"A person doesn't achieve abstinence, they receive it." Thanks for those great words Jusme.
I finished my writing of step 4 last night. I met with my sponsor & read about my resentments, angers, & ways I've hurt others (step 5).
Step 4 wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot about myself. There's still a lot to be done, a lot more to learn. This is going to be a process. It isn't going to be as easy of a process as I'd like. But then again, if it was easy there would be no addicts left in this world.
My sponsor is now having me write on what I think my character flaws are, then I need to decide which ones I'm willing to let go of (step 6). I'll be using my writing on my resentments, fears, etc for step 4 as a guide. My sponsor told me not to worry about how I'm going to go let go of those character flaws, I should leave the "how" to God. I just need to decide which ones I need to let go of.
I realized the person I harbor the most resentment & anger towards is myself. This was surprising & humbling for me. I've felt I have always (well since my mid 20's) lived a safe & drama free life whenever it was possible. I've learned I've hurt much more than I thought I had.
A group of people I knew I'd hurt was my ex-girlfriends. I've been dreading this self inventory knowing I'd have to face how I'd treated them. With only a couple exceptions I have been blessed with great women in my life, & I've cheated on all but but a few of them In the romantic (I.E. physical) relationships of my earlier years I was usually unfaithful & I always left the relationships in a hurtful way. I've always been afraid to think about how badly I may have hurt them. Did the ripple effect of my actions cause problems in their future relationships? Fear, resentment, intimacy, trust, self esteem problems? Did I cause them to run from promising relationships like I had done to them? I'd do anything to be able go back & reverse the pain I've caused. Especially to Koleena, Audry, & Bianca. They are great people. They are the kind of women a man should have been willing to fight for. Instead I got scared of the feelings I felt & I tried to push them away. When they showed me what great women they were by staying with me regardless how hard I tried to push them away, I ran. I ended up just leaving. Never breaking up with them, never a goodbye, just disappearing. Without an explanation. If they came to my apartment, I wouldn't answer the door, I'd ignore phone calls..... I left them in the worst possible way. I left being a coward. I pushed my natural father away in the same way, & ended our relationship in the same dramatic fashion, with no contact at all for 23 years. They all deserved more. Heck, so did I.
I have not cheated on anyone since 1999 when I accepted Jesus as my savior, and I never cheated on my ex-wife.
The next step for me will be to ask God to remove my many character defects & shortcomings. To forgive myself will not be easy for me, but it'll be ok with Gods intervention. I don't use the word intervention lightly. That's exactly what it'll have to be. & I'm going to make amends whenever possible (step 9). Gulp.
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