It Works If I Work It

Photo by Ruslan Zh on Unsplash

April 30, 2012

The program works if I work it; that’s the simple message I’m conveying today. As service work, I’ve shared my recovery experience, strength, and hope on a program-based phone hotline for two years now. I keep doing so because by being open and honest with my fellow pilgrims on the recovery path, my own sanity and sobriety are aided. I’m heard; and in turn I have the privilege of listening to amazing feedback and check-ins from the larger fellowship. It’s like having an extra meeting every week, with tens of responses and stories rife with vulnerability and trust. This service work has been amazingly mutually beneficial; my process of recovery is enhanced in the sharing, and I get poignant feedback when folks relay their stories back to me.

This is the work; this is the privilege of recovery. Recovery is life itself because recovery has given me my life back. It was a life shunted by such an extreme and early exposure to porn as to nearly ruin any hope of normalcy, true joy, or close contact with loved ones. The addiction divorced me from my compassionate God and kept me out of the gift of the present.

I work this program because the alternative is hell. Not figurative, not fire-and-brimstone, but literal, day-in-and-out living hell. If I want to experience the carefree and unbiased love of my children; if I want to be warmed by the hard-won affection and trust of my wife; if I want to put my trust in my close friends in fellowship, and in turn be encouraged by their unconditional love and rapport with me, then I must continue to do the work of living more healthily, more spiritually. If, in sum, I want to live a good, contented life filled with intimacy and healthy sexuality, then I will keep working this recovery. And service is a powerful, impactful part of that process.

Recovery is not easy; it is not always pretty; but in the end, the perquisites of being diligent and vigilant in my recovery program are innumerable. I pull back the layers of my psyche and my soul, and I review and refine myself — before my partner, my sponsor, my friends in fellowship, and my God — in the most honest way I can. That’s how I work my program.



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Sean Cardinalli

Sean Cardinalli

blogging about sex/love addiction & recovery