My husband recently wrote out his story of his journey in, through, and out of sex addiction, and it was the first time he’s done so. With his permission, I wanted to share this with you all, since it is a really powerful picture of a courageous man who has refused to give up.
ideas that capture his creativity.
your cross!” “the greatest love is him who gives his life for his friends..” I saw an image of christ on a cross suffering for the good of others coupled with the meme that was circling midwestern youth groups at the time “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO”. I found in this an elegant fix. A hero’s journey worthy of praise, and a life raft for the family condition. I became a sweet angel, a caring ear, a therapist, a friend for all
seasons, and I was seeing results! I got stroked for my efforts, and my family was holding together (by my own efforts of course /facepalm).
What I didn’t see coming was that my parents were about to have two new children. I had no idea that this would effect me or my quest at all and I welcomed the oppurtunity for a new brother/sister with open arms. Within the span of 4 years i got both! Our family however was torn asunder the moment my young sister came to this earth. She was born sick. She was deformed, barely alive, and full of life crippling illness. I remember desperately trying my old tricks, but it seemed to no avail. My mother was crestfallen, my father broken, my brother was an infant, and I was LOST. I had lost my identity after years of denying self, and now I had no grounding whatsoever. Yet I was not willing to let my
parents down in their time of greatest need. This was the hour I had been waiting for! A giant dragon overhead spewing brimstone on the village, and I the glorious white knight! What a beautiful picture..if only it had actually worked…Instead what I got was a complete and total schism of my essential self. The dragon had me in its clutches and I was bereft of armor.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” James 1: 8 (KJV)
“Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.” Proverbs 17:7
dissociation, transforming me into a hard man who does not fear pain. The phrases “performs well under pressure” and “overcoming your fear” are the totems of any seasoned veteran of war. What amazes me to this day is that I was completely unaware I was doing this. The archetype of the selfless hero had been supplanted into my heart, my body just learned to “rise up” to the challenge accordingly. Also, in response to the christian standard, I gave up expressing my anger to this cold vacuum. A christian man was supposed to be gentle, kind, and compassionate (just like the preacher at my church was).
What I did not know was that these feelings don’t dissapear. I was not a magician after all. My amazing skill of bypassing these “issues” was only prolonging the inevitable. Science states “energy is neither created or destroyed”. In light of this now I can say my body absorbed these buried feelings deep into my subconcious body/mind storing this energy for a later time. At some point the body/mind reaches it’s limit and this energy starts to flow out passively, sideways and otherwise, and I was very near the breaking point. As my sister came into this world I lost mastery over my domain. I began to slip. I started having crazy thoughts and feelings appear in my heart and mind. I began to crave an escape. Now being as I was merely 16 years old, one could state I was acting out of rebellion as would any teenager, and yes I would have to submit that information as relevant. What was different for me was I had built such a crystal castle in the sky, that I was unwilling to admit defeat of any sort. My family was in the midst of devastation, and for me to collapse now of all times would be my end. I needed their approval and I did not want to open the door to my feelings, lest I be overwhelmed. So I started lying. I began playing the role, while creating for myself a secret world of Mr. Hyde, bereft of my responsibilities or any pretense of nobility.
Without the church to lean on, I did not make out well in the world once I moved out of the house. I fell deeper into drug use and manipulation of women. I knew I needed to find an answer to my problems but I had no solutions. I even got a job at a book store so I could look up other religious ideas and concepts, psychology, self-help, art, and music. Hoping internally that at some point the release from my torment would suddenly appear. Well it did in a way I was not expecting. I met a beautiful young woman named _______. A tough, driven, sassy girl from New York who had a penchant for always speaking her mind. I was bewitched. She was the antithesis of all I had known. Perhaps she was the
answer! Internally I now realize I was looking for a companion to walk through the gates of hell with, someone who was a warrior as well. I promptly decided to marry her and we were engaged. I presented her with a beautiful image of a responsible, honest, and kind man who would always be there to listen and respond with geniune favor. I would shout her name from the rooftops, and she would be my queen. A women I treasured above all else!
Secretly I was betting all my chips on our marriage. I believed with all my heart that G-D had sent her to deliver me from my sins. I fasted and prayed before our wedding day, with the mindset that the devil in me would be gone for good. It Worked! For about 6 months…I was devastated. I could not believe after all of this my cravings were back. I began to fiend for a release. My soul was torn but I was out of
answers. She wanted intimacy! UGH…it sounds simple, but I was not prepared to tell her the truth of my condition. I was a scared little boy who was doing all he knew to hold his mind together. Eventually it overwhelmed me. This time however, I knew I could not just bring girls home or go use drugs whenever I felt like, my wife was always with me, and I cannot let this ruin our marriage. So my solution was to find more subversive ways to disguise my problems. I began abusing perscription meds, and took a leap into internet pornography. I was still getting my highs, but in a way that was much easier to protect. This way I could still have a sense of intimacy and attempt being close to her without the fear of discovery. She will be the first to admit we both needed this illusion at the time. The concept of the ideal marriage was whisking us away from our fears. She would find evidence from time to time, we would talk and I would confess just enough for her to go about her business, and leave me be. We both knew something was tragically wrong, but what else was there to do but trudge on in quiet desperation.
“not my husband, not my husband”…was the phrase she continued to say as she rubbed dirt into her clothing, writhing in agony on the ground. I knew the gig was up. The “me” she knew was dead, and I was exposed. Both of my worlds came crashing into each other throwing both of us into a topspin of despair. There was nothing I could do to prevent the truth from coming out. My pitiful attempts at covering my actions through deceit no longer worked. She hastily quit her job, packed up her things, and left me. I was alone…
Great. Fine. I’m ok. I stayed in bed for what seemed like forever. I would periodically have this new thing called “panic attacks” where i would be dropped to the floor gasping for air. My boss called me to call it quits, asking for my key. I quitely packed up my gear form the studio and left without so much as a peep.
No Wife. No Job. I was desperate. So I continued to act out. It was all I knew to do. I figured I would be able to go on the binge of all binges. It should tide me over for a while. I created an amazing fantasy once I found a willing co-partner (woman). I “fell in love with her” and we began to act out a scenario of marriage and courtship. Little did she know I was also having sex with anonymous people on the side and using drugs. It was the perfect trifecta. The ultimate rush. The only thing I remember at the end of it was that I was not ok and that I would never be again. I broke down into tears for the first time in about 5 years since my sister passed away. I was 25 and my life was over. Some hero I turned out to be. I was up against the wall and it was either get help or get out.
I checked into rehab a few days later.
I would like to say that I was instantly healed within a month. The truth is its been 6 years. I am now 31 years old, and I am still baffled by my life. However, the first steps in the right direction I found at the caring hands of other addicts in rehab. I remember the first time I shared my entire life with a group full of men. From start to finish every seedy, disgusting, backstabbing, no good thing I had ever done. I stood up in front of them and was fully exposed in all my shame. After I finished the counselor told everyone to go to lunch, and had me sit and wait. The thoughts started coming into my mind “Thats it, they all know Im scum, good job idiot, now they will hate you”. I went upstairs and nervously
went into the lunch hall avoiding all eye contact. I gathered my food and headed to an empty table. “Hey, where u goin…come sit down over here” said a participant in the program. As I sat down and looked into the face of my peers as they continued to crack jokes and talk crap about the rules, I realized that I was not alone. I had found a safe place to be me.
What I found was a piece of me. A long buried authentic self who was quite emotional, sensitive, and full of anger. I was angry about what happened to my sister, I was angry about my loss of relationship with my father, I was angry with G-D and most of all I was angry at myself. After spending some time connecting with this day in and day out 9-5 round the clock, I started to pray again. I lost the self important prayer langauge, and stuck to the simple “hey G-D, I’m hurting today, im so sad about….” I never had thought of it before but I was unable to find G-D before because I wasn’t there! I was a hologram of a man, asking the creator of the universe to acknowledge and interact with my make believe person. Once I started to thaw out and understand who I was, I was able to share that with others…this above all else has given me the freedom to move forward.
Now I wont ever…ever…say that I am healed, or that I am all better. Or that I am delievered. This is utter nonsense. One thing I will always keep close to my heart is how close to death I was..and that it could happen again. Its been 6 years of continual treament, meetings, therapist, books, defeat, relapse, complete and utter failure, and letting people down time and time again. However, I have never stopped moving forward to my goal of honesty, and humilty before myself, others, and G-D. Somewhere along this journey apparently my wife noticed my direction and decided she wanted back in. We have been together over 11 years now. She believes she has her own issues, and stays out of my recovery but instead works on her own. She is currently getting her Masters in Social Work so we can start helping others in need. I’ve had to make some serious life adjustments to compensate for my weakness. (Career changes, moving to a differnet state, giving up certain activities) I don’t regret it though. Sanity is treasured above all other things I could possibly want. I will continue to seek places, processes,
ideas, groups, people, and sanctuaries where I believe I will find more help. If you have any questions feel free to ask me or anyone related to me for help with your issues. Here are some areas I have experience in.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Sex and Drug Rehab
Addiction and the Church