I left home at 21 and moved in with my boyfriend. I had been attending college full-time and had two part-time jobs, but I dropped out of school and work so I could spend more time acting out sexually. I felt a lot of shame, so I convinced my boyfriend to marry me. Sometimes we acted out by watching porn. When my husband wasn’t home, I would look at the porn and masturbate. We were both sex addicts, and we raged at each other daily. Lust killed our relationship.
Three years later, I separated from my husband and moved back into my parents’ house. In the separation I got the computer. I would view the porn my husband had downloaded. Sometimes I would delete a video after being disgusted with myself for acting out while watching it. Then I would watch another.
That year I acted out with a former teacher from college. We acted out once and I became obsessed with him but he was done with me. I stalked him online, called him at work, and went to his office. He told me to stop. In my despair over losing this “connection,” I became involved in Internet chatting. I stayed up late at night chatting about sex. I tried to live out a fantasy with others by typing sexual conversations. Next I got a camera and transmitted explicit pictures of myself online. The reaction did not fit my fantasy and I felt less than human. But I repeated this.
I was feeling crushed by the shame of acting out with strangers online. I was obsessed with thoughts of acting out with my ex-teacher. I was obsessed with the forbidden. I began to wonder if I could be a sex addict.
One day, immediately after acting out in cyberspace and becoming distressed, I searched for help online, found an “S” fellowship, and called a member. I went to my first "S" meeting that night. I was the only woman at a meeting of about eight men. The men tried to reassure me but after attending only three meetings, I searched the Internet for a woman’s meeting and found an Sexaholics Anonymous meeting for women only. I went faithfully every week, stayed sober for a month and collected a 30-day chip. But I was not committed. I remember thinking, “I can’t call myself a sexaholic!” That would mean I was a “sicko,” someone who masturbates and struggles with the lust to masturbate. That is not me!
Sure I masturbated, but my version was different! Eventually I stopped going to meetings. I decided I could work the Sexaholics Anonymous program on my own. Guess what happened? I went back to my same behaviors and took more risks. I began browsing the Internet for porn I hadn’t seen before, and went back to acting out online. I began going out to night clubs and dating again. My addiction was spinning out of control. I was acting out at work during my breaks. I was divorcing my husband because he was emotionally and physically abusive, but I acted out with him again. I thought of finding a job in the sex industry so I could lust full-time. I wanted to kill myself. I thought I had to act out or I would die, yet acting out was killing my spirit, my creativity, my personality, and all joy. Within months I had hit bottom again.
I came back to Sexaholics Anonymous, feeling defeated and hopeless. I went back to the women’s only Sexaholics Anonymous meeting. They did not yell at me or ask me what I had been doing since I left. I began to identify myself as a sexaholic. I struggled to get a 30-day chip and then a 60-day chip. I kept going to meetings. I could not figure out how to stay sober. My triggers became more frequent and the desire to have sex with myself and others returned. The once-a-week meetings were no longer enough for me. I became willing to do whatever it took to stay sober and grow in recovery. I started attending an early morning Sexaholics Anonymous meeting of men and women.
Before I went to meetings with men, I prayed I would be shielded from lusting after others and being lusted after. At first I kept my head down and listened. To my surprise, I heard my story told over and over again. I began to feel alive again. I took another chance and started attending a very large mixed meeting at the suggestion of my sponsor. I was amazed to meet people who had ten or more years of sobriety! I hadn’t known that was possible. I started to share at meetings and I did not die. I was welcomed as one of them.
Today, I am proud to say that I am a recovering sexaholic who loves going to Sexaholics Anonymous meetings, and I am supported by hundreds of people in the Sexaholics Anonymous fellowship, both women and men. I am not alone anymore.