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Sexual addiction has ruined my life.

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Stupidhusband79 posted 4/4/2014 19:01 PM

Walking into my first SAA meeting was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Apprehension and nervousness racked my body, I thought all the way up until I walked into that room that I could easily just walk in grab a pamphlet and let my usual lying self weave a tale that could provide me an opportunity to do something I generally thought I didn't need. I ducked into a doorway and steeled myself to do it, to walk in there and face the problems I knew I had to or else it was going to consume my life and continue to ruin an otherwise wonderful marriage with a beautiful wife I am completely in love with and an exceptional mother. Even as I walked in and sat down I still thought of walking out of there. No one said hello and welcome, that in my mind almost made it easier to do that. Knowing that walking away would be the worst thing I could do.
I still thought about that until the first words of the group meeting were spoken. I listened to the people around me list their dirtiest most hidden secrets and things that motivated their addiction. When it was my turn I realized that I had more in common with these people than I ever wanted to take credit for. I listed my sobriety date, just a few days before, listed my bottom line sexual addictions, Objectifying women and men, sexually explicit phone chat, sexually explicit web and video chat, excessive masturbation, expending any sexual energy outside my marriage and most of all dishonesty. Dishonesty has always been a had thing for me to admit but it took so much of it to lie to myself that what I was doing wasn't wrong, whether it was just phone or internet sex and not really meeting people. Which of course is a line I had just recently crossed and in a way knew that one day I would, it was just a matter of time before I could lie to myself enough to make that happen.

When I listened to those folks sharing their stories and challenges throughout the previous week I related to so many of their problems and struggles it surprised even me. I found myself looking at them and listening intently hoping for some shred of hope that I could hang on to and help me to gain some insight into myself and my destructive actions. Not surprisingly though I found a glimmer of hope in the way I could relate to them. How the honesty could be a way of telling someone that I had these problems of compulsive masturbation as a way to deal with life. How shameful it made me feel and how I could stuff all the shame and guilt away into a box and pack it away in the back of my mind as some sort of insignificant act.
As I write these words I reflect back on that first meeting and how walking out of there I met a man who was attending his second meeting, the first at that location. Talking with him we offered each other consoling words and a sympathetic ear, the next week we talked again and both let the other know that the words we spoke to each other had stayed with us all week. I don't know who helped out who more?
After walking out of there I had an outpouring of emotion that I couldn't stop, I had to call my wife and tell her that I loved her, that I was glad I went. It still took me weeks to admit to her how hard it was to walk in there and that I thought about not doing it at all. In fact I make it a point to grab literature every week. Sooner or later I will run out of things to grab. I don't know if I do it because I really want to know more and really delve into my own recovery or if I do it to prove I was there since I wouldn't blame my wife for questioning my being there.
I haven't gone a week without a meeting nor do I really want to because I believe I have found something that for the first time in a long time makes me feel good and makes me feel like I can make a positive change in myself.
In the previous DDay my BW had suggested that I see an IC, I at first disagreed then slowly agreed. I chose to not use that as a positive experience and lied to here while I continued to act out during the final portion of my counseling sessions. That counselor has since parted ways with me but not before unleashing one of the worst tirades that truly opened my eyes and helped me to start my recovery in a positive and accepting manner.
I am still dealing with the problems I've caused and the lies I have told. I am still trying to convince my BW that I can be a better man and husband. I am trying to understand and deal with the pain and hurt she has to experience from sun up to sundown. I know it will be a long time until she can go a day without thinking about them or being able to trust me. I can deal with that, not easy but I can deal with that because I love her more than I have loved anyone, who didn't call me dad.
I am not ashamed to go to those meetings and look forward to them on the day I go. I look forward to sharing and hearing how others who in my most humble opinion seem to be beating some larger and lesser demons but give me the strength to look at mine through a lens I have never tried before. Stark and honest truth with myself. Its never easy to look into the mirror and see a person who you are not happy with but these last few weeks have been while trying, some of the easiest I've had in a while.
I tell my story in hopes that others will take a had look at themselves and if this is a recurring theme in your life as it was mine, maybe its time to seek out something other than therapy. By surrounding yourself with like minded individuals you can find the strength, just for today, to be the person your loved ones have always thought you were.
I'm not ashamed to say "Hi, My name is X and I am a sex Addict. I have 35 days of sobriety."

Lionne posted 4/4/2014 21:27 PM

I am the wife of a SA. He has been in true recovery for a long time. It's been hard for me to heal but that's my journey. He's doing everything he can to assist me.

Going to meetings is your job. Get a sponsor ASAP. You should also look for a CSAT. It's an essential part of the process. SA is complex, hard to beat. 12 step programs work if you work them.

We spouses have a thread in the I Can Relate forum. If you feel comfortable doing so, you might suggest your wife join us there.

Good luck in your journey. Use your tools.

Actionsoverwords posted 4/5/2014 21:58 PM

Hi Sh79,

SA, WH, here. I am glad that you found SAA and that it seems to be working for you. Your post reminded me of the first time that I went to a in person meeting. It was shortly after my first of many D-Days with my BW and I found myself in a church with a number of other men who shared what they were going through and I related so much to what they were saying. Unfortunately, I lied to myself and my BW and thought that SAA was all I needed to stay sober.

As scaredyKAT mentioned, SA is complex and hard to beat. It takes a combination of things and changing the way you think and live to really deal with it. I am still having problems today and have not followed a lot of the advice that I am going to list below until VERY recently.

Slight t/j, I hope you would not mind if I share some of my own experiences with you. I have been in and out of "recovery" since 2008, and I find myself not under the same roof as my wife and son because of my addiction and continued acting out.

There is definitely a feeling of accomplishment and high when you make a change and move towards doing something about SA, but please stay focused and use all of your tools and use anything that you can to stay on the right path. I had a sponsor, but found a reason to ditch him. I was actively acting out and still attending meetings. I was still lying to my BW. I thought I had a handle on things and that I was abstaining from inner circle behaviors, so everything else was fair game. Hell, I shared my 1st step and still messed up.

You mentioned that folks should seek out something other than therapy in your post, but I am not sure I can agree with that. We are SAs for a reason. It really isn't about the sex or the orgasm, but rather how we use sex as a medication for our underlying problems. Without addressing those issues, you are merely scratching the surface.

Have you read "Out of the Shadows" by Dr. Patrick Carnes? Have you heard of Dr. Milton Magness? Are you journaling or otherwise writing everyday? Do you have a sponsor? How are you helping your BW to heal? What tools are you employing when you are triggered? Have you worked out what your circles are?

I didn't post those questions as an attack on your program, but merely as things for you to consider as you walk down this road of gentle healing. Good luck to you.

RippedSoul posted 4/5/2014 22:31 PM

I, too, am the BW of an SLAWH. It's not an easy journey--understatement of the year--it's a hellish journey. Kudos to you for attending an SAA meeting and for being honest and for going back. Keep working the program. It and you and she and they are worth it.

Hopefully, someday soon, my WH will join you in the SAA fellowship. His newly adopted (18-24 months ago) atheism is a hindrance, but he's getting close, I think. Please know that some of us truly understand the courage it takes to choose the path of recovery. Best wishes!

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