A member's story

My name is Myles and I am a Recovering Sex Addict
In everyone’s life there is a switch that gets turned on at some point in their life’s experiences. Like a one way locking switch, once the switch is turned on, it can never be turned off. The switch is labeled “Sexual Awareness”; the point in time when we become aware of our own sexuality. It may be an accident or it may be on purpose. It may be our own doing or at the forced hand of another.

My switch was turned on at four years old. We lived in Clinton Creek, a tiny mining community in the northern Yukon. My parents would leave me at home for short periods of time when they were out running errands in town. Like any curious child, I’d explore their room in their absence. During one of these master bedroom expeditions I came across my father’s collection of soft porn magazines.

As I looked through the pages I didn’t know what I was looking at, but it stirred something inside of me and I liked it. The more opportunities I got to peek at the collection, the more I looked. I didn’t understand why the people on the pages were posing and doing things but I didn’t care because in my tiny, immature four year old brain, I felt sexual pleasure by gazing upon their naked forms.

My first attempt at performing what I had seen on the pages was a failure. My parents were out for the evening and the young teen girl from next door was my sitter for the night. After supper I asked her to my room to play a game. The game started with the need for her to take her top off. Then another piece of clothing and another until I could look at her the same way I had seen in my father’s magazines.

But after she removed her top I chickened out, afraid my parents would come home unexpectedly and catch us or she would tell on me. I knew we were doing wrong. She pleaded with me to continue the game, but I was spooked and my fear of being caught overcame my desire to see her naked.

My family moved to Faro, another mining town just a few hours south for my kindergarten and first grade years. When my parents were out, I continued to sneak peeks at the magazines. Before long I was exposing myself while looking at the pictures and even using my stuffed dolls to re-enacting what I saw. It felt good but I wasn’t satisfied.

Late one night while lying in bed waiting for sleep to overcome me, I discovered the power of my imagination in sexual fantasy. Like any primary school child I had lots of picture story books. One such book had a giant red shaggy dog the size of a house. In my mind I’d picture a hammock slung under the dog’s belly and a nude girl in the hammock wrapping her arms and legs around the oversized genitals. I knew nothing about intercourse but the sensation I got picturing the naked female form and giant male genitals was intoxicating.

Similar to the babysitter, I again attempted to act out what I was seeing on the pages. The next door neighbor’s daughter was the same age as I was and I invented another game. It was called the Cinderella game; it was me lying on top of her, fully clothed, under her bed while her younger sister came and find us. While we lay in silence under her bed I curiously felt the sensation of a girl’s pelvis creating pressure on my loins, and I liked it.

Due to divorce, my Mother and I moved to another town called Whitehorse for my second, third and fourth grades. Their break up was due to my father’s affair with my Mother’s best friend. I didn’t know it at the time but my father showed signs of sexual addiction as well.

Though I no longer had my father’s soft porn magazine collection to fuel me, the perpetual fire had already been lit. During these three years of elementary school my now single mother took comfort in her long time best friend Samantha and her daughter, Nicole, was just a few years younger than I. This meant a lot of time spent together as our single Mom’s hung out.

Even though Nicole was my friend, I repeatedly coerced her into doing things with me. I never forced myself on her or threatened her, but I tried my best to convince and bribe her. Most of the time it worked and sometimes it didn’t. We never had intercourse, despite my efforts later in life, but I would touch and rub on her any way I could. I can’t help but wonder if her sexuality switch was turned on because of me. If so, I remorsefully consider her the first victim of my sickness. I’m sorry Nicole.

In my fourth grade my Mother was set to marry again. Samantha lived at our house periodically and my Mother’s fiancé worked out of town a lot. Due to Samantha’s occupancy, her new son and Nicole, I was evicted from my bedroom and slept on the floor in my Mother’s bedroom.

One late night with Gilbert, my Mom’s fiancé, working out of town, she and Samantha went out partying. They got back late at night and us kids were fast asleep. I remember being woken up by commotion and voices in the bed next to me as I tried to sleep in my sleeping bag on the floor. Mom’s night light was on and there was a man with her whom I didn’t recognize. Before I could move or say anything, I realized they were naked and having intercourse.

It was the first time I had ever seen and heard such a thing. All the pictures I had looked at were merely poses of people frozen in time. This was full motion and sound right in front of me. I was stunned. The sound of my mother’s passionate moans drove me wild with desire to have Nicole and do the same thing to her. In her absence all I could do was press myself into the floor to somehow appease the deep aching in my loins.

Some people would consider this an act of sexual abuse. After all I was too scared to get up and leave the room. I didn’t want to get in trouble so I pretended to be asleep between sneaking peaks every few moments. On the other hand, for the sake of my sexual longing I didn’t want them to stop.

As an adult I can say for certain this was a form of passive sexual abuse. I was somewhat forced against my will to endure a sexual act I didn’t understand and included me due to proximity. But in my victimization I found pleasure which added to my guilt and shame for recalling the act in the first place. Even though I was well on my way to exploring my sexuality, this single catalytic event greatly increased my hunger for more.

Having had a taste of a deeper longing, I increased my efforts with Nicole. I now knew a little more of what was supposed to happen and where things were supposed to go. The night of my Mother’s wedding day was also the night I convinced our parents we were still young enough to sleep in the same bed. As the adults were out partying, I was playing with Nicole. After rubbing on her for a while, my 10 year old body ejaculated for the first time. It scared me and it thrilled me in the same instance. I didn’t know my body could do that.

Our new family, Mom, Gilbert and I had moved to Cassiar, another mining town in northern Canada. We lived there for my fifth, sixth and seventh grades. Though my new step Dad didn’t keep a collection of nude material, we made regular supply runs to Whitehorse only six hours north. And more often than not, we’d visit with Samantha and her son and I’d find ways to play with Nicole.

Before grade eight started, we moved back to Whitehorse and once again I was in the same town as Nicole. Our exploits continued as my journey into puberty was now at full throttle. The more I learned about myself, the more I touched myself and wanted to touch her. Masturbation was a regular daily occurrence. I found myself day dreaming a lot about sexual positions and things to try with Nicole. She was a friend, sex object and long-time playmate and I was starting to develop feelings for her.

Somewhere around tenth grade I was tasked with taking care of Nicole and her brother while our parents went out to a late night function. Though no curfew had been set, I knew we had stayed up way too late. But I didn’t care because while her younger brother watched a movie, I pretended to watch while my hands were free to roam Nicole’s now pubescent body under our blanket.

From the basement window we saw our parents vehicles pull into the driveway. I got out from under the blanket as fast as I could and ran to my room. In the TV room sat Nicole and her brother, abandoned by me, taking the full verbal lashings of our parents while I pretended to be asleep across the hall. Ashamed of my pleasure and fearful of being caught, I lied for days when questioned about the event from that night. I played the coward; I shamefully hurt Nicole and broke her trust in me. I will always regret that.

In my eleventh grade my parents divorced. What had been done to my Mother in her first marriage she was now doing in her second marriage. I was there to witness her escapades and even walk in on them in the act while my step Dad was working out of town. My step Dad was a good man and didn’t deserve it. I knew he was a good influence in my life but I could feel my life starting to crumble.

Emotionally I found myself guarded and withdrawn from others. I desperately fumbled to build walls around my heart so nothing could hurt me.

While looking through an old photo album one day, I came across a picture of me at age four in the lap of my father. I looked happy and expressive as I cuddled him. What struck me more than not being able to remember the event was how joyful I looked while expressing physical affection. As long as I can remember, hugs and cuddles had always been uncomfortable and awkward for me. Not just giving them, but especially receiving them. I still felt emotions, but I struggled at expressing them. And now I didn’t want them at all.

My life was changing in a very impacting way. In addition to the shame of daily masturbation and my own nude magazine collection, my mother had left town leaving my step Dad and I. I hated my mother for leaving us. I still hated my father for leaving us and I could feel myself slowly turning into him. My step Dad and I needed to move because we couldn’t afford the house anymore and in only one more year I’d be graduating high school and didn’t know what to do. I was never into drinking or drugs, but fantasizing and masturbating were my escape from reality, my coping mechanism. But my way of dealing with life’s valleys came at a cost.

I viewed women as having only one purpose in life, to please me. I could look at a girl’s bottom in the crowded school hallway and feel the rush of dopamine as I lost myself in her curves. I was the overweight acne infested nerd who couldn’t talk to girls. When girls looked at me, I felt like they could see my daily ritual of lustful fantasies I played of me doing things to them. I felt like somehow they knew I was feeding on them from afar and I repulsed them.

In the same year as the divorce, I struggled with thoughts of suicide. I came to the point where I didn’t want to go on but I didn’t have the guts to end it all either. My step Dad had a hunting rifle I placed in my mouth with the butt on the floor of the dimly lit furnace room. With one hand I held the muzzle of the gun and with the other hand I pulled the trigger just to hear the gun dry fire and feel the hammer strike nothing. I didn’t have the guts to load it. I was still a coward.

Nicole attended the same high school as me in my senior year. My mother had moved back to town with her boyfriend and our mothers were still friends. Nicole and I rarely interacted though we saw each other in the halls almost every day. She was trying to grow up now and going to parties with the rest of the underage drinking crowd. At one time I offered her $2000 to sleep with me. She thought I was joking and laughed it off as she walked away. But I was serious; I would have gladly given her the money if it meant losing my virginity.

After graduation I needed to upgrade my math and chemistry for entrance into the military. During this extra year of high school I fell in love with Jesus. Life was grand and I knew I would never be the same now that I had faith in God. But after a time, the old habits of fantasizing, masturbating and lusting crept back into my life. This time I knew I was doing wrong and it weighed on my fresh conscience. Not only were my actions conflicting with my new morals and faith, but I struggled to deal with the intensified shame they produced.

A vicious circle was emerging; acting out (sinning), promising God never again, pleading for forgiveness, wallowing in shame and guilt, and then fighting the desire to lust again. In my early Navy years I confided in another Christian man in Halifax who had been married for a time. Knowing his background and pre-faith history of womanizing I asked him if it gets easier once you’re married; after all now you have a wife to be with and love. He told me the opposite of what I wanted to hear, “it gets harder cause now you know what’s available to you.” My heart sank; will there ever be an end to this insane struggle?

For the next year of Navy life we travelled a lot. I still loved God with everything I had within me and even lead Sunday chapel services while at sea. Yet I still struggled in keeping myself sexually pure for God. It was as if I had a monster locked up inside of me. I had a hard time controlling him and keeping it inside. Once he got lose there was no stopping him until he was finished and crawled back inside on his own.

I had managed to hold onto my virginity, but just barely. After noticing classifieds in the local paper for “Private Massage” I started paying for services. Every time I was with a girl of service, I’d edge closer and closer to losing my virginity. I knew once I gave it up I could never get it back. Then we went to Australia.

As we sailed from Victoria, Canada to Sydney, Australia and I was on night shift. Even in port I couldn’t turn my sleeping pattern around because we only stayed a few days before setting sail for the next city. In the land down under I found myself sleep deprived, bored and isolated in the middle of the night. I wandered the streets and came across a brothel. It was there I lost my virginity to a brunette in 2 minutes of intercourse and gave up the one thing God gave me that could never be given back.

Now the intercourse line had been crossed and it was easier to go back there. Once we sailed back to Canada, I tried to pick up my life where it had left off before the big trip south of the equator. This meant getting back to church and taking part as an usher, Sunday school teacher and even leading the congregation in Bible study from time to time.

Inevitably only a few weeks of normal life would pass and something would trigger me to want depravity. I’d fight it for a time but my success rate was dismal. Once the ball was in motion it was extremely difficult to stop before the course was exhausted. I could see my tastes beginning to pervert more and more like a drug addict getting bored of their entry level drug and looking for something with more kick.

After confiding to my Pastor we, along with some other single men in our church, went to several men’s meetings where sexuality was on the list of teaching topics. I learned I wasn’t the only one suffering to this degree and other men in higher rankings than I struggle for decades unless they got help and had a support group. For myself this sickness didn’t start with me in my generation.

From talking with my mother about my Father’s behaviors it became evident he was a sex addict although we never termed it as such; she just called him a pervert. Throughout the years my mother has exhibited some characteristics of a love addict and the same goes for my grandmother who lived out those traits in front of her. With the trail lit so well in front of me, it was an obvious path to follow.

“I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected--even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.” – Exodus 20:5

It became obvious to me if I wanted a normal family someday with sexually and mentally healthy offspring I needed to kick this thing and not allow it any further generational advancement. I didn’t want to be used as the portal to the next generation. I shared this with my Pastor and we prayed that God would break these chains from my past. I prayed that same prayer for many years to come.

During my trip to Australia, my step Dad passed along an address for a probable pen pal. It was the address of the daughter of the Associate Pastor of the church he attended in Whitehorse. I already had a few pen pals from my youth group in Canada so adding another wasn’t a big deal and I enjoyed the connection with home.

Eventually she became the love of my life and I married her. Contrary to my friend in Halifax I wanted to believe she would solve all my sexual issues. She would fix me; by being married to her, I couldn’t be broken anymore. For a time this was true. She was the purpose of my life. She fulfilled me and everything I did was for her. For the first time in my life sex was a beautiful and sanctioned by God expression of myself to her and my conscience was free of guilt and shame. It was sublime. Then the honeymoon phase slowly faded away and the pressures of life with all it demands for time and money took its place.

Sailing away from her brought the onset of the old habits. I wanted to act out so bad but I didn’t want to hurt her. I hadn’t shared the extent of my past struggles hoping they were exactly that, in the past. But before long I was proven wrong.

Lusting, fantasizing and masturbating all came back as we patrolled Vancouver Island spending weeks away from home port. The other sailors had nude magazines and pornography videos onboard and from time to time I’d walk in on them watching. Though I walked away in quick fashion, my brain was recording the sights and sounds played out on screen to be used at a later time for my own secret enjoyment.

I discovered pornographic content on the internet. It was easily accessed almost anywhere and my perverse desires were free to roam and grow. The more I gave into it the quicker it came on. The less I fought against it the more distraught I became. I began to emotionally pull away from my wife and repeatedly used her to act out what had turned me on from my last episode of sin. I hated who I was; a cheat, a fake, a cowardly charlatan. Despite my best efforts, I was falling deeper into the pit. I knew it. She knew it.

My time with the Navy drew to a close and I transitioned to a more normal life of working closer to home. My new occupation with BC Ferries still called for the occasional training session out of town. My wife, now with a newborn daughter, was back in Victoria and I was in Vancouver on a 5 day course. One day, after school was out, I wandered down town to where I knew I shouldn’t go.

Every city of size has a part of town where almost anything can be bought. Though I didn’t have lots of money I took all my budgeted food funds down the street. I didn’t care if I spent it all. I couldn’t see tomorrow. All I could see was my desire needing to be released right now.

I took my wedding vows seriously; I have never cheated on my wife physically. Mentally though I’ve performed sex acts with countless women. I’ve fantasised about how close I could get to the flame without getting burned. Where was the line of adultery officially crossed? What could I do that would not constitute as crossing that line?

That evening in Vancouver, after passing several obvious prostitutes, I resigned to the fact I was too weak to engage in any activity with them. I knew myself well enough to know once I started I would be unable to stop short of any convoluted barrier I set for myself. I came across a porn theater, paid my entrance fee and sat in the darkness of a private booth surfing the pre-set video feeds. There I masturbated onto the floor just like the countless other perverted sex addicts before me. I finally hit the floor of the abyss. I couldn’t get any lower than this. Debased and at an all-time low I finished the rest of the course and went back to my wife and newborn.

Though I had found my bottom, I couldn’t bounce out of it. Humiliated and regretful I’d find something to criticize my wife about. I always found my Mother to be very critical of the people around her. As it was exampled in my life, I struggled with this as well. It’s easy to find faults in others because it takes the focus off yourself. I’d get my wife upset enough sex would not be an option for the night or even the next few days. This suited me fine as I regressed within myself and avoider her altogether. It drove her to tears. I would tell myself, “If she knew who I really was then she would surely divorce me.”

A preacher once taught the real you only comes out when nobody else is looking. I knew all too well who I was when no one else was looking; and I loathed that person with everything inside of me. How could my wife love such a corrupt and degenerate being as myself. She would shower me with words of admiration and tell me she was proud of me for being who I was. But inside I rejected her love; if I hated myself then she should hate me too. I wanted her to hate me to justify my feelings and perception of myself.

I knew God loved me but I was handicapped when it came to living out His love. How could I fully accept His love; I had no capacity for it. And I couldn’t love others as He loved me. I knew this hindered my relationship with God but what could I do to change it? I continued to pray for God to break the chains and spirit of my past. I wanted freedom. I was desperate for an escape from my life. Once again I contemplated hurting myself in various ways. Nothing life threatening, but just enough to put me in the hospital for several weeks; a nice break in a safe place away from family and responsibilities of church leadership.

Thankfully I didn’t act on my destructive meditations. But a change of scenery was in order. I was even more distant and cantankerous towards my wife. My behaviour and juggling family with church leadership responsibilities put my wife on the edge of a slippery depressive slope. I thought she was at the top looking into her void but by the time I realized her state she was already sliding down the chasm.

We longed to move back to the Yukon where I grew up. My step Dad still lived there along with my wife’s parents. They were the proud grandparents of our now two beautiful daughters. We needed this. We we’re both headed for destruction. My time with BC Ferries came to a close and we made our move north to a safer place with close family and friends.

In the Yukon, my wife received counselling, support and medication. We were in a better place now; protected and sheltered by the unconditional love of our own parents. I got a job with the local power company and rotated through day shifts and night shifts. Though a life of rejuvenation and healing had settled in, I still struggled.

A young man in our church with similar struggles confided in me. Jim too was caught up between worlds; one day faith and the next day filth. We began supporting each other as we both battled for footing to grow in our faith. But after a time, we’d grow complacent with each other and leave room for fault until the next time the invigoration of faith overcame us and we rededicated ourselves to the battle of purity.

Just like BC Ferries, every now and then my job would take me out of town for training. During a week long course in Spokane I hit a second bottom. For four nights straight, I couldn’t go without porn. I’d endure the day’s lessons telling myself “no” all day. By evening I’d abandon my pitch and give in to masturbating as I stayed up way too late watching internet porn from my laptop in the hotel room. I truly felt powerless against it; a hostage in my own body. Never before had I indulged so much for so many days. I was binging. I needed help.

Shortly after returning to Whitehorse I found an online Christian site with study programs for addicts. I signed up for sexual purity. It was a two month course comprised of daily readings with questions to answer. When I finished a day’s lesson, my answers were sent to an online accountability partner, assigned by the website, and any additional partners I might want. I signed up my wife. The course took me four and a half months to complete and it was great. Though I stumbled a few times during the course, I learned new study habits and how to feed on God’s word every day.

My wife could feel a difference in my character and attitude. I was more open, honest and vulnerable emotionally. I was getting in touch with the proverbial inner self who had been kept in an insulated room hidden away for fear no one would like him. My wife expressed her love for me even more than before because she knew the effort I was expending and she was proud of the man I was trying to become.

I didn’t want to hurt my wife but I know my trials have left a scar on her life. She is the dearest thing to me on this earth and at times I’ve treated her with scorn and contempt. By the grace of God I am finding my capacity for pure love. Thank you, wife, for being patient and never ceasing your love for me.

After the course I found myself lacking. I could last several weeks between incidents but during night shift it was a daunting task to arrive at dawn unscathed. Most nights the temptation of being alone with the internet proved to be too much. The online course taught me to put filters on all our computers including my cell phone. Even though the computers at work were filtered, they were weak and proved easy to circumnavigate. Like so many other times in life I was slipping again; considered to be a church authority on the sexual struggles of Christian men, even teaching on the subject, yet still struggling myself.

One night I watched the movie “Thanks for Sharing”. The story is about the struggles of recovering Sex Addicts as they go through life from meeting to meeting. It connected with me in a very real way. I never realized there were support groups and meeting available. In the movie one character had been in recovery for 15 years and another for 5 years. My false reality was crumbling around me.

I had always considered this sickness to be a temporary phase I would someday outgrow as it faded away. The movie helped me realize it’s not going anywhere and I need constant continual support from others like me. It was a tough realization to process. I’m always going to be broken, but there is grace in brokenness.

I looked up Sex Addicts Anonymous online and found a telemeeting I could be a part of and get involved in. The first step in the program is tell the story of how I became the way I am.

My name is Myles and I am a Recovering Sex Addict.

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