by Ricky (near Kobe, Japan)
Hello brothers and sisters in recovery. I’m one of the new kids on the block, so I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.
I’m originally from the USA, but I live in a small town in Japan near the port of Kobe. I have lived here for almost 18 years now, which at my age is past the point of no return. My life has always been a mess: sex and drugs and alcohol. The order of preference often fluctuated, but those were the driving forces of my life. That is until I met my wife — a cute little girl from Japan. I hid my drug abuse from her and she complained about the alcohol. I never thought I could ever get along with anyone that strict, but the bug bit. She had to go back to Japan because her visa ran out. A few months later I came to Japan and we got married in Kobe. I expected to stay for about month, but I got a job and the first thing I knew ten years had flown by.
Drugs were practically non-existent in Japan 18 years ago so that cured one of my problems. Then alcohol took over. I finally made it to AA in 1994 and have been sober since my second meeting.
That left only sex. Surely nobody would ask me to give this up, I thought. But my introduction to morality in AA soon began getting to me. In fact, I began to worry if this problem was not going to drive me back to the bottle. But I sat on it for eight years plus.
I thought I could get rid of the problem at the 6th and 7th steps, but alas I was not ENTIRELY ready to have that defect removed. Boy was I ever surprised when I did the 7th step and the next day I wasn’t cured!
Anyway, I finally hit bottom. I cannot describe the mental state I was in. I had to do something, but there are no S-recovery meetings here. The first thing I did was search the Internet for help. I downloaded IRC chat software and I found SCA.
At that time I thought this will never work. I don’t know the people, I can’t see their faces, and I can’t hear their voices. But when the meeting started and the 12 steps started streaming across the screen, I perked up. When I “heard” the first share, I related completely. I began to feel a modicum of hope. After a week or so, though, I still felt like an outsider. I didn’t want to give up, but I needed a more human connection. I finally got up the nerve to ask someone to be my sponsor and I got a telephone number. I had “heard” this person share before, but I couldn’t imagine what kind of personality or voice I would hear on the other side. My heart raced. Then all of a sudden I heard “Hello.” It was a warm and friendly human voice. Right away I felt connected.
Since then I have spoken to several members on the phone; all wonderful people. I have a different feeling when I’m online now. Although I haven’t talked on the phone to each and every one, I have come to know many people in the same way a deaf or a blind person can know other people.
And here’s the best part. The program is working for me, one day at a time. I’m doing things now that I never thought I could do. My life has become an open book. Now I really have nothing to hide. No more erasing my tracks, no more wondering if anyone saw me, no more alibis. I’m free. I know it’s just a daily reprieve. My misery can be refunded tomorrow if I want it back, but today I’m free.
Who knows, one day there may be face-to-face meetings in this part of the world, or everywhere in the world. Maybe someday we will be able to link electronically and see each other and talk in real time. For now all I have is online SCA, but it’s working for me, and if you live somewhere where there are no meetings I urge you to try it. It could change your whole life. If you’re like me, you’ve got nothing to lose but your misery.