Ever since I was a very young boy, I was sexually abused by all of the other boys in my large extended family. One of the earliest memories of my childhood was during the wartime era in my country. I remember waking up in my mother’s arms because of the sound of heavy explosions, which broke all our windows. A few minutes after the explosion, I fell asleep again. This was not a pleasant memory, but it was only the beginning of my unpleasant memories, which continued to get worse after I experienced my first unwanted sexual relationship when I was six years old.
Sexually Abused in Childhood
My cousin, who was nine years older than I was, invited me into a house to play games. But instead of playing a game, he raped me in quite a painful manner. I still remember almost everything about that day. The day started with my joy of hoping to play games, but it ended in heavy pain, which lasted for many days, with a lot of crying. After that day, my cousin regularly abused me. He would tell my mom that he was taking me to the playground or a movie--and he did. But after those activities, he abused me. I did not understand what he was doing. I was totally powerless and trapped. And I could not tell my parents about this, because he told me not to tell anyone about our secret. These painful abusive acts continued progressively for a long time, until other cousins of mine--who were all boys and older than I was--became aware of this situation, and then they also started to abuse me sexually.
I never felt safe among them. They were everywhere, and they took any advantage they could to abuse me.
I remember one day when we were all together and each of them proudly counted how many times they had abused me. At first one of my cousins tried to protect me from the others, but eventually he abused me as well. They often abused me by bullying and punishing and teasing me in various ways. They did not leave me alone at night even when my mother was sleeping nearby. They still abused me.
Throughout my childhood, everything in my life felt sad and dark. I was stuck in a harsh situation with no solution. I always wished that I could be friends with them without feeling rejected or getting beaten up. I wanted to enjoy playing with them. But things kept getting worse.
Perhaps everything that happened in our youth was because we were not aware of the consequences of those behaviors. I don’t believe that any of them intended to harm me to such an extent that was beyond childish playfulness, but their actions resulted in something much worse than my perverted destructive sexual habits and beliefs. I eventually came to believe that the best games, pleasures, and joyful things are sexual ones. I believed that one must have sexual relationships. I believed that I needed to expose and offer myself to them in order to get closer to my friends. I believed that I should not tell my parents or other adults about my sexual affairs and problems. I believed that I could let anybody cross my boundaries and have sexual relationships with me. I believed that lusting was a customary thing that everyone does.
Eventually I began to experience mental, emotional, and physical complications because of the sexual molestation. I lost self-respect, self-esteem, and confidence in myself. I had sleeping disorders, and I experienced nocturnal enuresis (also called night urination), and I was panic-stricken. I could not trust anyone.
The more I experienced molestation, harassment, and being scorned, the deeper I went into isolation. I was driven inward and disconnected from others. I began to hate myself; I thought that something was wrong with me. I felt isolated, different, and lonely. Gradually I started to hate myself. I was afraid of everyone, and my life went nowhere.
Trying to escape the pain of being sexually abused
Eventually I found masturbation as a remedy that helped me run away from my pains and problems. It was also the best way for me to have pleasure. I would even act out in the classroom among my classmates. I could not stop, even when my teacher was suspicious. Masturbation soon turned into my eternal soulmate and the solution to all of my problems. But I still seemed to have this sentence written on my forehead: “It’s okay, you can molest me.”
One day on the way back home from school, my classmates pushed me into an abandoned house and beat my head with a tool. That was all I remember from that day. After that I would hear them talking about me, and how they sexualy abused me after I fainted that day.
The year after that my family moved to new neighborhood and a new school. But I repeatedly fell into the same pattern that I had learned before. When they found a good opportunity, my sick, abusive classmates again began to subject me to sexual assault. Eventually they started sexually abusing me as a group, and that was followed by humiliation, beatings, and molestations, which only intensified over time. After experiencing this from my classmates, my neighbors and older men began to molest me. One day, a few neighbor boys of different ages invited me to show me their domestic animals, but when I got there I found that it was a trap to subject me to sexual assault. They tried to calm me down with a negligible amount of money to make me stop crying--but they showed me no mercy because later on they took the cookie I had bought with that money.
When I got older, the older men who I worked for at various jobs tricked me into sexual harassment. These sexual assaults continued so repetitively that I began to believe that there was no secure place for me in the world. I was always afraid of being nicely dressed, so I wore long clothes and tried to look ugly. I always tried to run away from those who sought to abuse me. Sometimes I ran all way from school to home. Sometimes I could not even leave home, and sometimes I gave up avoiding being sexualy abused.
My family moved again to a new district and school, and I decided to start a new life with new friends. I hoped that I would not be abused and lured by others again, but the very next day, an older guy in the new neighborhood invited me to his house. And when I arrived, he suddenly closed the door and threatened me to death unless I did as he asked me to do. Then he sexually abused me after drinking some alcohol. This news quickly spread to boys in my new school and neighboring district, and others also began to abuse me. They threatened to tell my father what I was doing if I would not let them abuse me.
Targeting my weakness in lack of affection, an adult man tricked me into a sexual relationship. He would say “I am ready to do anything for you.” He always emphasised “the emotional bond” between us. After awhile, I found that he had assaulted others the same way as he assaulted me. He also took explicit pictures of them as he did with me, in order to use them for blackmailing when needed. This was the moment where I felt my world ended.
In the country where I live, those who have been sexualy assaulted for any reason are counted as weak and inferior. There is even a specific word for abused people that indicates how deep those beliefs are. This was the prevailing idea among people of that era and as well as in me. I saw myself as an inferior and disgusting person who deserved the worst things. I always thought that the happenings were my fault.
I was exhausted, completely powerless, and frustrated. I was at a dead end. I can’t describe the extent of the intensive harassments, torments, and consequent disasters. During all years of being in such a pain, my parents were dealing with financial difficulties, so whenever they noticed that something abnormal was happening around me, they easily ignored it.
In my home, talking about sexual subjects and issues was a taboo, so I could not imagine what would have happened if they had found out my issues. The only way for me to cover the painful feelings was masturbation and more masturbation. I would do this several times a day, before puberty. After adolescence, the severity of my disease became worse, so that I would compulsively masturbate up to ten times a day, in order to cover up my pain. But as a result, I was experiencing deeper pain rather than sexual pleasure. Eventually, I began to experience sexual acting out with others the same way I had been assaulted by others before.
At age 15, I reached my worst mental, emotional, and physical state. I felt deep depression and an extreme emptiness. Some of my beliefs of nihilism and meaninglessness of the universe and life seemed to be contradictory. The behaviors I experienced were the complete antithesis of my religious beliefs. I turned into an underachiever at school. I constantly struggled with myself, God, and my family. I constantly thought of suicide, and I cried for long hours, in such a manner that others (including my family) started to believe that I was going crazy.
My Life was an Illusion.
I was drowned into a fantasy world of movies and computer games. my fears were to such a great extent that I could not sleep because I thought I would be attacked by imaginary creatures. I also feared being punished by God. Because of all of these fears, I was always hiding under the blanket, and I would not stay home alone.
Physically I was grown up and maturing, but inside I was an immature boy. My disease was progressively growing. My religious beliefs never kept me from crossing my boundaries. I would sexualy act out with objects, animals, prostitutes, and pornographic pictures and movies. I took advantage a girl who was emotionally attracted to me. I wanted others boys lust after me in order to feed my own lust. I hated my bottom.
I tried almost every possible way to stop, but I could not stop my compulsive sexual acting out. I asked God as I understood Him to help me, but nothing worked. I became completely desperate and hopeless. I found myself being powerless over lust, and I gradually came to a conclusion that my problem might be an addiction.
I had no hope. I was completely stuck in my situation--and so I decided to look on the Internet for some solution. I found Sexaholics Anonymous there, but I never contacted the fellowship, because I thought marriage would be the only solution and a way out of that hell. And then suddenly a miracle happened: I fell in love with a girl. Being totally hopeless and depressed with all of my problems behind--and having a completely unmanageable life--I decided to marry her, as a final solution for my chaotic life and a great escape from my disease. But after all the hopes I had of marriage as a solution, the problems only got worse, and lust started to change its form in a more progressive way.
Not long after the marriage, I began using pornographic videos, nicotine, sexual materials, and fantasy. I started to even use within my marriage--and not long after that, masturbation began again. The problems that I thought would be solved in marriage returned, and this time in an even more severe form. I became more aggressive and started fighting with my wife. One time I became so angry and violent with my wife that I physically harmed her. I wanted to kill her by strangling her neck with my hands. I had hit another new bottom. At this point I was not the only one whose life was in danger; my wife’s life was threatened as well. My rage and fear increased. So I came to SA, not only to stop my compulsive sexual behavior but also to gain peace in my life and mind.
Overcoming Sexual Abuse Through the Fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous
Once I was in SA, my compulsive disruptive sexual behaviors and masturbation ceased in a short time. But I soon realized that my problem had a deeper root than masturbation and my other sexual acts. In the beginning of my SA recovery, I thought I was much different from other fellows in SA because they could easily share their feelings, make friends, and enjoy fellowshipping and laughing together. I could not even look into their eyes, and I could not share in meetings or stay after the meetings and talk to fellows. Every time I went to a meeting, I came back home feeling worse. I felt a deep isolation and was judgmental of everyone. I thought that SA would not work for me as it works for others, because I was constantly comparing myself with others--and by doing so, I was separating myself from recovery.
At first, my disease did not allow me to break the walls that I had built around me by lust and ego, and for that reason I could not share my deep feelings or pain with anyone. I was not able to become close to others. I did not trust anyone. But against my own will I found my first sponsor and started working the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous with him.
I would take notes during our Step meetings, and I thought that just working the Steps in a practical way would be enough for my recovery. But my sponsor said that I needed to work the Steps in a practical way and apply them in all areas of my life. Not long after that, the Step meeting was canceled by my sponsor and I found another sponsor.
With my new sponsor, we started working the Steps from the beginning. I did my Step One inventory with a lot of pain, and as I read it to my sponsor I felt deep shame and lots of fear. It was difficult for me to be reminded of all my bitter painful memories, and to tell my sponsor about them. But the result was surprisingly much better than I thought. After finishing my inventory, I found that--miraculously--a major part of my guilt, fear, and shame from my past was losing its power over me. Since then, thanks to the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous, I no longer wake up suddenly with nightmares, or cry because of the fear of being punished because of my past life--things I had experienced every night before I began to work the Steps.
Unfortunately, that sponsor quit sponsoring me because of his own personal issues. After that I changed up to six sponsors. They all quit for one reason or another (such as not having enough time, relapsed, not willing to sponsor me since I was married, etc.), and with all these changes and up and downs I stayed sober twice for about 1.5 years, but eventually I relapsed. Those behaviours of my sponsors made me wonder whether the program really worked and whether it could really keep me sober from lust.
I would definitely have left the program if I could have found a better way to stop lusting. I even tried to get rid of lust and my problems on my own for awhile. I distanced myself from SA for a time because I thought it did not work for me. But very shortly after I relapsed, all the problems such as pain, anger, fears, and isolation were there again.
Working the Steps
After being in SA for four years and collecting lots of incomplete information and suggestions from many different sponsors--and not having reached higher than Step Three--I felt an urgency to work the Steps, so I asked a member to sponsor me. He was only three months more sober than I was, but I needed someone to help me get through the Steps and he was willing. We began working on Step Zero. He also suggested that I start working on my Fourth and Fifth Steps, since he noticed my deep and insoluble problems with resentments.
Our Step meetings were a group of Sexaholics who worked the Steps together with one sponsor. He mainly focused on questions of the Steps in a theoretical way, more like a Step reading meeting rather than a practical way of working the Steps. After each group Step meeting, some sponsees worked the Steps individually with our sponsor if he had time. I could feel a spiritual awakening in him. He had come back to heaven from a real hell, and he was engaged in service and serving fellows all the time. He drove thousands of kilometers every week and supported new meetings in other cities in my country.
While I was doing my Fourth Step inventory, I would easily go into my dark feelings. My sponsor lived in another city, but when I needed him he would come to my city to help me. He always humbly encouraged me to go on and not give up. He also gave me hope from his own experience, strength, and hope. He told me that those who had sexually assaulted and abused me were also powerless over their behavior, and that they suffered from our disease. He then asked me to pray for them.
It took nearly one year for me to write about my eight hundred resentments, and I read them to my sponsor. Working strong and complete Steps Four and Five turned me from someone who would leave meetings immediately in order to avoid facing others, into someone whose was able to connect with others. I felt peace in my mind and my heart, and I began to have serenity. I began experiencing closer relations with my fellows, including my family. I was able to look others in the eyes and smile, and I no longer gnashed my teeth at night. Another miracle happened to me in my marriage. I could feel all these changes with all my heart, and my wife told me several times that I had changed and she could feel it. This motivated me to focus even more on the SA program and the Steps.
Recently I have been more engaged in serving my fellows in SA. By the grace of my Higher Power, I was able to organise a workshop in my country, which was held by two other fellows, with several hundred members in attendance. I have made a lot of recovery friends. I successfully graduated from university, and many aspects of my life have positively changed by the grace of my Higher Power and the program of Sexaholics Anonymous.
Today, being surrounded by gratitude, I spend many memorable moments with my wife and family, and I have a satisfactory financial condition. This reminds me of a sentence in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book page 83: “We will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” I spend more time on recovery nowadays. By the grace of God, I have sober sponsees, I have peace of mind, and I experience good feelings most of the time. Today I sometimes help my cousin who abused me the first time in my childhood, since he became paralysed last year in a car accident. Because of SA, I am able to pray for those who abused me in the past, without hating them anymore.
I tell this story with weeping eyes. I remember that my sponsor once told that what happened to him would happen for me, if I work the Steps seriously and thoroughly. He would say this when I felt emotionally depressed and was losing my hope--especially when I was deeply influenced by my resentments. I thought I would never get rid of my resentments and all the other sad feelings that were the consequence of lust.
I am aware that I will have a long and never-ending task into spirituality and recovery, which would not have been possible without working the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous in a serious way, and applying them in my daily life. Nowadays, I put a lot of time and effort into my SA recovery, because SA has saved my life, and probably my family’s life. I still carry my character defects and other problems with me, but today I have a solution to deal with my problems, instead of running to my drug of choice. The solution for me is nothing else than this: “turning my will and life over to the care of loving God as I understand him,” and daily saying: “Thy will not mine be done.”
No Half Measures
During all these years in recovery, I've had periods where recovery was not my top priority, and this always ended up in relapse. That reminds me of the sentence in the Big Book: “Half measures availed us nothing.” Each time I acted out, lust proved to be not a release, not a freedom, and not a solution to any of my problems. It only led to a deeper pain and emptiness.
I've also come to believe that relying only on meetings and the length of my sobriety will not lead me into recovery, and it will not help me to strengthen my relation with my Higher Power, Who can restore me to sanity. A change will only occur if I work the Steps with a sponsor and practice these principles in all my affairs.
I've come to believe that the inner core of my disease is a lack of a good spiritual condition, and by improving my spiritual condition by working a good program, I will experience an inner change and improvement which will affect and improve my outside issues as well.
Although I lived with all those dark and unpleasant memories of my past, today I have a positive point of view of those things, because if I had not experienced those things, I would not have something useful to say to a newcomer who had been abused like me. I would not be able to help them today and hopefully prevent many innocent brothers and sisters from being victimized by this deadly disease. Maybe my life story has been God’s plan for me all along. Who knows--maybe the most important purpose of our creation is to help and support each other to experience a unity.
My last message as a low bottom sexaholic in recovery to all of my recovering sexaholic brothers and sisters is this: Sexaholism is a destructive, progressive, and deadly disease that needs to be taken seriously. To the degree that I have suffered from it and all the destructions caused by it, those things are not important to me anymore. The main and essential point at this moment for me is this: if we truly stick to this simple program and surrender our lives as if our lives depends on it--by working the Steps and working the Steps and working the Steps, and being willing to go to any length to gain a spiritual awakening--then God will surely rescue us and grant us serenity.