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My 32 years of Sexual Sobriety…click any of the six below:
As sex addicts, we were people who continued to act out sexually, even as our lives continued to be negatively affected by our sexual behaviors.
We learned not to confuse our admission/acknowledgment that we were powerless with the sense that we were fundamentally bad people.
Essentially, we had to surrender to something more powerful than ourselves.
Our acting out behaviors had successfully helped us avoid or numb our feelings.
Acting out was any sexual behavior or obsessive thinking that we engaged in to deny our feelings or distract ourselves from our feelings.
When we began the first step process by carefully looking at our thought and behavior patterns, some of us were able to see for the first time the hurt, loneliness, guilt and shame that we had so desperately tried to avoid or deny. Many of us attempted to escape these insights by returning to addictive thinking.
We needed people around to help deter us from acting out in reaction to the pain of our insights.
Powerless does not mean helpless.
We were responsible for our recovery and for repairing the damage we had done to ourselves and to others.
We could not think our way out of our situation; we had to act our way into a new pattern of thinking instead.
Within the Program, we had to progress to a point where we could accept the fact that we could not stop what we were doing on our own.
As long as we continued to derive satisfaction from the times when it merely looked as if we were in control, we simply weren't ready to stop our addictive behaviors.
Isolated incidents of control were not important.
We came to see that the most important thing was the overall pattern of our thoughts and behaviors and that, furthermore, certain thoughts and behaviors created problems in our lives.
Taking the most objective look we could at things, we saw that if we had been in control we wouldn't have had so many problems.
In many cases, our primary problem was not our acting-out behaviors themselves, but how they ultimately affected our lives.
In our hearts, though, many of us sensed all along that our sexual behavior was related to our feelings that things were wrong.
At first, most of us were actually more fearful of living life without our acting-out behaviors than we were of continuing to live the painful lives of active sex addicts.
We were angered at the thought of giving up what we had perceived, in our insanity, to be the best part of our lives.
We were able to think of many things to blame our behavior on-everything, that is, but our addiction.
Our anger made sense; how and where we directed our anger became the primary problem. Once we learned to redirect our anger toward our addiction-where it belonged-we used the energy that came from it for recovery rather than for useless and nonproductive blaming.
We found in order to progress in recovery we needed to let go of some of our friends, some of our activities and some of our favorite places to relax and socialize. It was extremely difficult for most of us to let go of these things.
Note that the First Step uses a hyphen rather than the word AND between the words powerless/unmanageable. We have come to see that this is because powerlessness and unmanageability do not represent two separate elements, but two interrelated elements of the same relentless progression of addiction. In fact, we see this hyphen functioning much like an equal sign.
When we allowed our lives to get unmanageable (dysfunctional, unorganized and out of balance), we began acting out again.
SAA Hope and Recovery Part 2
The second step then tells us that we can replace this acting-out behavior with something else.
Am I willing to believe that my addiction can be arrested, only if I seek help from a power other than my own will and determination?
The second step is a kind of mental inventory that helps us decide for ourselves that there is, indeed, something greater than ourselves that we can believe in.
It is not sane to repeat self-destructive behaviors; it is not sane to make the same mistake several times and expect a different outcome each time; it is not sane to believe that sex can solve our problems.
We came to understand that we had continued to act out sexually in desperate efforts to avoid feelings of loneliness, fear, sadness, shame, guilt, anger, and unhappiness.
After we become willing to accept the concept of a Higher Power, we worked to gain more knowledge of that power in order to move on to the Third Step-turning our lives over to our Higher Power.
Ultimately, the Second Step helped us define spirituality for ourselves.
We found new hope and freedom when we came to understand that spirituality is defined from within.
For many of us, accepting this help was much more difficult than acknowledging our addiction and the help available.
For so long, our addictive thinking told us that we should be able to solve our problems by ourselves and that we should-and could-recover on our own.
The Third Step essentially asks us to make a crucial decision: Do we really want what the Program has to offer?
But just making an affirmative decision did not change us; the actions we took as a result of our decision changed our thinking and our behavior.
The Program told us to use whatever skills we have to enhance our recovery rather than to perpetuate our addiction.
We never set a goal to stop thinking about sex entirely, for to do so would have been to completely deny our sexuality.
But we had engaged in obsessive thinking about sex in order to hide from reality and to escape or deny our feelings.
But we knew that we were really working the Third Step when we were finally relieved of our obsessive sexual thoughts.
When we finally turned our will and our lives over to our Higher Power, we made a conscious decision to fill our minds with spiritual thoughts rather than with obsessive thoughts about sex.
We allowed ourselves to acknowledge our feelings and the fact that we felt attracted to him or to her...
Many of us had grown up without parental support and guidance; consequently, as adults in recovery, we were fearful that God would leave us to the same unpredictability, emptiness, and loneliness that we had become so familiar with as children.
This Tradition (Two), we discovered, essentially tells us that it isn't necessary for everyone in the group to share the same beliefs.
We also found that the Program gave us freedom to believe whatever was true and meaningful for us.
Early on, it was especially comforting to remind ourselves often that the Program works One Day At A Time, and that we only needed to make a decision to "turn our will and our lives over to the care of God" for each twenty-four-hour period of time.
In fact, each and every morning of our lives we are free to choose; we can turn that particular day over to the care of God, or we can attempt to recover alone.
Real sobriety "abstinence combined with ongoing spiritual growth."
Even though they admitted their powerlessness and believed that there was help for their addiction, they refused to trust the Program and the process involved in accepting the help they needed.
These addicts wanted to recover, but they wanted to recover on their own terms and they wanted to do so without effort or pain.
Recovery did not come easy for any of us.
But relying on will power alone created some very painful and unpleasant situations for us and for the people around us.
But contrary to what many of us believed at first, recovery is not a test of our endurance.
Recovery teaches us how to flow with life, not how to fight against life.
As we learned to trust the Program unconditionally, we began to surrender to it.
We knew that we always had a choice.
We began to see that prayer, meditation, attending meetings, phoning others, and making Twelve Step calls were all clear signs that we were actively working the Third Step.
We also encourage these people to be as specific as possible about the components of their Programs-from the number of times they pray each day, to the number of meetings they attend each week, to the number of phone calls they make to other addicts.
In time, we came to believe that the benefits of recovery are far greater than the costs of recovery.
Advanced Sex Addiction Recovery
Sex addiction is a mental obsession and physical compulsion, not an issue of good or bad. We are unhealthy men trying to get well, not bad men trying to get good.
It is natural to try to solve a problem alone. It is often, for us, our first act of humility, when we admit we cannot solve this problem alone. We will fail if we do not surrender to the fact that we, simply, need help.
The function of sexually compulsive behaviour, regardless of how it manifests, is to distract, dull, or deaden our feelings.
Obsessive thinking about sex, or obsessively trying to not think about sex, is simply evading our feelings.
Our sexual behaviour does not have to be illegal or even harmful to someone else, to be addictive. It simply has to impact our feelings.
According to traditional 12 step theory, unattended sex addiction leads only to three places: institutionalisation, insanity or death.
We learned that feelings of hurt, sadness, loneliness, neediness, as well as anger, that we had thought to be bad and were to be avoided at all costs were actually perfectly healthy.
Recovery is not about feeling good…it is about feeling good about ourselves.
To recover we have to have “Hit bottom”. There has to be something that we are not willing to live without, that we are about to lose if we continue acting out, that actually facilitates our bottom.
Hitting bottom compels us to first be honest that we cannot stop acting out, and then truly humble enough to ask for the help we so desperately need.
To try to stop on willpower alone will fail, but, the good news is...“We can do what I cannot”.
The most important discovery in 12 step is the concept of powerlessness. We cannot stop acting out, no matter how hard we try on our own…and that is perfectly okay.
We cannot think our way into sober acting, we must act our way sober thinking.
Some new sober actions we take are: going to meetings, sponsorship, step work, reading spiritual literature, daily inventory, prayer, service and anonymity.
There are times when it appears that we can control our addiction. But that is an illusion (a distortion of the senses) which leads us to believe that we are in control, and therefore not addicts.
It is not just our behaviour, but our thoughts that are addictive. Sex addiction is 98% mental obsession and only 2% physical compulsion.
Trying to control other people is social disease. But, if we cannot control our sexual behavior, we are sex addicts.
If we wonder whether or not we are truly sex addicts, we inventory, clearly and courageously, the way our sexual behaviours have affected our lives.
Deep down, we instinctively knew that our sexual behaviours were negatively impacting our lives.
If the pleasure of sex addiction is 51% and only 49% pain, we simply do not stop acting out.
Sex addiction is fun. Then fun with problems. Then, it is just problems. Sex addiction is progressive...It will get worse.
In our confusion, isolation, despair and neediness we erroneously believed we could not live without our addiction.
We believed that our partners, parents, children, jobs, race, age, religion, culture, sexual preference, or where we lived was the reason we acted out.
As we become sexually sober anger comes up.
Obsessed anger becomes resentment.
Repressed anger becomes depression or passive aggression.
Expressed anger is the backbone of healing.
We have to change our playgrounds, playmates and playthings.
Powerlessness equals unmanageability. One causes the other. If we are uncertain whether we are addicts, we can look and see if our lives are working around family, partnership relationships, money, health, and work.
If we allow our lives to become unmanageable. We act out again.
Not everyone whose life is unmanageable is an addict. But every addict’s life is unmanageable.
Our program gives us the strength, if we do our part, to stay sober...one day at a time.
Beginning Sex Addiction Recovery
A) “We were sex addicts and that our lives were unmanageable.”
We keep doing things that make us feel shame and then keep promising ourselves we will stop forever.
The types of sexual behaviours become more extreme, more frequent and of longer duration, “Over any considerable period”.
Temporarily stopping, by oneself, begins to signal the onset of withdrawal symptoms.
B) “Probably no human power could have relieved our sex addiction“.
“Relieved our sex addiction” means that there is a way to stop “acting out” permanently…one day at a time .
The need to find a power, greater than oneself, becomes reasonable only when we have tried and tried, with all our might, to stop…and failed.
Failure is a good, healthy thing because it opens the door to something wonderous…”Humility”, which means for our purposes “Teachability”.
C) “God could and would if He were sought”
This scares a lot of people but the truth is:
“There is a 400% greater chance that you will be a sex addict if you were abused as a child.”
“96% of all sex addicts are emotionally abused”
Patrick Carnes Ph.D
If we were emotionally abused as a child we are going to find it very hard to feel, trust or talk to the God who can relieve our sex addiction.
The solution is simple: The group is a Power greater than oneself…just come to meetings.
Once we have started going to meetings we take twelve actions:
Step One We “Hit bottom” and are honest with ourselves that we cannot stop masturbating/using porn and that it is hurting us.
Step Two We begin to feel hope that we can become normal again.
Step Three We commit to a new way of life that is integrated within the group.
Step Four We look back at our lives to be assured that joining the group is necessary and wise.
Step Five We share our feelings about our lives.
Step Six We want to change our lives.
Step Seven We become humble by becoming teachable in exactly how to change.
Step Eight We are honest that we have hurt ourselves and others.
Step Nine We change those behaviours.
Step Ten We review our daily progress.
Step Eleven We meditate daily to relieve anxiousness.
Step Twelve We share our experience with others.
SA White Book Part 1
I had never matured through emotional adolescence and was spiritually dead.
Many of us felt inadequate, unworthy, alone and afraid.
Recognizing and accepting our limitations thus become crucial to recovery.
The addictive process creates an overpowering desire, demand, and fantasy produces a high.
It brings relief and pleasure, dissolves tension, relieves depression and resolves conflicts.
It helps cope with difficult life situations, reduces isolation, eases: lack of emotions, loneliness, tension…and helps us gain power.
It offers fusion, validation and a sense of aliveness.
Sex provides satisfaction.
It becomes excessive.
The compulsive pursuit of more and different and better accelerates
The answer becomes the problem.
Finally, our addiction takes priority over everything…and becomes our only source of pleasure.
We became true addicts: we bought it, we sold it, we traded it, we gave it away.
The only way we knew to be free of it, was to do it.
We gave away our power to others.
Lust killed love.
We were really losing our lives.
Then…the party is over….because the wages of lust…is spiritual death.
♦The beginning of change
“Lust – an attitude demanding that a natural instinct serve unnatural desires.”
(Editors note: Sex was not designed to manage our feelings)
It’s okay to be absolutely powerless over self.
He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.
(No more:) “Please God, take it away!…so I won’t have to give it up.”
“I’m not only my worst enemy, I’m the only real enemy I’ve got! “
Our experiences have revealed three aspects of our condition that commonly identify addictions: tolerance, abstinence and withdrawal.
Tolerance-with addictions other than drugs, tolerance refers to a need for increasing amounts of obsessive thinking, or activity, with less and less effect.
We, like other addicts, can go through withdrawal symptoms when we give up our “drug.”
Some of us look back on our transition to sobriety as a time when we were in a state of shock…our whole system had to slowly recover from the trauma of a lifetime of self-inflicted injury.
We have to suffer to get well.
Withdrawal from our addiction may leave us in a state of emotional and spiritual shock that can persist for some time.
The program doesn’t tell us how to stop-it shows us how to keep from starting again.
Everything begins with sobriety. Without sobriety, there is no program of recovery.
“For me, the key was finally giving up all expectations of either sex or affection, and working on myself and my defective relations with others.”
We must differentiate between the physical action and spiritual action
We will use the word spiritual in referring to…all our attitudes, choices, thoughts, and behavior.
We began the painful but welcome process of growing up by coming out of ourselves.
That radical change of attitude…from being the center of the universe.
Our addiction is an inside job; we are responsible for the attitudes that set its course and propel our thinking and behavior
We began to see that without limits we would destroy ourselves.
Our attitude becomes, “I give up; I’m willing not to have it, even if I do die.”
For some, this meant no sex with themselves or others, including not getting into relationships
We feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually when sober.
Step Zero: “We participated in the fellowship of the program.”
For most of us, without associating in some way with other recovering individuals, there is no lasting sobriety.
We also use telephone meetings.
We must be part of others or we cannot maintain effective surrender, see ourselves rightly, or work the Steps.
The spirit of the meeting often seems to be greater than the sum of its members
The ability to live comfortably with ourselves, others, and God is precisely what the Fellowship of the Steps will do when we make it a way of life.
Healing would be the by-product of working the steps.
SA White Book Part 2
Surrender as an attitude…
When we surrendered out of our own enlightened self-interest, it became the magic key that opened the prison door and set us free.
Surrender is a giving up of something specific.
A specific action will have to be acknowledged and dropped.
Surrender is a constant thing.
Each new step of surrender felt it would be off the edge into oblivion, but we took it.
Others who have gone before us have discovered that sex is truly optional…once they surrendered lust and the expectation of sex.
“I couldn’t just surrender my lust; I had to surrender me”.
Striving after God is as natural as breathing.
So long we held on to our lusts, God was lost to us.
The essence of Step Eleven is letting God in through difficulty and failure.
Just as surely as air is the breath of life for our bodies, prayer becomes the breath of life for our spirits.
In order to keep from looking at ourselves, we find fault with those closest to us as well as with the institutions ministering to our needs.
All we can see are the inadequacies, wrongs and injustices of others.
To keep from seeing ourselves, we seize on the wrongs of others.
Often our judgmental attitude took on great heat as we raged against people, places, and things.
Focusing on some real or imagined wrong, we choose to resent that person.
A wrong attitude toward others is the key to the negative spiritual process empowering the addiction.
Thus, we lose ourselves.
Likewise we do not become dependent on the sponsor in the way we were with parents, spouses, lovers or even professionals. The goal of a good sponsor is the eventual independence and spiritual and emotional maturity of the individual.
The wise sponsor will also let the person know that their relationship alone is not enough. The person is going to have to make his or her connection with the group and become part of.
Step 8 and 1/2 : “Surrendering our resentments, we asked for willingness to forgive all persons guilty of real or imagined wrongs against us and forgave each one.”
“I was wrong…” Between two people, these are the most beautiful words in the world.
Forgiving another is as divine an act as we humans can ever aspire to…there is no holier ground.
I was told to pray for the person I resented, asking for him or her what I wanted for myself, not just once, but every time I thought of that person.
In that timeless moment where we looked at each other, each knowing he or she had been wrong, each forgiving the other, there was spiritual union.
Step 12 and 1/2: ”Took the actions of love to improve our relations with others.”
We need the example of the life that is making it.
It seems that with all our human drives; the most basic is what we call the Person-drive, the drive to have union with another.
The greatest opportunity for practicing love is in my own household and that’s the very place it’s hardest to do.
Yes, there is life after lust! And life after sex!
After a few months I began having sex with my wife again.
It was very simple, natural, real, and satisfying. What a gift!
And as with sobriety, we still have a marriage only one day at a time.
Stick with it…walk through to victory, beauty, and song.
♦Tradition Three extrapolated
This is our finest odyssey.
Many of us have already been through the alcohol, drug, pill and overeating scenes.
We do become “allergic” to lust for food and sex.
When we try use food or sex to reduce isolation, or to cover our emotions, or to satisfy our God-hunger, we create an unnatural appetite.
Eating and sex enter a different dimension; they possess an unnatural spiritual component.
As we become aware of other addictions that are part of our lives, we pray for willingness to surrender each one.
Sanity is contagious!
Recovery is more than mere sobriety.
Sexual sobriety also includes progressive victory over lust.
Promises of Life for a “Finite Period of Chastity”
Efficient perceptions of reality…We have the ability to judge situations correctly and honestly. We are very sensitive to the dishonest. Rather than being fearful of things that are different or unknown, we are able to view things logically and rationally.
Comfortable acceptance of self and others...We accept ourselves and others as they are. We tend to lack inhibition, are able to enjoy ourselves, and live our lives guilt free. We accept, with humor and tolerance, our own human nature with all its flaws, the shortcomings of others, and the contradictions of the human condition. Other people are treated the same regardless of their background, race, culture, or socio-economic status.
Spontaneity…We extend our creativity into our everyday activities. We tend to be unusually alive, engaged and spontaneous. We follow generally accepted social expectations, but do not feel confined by these norms and are spontaneous in our internal thoughts and our external behaviors. We are open and unconventional.
Task centering…We are motivated by a strong sense of personal ethics and responsibility, applying our problem-solving skills to real-world situations and helping other people improve their own lives. Each of us has a mission, outside of ourselves, to pursue and fulfill in life.
Autonomy...We are free from reliance on external authorities or other people. We tend to be resourceful and independent. We do not conform to other people's ideas of happiness or contentment.
Continued freshness of appreciation…We constantly renew our appreciation of life's basic goodness. A sunset will be experienced as intensely, with the same wonder and awe, every time, as it was the first time. We live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of each experience.
Fellowship with humanity…We will feel a deep identification with others and the human situation in general and yet, we feel we are an important part of humanity.
Profound interpersonal relationships…Our interpersonal relationships are marked by deep loving bonds and we grieve appropriately with their closure.
Comfort with solitude…Despite our satisfying relationships with others, we value solitude and are comfortable being alone. It is essential for us to have time to focus on personal discovery and for cultivating our individual potential.
Non-hostile sense of humor…We have the wonderful capacity to laugh at ourselves and situations but do not shame others with this capacity.
Peak experiences…We have frequent occurrences of peak experiences. These experiences are marked by feelings of ecstasy, harmony, and deep meaning. We will feel at one with the universe, filled with its beauty and goodness, feeling simultaneously more powerful yet more helpless, feeling stronger yet more calm than ever before. Afterwards, we have the conviction that something extremely important and valuable has happened to us, so that we are transformed and strengthened in our daily lives by each such experience.
SLAA Part 1
You need to go through withdrawal in order to become a whole person.
Withdrawal must be experienced for you to realize that potential for you and your life which has been stored there so long.
The end result is the same: addictive and emotional behavior, on a daily basis, stops.
Regardless of which pattern is yours, it has to stop.
No matter how powerfully your thoughts and feelings are tugging at you to continue indulging, you cease acting on them.
It is this point when you finally stop that really signals the start of your recovery in SLAA, and the day on which it starts is your personal sobriety date.
This process of increasing awareness led inevitably to a final surrender of the whole addictive pattern, and thus we were launched into withdrawal, and sexual and emotional sobriety.
We were striving to be honest not good.
Some of us took up jogging, or other exercises that required greater physical effort. These helped to provide a physical sensation of tiredness which could fill the void left by the absence of sexual release, or even replace it.
We were, within ourselves, expending as much energy as most people do who hold down full-time jobs and maintain active family lives. In fact, most of us were 'working' far harder than we ever had before.
How would this translate into personal relationships or careers? We did not know. But what we did know was that the externals would eventually develop around this inner foundation of wholeness, and come to reflect our inner state.
Wherever ambiguity is present, the potential for reactivating sex and love addiction is present, too.
When external challenges did occur, we felt ourselves thrown back into having to devote all our energy, once again, to abstaining from addictive behavior at a 'bottom line" level.
Perhaps the most important principle here was not to deny ourselves that we were, indeed being severely tested.
Six signposts that withdrawal is coming to an end:
1. A growing awareness that we were now quite seasoned at dealing with temptations on a regular basis.
2. We were now no longer concerned with how much longer we would have to abstain from sexual or romantic entanglements.
3. More awareness of personal relationships with children, spouses, lovers, partners, friends, siblings and parents.
4. We began to have new energy available to invest in new, or once abandoned interests.
5. Events or circumstances which provided either motivation or opportunity for us to live out more of our potential as sober people would just "happen."
6. Life tasks, whether personal, relational, occupational or academic, were due to be taken up again.
We had become "beloved' to ourselves.
We knew we had experienced a Grace.
SLAA Part 2
Life's opportunities for growth and wholeness that we were helplessly letting slip by.
...having left life unlived, of having turned our backs on the possibility of fulfilling a meaningful destiny.
...life purpose would be forever out of reach.
We were powerless over an addictive pattern, of which any current, specific circumstance was just the most recent example.
We would engage in such solitary activities as masturbation and claim they were improvements because we were no longer involving others directly in our disease.
Those of us who tried to deceive ourselves in the way we defined our sex and love addiction found ourselves slipping back into the old behavior.
The 'freedom' to define our own addictive pattern could not be used in a self-serving way.
The proof that our surrender was indeed unconditional was that we now refrained, one day at a time, from every form of bottom-line behavior we saw as part of our own addictive pattern.
The possibility of finding some form of faith based not on any specific conception of "God" but rather on the need to find such a faith, was the beginning of spiritual healing.
We could choose to tip our own cup over and let the sickness run out of it.
We could not refill the cup through our unaided will.
The enemy was US.
Some power greater than ourselves would have to do the refilling.
We were to empty our chalice of disease and refrain from refilling it again ourselves.
There were no guarantees.
Undergoing the death of our addiction-riddled self and the rebirth of a redeemed, affirming person.
The time-honored Serenity Prayer became part of our daily repertoire for handling challenging and potentially dangerous situations.
We were still plagued by sometimes prolonged bouts of obsessive thinking or emotional yearning for intrigue and romance, for sexual oblivion.
How deprived we were!
There was no apparent upper limit to the spiritual, emotional and mental well-being toward which we were now moving, even though sometimes grudgingly.
We did not squander our energy in addictive acting out, in spite of severe temptations to do so.
Some of us kept journals, entered into counseling or psychotherapy.
We looked at our non-sexual relationships and often found the same motives and character defects driving us there as well.
Often our normal, right-sized human needs had somehow never been met during the formative period of our lives.
We realized that there was a basic loneliness which had made us afraid to be alone.
While it was not wholly appropriate to blame either our early experiences or ourselves for our behavior as sex and love addicts, we had to accept some personal responsibility for it.
Under the mantle of our new faith we took a hard look at ourselves.
Our Higher Power seemed to require our active participation.
Apparently God was not interested in relating to us as a parent might to some helpless child who was always getting into scrapes.
God seemed to want some kind of partnership.
Perhaps we were supposed to develop our full human capacities, instead of passively turning ourselves over to God as a wholesale protector or a punitive, omnipotent dictator.
We had progressed beyond an overseeing caretaker or parent-like God to the sense of being in conscious partnership with this Power.
This relationship appeared to be structured more along the lines of a conscious adult partnership centered on mutual sharing and cooperation.
I am not responsible for the conditions which created me, but I am willing to try to be responsible for myself.
We enjoyed solitude and were unafraid of honesty and openness with others.
We came to find intimacy with ourselves, intimacy with God, and then intimacy with others.
Sexuality was becoming a barometer-an expression of what was, already, in the partnership. It could be no more, or less, than this.
True intimacy, we found, cannot exist independent of commitment.
SLAA Part 3
I felt that I had tapped some secret, tabooed power which really ran the universe, but which was never acknowledged in the world.
...to experience that hypnotic sense of merging with her and giving my heart away to her from the depths of my soul.
...there was something I needed to establish right away when I got sober from alcohol: that my sex and 'love' life would not have to change!
I'm sure the fact that I could carry on my sex and 'love' life as before helped make becoming sober in AA less frightening for me.
I was no longer looking merely for adventurous sexual experiences, I was searching for a whore/madonna combination, a woman who could give me sexual oblivion, yet speak to my soul.
But physical craving for relief of tension would warp my resolve, and I would find myself with her again.
I had not yet experienced that amount of emotional pain which is needed before change is possible.
With my decision to withhold nothing of what I had done, the tide started to turn. The humiliation which each successive revelation brought me, and every ounce of pain these revelations inflicted, were the overdue accounts from years of a divided life.
Still, by maintaining openness to sharing of feelings and activities at all cost, I was able to gain perspective on just how powerless I was over managing my addictive relationship.
I felt suddenly that I was being pursued by some diabolical force that was using me for it's own purposes.
My life was in the open now, however jagged and disparate the separate pieces might be.
I knew full well that if I were to follow this path the pain of withdrawal would be immense. I realized that, for me, the process involved not simply ending my addictive relationship, but the unconditional withdrawal from the whole pattern of addiction.
Nothing less than going through the death of all that I had been in the world up to that time – of experiencing the dissolution of my former self – seemed required.
It seemed, on the one hand, now that I was a "good boy" I should have the right to demand a kind of high-intensity sexuality which I had prized so highly in my addictive trysts…
Whenever and wherever I am vulnerable, I will be tested.
The fact that I had hit bottom, surrendered, gone through withdrawal, and turned the corner of this addiction, while important enough personally, really meant little if the experience could not be replicated by others.
My own recovery was no longer an isolated, idiosyncratic happenstance.
Still others of us have chosen to be alone for extended periods, beyond what withdrawal in and of itself would seem to call for, because of an inner richness which we have found in the experience of our own solitude.
In all cases the withdrawal process had brought with it a deep and abiding knowledge of our own dignity as human beings.