At meetings I usually introduce myself as a “grateful recovering sexaholic.” I started doing this about two years into recovery, when I realized it was true.
One member shared today about being very angry with himself and asked, “Will it ever end? Will I ever be able to lead a ‘normal’ life? ... Is it worth it?” I remember those questions. I remember that anger and frustration at myself. I got into it again two months ago when I gave up four years of sobriety for a couple of hours of acting out.
But my long-term experience in SA is that it is worth it, that it does go away for long periods of time, but that I can never lead a ‘normal’ life.
It’s been just over two months since that slip. During the first week, I was angry at myself. I had temptations zinging all over the place. My body and mind wanted to react to those temptations. I had to use Step Three over and over and over again in that week. But I did. And the result was that none of those temptations got inside. I did not give in to lust during that first week. And by the second week, I had once again reached a place of peace where the temptations were sort of separated from me by a fuzzy barrier: I could see they were there, but no serious temptation actually reached me. That has continued for the remaining seven weeks. I continue at peace and have not lusted in eight weeks. (I also continue doing daily Step work.)
It is as if those temptations have been taken away from me, and I know that God as I understand Him is doing what I could not do.
Please understand that regaining peace from a slip didn’t happen in a week when I slipped in the first year of recovery. That short time frame is the result of fourteen years of continuous recovery work. Getting past the temptations the first time took three hard weeks of physical withdrawal from the drugs my body makes, followed by another three months of constant recovery work. Gaining any peace after a slip in the first year took 2-5 weeks of determination. (Determination not to slip again, but also determination to work the program.)
Yes, it does get better. And yes, it does go away for long periods. And yes, it is very definitely worth it.
But I am not normal...and I cannot lead a normal life. I am a sexaholic. I have an addictive nature that demands that I live a different life than the ‘normal’ people around me.
I am a tall man at 6’3” (190cm). I am an intelligent man, understanding things well. I am an introvert and tend to be clueless about any social interactions around me. I have big feet. And I am a sexaholic. All of these are simply facts of my existence – gifts given to me by God as part of my makeup. Each of these has both benefits and detriments. And I am grateful for them all. In recovery, I am grateful to be who I am.
Doing anything else makes no sense, but I did. It was part of my prior life that I felt proud to be tall, thinking that made me better than others. Likewise for my intelligence. I hated being clueless in social situations. I wished my feet were smaller. And I got terribly angry at myself for giving in to my sexual addiction, even while I delighted in giving in to it. Looking at myself as better or worse than others was very destructive ...to me.
In recovery today, I am very grateful to God that He made me just the way I am. I am grateful to be a sexaholic. It requires me to live a cleaner sexual life than ‘normal’ people, and that is a very good thing.