About 2 months ago I posted about my first experience attending a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting. Since then I have gone through quite a process that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal until I sit down and look back at that first meeting and how long ago it seems. Right now my thoughts are so scrambled and disorganized but I am going to pound out some bullet points of things that I have experienced, thoughts that I have had, and even some emotional reactions that have been present.
- To date I have been to 6 meetings. After the first two, I started going to Whole Foods afterward for coffee and conversation. This has quickly become one of the highlights of my week.
- Since my first time I have invited 3 friends. 2 have come. 1 is coming regularly.
- I have met with someone who has told me that they are willing to sponsor me twice. We are going to continue to meet on Wednesdays at 10am. Asking someone to “sponsor” you (especially when you don’t even know what that means) is really, really hard. At the end of a meeting I forced myself to say “can you sponsor me?” This came after a string of meaningless small talk like “how do sponsorships work” but in the end it was those 4 words that have made all the difference. For me, the main benefit of having a sponsor is that it has eliminated the sense of paralysis that comes along with facing an overwhelming task. A sponsor can say “do this and talk to me next week about it.”
- One of the tasks that I did in the last week and a half was to write out my “sexual history” (by “sexual history” I mean anything at all in my life that had to do with anything sexual. Many of these things seem inconsequential and can be as simple as playing doctor when you are 4 to being told about the birds and the bees). This was a project that I was supposed to do before my 10am meeting on Wednesday with my sponsor. It turns out that I was so petrified of this process that I did not start it until 9:50 am, ten minutes before we were to meet. All I could do before the meeting was to open up a new word document. I did not type one word.
- Thus far, I have typed up two pages of events that all occurred before high school. It started off as 5 things and then I remember 5 more in between 3 things in between the first and second event. Today, I remembered 2 more. Now as I look at the list I see it as probably 25% completed.
- A few interesting things about the list:
- I have no sexual abuse (that I know of) or molestation or anything like that in my past. I considered my past to be perfectly “normal”, and still do.
- My parents have only come up twice (so far) in my list. The reason I bring this up is to say that my opinions as to what sex is was probably formed by everything else on the list.
- I’m not quite sure what is to become of this list but I have heard stories of people reading this to certain people around them and right now that scares the crap out of me.
- One of the most interesting things about this process is that I have been making all sorts of connections with how deep of an impact the 12 steps actually go. The nature of Sexaholics Anonymous, actually, has very little to do with sex.
- The sexual aspects of “acting out”, as it’s referred, are merely forms of “medicating” from the deeper issue. In other words, The sex is just a symptom and falls in the same category of people who use TV, radio, alcohol, drugs, video games, books, relationships, eating, shopping, etc. to help distract themselves from having to deal with themselves and God.
- One example of a deeper issue for me is my inability to know how to deal with my own emotions
- This is evident in how I have no idea how to constructively deal with disappointment, rejection, or anger when it comes to my relationship with Kami. It is the onset of these emotions that causes me to turn my thoughts towards sexual deviance as a way to distract myself from the root problem.
- When I think of one of the main things that pushes me over the edge with my kids, it is when they are completely emotionally out of control. It can be a temper tantrum or pure joy but my first instinct is to try and stabilize them. I’m starting to realize that this is a result of my own emotional immaturity and the impact of me not “growing up” is going to have a direct impact on who they are.
- Today, I had breakfast with a guy that I wanted to meet with. Before we talked, I knew one thing about him. That his adult son had cried in his arms. I told him today that I don’t know what is behind that but whatever it is, I need to figure it out because as of now I have no plans to cry in my dad’s arms or to have my son cry in mine. He shared with me his story and passed on some insight. Among other things he pointed out:
- “Sexaholism never comes out of a vacuum.” In other words, the more you understand your past, the more you have the ability to understand your present. The obvious goal for this is to change your future.
- “Men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love.” While this is obviously a broad generalization it displays a very important point. If this is a pattern in your relationship, abstaining from sex for a period can help you in gaining a truer understanding what sex is, and is not, and will also give you a much more solid understanding of what love is.
- “Because I couldn’t be human I couldn’t allow those around me to be human.” We are notorious for trying to isolate our issues stating that they are a personal thing that does not impact other people. In reality, the actions we carry out are a result and an indicator of our underlying issues and if we do not deal with them they will impact ourselves and every person that we come into contact with (and even those we don’t). Often times we are so blind to this impact that we think just because it is not flat out destroying the relationships around me it is not significant.
- When we are controlled by our addiction we have “unrealistic expectations of God, ourselves, and others.” – Taken from the SA book
- The whole purpose of the 12 steps is to “grow in the image and likeness of God.” – Taken from the AA book.
- He also told me that recovery is much less of a sprint than a marathon. He told me how his 7th year in the program there were so many things that he learned that he did not even know existed. This made sense to me on a cognitive level but he used an example that really brought it home for me. “There’s things in business that you don’t understand until your 7th year”. I thought I understood business 7 years ago….and I did…..kind of. Now though, I look back and think “I knew nothing!” It’s pretty crazy to think that this same hope may be present with personal growth and healing.
- Today I spoke my first words in the meeting. That was pretty weird. I was in the “hotseat” position which meant that the first 15 minutes of the 60 minute meeting was me talking about whatever I wanted to. I shared a brief overview of my story for the last 2 months and why I was there. At the end I closed by saying, “my name’s Ben and I’m a sexaholic.” To which everyone replied, “THANKS BEN.” I guess I’m in this thing now.
- I don’t know what lies ahead but I’m really, REALLY excited!
As I stand on the verge of the first step, I plan on this being a long process. Sorry for the chaotic list of long bullet points but I don’t know of another way to write these things at this point. Many of these thoughts are really chaotic and disorganized in my head. I plan on keeping my thoughts updated whenever I have anything significant happen. I post here for the following reasons:
20% – Introspective processing
20% – So those that care can know what the heck is going on in my life
60% – With the hopes that what I am learning and going though can help others who may need growth and healing of their own
Please feel free to pass on this post to anyone whom you think it would be helpful and I would love to get any feeback on any of the above points or anything else.