I first came to SA on November 27, 1992, and I've been sober ever since. When someone asks me what I've done to stay sober, my answer is always the same: "I don't know. I did not do it; I have a Higher Power Jewish Manwho shows me that He can do it." I thank God every day for my sobriety—but I'm in a very hard place today.
My wife passed away six months ago, on June 28, 2011, after she had struggled with cancer for 17 months. For 17 months, we went through cycles of promises of hope for her recovery, followed by announcements that another tumor had been found and they would try a different chemotherapy. Then hope! Then another tumor, a different type of treatment, more surgery, a different hospital, and different promises. Over and over. Yet none of those promises came true.
As I watched the closest person in my life go from bad to progressively worse, I went through cycles of hope and despair. Today Iunderstand what my wife must have gone through with me during the years of my addiction, when I made many promises to her that never came true until I came to SA. I suffered a similar pain as I watched her dying.
When my wife died, she left me with four sons at home. One of our sons is in high school, one is in college, and the other two are handicapped. My 27-year-old lives on a respirator. My 24-year-old is mentally retarded and has cerebral palsy. My wife was the hero who took care of our children for 27 years, but I must take care of them now. Sometimes I must lift one of the them into a wheelchair or back in bed. I often feel overwhelmed, trying to be both a mother and a father to them.
I have 24-hour nurses paid by Medicaid, but they are not always available on weekends or holidays. At other times, I'm home at night and the nurse who takes care of my kids is living in our house. As a sexaholic, I'm not comfortable with the situation, but I have no choice. Yet I know that if I stay sober, I will be okay.
I have been told, "Don't quit before the miracle"—and I have seen many miracles. I often cry out to my Higher Power, "Show me the light!" I'm very emotional but I know that acting out is not a solution. Staying sober is the solution. I need to stay sober, go to meetings, and stay connected to God—and things will work out in the end. I also must find acceptance. Almost daily I find myself in tears, and I pray again to have acceptance.
When I came to SA, I was told that this is not a religious program. I was blessed because my Higher Power led me to a man who came from an Orthodox Jewish background, similar to my own. He was able to explain things to me. He told me, "This is only a disease, it is not about being good or bad. Just step aside, and stop fighting." I had been fighting this disease for more than 20 years.
I began masturbating when I was 12. I turned to street prostitutes when I was 20. By age 35, I was a full-blown drug addict, alcoholic, and sexaholic. Eventually, my behavior became so objectionable that my wife and sons insisted that I get help. I realized I was in trouble so I called a cocaine hot line. The person who called me back referred me to a clinic, and the clinic recommended a therapist.
When I saw the therapist I told him, "It's not the cocaine, it's the women!" I firmly believed this. (Today I realize that it was not the women but my view of them.) The therapist said, "Maybe that's a problem, but we need to deal with the cocaine first because it's serious." I said, "No it's the women!" We went back and forth on this, but he finally convinced me to go to AA meetings. I went to a few AA meetings but then returned to the therapist and told him that AA was not for me. I said, "I'm Jewish. You have to understand; Jewish people are different!" I continued to meet with him once a week for four months, but during that time I could not stay sober from drugs or alcohol or prostitutes. So I reluctantly went back to AA.
The meeting I attended was held in a church. After one of my...
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