For years, I dealt with shame in my life. It belittled me and made me feel like I was not good enough to be a part of. It took me into dark places and brought fear into my life.

From the shame of my childhood, I went into the darkness of addiction. At first, it was cool. But it got to be a cage that trapped me and kept me unavailable for my relationships and work affairs. Sure, I was a good employee, because I kept to myself and did my job.

As time went by, I found that my life had more demands and I got to make changes that forced me out of my box.

I had to realize that in the box, I was no good to myself and no good to those around me. It really wasn’t my decision. Alcohol, drugs and my sexual exploits were killing my ability to make a living and be a social guy. When I was masturbating 10-15 times a day, I was not available to anybody, plus I was shredding myself.

Recently, I have been working on an inventory and I have come to the conclusion that shame and fear are the root causes of most of my addictive pathways.

I chose to stay in that world and let it rule my life.

It wasn’t until alcohol tried to kill me that I made some changes in my life.

I got to AA, kicking and screaming. I was told that if I didn’t like my life, I could change it there.

I wanted it, but I was too into the disease and I didn’t know how to get out. I just sat for about two months.

Sure, I took chips. It was the way I could keep my ego going.

I met a guy who later became my sponsor. He had a room for rent and I got it.

This guy taught me a lot about myself and what I life had to offer without drugs and alcohol.

The only thing that he did wrong was to tell me that I could not get into a relationship in my first year.

He told me to get a Hustler magazine, a paper towel and masturbate when I wanted a relationship.

I have learned that it is not okay to tell a sex addict to do this sort of thing.

It has taken me 15 years to finally get a good idea of what I desire in my life and it does not include sex addiction.

I like sex and I like women, but I don’t like hiding in the dark masturbating to pictures, movies and my memories of women I used to know or women I just met. I get to have peace in my life today.

I believe that the shame voices speak to us in the world that we live.

When I hear “you should” or “you need to” or “I will help you,” I look at the situation and see that I should means that I didn’t do it right. I need to means that I have to do it your way. I will help you means that I didn’t do it right.

There are other phrases that I have been focusing to bring strength to others.

For example, instead of you should, I say you might attempt this. For need there is you get to or I get to. For I will help you, I use let me assist you.

In this way, I am not shaming others; instead I am supporting what they are doing.

My parents shamed me all my life while they were alive and I am breaking that end of the cycle of addiction.

This is my start.

If I can work toward me being okay with what is going on, then I have a better chance of accepting what the Lord has in mind for me.

It wasn’t until I took at good look at how I show up in my life that I saw my part in it all. My part is a big part and it sometimes, is not so nice.

I have to remember the golden rule, to treat others like I would desire to be treated.

This is the start of putting my affairs in order. From here I can make a solid approach to learning to live in the solution.

In His Holy Name,

Albert M.