A member's story

25 Years of Acting Out and I never lived like I have these last 18 months in recovery!
Like it says, I've been acting out for 25 years, in the interest of rigorous honesty I am 33. But nothing compares to how much living I have done in recovery in the last 18 months. Even better this last month that I finally got a sober sponsor! Updates as I continue to work The 12 Steps of SAA.

For me, mine is a long story and I was so glad to get it all out when I presented my first step on the Sunday GLBT meeting a short while ago, I was finally able to do so while working with a sober sponsor. In the interest of sharing in a safe way, here are bullet points and I'm glad to speak to anyone who can relate and is looking for help in recovery from these things.

What Were Things Like

  • I was introduced to sex at 6 by a neighbor boy slightly younger than me. My mother caught us. I was essentially punished (shamed) and told I was to keep my clothes on at all time so I didn't get sick.
  • A short while later his two older (high school/college age) also used me for sex.
  • By the time I was 8, because of the way they manipulated me into engaging sexually, I was associating sex with friendship. I had a friend from school and I was obsessed with engaging the way those other 3 did with me, but THANKFULLY someone had taken the time to explain to him appropriate behavior and he refused to undress with me.
  • Over the next 5 years I would meet, be-friend, and attempt to manipulate other boys my age and younger into sexual contact. I was engaging in a shame/acting out cycle. The worse I felt about what was happening the more I needed it. Until a boy my age was caught engaging with a boy much younger than him in our neighborhood. I remember how awful they spoke of him and the treatment he received at school for what was coming out about him. It was enough to get me to stop that kind of acting out.
  • Over the summer that year I spent a lot of time a the local pool where I learned I could spend hours at the pool locker room waiting for other men to come in and undress and I could expose myself to them, too. Many times I would go through this undress, shower, redress, move to another changing area. I would wait sometimes an hour, maybe more, for another man to come in. I remember how frustrated I would get when someone would avoid me. I realize now these men were trying to protect themselves from me, I was 13! This carried on most of the summer before my brother caught me one day and told our father he called me jail bait and a whore and I honestly didn't understand what I was doing wrong, I wanted to see other naked men and show myself to them and I didn't understand why I was being punished. So, I went deeper into secrecy.
  • I spent hours upon hours every chance I got behind my locked door, many times I masturbated until I injured myself. At one point, at my young age I was so scared I thought I had somehow permanently broke my penis. I had to wait weeks, in secret, before I healed. I was becoming so obsessed with masturbation I would record myself and watch it. Then I would compulsively destroy tapes that later I realized contained priceless family memories. When I was cornered later about why my father was missing tapes. I built up this big story about how I wanted to see how tapes worked. He was an engineer and I deceived him according to what I thought would get him off my case. I was learning to lie and no tale was too tall to save myself from him anger, rage, and abusive punishment. My mother saw through it though and before I was 14 she told me she didn't trust me and didn't think I even knew when I was lying or not.
  • At 16 I had a car, and we had the internet. I had erotic stories, then free picture galleries, then I found gay chat rooms, then I found user-created chat rooms where I was engaging with much-older adult men. At first, I said I was much older hoping if I hid my age I could have their attention. But it didn't take me long to see that many of these men, 3 times my age, were interested in me. But, I was too young for most of them to meet in person.
  • Within a month from learning to navigate the hidden world of chat rooms I met my first anonymous hookup. It was dangerous, and cold, and he was much older than he said he was, and I was much younger than I said I was. After we had sex he agreed to meet again. That next time I told him how I really was and he told me how old he was and we agreed that "age didn't matter", he was 29, and we agreed to meet a 3rd time and then he never showed.
  • I found other men though and within a year was being threatened by men I was standing up and once a man 3 times my age attempted to kidnap me.
  • As an adult, I found online hookup sites for gay men and I hit the streets.
  • When I exhausted the local supply of men I took to nearby gay resorts that also hosted a hidden sex club environment. I would drive over an hour every weekend and sometimes stayed just until I had to return to work the next week.
  • When I exhausted my spending on these out of town trips I had heard of a local adult video arcade off the interstate, a steady supply of new faces kept me hooked and I would visit multiple times a week.
  • When the spending got to be too much I loosened my standards and starting inviting multiple men in my home. I spent the entire weekend inviting anyone would come to my home for sex. I spent the entire weekend looking for and having sex.
  • By the time I was visiting the resorts I had loosened my standards concerning condoms. At first it always had to be with condoms, eventually I would allow someone to skip them if we were "dating long enough" and I thought he was drug and disease free, then it was okay if you could tell me you were clean, ultimately the night I hit my bottom the best the man could do was to tell me he didn't have anything I could catch.

What happened

  • By the time I hit bottom I had already been going to SAA without working the steps and without a sponsor for 3 months. I was having trouble seeing that I had a disease, I just thought I was a sexual superhero and I needed help not crossing the line with unprotected sex.
  • I got a sponsor and we worked a Christian workbook that I had a lot of trouble relating to. I spent so much time trying to translate what the Bible stories meant for me that I was missing out on the principles.
  • That sponsor moved and I jumped at the opportunity to fire him and get another sponsor.
  • Somehow I saved up 11 months of sobriety through keeping it all at bay and self-medicating with compulsive porn and masturbation. I didn't know that I wasn't really sober. What I mean is, I didn't realize that to really get sober and recover I needed to add porn and masturbation to my inner circle. And I didn't know that because I was working alone, I only realized that after I found my sober sponsor through the men's outreach newsletter after I relapsed after my 11 months of what I call "mostly sober".

What's it like now (With a Sober Sponsor)

  • We completed my 3 Circles. I read them every day along with a list of possible consequences for acting out (what I might lose), an inner and middle circle plan (what do I do if I find myself in middle circle behaviors or if I act out/relapse behaviors in the inner circle). My outer circle has a lot of awesome stuff I can do. My "3 Circles Sheet" I call it also includes a mantra my sober sponsor gave to me that helped during my withdrawal and detox "Everything I am experiencing will help me be of service to others." And he's right, I realize in the outreach calls and my really getting with the solution in meetings I am finally able to offer something more than the problem!
  • I finally finished a sober 1st step, most of which I have shared here (see What were things like). As mentioned I was able to share it in a first step presentation supported by local members, too.
  • In Step 2 I was able to get with a Power greater than me who is so much more than the God of my broken childhood, now I work with an awesome God of my understanding. Everyday I read my description of this God I trust-it's part of my 3 Circles sheet.
  • I just finished work on my 3rd step prayer with my sober sponsor and after some time with the prayer daily, soon he and I hope I'll be ready to start the 4th step
  • So... hopefully, there's more good to come here!

So what would I really like to say? I've heard it before and never fully understood it, but, if you are coming to meetings but not working the steps and not getting with a sponsor you are an SAA tourist! You are missing out on an opportunity to join so many of us Recovering from Sex Addiction! I am so grateful to have received this gift of despair to cause me to get serious about finding a sponsor who was serious about working the SAA program with SAA literature. That What's it like now is less than a month of work and already I am feeling my feelings and really able to relate, not judge, but relate to other sex addicts in meetings and in outreach calls. I am alive!

Update... Progressing Through the Steps means Progressing in Recovery

Step 4 is coming along... slowly! My sponsor is supportive and persistent in all the rights ways. I am really starting to understand the reason why and how I do some of the crazy things I do and look forward to updating after I finish step 4.

Update, still working Step 4. I have had a few relapses and everyone of them have taught me more and more about the surrender in Step 3. My advice, let your Sponsor guide you through Step 4. Only an addict would head in to something, never having done it before, swearing they know the better way! I think it comes from a life of thinking I was examining myself, but really I was just looking at myself through a haze of fear and rationalization. So once again I turn to my sponsor, admit my powerlessness & unmanageability, remember that my Higher Power is capable and willing to restore me to sanity and ready for my surrender to my Higher Power, the Program of SAA, and my Sponsor. And, I continue to work Step 4 as so many have done before me, knowing that my experience will be used to help someone else.

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