(6 minute read)
For the addict; some of you worry so much about what others think of you! Let's fix that, it's anxiety you don't need!
Our relationships, our reputation, and the way we think we are perceived by others has a place in the constructs of recovery. "People's opinion" shouldn't bother us as much as it does, but let's be honest, finding out people are talking about your flaws behind your back, cuts pretty deep. Off the bat, I can say something everyone already knows... "Haters are gonna hate." Beyond that, building yourself back up and fixing your reputation via your relationships is going to require two things, sincere amends and fearless acceptance.
Making amends (step 9 for you steppers) is something personal, and if it's sincere, it will be "made to order" for each person close to you. It's something that happens over time in recovery. For me, I make amends to my brother and father each time I see them and I'm sober. I've learned that's what they want most from me. ...Sometimes the best apologies don't contain any words at all.
Acceptance can happen much faster if you let it. When you surrender 100%, you'll begin to accept. And when you can honestly start accepting all these things that you can't change, you can start living life more abundantly.
I offer this anecdote. I 100% guarantee at the end, you'll be saying "my situation could definitely be worse."
A few years back, I was at the bar "celebrating" the fact my divorce was being finalized that week. Drinking alone, conversations started up with the other patrons about the dating scene in 2016 after divorce. "It's awful! I spend $200-$400 on a first date! Only to find that Snapchat filters are not doing us any favors in the online dating community! Then, typically, they have the personality of a brick when they start talking." I proclaimed. One of them chimed in "$400!? Shoot! An escort is less than half that, you know what she looks like, and she HAS to like you." He proclaimed while we all laughed.
....then my drunk ass started pondering🤔. After a couple more drinks, I came to the conclusion that this was a profoundly good idea. I sAw nO rEd FlAgs aT aLL!!!
After a quick Google search, we were flipping through back page like it was a magazine. I found an escort that seEmed to havE a niCe peRsonAlity and everyone agreed, she should probably join us, so I sent her a text.
For whatever reason, she didn't want to come meet me at the bar. "you have to come pick me up from the hotel." Drunk me sAw nO rEd FlAgs aT aLL when she said this.
"Escorts hate driving! Everyone knows that!"😐🙄
So my new bar friends... Full of character and sincere concern for my well being, saved my seat as I took off to pick her up!
I pulled up to the front of the hotel. "I'm here, parked at the lobby, let's go!" I texted.
"Come up, my room is blah blah blah" she responded.
"My tab is still open at the bar! Seriously let's go!"
Then... She says "I've been burned by the cops before, you have to come up first."
Seeing nO rEd FlAgs aT aLL... I skipped up to the room to grab her and head back to the bar. She opens the door, and I remember being put off immediately because "you're definitely not the girl in the picture." But whatever.
"Sit down I'm almost ready" She said. I sat on the couch, and she went in the bathroom and shut the door. I looked around and noticed it was one of those rooms with a door for an adjoining room. "That's funny" I thought, "this looks just like one of those set ups you'd see in cops."
🎶Hello darkness my old friend 🎶
That door then flew open and 5 Portland Police officers ran in "hands where we can see them you're under arrest." I remember thinking, "🤔with my luck, this totally makes sense actually." As they wrote me a ticket for patronizing a prostitute, I told them "paying to take someone out to a bar is absolutely not illegal. Sad and pathetic? Yes. Illegal? No." But they weren't having it, they wrote me a ticket, gave me my things (including my car keys, knowing I was plastered🙄) and rushed me away. I pondered, should I even fight this? I know I didn't break the law, but lawyers are expensive, and I could just pay the fine, sweep it under the rug, and I'll be OK.
Days later, my phone began ringing off the hook. The first text I saw had a link to a news article entitled:
"SEX TRAFFICKING STING IN PORTLAND"
Apparently, the mess I was involved in was a part of a 2 week sting operation. And was on almost every news web page in America. My friend in Hawaii, 2500 miles away, text me saying "you're in the news dude!" 😳😫.
All you had to do was Google "Nathan Lasko" and the first 43 links were articles about the sting, with the list of people ticketed and words like "human trafficking" and numbers for the child abuse hotline😳😢😭.
So... After closing the retainer with my overpriced divorce attorney. I opened one with an overpriced criminal attorney. In court, we went over the text messages and the Portland Police didn't have a leg to stand on. The judge actually threw it out half way through the trial and expunged it. I was given a notarized letter that said even if I'm under oath, I can act as if it never happened.
BUT ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THAT MATTERS, the damage is done and worse, it's on the internet. While most of the news agency's removed my name or just took down the article entirely. Some left it up claiming first amendment rights. So "sex trafficker" and my name will be linked until the end of time 😐.
I always say "you have to sleep in the bed you made." And while it's a steep penalty for one mistake. It was a mistake non-the-less. I've made my amends and have accepted the suck.
So, as we seek recompense and rebuild our reputation, it's imperative we don't get derailed by our demons. feeling sorry for ourselves or "getting in our head" over what people think or say is a quick way to a relapse. And a relapse will only restart the cycle. We can't change the past, but we can forgive ourselves for the mistakes we made, and not get caught up in the fact others sometimes don't, won't, or can't.
So, I encourage you to work on acceptance anytime you're not working on making amends❤️ it's been what's gotten me past many things including this atrocity.
...You're welcome! Typically after that story people say "wow! Now my situation doesn't seem so bad at all!" Aaaaaaand that's what I'm here for my fellow addicts, part of why I do it.
Authored December 25th 2019