I never set out to become a female sexaholic. When I was a child, I loved my mother. I thought she was the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world. I wanted to be like her; she was my Goddess. But while she was looking for my father around the bars, she left us three kids with a neighbour who abused us. One day I gathered the strength to tell my mother what was happening, but she did not believe me (or maybe she did not want to believe me), so she left us once again at the neighbour’s house. That was the day that I started to believe that my mother did not love me.
In my child mind, I thought that if my mother could not love me, it was my fault. If she did not love me, I must be a horrible person. I thought that even a murderer would have a mother who loves him or her. But that day when she left us with the neighbor once again, I started resenting my mother, and I began acting out in my addiction. So I began, not with words, but with my behaviour, to show the world that I did not deserve love from anyone.
If a kind man showed me that he liked me, I immediately thought that he was stupid--so stupid that he did not notice that I was not worth anything. But if I were badly treated by a man, I would think, "This man is clever, he knows that I am not worth anything.” And no matter what bad things men did to me, I could never leave them. I was completely powerless until a man replaced me with another woman. Only twice could I leave a man, and that was with psychiatric medication.
What brought me to SA?
Eventually I could no longer stand the violence. I was desperate. But even then I could not leave my current partner. I was not able to run away. My story repeated again and again. I did not know that I was an addict.
Then one day I came across Sexaholics Anonymous on my computer, and I wrote to them asking for help for that man. I wanted help for him because I could not leave him. I was convinced that he was ill and that everything was his fault. At the end of my email, I said that I thought he had some little behaviours like masturbation, which I thought was normal.
Soon after I sent the email, a sober female sexaholic in SA phoned me. This woman did not know me, and she was from another city, but she listened to me for more than an hour, and she did not ask for anything back in return. I was quite surprised that she was willing to spend so much time with me.
At the time I thought I might be pregnant because I had so many pains in my body. I was always tired and hungry. I thought I might have psychiatric problems--perhaps I was bipolar or something--because of my emotional ups and downs of energy. I saw a public psychologist who specialized in gender issues, because I really did not know if I were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or even transexual. I was confused, and I did not want to be a victim any longer. I wanted to have control and power, even above women.
At that time I was convinced I was atheist. I did not believe that God could exist if I were suffering so much. But the sober female sexaholic who called me became my sponsor, and things began to change. At the very beginning, she told me that the most important thing in the world was my sobriety, and that I was not to masturbate (until that day I thought it was normal), and I could not see that man again.
My sobriety has had two phases. In the first three months, I withdrew from sex, dependency relationships, obsession, several drugs (I don’t remember which ones), and powerlessness over money (I am also a debtor, and I began that programme a year and a half ago). I was hungry all the time, and I wanted to sleep most of the time. Thanks to God I was able to return to my mother’s home, and I was able to receive care from her. I worked at home in my own business as soon as I was able to do so, and with a lot of effort, most of the time I was able to crawl to my local SA meeting. At first, I had trouble relating to the men, but thanks to God there was another woman in my meetings, and she was my support early on.
After three months of avoiding the last man in my life, my mind slowly began to recover from lust addiction. The pains slowly disappeared, the ups and down began to disappear, and bit-by-bit, my memory began to come back. Then I could go to the police and report what happened to me the last day, when I had bottomed out with that man. Thanks to God, the man stopped looking for me, and I have been a sober female sexaholic since that day. But I cannot go back to that man, ever.
After awhile I began to feel as if I had woken up after a scary nightmare. I realized how my life had changed. And that memory gives me the strength every day to continue to be sober, and not to go back to my past behaviors
The things I do to maintain my sobriety today as a sober female sexaholic
1. I attend meetings in four different programmes: two addiction programs (SA and Debtors Anonymous) and two codependency programs (S-Anon and CODA). I work all of these programmes at the same time; this is important for my sobriety. I work them on different days during the week, but all in the same week, so that I can be sober in all of the programs, and not fall into one addiction while I am sober in another.
2. I attend to three face-to-face meetings every week (two SA meetings and one in another fellowship), as well as a Skype meeting in another fellowship. I need the face-to-face meetings so that I can feel the energy of the recovery, and I am encouraged when I hear the suffering and the effort of other fellows, especially other female sexaholics.
3. I do service. Doing service (any kind of service) helps me feel useful to others, and that is a gift!
4. I have an SA sponsor who has listened to me talk about my entire life, and she has guided me through the Steps. She is a gift; I am very grateful her. In less than two years, she has helped me more than all of the psychologists during my entire life before SA. Also, having sponsees helps me to see how that was me at the beginning. I can see how my pain can be useful to others. That is really a gift!!!
5. I attend every SA convention. Conventions recharge my batteries, and from one convention to another, I get to see people who I do not usually see, and I learn a lot and am able to share in a healthy manner with others.
What it’s like now
When I first came back home to live with my mother, I slept on the sofa every night for one year and nine months, with my two cats. It was difficult to sleep on the couch, but that was what I needed to do to avoid masturbation. I also was able to forgive my mother (I had previously felt that she was the cause of my addiction). Forgiving my mother helps me to not run to the first man I find each time I feel that my mother hurts me. Forgiving others has helped me to stopping acting out in my addictions. I have learned that my mother is not bad, she is sick--just like I am. She did what she could, the best she knew how. I have also forgiven abusive men. I forgiven those who have hurt me, because SA is a programme of forgiveness.
How I love myself and take care of myself today
I cannot stay up until late at night.
I cannot drink alcohol or any drink that I cannot monitor.
I need a lot of rest; a minimum of 9 ór 10 hours every day.
I cannot eat too much or be too hungry. Sugar or heavy meals do not fit me well, so I try to eat as healthy as possible.
I have learned to recognize myself as a dignified person of love and care, who has much to offer others and who loves others. Today I am very sensitive to any sign of disrespect from others.
I recognize that my mother loves me in her own way
I feel worthy that, because of SA, I have been able to change my behaviour and clothing and really every part of my life.
I became employed by others so I that could continue paying all my debts.
I quit working giving massages to men and even women. During all this time in recovery, I cannot bear any contact with men, not even shake hands.
I left ALL of my past friends. All of them. Of course I left the men, but the women friends in my life were also so abusive that they were also toxic to me.
I began the S-Anon programme so I that could meet other women who suffer from sexaholic men--and those are wonderful meetings.
My Higher Power Today
I used to be a member of the Catholic church, but today I recognize so much more that a Higher Power exists, because of all of the “coincidences” I experienced. My High Power takes care of me, and sometimes He gives me messages through others.
The first day I experienced the energy of a Higher Power was after reading my Step One at a meeting in Madrid. After the meeting--for the first time in my life--I was ready to do an act of love for my mother, and accompany her to visit the Basilica. Life Passion was playing by actors among the streets and inside the Basilica. The experience of being inside the Basilica that day--completely full of people connecting with God--made me cry. I felt the energy of God. Since then, I have continued visiting the Basilica during the chorus and music at mass every Sunday.
Gratitude for SA
Today I believe that all of my suffering was needed to get me to Sexaholics Anonymous and to my friends in recovery-- so that I could experience sex addiction recovery. I also have learned that members of SA have the true connection. They helped me to start believing in a Higher Power greater than myself, Who has loved and cared for me throughout all of my life, and so that I could be used by God by helping another female sexaholic with my experience.