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outofwishes

Not quite success, but a ray of hope

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I'm getting sentenced for possession of illegal images of children next month and the waiting is hell. However, I wrote this to myself this morning and thought I'd share it. 

 

What an odd thing my head is. So full of voices (not in a MPD way) demanding attention, dragging regrets from the past and making horror movies about the future; how does it feel to get shanked?

So I've been working on all that useless negative crap. Sharpening up my sense of perspective, reminding myself that half a billion china-men don't give a toss about who I am or what I've done. I've been reading some Tolle as recommended by a good friend and I've been meditating 20 minutes a day and, apart from a single nagging little butterfly that seems to have taken up residence in the pit of my stomach, I've actually had long periods of relaxed normality; the litany of fears and regrets reduced to barely a murmur.

So here's something new. I'm missing that panicked state (it's ok, it's back now). It's like a sore in my mouth, when it stops hurting I can't help but poke it with my tongue, 'Where's the pain? Remind me what you feel like.' What I'm achieving is good, it points to a more thoughtful and functional me when calm ceases to be a tool to help me through the next few months and becomes part of my life. I need to learn to let it.

I'm positively serene about the stuff I'm leaving behind in my life and getting a little impatient with my employer for not getting my resignation sorted. I'm leaving behind one major not-work activity after 9 years of striving to be good at it and I'm relieved I don't have to strive any more. I've left all the activist organisations and no longer feel I have a duty to wade through the comments in the Daily Mail putting people straight. When I hear that The Powerful have behaved in some baldly evil way, or that the Not So Powerful are tearing themselves to shreds, I'm learning not to pile into the ruckus; they don't listen to each other, they're certainly not going to listen to me.

The ego (for want of a better term) is bloody powerful; it wants regret so it can whine about how hard done by it is, it wants fear because that takes over my whole mind and my body. It want's to be in control and has been for so long that these brief periods of calm and acceptance feel like the aberration. My sentencing is not now, or today, or this week. Actually, it's not even this month so this is a great time to take pleasure in what I have now.

When I've stopped shaking quite so much, had my porridge with banana, blueberries and raspberries, and filled the Black Bin to the very top with more crap-from-the-past that not even gumtree wants for free, I'll get in my little car and drive hundreds of miles to spend a few days with a very good friend. We will walk a bit and watch old movies and play board games and try not to talk about either the past or the future because neither of them actually matter now.

 

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Hi Outofwishes

Thanks for this, very helpful.  It seems to me that being found out can, perhaps often, comes as a great relief.  For me, I couldn't live with the deception any longer - so when things come into the light, I felt like I became more integrated.

At SAA, most, perhaps all, often find it a relief even when the police have caught them and are facing trial.  It demonstrates what a terrible affliction this addiction is - when we are relieved to be caught.

Do tell us what the outcome was - please give us an update.

Best wishes

 

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I've had my first crown court appearance now. The judge really tore into me and it was the first time I felt what it's like to be on the receiving end of real anger and disgust at what I've done. I suppose it's about encountering someone who only knows that about me and how I look to them. It's probably something I need to get used to. I am now on the sex offenders register and have a criminal record with a conviction for a sexual offence on it with all the implications for employment and travel they bring. I will be sentenced after a report from the probation service.

It has been hard to find the levels of calm I had before the appearance, but I'm keeping myself occupied and have one particular friend who is able to spend a lot of time with me. I have had so much conflicting opinion on the possible legal and social outcomes from different agencies that I have stopped seeking advice, especially as my head is so good at horror movies. I have been assessed by the probation service and am keen to get on with the therapy/counseling they will provide, whatever the punishment element turns out to be.

It's still 11 days to my sentencing, the sun is shining and I've just had my first whole night's sleep for a few days. I'm trying to look on the current situation like a holiday; I know it's going to end, but I need to enjoy it while I'm here.

If there's any lesson to come at this stage it would be, avoid thoughts of 'poor me'. There are arguments about the law's response to my offence compared with, say, being caught with drugs for the first time and, in my case, part of the CPS evidence is a bit wobbly. But none of this will affect the outcome; the law is the law and will be applied no matter what I think of it. The wobbly evidence doesn't change the fact they are right, I had those images. 'Poor me' just brings self-hatred for both now-me and then-me ('If only I'd...'), it can also, if it get's control of your tongue, make you sound like a whiny child who's stamping his foot and saying it's not fair; this will not help your case.    

   

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Little coda to yesterdays post. Was at a friend's place yesterday evening and they offered me a brandy and said I should stay over. I said that, if I did that more than a few times I'd have to give their name and address to the sex offenders register. They said, 'Put it on. I'm your friend and I don't care who knows it.'

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Well, I've been sentenced. This judge took me on a roller-coaster ride of dread, telling me they didn't believe I was either sorry for what I'd done or intended to stop, that my seeking help was just a ruse to avoid harsher punishment and that the letters of support I had meant nothing.  However, the actual sentence; a suspended prison term, voluntary work, anti-offending courses and certain specific restrictions on my actions, were pretty much what the legal firm supporting me expected.  It may well be that the judge was just making sure I'd be so terrified I'd never re-offend; if I want people to give me the benefit of the doubt, maybe I should go first.

It will take a while to get the judge's words out of my head and I may get to hear similar once the local press publishes the story, but I feel I know something of what the future holds; I want to get on with what's next and not dwell on the past. I have meetings this week with the company organizing the unpaid work and hope to contact the person in charge of my restrictions as I'm keen to get these very clear in my head. 

I've begun to re-connect with some social groups and I'm off out to the movies next week - first time in a long time. I'll be fetching the cats home in a few days.

I currently have no job having resigned once I knew I would be convicted - I pleaded guilty from the start - and that's obviously a worry. Financially I will be OK; a combination of savings and bit's of pensions I've taken early will keep me and the cats fed for a while so I can take my time seeking income. More importantly it's about filling my time with purpose  or meaning. One of the problems with having the label 'sex offender' is that there are no shades of grey and I know I'm automatically excluded from all sorts of areas of employment and voluntary work despite the level of the actual offence. So what I'm going to end up doing is more likely to have to be done alone; I have some ideas, but this is not the place to discuss them.    

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Hi Outofwishes

Sorry, glad you came back.  What a story you have.

The good news is that despite a very difficult time, you have risen to the challenge and you are sorting your life out.

Whilst you now have a criminal history and excluded from certain areas of employment and voluntary work,  the truth is that you can still live a full life.  I hope you find your niche, something that gives you real satisfaction in life, enough income and total recovery from your addiction.

Keep coming back from time to time, we would love to hear how you are getting on.

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It's coming up on two months since I was sentenced and it's 8 months since I last looked at any porn. I'm not recommending getting arrested and having your life turned upside down as a strategy for kicking the addiction, but it might help some readers here, especially if they have strayed into illegal images, to have a think about what that would be like.

I'm well into my community payback (unpaid work) now; clearing graveyards, tidying up parks and so on. It's been a shock to my 60+ year old system, especially as the rest of the gang are at least half my age; it can be exhausting keeping up. But, it's not prison and I have a feeling that prison would have had a huge negative impact on my mental health as well as being pure bloody hell for the bundle of anxieties that I'm made up of.

An Ex got in touch while I was awaiting sentencing and gave me a lot of support. I was, and am, nervous of both our agendas and motivations, but our relationship seems to be developing in a positive way now that the trial is over. I had assumed that having any sort of relationship was going to be out of the question once the legal process was over but maybe this will work.

The support I've had from the probation service has been disappointing in terms of any kind of treatment. My 25 RAR days have turned out to be 25 45 minute sessions working with a probation officer; I guess I thought it would be counseling and group work, but this is all down to money. If I find myself drawn back to addiction I will need to seek more substantial therapy from professionals.     

 

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