Friday, June 27, 2008

One Small Step

Yesterday, right before I flew home from Manhattan and right after I got hit on by Douchy McDoucherton in my hotel’s lobby, I had breakfast with a man I met when I went to the Sex Addicts meeting back in April. Talk about full circle. Let's call him Wise One.

Wise One is gay, lives in New York, and has been in recovery for about twenty years. When I was telling my story at Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, he later said he felt a connection to me. Afterwards, he even gave me a hug. I told him about the blog, gave him my e-mail address, and a few days later here’s what he wrote:

“Something that people in early recovery are encouraged to do is write out their sexual history from their earliest memory. Since you like to write it probably wouldn’t be difficult to try it out. Along with the narrative, note the feelings that arise, be on the lookout for shame, a favorite motivator for many…other feelings are: abandonment, emptiness, sadness, loneliness and, of course, anger.

Through this exercise people often discover the nature of their condition and recognize at some point they became ‘powerless’ over pursing the next conquest or love affair. Along with that awareness often comes the recognition that unmanageability increased. The amazing result is often, for the first time in one’s adult life, a sense of freedom from something they didn’t even know was driving them.

The nature of doing this writing is, in fact, working the first step: ‘we admitted we were powerless over sexual compulsion – our lives had become unmanageable.’ I wouldn’t normally be so direct with someone in suggesting this level of work as it can stir deeply held and tough feelings. But it’s clear you’re an over-achiever and a doer, so I’m sure you’ll find it, at the minimum, very interesting. At the worst/best, you’ll become more aware and be closer to determining if you’re a sex addict.”

I’d like to think that’s what I have been doing here ever since.

So anyways, two months later, we met again, and WO said he was pleased with my progress. He claimed that I was ready for the second step: returning to sanity and finding out what intimacy and love really mean. Wait a second - I’m not done yet? I’m only on the cusp of clarity? Okay, fine. It’s not like I was planning on doing anything for the next year – or twenty years – of my life, anyways.

This time, and this blog, have allowed me to see the forest for the trees. I’ve taken a step back, peered into the heart of darkness, and found my sexual self returning my gaze. I have come to understand the things I have done were not entirely my own fault; that in part I became a slave to desires and needs bigger than anything I could control. I have found I had to the power to change this, but first I needed to admit that it was happening. Thanks to The Celibacy Project, Wise One, and the encouragement and support of those closest to me, I have finally realized what I am. My name is Allie, and I'm a recovering sex addict.



Anonymous said...

Wow. That's a serious admission. Considering the first step is an admission step, I believe you've taken it.

That kind of takes my breath away. Good for you.

Anonymous said...

I still question what sex addiction is-- or more precisely, how is an addiction to sex like an addiction to drugs, or alcohol, or gambling. You can quit all of those things (and many other addictions) entirely. Humans can't really quit sex; it's a biological function like exercise, especially if you're doing it right.

You *are* going to keep having sex. You'll have it more judiciously, perhaps, or be more aware of how it affects your thoughts. That's a good thing, but remember that you're going to keep having it.

I can't help but wonder whether 'sex addiction' is just a sleek name slapped on something else: insecurity. You want something (affection, love, whatever), you're not getting it, and you're offering your very pretty body to get it. My instinct would be to explore the 'want something' part. Why do you have low self-esteem issues? Why do you sublimate your worries on that front toward sex, rather than, say, being bitchy and climbing the corporate ladder? What's the inner mechanism working away at you, that uses your sexuality to try to salve itself?

That's the real question. Because even if you go through all 12 steps, and don't have sex randomly-- hey, good for you. Now you still have an underlying problem that could manifest in another way.

Oh, and that whole sexual history-- can we get a complete hit list? With photos if available? ;-)

Anonymous said...

He makes a really good point.