiful man!

I am a lesbian woman, who loved wearing boys clothing growing up, but then quickly adopted a heterosexual woman wardrobe to fend off the lesbian accusations when I was younger – because in my family, “nothing would be worse than one of us coming home with a woman”.

Ahhhh… so my internalised homophobia blossomed!

13 years after coming out of the closet and 3 years after rebuilding my self in a sober sense, after 15 years of drug and alcohol addiction. I am finally experimenting with my look again. Hips make it hard! I am still not entirely comfortable shopping in the men’s section and androgynous stores are hard to come by in Melbourne (or I’m not entirely sure where to look yet). Another thing… I cut my hair off, to play around with the more masculine look, but I got a heterosexual female to do it, which ended me up with a cut that looks more like my mother’s hairstyle than I do a lesbian. So now I am totally confused.

Physically it’s challenging, because I don’t even know what exactly I want to look like and shame often keeps me from even experimenting. The truth is, I need help! For me it is very easy to flaunt the long blonde hair and fit into a heterosexual world by dressing a certain way and not correcting people when they assume that when I am talking about my partner, that I am referring to a man. That is not my truth and I am hiding the most important part of myself. I don’t think I would like to fit into a stereotypical lesbian look either, because deep down inside I would rather look like a beautiful gay man – so where does that make me fit into the LGBTIQ initialism?

On the spiritual and emotional front 12 step fellowships are helping me address that shame and the low self worth that I used to use drugs and alcohol to forget about. Working through this stuff layer by layer. Each year I get closer to the feelings and closer to the core of why I used to drink. In addition to discovering what I like to wear and how I want to look, I am discovering what I like to do, what I need from friends and what I am willing to accept. The friendships I have built in the last 3 years are not always the best for me, they were built on the foundation of: “I will be ok with things that aren’t ok, so long as you will love me and wont reject me.”

Letting go of these friendships is hard and sometimes very lonely. Living my truth is not easy! I have to spend lots of time working out how not to do things, before I find out how to do things, in a way that truly resinates with my soul. This is posses to be quite difficult for my inner perfectionist, who growing up was beaten for making mistakes.

I’ve become vegan, because I am really against breeding animals just to kill them. If it is not ok for millions of people to be loaded onto cattle trains to be transported to their death, then why is it ok to do that to animals?!? I am against global warming, consumerism and destroying our planet, though Soy crop agriculture is just as damaging, so does that mean that drinking soy milk is ok? Or have I just bought into another fad? I know soy uses less energy than cow’s milk, so good for global warming, but what about the decline in forest conservation, herbicides and nitrogen rich fertiliser they use to expand soy bean plantations?

The truth is I would really like to know where my food is coming from, but I don’t have the time to grow it myself, nor source local farmers and produce, because I am thoroughly enmeshed in the very system that I am trying to stand up against – And I have to face facts, we don’t have a big enough garden for a goat!

It has been a journey! One which leads to so much confusion and uncertainty. Who am I and what do I stand for? But most importantly, do I really have enough courage to be different?


Intentional Peer Support – What a Journey!


I did a five day training in IPS – This was my experience:

For me drawing the picture in pen was risky and unforgiving. I had a fear of “what will I do if I make a mistake?”. It is also really putting myself out there. This is indicative of how I felt calling out in the group. It required a level of vulnerability that I’m not used to giving.

I tried talking with the risk beating down on myself with a whip after, because that what I do and why I have such major performance anxiety. I struggled to get a word in sometimes and got angry if people said what I was going to say. Sometimes I hid behind my interest in people’s opinions.

On day 3 I learnt to let go a little and one on one I became fascinated with the investigation of how what is said effects the relationship (IPS language or not) Wrong or right went out the window and I simply was curious.

On day 4 I held my tongue in the group, too triggered to talk and overwhelmed with feelings. It’s from that place that I was shaken into a shift, which for me needed to come after a great deal of pain. It is from connecting to my humanness that suddenly I was able to connect with the humanness in others. I saw people differently. Suddenly it was not so much about me saying the right thing anymore as it was this deep desire to connect to the people I didn’t understand and enter the inquisition of why they feel the way that they do.

The picture explains my understanding of IPS and the way I experienced the training. Both pairs of eyes are mine, looking at the same person. How I look at someone determines how they look.

I came into the training grateful and pro training and totally open to the possibilities and even so I find my self on the other side pried Open, with my narrow mind exposed.

I like that there is no prescription in IPS. It’s not one size fits all or because this worked for me it will work for you. It embraces each person as an individual and caters to diversity, which aligns with who I am. After years of being put into a box by people who assumed they knew what was best for me and being outcast for my differences, it is refreshing to find something that doesn’t try to change me so much as it tries to hear me. It is an honour to learn to do the same.

Turn Around

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I was sitting in a pool hall, a couple of nights ago, watching the tennis waiting for my client to finish playing pool. My head was pounding – maybe it was caffeine withdrawal. I went tea free that day, where before I have been drinking between 1-3 cups a day. I was on google, trying to find out whether or not tea has more caffeine than coffee, I read mixed reviews, they were all relative.

I stopped drinking coffee about 3 months ago, because when I got triggered into my PTSD I found it impossible to deescalate. My heart rate used to go through the roof. On one hand I was happy that I had more umph to tackle the office job and function beautifully with a tea in me. On the other hand the moment something triggered me, I had to spend half the day trying to bring myself back down to earth again… and then add to that a dash of hormones, and voila… a disaster!!! They don’t lie when they say addicts are sensitive souls. I don’t know how I used to take crystal meth, if one cup of tea spins me out. No wonder I was afraid to leave my apartment.

So much had changed in the last 3 years, it’s absolute madness! This time 3 years ago I was sitting in an apartment in Cape Town, I had probably been awake for at least 3 days. I had just lost the second job in one month. I was about to miss my sister’s wedding, because I couldn’t guarantee that I would go to it sober, so I felt like, as her bridesmaid I would be doing her a disservice AND I had just sold my car and given all the money to my partner to pay for my flight to Melbourne. The car money got spent on one months rent and a heap load more meth. My family weren’t talking to me and the relationship I was in, was so toxic it was messy and violent and the police were getting involved.

This was the time in my life where I started to feel like things were going wrong for me. Up until that point I thought I was invincible. I used to roll off sayings like, “You are what you eat!…. That’s funny, I don’t remember eating a fucking LEGEND!!!” – The wilder the night, the bigger the ego boost. I used to supply all the gear, so naturally I felt responsible for everyone else’s level of happiness. It was like a game, where social standing was as valuable as money and in the scene I knew everybody! It didn’t occur to me that there were people outside of the scene and that the particular scene I was in, was not necessarily the scene anybody ever wants to be in – its more like where you don’t want to end up.

Before the end, I’m talking about the last 3-6 months of my using, I was floating around completely oblivious and it is because of one specific coping mechanism: Dissociation – “the action of disconnecting or separating or the state of being disconnected.” – Just like my mother, I only chose to remember the good things, so it was like the bad things never even happened. This developed in early childhood. I learnt to use a computer when I was 4 years old (which now I would imagine is quite common) – I was an avid gamer and would much rather escape into the digital world than deal with my reality. I was a day dreamer to such extremes that I would walk into pools or fall over things and I was totally unable to pay attention during conversations. My first addiction was to TV, I used to watch it every possible second when I wasn’t at school or sleeping. According to my grandparents I was an insomniac since I was 2 years-old, so I got a lot of TV time in on a daily basis.

I became sexually active around 10 years old and compulsive busyness when my Dad left the country with my sister and left me behind. Out of all the things that worked to disconnect me from my reality, compulsive busyness took the cake. While I have been clean for almost 3 years now, I still fall into the trap of overloading my day and leaving no room to feel. I have a program for that thank God and probably the reason why I haven’t been putting out many blog posts of late… I am learning to just enjoy some time off. The more time off I have, the more exhausted I feel. I think I’m addicted to sleep as well 🙂

I feel like I am taking a fine tooth comb and brushing out these addictive lice, which just keep popping up all over the place – Not easy to see them either. The periods of time in between the suffering are getting longer and longer and so much more fulfilling. Today I am feeling grateful.





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I am at the airport again and thank God for that! I am so grateful that had two visits with my mom’s ex husband before I left. He is the closest thing I have had to a father figure. I feel like I retrieved a portion of sanity in those visits. I went ‘home’ for Christmas, back to South Africa after almost 3 years in Melbourne. I felt like I swam into a different world, where I was was in a completely different book to everyone in my family, let alone a different page. It was a place where understanding was a mere myth – something that you might’ve heard about in a  fairytale, but never experienced.

My heart broke in the same place it has broken so many times before. When I realised my sister – my supposed ‘team mate’ – will bat against me even against non-blood related relatives. I felt defeated and completely thrown under the bus. My innocent heart made the mistake of hoping I would go ‘home’ to find my sister there, the one I have been searching to connect with for my whole life. Instead I found a lonely truth, which triggered an overwhelming loss and sadness, that the connection I craved is impossible and the ‘home’ I was looking for, wasn’t there.

I read a saying in a meeting, “An expectation is just a premeditated resentment.” – Boy, is that the truth! All wasn’t lost though. There were a few times last year where things got really tough in recovery and the wound I dug into for the purpose of self discovery, started to hurt so badly that I just wanted to go home – I had this fictitious idea that I would get some kind of love and nurture in South Africa and that sense of family that I couldn’t get in Australia. This ideal only exists in story books – I realised the cold hard truth, that I am not part of the family, but nor did I want to be. That the place where I felt safest, was the very place I left, in the pursuit of safety – ironically. My ‘Home’ resides in me and the love that I want is never going to come from the family that never gave it, because the only person who has changed is me.

Flying back to Australia, I felt empty, but relieved and strangely enough I felt quite a lot of hope, I felt like letting go of my expectations was a hugely freeing process. I was left with an empty space, which felt to me more like a blank canvas – It was something quite spectacular, because all of a sudden I could let go of the “should be’s” and what I thought life “should” look like, because it was the first time ever that I wasn’t desperately trying to fit into a box – where wearing a dress, being a racist and drinking 3 bottles of wine a night is absolutely normal – I can now paint my own picture and be surrounded by people who share my values – For me this is a beautiful place to be.

One good thing that came from the whole trip, is that I got into that desperate place, where I’ll take on any suggestion to help me recover, The result: I read a book by Mara Gleason – “One Thought Changes Everything”. All I can say is – PROFOUND! Initially the book got recommended, I ‘thought’, “I’m an addict, my thinking is the problem, why would I read a book about thinking?” – The first two parts I was judgemental of the writing style and actually resenting every second of it… Now that I have finished it, I am thanking God for giving me the perseverance. I now know my thoughts, just like my feelings, have a lifespan and just like a flame, they will eventually burn out. I had the HALT’s on board when I got home with jet lag and my head was racing (catastrophe thinking) and somehow I was able to detach and not become all consumed… It wasn’t a perfect experience, nor was it a tidy one… It was different and the changes have just kept on coming. I feel more present than I have ever been.

Today I am grateful.


Recovering My True Self

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The journey to self discovery is fascinating to say the least. I embarked on mine a year ago, but I do believe I have spent a lifetime searching. What I have come to realise is that self examination is very painful from a place of judgement and shame. They have a saying in the rooms of 12 step and that is, “God only gives you what you can handle”. This is apparent, based on the trauma, which has only, just surfaced. Before connecting to it, I got to a place of complete self-acceptance and gentleness.

I had an experience with my best friend, which broke me. She is my greatest mirror! She came to me with a scenario, which I went straight into judgment over. My judgement was rooted in fear of what I didn’t know. Naturally I took her inventory for her and judged her the same way I would have judged myself if I had been in the same situation. Her reaction, though painful, is exactly what I needed to see. I hurt the person, who I love the most and it was as painful for me to see myself doing that as I think it was for her to be on the receiving end. It was from that moment, that I realised exactly how harmful I can be, to myself… She just allowed me to witness it. I felt regret and deeply feared abandonment.

She didn’t leave, she like me, stuck around and thank God for that! I made a mistake and I was forgiven and it is from that I started to believe I was forgivable. I let go of trying to be this perfect specimen, who will never slip or make a mistake and I connected with my humanness. I found self-forgiveness and in turn learnt self-acceptance. The shame has left me, because for the first time I can love me for who I am and that is enough. To know that nothing I do is wrong OR right. That I am like a little girl learning to run. I may fall and I may hurt myself, but that is ok, because there is nothing wrong with learning through doing. And if I am constantly fearing doing things, I will do nothing at all. I will merely escape into the fantasy of doing things, which lives in my head. Then I end up disappointed that I don’t do them.

When I am afraid, I ask God, “Please come in and hold my hand”. I was a frightened little girl with no freedom to express myself without punishment. This is no longer the case, but that little girl is not going to come out with harsh words and judgement. Love, open arms and encouragement on the other hand, are the antidote. “A spiritual awakening is the antidote for fear”, from one of the questions on step twelve – Yes it is. My spiritual awakening was unconditional love and acceptance of self. If I love myself no matter what. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

I went to Sydney last weekend. The trip was something special. I did a meeting for adult children of dysfunctional families and for the first time in my life I cried in front of people who weren’t my mother or my therapist – not to mention in front of an entire group! I hobbled out of the meeting and I realised I had literally forgotten everything people had said. Bessel Van Der Kolk explained it best, when he said that when people get scared, frightened or upset we loose our frontal lobe and the limbic system takes over (which is the primitive part of the brain that was created when you were a kid to help you survive) – so the question he poses is how do we build up our frontal lobe so that it can still operate when the limbic system takes over. – Anyway, he explains it much better than I do. I watched the video in February for the first time and on Sunday, I had my first lived awareness of this actually happening to me. People would say their names and no sooner had they said it, would I forget their name completely. It was really weird and confronting. We went for a ridiculously over priced massage afterwards and ate ice cream and then passed out early. My experience is that you can have all the stamina in the world, but it means nothing to keep you standing in the midst of this emotional work… It is there on my knees that I can comprehend humility.

Another thing that happened on the trip and the day before I left. I went into a clothing store to buy a pair of shorts. This was really difficult for me, because when the shop assistant asked me what I was looking for I had NO idea! She brought out the full range of women’s shorts, which were all high wasted and inappropriately short. These are the kind of shorts I have worn for the past 12 years and have sat in meetings completely uncomfortable. My codependency was starting to kick in and I started feeling really bad that I wasn’t going to buy anything – maybe this was a little bit of a blessing! What it inspired me to do was ask her about the boys shorts I had seen when I walked in. She was a bit shocked, but brought me a full range of guys shorts in different sizes and I was able to try them on and find the size that fit me. I had my first happy shopping experience EVER!!! It was great, because when we got to Sydney, I went into another clothing store and walked around with my friend feeling totally uneasy and overwhelmed. Disheartened, I sat and waited to give my friend the thumbs up while she tried on her outfits. I got up and shuffled over to the guys section. I started to get quite excited when I found 2 pairs of shorts I liked and knew the size I was looking for. 1 didn’t look great, but the other did and I was over the moon… this was a second INCREDIBLE shopping experience for me.

Months ago I would have had too much shame to come out of hiding to publicly start to try to look for who I am. I would have been too ashamed of the fact that I wanted to wear guys clothing and I most certainly would have done everyone’s thinking for them and done the worst judgement of me through your eyes – let alone actually asking for help! Seeing the joy and excitement being myself brought to me over the weekend, I am not sure I can ever go back to suppressing that part of me. I heard some famous Bollywood director once say, “It takes an awful lot of energy trying to be something you’re not and absolutely no energy at all just being who you are.”

Two Young!!!

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The last time I blogged, I wrote about putting my program down. Now I am a strong believer in if you put your program down, you will be in a heap load of pain. This is true for me in the sense that I relapsed (on the sex stuff). The interesting paradox, is that the lessons come after the pain and I guess it was a risk worth taking. I learnt so much in the last month! Whereas before I was too afraid to stop doing the work, because I thought I was going to die.

I learnt to sit with a feeling. I learnt that I am not going to die when life gets unmanageable and I learnt that when life gets really bad, all I need to do is pick up my program. I have my ex girlfriend to thank for that – or my qualifier as they call it in this 12 step fellowship. We came into recovery together. We broke up after a year and in a desperate attempt to not relapse on drugs I started working a program like my life depended on it. The result was entering into a group, which made top lines a priority (my top lines were going for walks on the beach, doing comedy classes, socialising, talking to people… the list goes on!). For any normy, this would sound like day to day activities. If you are an addict like me, writing out these things as a good behaviour goal, stops me from either compulsively over working or spending the entire day in bed without showering.

It’s interesting, because I started this blog post before I lapsed and now I am finishing it after and the shift is fascinating. I had so much hope and strength in my bones before and now I feel slightly defeated. I am only on day 1 (well tomorrow will technically be day 1) – When I first entered this program, I relapsed that many times, that I was well aware of how each day felt leading up to day 30. Day 1,2 & 3 are all ok, because the high of acting out hasn’t quite worn off yet. Day 4 & 5 whatever pain you were trying to mask with acting out hits like a ton of bricks, compounded with guilt, shame and remorse. In my opinion, if you survive day 4 & 5, you can survive anything. By day 10, some normality starts to enter your life again and you feel like life is actually possible. And by day 20, you start to feel really good. – Well this is my experience anyway. It is by day 20 that I start to feel so good that I forget the pain and 20-23 I forget the pain to such an extent that I become cocky with my recovery – I think I start to glow when I feel that good and all of a sudden people just start coming out of the woodworks (temptations!) – If somehow you can sustain abstinence through this period, the drive to get 30 days outweighs the temptation and, somehow I tend to be able to white knuckle it there. Once I hit day 45 I feel absolute relief. So that is my goal – 90 days, but I will begin by aiming for 45 and doing it one day at a time. I have done 9 months of sustained sobriety, so I am happy to do it again, plus I have therapy in 21 days… pointless doing therapy while acting out.

So why the relapse? One could say it’s from sober dating someone without a secure attachment style. I wish that was the reason, but that was the slip, not the relapse. Last Monday, I unlocked some major childhood trauma in a brain spotting session with my therapist. My dad used to punish me by locking me in the cupboard, until I stopped crying. This happened when I was only 5 years old and cripples me in every area of my life today! The fear of getting things wrong, being punished and abandoned, causes me so much anxiety in work, relationship and even food, I had to sit with this feeling this week. I slipped with this girl, by going too far into physical intimacy. After the slip, I simply recommitted to my program and it was a great solution. I did a meeting every night, started working through the “Facing the Shadows” workbook – Patrick Carnes and picked up my 10th and 11th step.

What got revealed was my pattern of preoccupation – ritualisation – sexual acting out – despair, then the cycle repeats itself. I thought I did a sterling job of arresting it in it’s first cycle, but I spoke to my mom on the phone last night and we spoke about the abuse. She brought up that my dad did it to me when I was going through my terrible two’s… My heart sank, it still sinks and I well up (and I’m still in the fogginess of acting out – so I don’t even want to imagine the pain that is on its way) – I can’t help but picture a two year old girl being thrown into the cupboard and left there. My heart hurts!

I don’t really have that much more to say about that, because it’s still really raw and painful. My life makes sense though, why I am so full of fear and have such high expectations of myself. Why I always want to hide and any expression needs suppression… I was 2 years old, how the hell was I supposed to know what was right and wrong!?!

I relapsed on masturbation and even after I tried to numb out, I am still in tears writing this. I know acting out is not the solution. I also know I am going to be in even more pain soon. I know I wont die though and I know I have the tools to get me through. God has got me, as always! Just needed to get honest. This is my road to recovery. It’s not always going to be strength and hope. I am still going regardless… not sure how, but I am still here.

Recovering My True Self

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Whoo hoo! I’m back!!! 🙂

I have been on quite a journey in the last month. It has been a real period of self discovery! I had been going flat out with recovery, since about April last year. I was in a desperate amount of pain after breaking up with my ex, the woman who I moved to Australia for. Since the break up, I did a step one on her and a step four on her in the drug program, but that really didn’t work. 6 months later, I fell into the love fellowship on my knees and desperate to fill the empty space that was so dark and lonely, it made death the more palatable option. I was scared. I didn’t want to die. It took every last bit of strength and God, to stop me from giving up entirely.

I started the steps in the love fellowship and in the process realised my codependent tendencies, so I started the first 14 days of questions in that too. I was acting out with workaholism and at the beginning my sex addiction was running rampage. I acquired a little self worth in the codependent program and managed to walk away from my job and a boss who was gas lighting me. I also managed to get more than 30 day abstinence with the sex and love stuff too. What I was left with, was the beginning of a life worth holding on to and that darn empty space!!! Somebody suggested therapy. I took the woman’s number, but with the ‘glamorous’ childhood I had, I really didn’t see how I could possibly need therapy (completely overlooking the fact that I had been to therapist after therapist since I was 14).

One day I was at home and I was completely overwhelmed with shame after receiving a message from my former boss. I was ready to throw in the towel and it was then and there that God gave me the strength to reach out to this woman. She called me and it was an instant connection. I had no idea how I was going to pay for these sessions, considering I had just walked away from my job, but I was desperate and I would have done anything at that point. What followed was a gruelling commitment to self recovery – Recovery from addiction, is in actual fact, recovery of my true authentic self (you know the one that was there before the dysfunctional family systems and societal jading).

Since February I have worked through books. Before then I didn’t even read. Books like: Claudia Black – Changing Course; Jerrold Mundis – Earn What You Deserve (Turns out I had a money addiction too); Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan – Money Drunk Money Sober. Charlotte Kasl – Women, Sex & Addiction; Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel; Patrick Carnes – Facing the Shadows. I have finished the 12 steps in the love fellowship. I started in the money fellowship, got up to step 3, put it down and picked it up again. I did an improv comedy course. Have just started listening to a guide to stand up and writing jokes – this was all while working and studying. Every time I put my program down, I would get into a heap load of pain, so I was afraid to stop. I was even frantic around doing heavy therapy sessions fortnightly and writing this blog.

Now I don’t know if I had a spiritual awakening, but it sure feels like one (Many actually! Every time I turn my head one whacks me in the face – it’s like a profound realisation!). One month ago, I threw in the towel on therapy. I went into the session and just said I just cant do anymore. I wanted to live the life I had worked so hard to recover. My therapist supported me in a way so gentle, I have really just tried to carry it to everyone I deal with – it is a love and a gentleness that I had never experienced before.

After making that decision, which for me was the first step toward empowerment and independence, everything started to change. I booked a trip to Sydney. Reconnected with a love interest. Had a near fall out with my best friend, which pulled out my deepest abandonment wound and put me into the most vulnerable place I have ever been – I was naked and frail and so aware of my humanness AND I didn’t die! (I was able to self soothe and even though I had ‘lost’ my best friend, I was ok!) – It was there I let go of the self judgement and shame. I could see my defects and was able to make amends for the behaviour (taking people’s inventory). Seeing my humanness, helped me see it in other people and it is there I found true love for self.

I put my program down for that month, but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I have been able to start dating and start breaking the sober dating guidelines, but I go easy on myself. I am an addict, I am not always going to get it right! I got into pain around the money stuff, so I recommitted. As a result opportunities are falling out of the sky and God is actually giving me the courage to follow up on business and feel worthy of that business and feel good about the work I do. “Gentle judgement free approach to self” – I wrote that down as one of my top/bottom lines a year ago and I finally get to practice it.

Tomorrow I will do 5 rhythms, then go and ride a horse that somebody wants me to compete. I’ll go and watch a comedy shoe in the evening (Nadine Sparks) – an inspiration in my pursuit of my comedy career. And then ending off on a night out dancing in the LGBTIQ community. All four of these things are on my list of esteemable acts. I am blessed. I am working a program, but not like my life depends on it and I am living that life I have always dreamed of. This stuff works and the moments of stillness in my mind, make the work totally worth it!

Feeling love today and feeling SO grateful!

Giving it a red hot Go!

Just got to do the Melbourne convention. It was absolutely amazing! I was there the whole day and did loads of service, which is great, because I have never really been involved in service at a convention. I hadn’t discovered my primary fellowship until I found a home in these rooms and it was a beautiful experience for me that went full circle.

The first topic was healthy relationships, followed by healing the guilt and the shame and it finished off with “do you really want to have casual sex?” – For some reason the topics in that order left me with a well rounded perspective. First I got to hear what a healthy relationship looks like, just listening affirmed that I am really on the right track, firstly with the relationship to self, followed by the relationship I have been building with my Higher Power. It was followed by healing the guilt and shame and I got really vulnerable. My experience with this topic, was looking at the core belief systems, which make me feel like I don’t deserve that loving relationship. It got to the root of why I just give myself up so easily. The childhood tape of “I’m not good enough!” and “It’s not ok to get things wrong/make mistakes”. Once that was addressed, it moved up to the surface, to grapple with whether I really want casual sex or not… And the answer is yes, but the realisation is that I can’t have it. And it’s through becoming aware of it and noticing my misconception that Sex = Love = Sex = Intimacy… That I am able to let go of my desperate need for sex and simply have it as a byproduct of a loving relationship – as the program promises.

So after the big bonanza 😉 I have decided to go on a date tomorrow. We are planning to go on a beach walk, but typical Melbourne weather forecast 13 and rain… Hahaha Joys!!! I am busy frantically reading sober dating guidelines, in an attempt not to loose myself in the situation. The truth is a really like the girl. We have been speaking for 3 or 4 months now and I am quite excited.

To answer the questions in the outline: I have spent 9 months sober from acting on bottom line behaviours and I see my addictive patterns as clear as day. I have used withdrawal a number of times and may need to use a pause every now and again, but my pattern is avoidance, so I will need to start to learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings. I can date soberly, by not having sex or physical contact for 90 days (This is going to be the hard one for me – one thing I have learnt, is that if things turn sexual, I run for the hills and considering I am trying to break that pattern, it motivates me to keep my hands off this time) – I have a sponsor, I’ve worked the 12 steps, I don’t have a dating plan… yet! (Tonight that is what I am working on) – My intention is to get to know her better, do things we both enjoy and see if we can just hang out in one another’s company. I would like companionship and socialisation. My dating history is the same as the stereotypical lesbian with the u-haul story… Sex on the first night, move in after 2 weeks, have a toxic relationship for 2 years and end up in another country hahaha! <—– Hahaha, no wonder I am scared to date!

My biggest character defect is my avoidance (FEAR) – especially by the overwhelm of sexual attraction. The fear is of loosing (CONTROL), which is funny, because if I surrender and practice the third step, I shouldn’t be trying to control anything, so no need for the fear of loosing control… I am powerless. I have a good support network. I have my people – those who don’t judge and support me no matter what. My sponsor knows who I am dating.

My bottom line behaviour – I need to avoid, avoiding 🙂 Running is not an option in this one. If I choose to exit, I strive to do so as an adult (Please God help with this)… My life needs to come first while dating and no relationships for another 6 months… Just because I am prone to falling into them so darn easily.  My top line behaviours are the same as always. Maintain friendships; Do comedy classes; Take walks on the beach; Exercise; Meetings; Step work; Outreach; call my sponsor.

My addictive pattern is to always choose unavailable partners and having sex too early – So one down, one left to tackle. What do I mean by ‘available’? Hahaha, well a good start is for her to be lesbian… I always overlook that one 😉 – Secondly, her not being in a relationship with another person is a pretty good start for me too. She likes me back, which is another huge plus. Being sexual to me?… Kissing counts as sexual. Holding hands could even be dangerous, so that probably needs to be added in there too. Things are not going well, if we end up having sex before the 90 days is over and if we start living in one another’s pockets. The red flags I tend to ignore are the moving too fast flags. Once I get caught in that current, my whole outlook changes to anything goes. “Ah well we’ve broken those boundaries, might as well break em all!”. I don’t normally stay in unhealthy relationship, I normally run. I did become financially insecure with my last partner a bit and moved country and had nowhere to run to, so I stuck around until I got my independence.

I got 3 more pages of questions to answer on the sober dating guideline. The next question talks about balance and, well… I actually need to get some uni work done tonight, so I think that enough time spent focussed on relationships. Glad I have this outlet as a point of expression. Am I going to get it right? – Who knows! At least I will learn a lesson in the process.

Image result for learning to swim cartoon


Matters of the Heart

Gentle... spring... by mechtaniya

Today was one of the most excruciating times I have ever faced in recovery. I bawled my eyes dry this morning and as I lay there sobbing in the fetal position, gasping for air… I wondered, what am I doing in Australia? Why am I still so far away from home?

The truth is I love it here. There are just some days, where I feel like I am just holding on (white knuckling it, as they say). I also know that wherever I go, I take myself with me. I am lonely on my own and I am lonely in a room full of people (even if those people are my family).

Today was like something out of a dream, Déjà vu type experience. Granted it felt like I had cotton wool wrapped around my head from crying and like someone had taken a baseball bat to my skull, my head was pounding so hard. I felt like I was looking at life through the lens of my 10 year-old self. I felt as lonely, helpless and innocent as the day my family left me behind. Even the colours looked like they had a sepia effect. It felt nostalgic and raw. Nothing quite like anything I have ever experienced. It was so familiar and yet so foreign all at the same time.

Yesterday, I made a mistake and I took my closest friend’s inventory for her. It obviously didn’t get received well and though, when I was wrong, I promptly admitted it. The damage had already been done. She has disconnected from me. This is one of my dearest friends and the closest person to my heart. Now, I know, and many times I have preached, that the only person who can abandon me is me. I also know, this has nothing to do with her. What it did trigger was the pain I felt when I was young. I blurted something out in anger once and my dad ‘banished’ me. He refused to speak to me and sent me to live with my mom. From that day I have had an overwhelming fear of saying the wrong thing. In fear that I might loose you. I remember the remorse I felt and the overwhelming regret. I wished so deeply that I could have done things differently – that I could go back and undo what had been done.

My core belief became, “I can only get love by doing or saying the right thing” – there are times when I will say nothing at all, for fear of being rejected. My friend pulling away after I said the ‘wrong thing’, was like a scab being torn away and whats left is a gaping, bleeding wound, as fresh as the day it was made. This is the wound that makes me want to run. The pain that has me questioning if I can keep going. This is blood drawn from my veins, leaves me so drained and exhausted that I just feel I need to throw in the towel and give up. If I turn around and walk away, I can go far enough and I can forget the whole thing. I can even forget you, if I try hard enough to. – This is my brain rationalising, at it’s finest!

Today I didn’t run. I called my therapist. She facilitated my pain. I felt heard and validated and so proud of myself for picking up the phone. The second call was to my sponsor. She facilitated solutions, she shared her experience and gave me a good lesson in boundaries. Both calls were effective and God has put two of the greatest women in my life. I am blessed beyond words and I have profuse gratitude toward them and to God. I was met with loving words and nurture, as well as an action plan, so that I may use this pain as a learning experience.

And the rest of the day… well, I felt fragile and I wanted to hide. I went to work and my case manager was onsite, which made me want to dissolve, but I just fronted up. After she left, my client asked me to do something we had never done before. She asked if I wanted to walk to the park, instead of giving her a pilates class. We ran there. Then we ran around the oval a few times. We walked back and all the flowers have come unveiled for this beautiful spring afternoon. The gardens were splashed with the pastel colours of pink and purple and the trees dotted with colour. We turned the corner to see the sky stained crimson, as the sun set. We visited an elderly woman and picked some of her grapefruit after walking the rest of the way home kissed by the warmth of the Melbourne spring. Days this serene are rare in this part of the world. I felt like God was holding me with the gentleness of these conditions. Caressing my soul with the beauty of my physical surroundings. My heart is tender, but still beating… I feel loved, throughout all of the pain. Today was a gift.


The Spirit of the Twelfth

Image result for twelfth step

I’ve been rather busy lately doing all sorts of wonderful things. It’s feels like the moment I complained a little that my life felt empty… God was like, “Oh yeah? You think so?… Well, how do you feel about this? and this? and this?…” – I am busy running around like a spring chicken now, busy, but so happy.

My trip is booked to Sydney… SO stoked! Another member mentioned there is a convention coming up soon there, that I should check it out – It turns out that it is on the exact date that I am there (so thank you God!) – And it’s my home fellowship. At least the one, which I resonate most with. I am pretty excited! The decision, alone, has inspired two friends to come with me and I know another woman who is going to be there, who asked if I could get involved in helping her represent the Victorian fellowship. What a privilege! The whole point of the trip was to expose myself to the fellowship in different places and can’t get more exposure than a convention & a regional service centre meeting, really!

This weekend had been great! I have been devoted to some service, which has really helped get me out of myself. (I’m also totally reflecting the step that I’m on, because service just keeps popping up – “Having ha a Spiritual Awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”)  We walked around Melbourne yesterday, asking shop owners to support the Marriage Equality vote, by putting up “yes” posters in their shop windows. It is an absolutely beautiful thing to see so many rainbow flags painting the streets of Melbourne’s display windows. Later, a sponsee shared her fourth step with me, in the most magnificent Bonsai garden  and then, I got to attend a committee meeting for our convention. Just to top it off, which is my favourite part – My client had a rice dish cooked for her, which she doesn’t like, because it has too much spice. She asked me to take it, but considering I don’t do starch. Rice doesn’t really work with me. I told her I am not going to eat it, but that I could definitely give it to some homeless people, who might be interested in a meal. So she’s packaged it up into four containers, each with its own fork and well… lets hope it’s well received. I tasted it and its pretty good! Service keeps me sober. I feel energised after a weekend, which was jam packed. I am so grateful for the program!

I had to laugh though, when I added yet another app for recording things. My first was the “Sober Time” app, which I downloaded to start recording my sex & love sobriety. I then got the “iExpensit” app to start recording my spending. This app is golden and really gave me so much clarity on my numbers. It helped with what I could and couldn’t afford to get paid, just based on how much I was spending each month. Also I saw that I was spending so much money on fuel, that moving to the sitting and dropping my second job cost me the same amount as staying in the country and continuing to work and travel for 10 hours a week. This brings me to the “Eternity” app – how to overcome time drunkeness 101 hahaha – I was initially split: 43% work, 9% uni, 4% service and 32% sleep. So sleep has always been great for me. I am an 8 hour a night girl, but to be spending 52% of my time on work and uni, it leaves very little time for anything else. (I am not a stats freak – the app works it out for me) – After using it for a few months I  am at 33% sleep, 30% self care, 30% work/uni and 6% service. So freaking balanced! And I’m exercising everyday. I feel great. Also earning the same amount doing 40% less work.

My last app is not exactly program related. I think it’s for women who want to get pregnant and gauge when they are ovulating… For me I just need something to tell me why I am shovelling gallons of chocolate down and taking everything so freaking PERSONALLY!!! After years and years, it still catches me off guard. Hahahaha! So now I have an app for that too. I don’t have to think anymore or work anything out. Technology has got me at the laziest and the most efficient I have ever been in my life. I love it!!!

Loving my life. Grateful to my Higher Power. Feeling full and rich with experiences. ❤