I've been sorting through the reasons I used to act out so much and I've come to the conclusion it was because it felt good. In fact, I used to act out sometimes four times a day because it felt really good. I think I still overeat because it feels really good.
It amazes me that normal people are so nonchalant when it comes to sex and seem to be able to go days without it. Regular people do things that feel bad (like paying taxes and eating Grape-Nuts) and then claim it makes them feel good.
My philosophy has always been that too much of a good thing is a great thing. At one point in my life, I would act out till it hurt, then to console myself I'd eat till I was sick, then to comfort myself I'd sleep till I couldn't anymore, then in the boredom I'd watch TV till I got a headache.
The only reason I would ever do anything that felt bad (like going to work) was to ensure I could keep doing things that felt good (like owning and using a laptop).
Today I looked at some birds outside my window and marveled at their ability to engage in as many pleasures as they want, guilt-free. They don't have consciences. They can act out all spring, being unfaithful, and not feel bad.
I imagined what a conversation would look like if they stopped to question the situation.
Bird 1: "You think we should try to be monogamous and stay with the birds we mate with?"
Bird 2: "Nay, we're advancing the species. Promiscuity is practically an obligation."
Bird 1: "I hear bald eagles mate for life."
Bird 2: "Sure, that explains why they're bald. Thank God we're finches."
Bird 1: "But don't you think it's kind of unfair that we mate with a female and then leave her to raise the young on her own? Is that ethical?"
Bird 2: "Ethical? What are you, Mother Teresa? It's mating season and I plan on enjoying myself." (flies away)
Bird 1: "Hey, wait for me!"
One reason I'm not acting out now is that I was given the gift of pain. I reached the point where the pain felt worse than the lust felt good. Because the pain got really bad. Like "I wonder if a bullet or pills is a more painless way to go" kind of bad.
I wish I could claim really heroic reasons for remaining sober. But mostly I do it because a recovering life feels better than an acting out life, and probably moreso because an acting out life, in my case, is like a living death. I hope we all continue to feel better.