Anonymous

As an autonomous SAA fellowship, we have the freedom to post locally-written personal stories that have not received SAA conference approval. This is a precious gift. Since we are enjoying this level of freedom, it should be noted that the views expressed in these writings are those of the author, and may not reflect those of the Eugene SAA Intergroup, or SAA as a whole. We will be posting more stories as they become available. If you would like to share your personal story with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How, when and why I became a sex addict were questions that were always in the forefront of my mind. Today, my focus is on what I need to do today to stay sober, just for today. Sex addiction, for me, is a cunning, baffling and powerful disease. I need to be on my guard 24 hours a day if I want to keep from slipping back into my old patterns of addictive sexual behaviors.

I was not abused or molested as a child. If anything, there was emotional neglect which I believe led me to confuse sex and sexual images with emotional love. That is only my theory – nothing concrete has been revealed, even in counseling.

The symptoms of my disease are many. The pattern of my addiction has been one of secrecy and isolation, wandering my neighborhood on a nightly basis, boldly going into people’s yards and looking in their windows starting in my early teens and continuing into my adult years. I was rarely caught; only three times in 20 + years, and I was able to talk my way out of it every time. One of my buddies in high school had a garage, converted into a clubhouse where we would sit for hours viewing pornographic magazines and talking about sex. This eventually led to sexual encounters with him and a couple of my other friends.

I include that detail to demonstrate the progressive nature of this disease. What was once sufficient, no longer stimulates this addictive mind, and new depths must be explored – until we eventually hit bottom. My bottom did not arrive until many years later.

Along the way, I added strip clubs, pornographic movies, nude beaches, adult book stores and sex with strangers to my resume. The last straw of unmanageability came with the arrival of the internet at my office. It was fast, it was free and it was easy to act out without getting caught. Before long I was engaging in cyber sex and phone sex with both men and women I would meet online. I was completely consumed, with no thought of the consequences.

I had definitely spiraled out of control. I was using the internet up to four hours of every work day, making long distance calls from my office, risking my job and my third marriage. My behaviors off the internet were getting riskier also, and I was chancing disease and jail with my actions. There were times when I wanted to stop, but my own willpower was not doing the job.

I was living a lie, and as with all lies, I was eventually caught. My wife was devastated and I was in denial about how far gone I was. After a couple of counseling sessions, I made the call to the SAA contact line, and arranged to go to a Beginner’s Meeting. It was as scary as anything I’d ever done, but I had nothing to lose at that point. To my relief, everyone at the meeting was friendly, and I could relate to their story in some way.

I continued going to meetings, though I was not working the Steps, nor did I have a sponsor. Within a year of starting the program, I suffered a significant relapse. The fear I carried after being caught again was enough to keep me abstinent until I finally got a sponsor and started working the Steps. I am still working the Steps, and this story is a work in progress, but the program has saved my life from certain ruin.

I also go to AA meetings, but I find that I can only open up completely when I share at the SAA meetings. The benefits of the program are numerous. Aside from the obvious freedom from addictive and compulsive sexual behavior, it ripples out to all aspects of my life. I have less anger, more patience and understanding, every day situations no longer frustrate me beyond explanation. Today, I can look myself in the mirror and feel good about being able to face myself.

 

Joel

As an autonomous SAA fellowship, we have the freedom to post locally-written personal stories that have not received SAA conference approval. This is a precious gift. Since we are enjoying this level of freedom, it should be noted that the views expressed in these writings are those of the author, and may not reflect those of the Eugene SAA Intergroup, or SAA as a whole. We will be posting more stories as they become available. If you would like to share your personal story with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

My name is Joel and I’m a grateful recovering sex addict. You may be reading this and wondering how anyone can be grateful to be a recovering sex addict, but in reading my story you may understand why and hopefully how.

My sexually addictive behavior is having anonymous sex outside my relationship. I would have sex with men in public places, risking my safety. At first I would only do safe sex practices, but I didn’t know sex addiction was progressive; so eventually I began to perform riskier and riskier sexual behaviors, endangering my life and my partner’s life.

On April 10th, 1996 my addiction did progress. After that episode, I tried to “act out” in my usual manner but the “high” was no longer there: I wanted the newfound high that I experienced back on the 10th of April. My partner even caught me while I was trying to find my new fix.

Before recovery, I tried counseling which helped me to stop only for a little while, but counseling did not keep me from acting out again. I lied to the counselor, I lied to myself, worst of all, I lied to my partner. I would come to work late; I would come back from lunch late; and I would come home late. Everyday chores would cut into my acting out time, so chores would go mostly undone. And when my partner went away on a trip, I would act out while he was away. Similarly, I would act out when I went away on a trip.

I heard about Sex Addicts Anonymous from a counselor that my partner and I were seeing. Though it took me a year to call the local SAA contact line–because I was skeptical–I finally attended my first SAA meeting on May 2, 1996. I tried to stay sober on my own, “working” the Steps without a sponsor, and that didn’t work for me because I was still trying to recover on my own terms. Though my sobriety birthday is June 4th of that same year, I didn’t get a sponsor until two months later.

I worked the Steps with my sponsor. I called him every day. He started me with manageable service work and eventually I started carrying the message of sexual sobriety by sponsoring other sex addicts in SAA.

My partner and I are still together, and he has since joined Co-Sex Addicts Anonymous (COSA) for his own co-dependency. I’m planning to go back to community college this fall. I have friends that respect me and my relationship; I even have gay male friends that I feel safe being around. I do a lot of meaningful service work in SAA that has enriched my life and my sobriety.

I came into SAA wanting to stop acting out. Looking back, had I stopped at that goal, I would have sold myself short. It has been, and continues to be, a lot of hard work. As I’ve heard in meetings, “This program is not for people who need it, it’s for people who want it. Furthermore, it’s not for people who want it, it’s for people who work it.” Sobriety is possible, and it’s possible for you.

 

MJ

As an autonomous SAA fellowship, we have the freedom to post locally-written personal stories that have not received SAA conference approval. This is a precious gift. Since we are enjoying this level of freedom, it should be noted that the views expressed in these writings are those of the author, and may not reflect those of the Eugene SAA Intergroup, or SAA as a whole. We will be posting more stories as they become available. If you would like to share your personal story with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For as long as I can remember I have been addicted to men…but not the nurturing ones….they scared me and gave me a sick feeling inside. I was addicted to men who I had to chase. These were the ones who offered just a scent of romance or love and then started backing away. They were completely irresistible to me. I was utterly powerless not to pursue them. If I could finally get them to love me then I would know that I was loveable. It didn’t matter to me if I or they were in a committed relationship. I honestly could not stop myself from pursuing them if there was mutual attraction. It became more important than anything else in my life including my children who I loved with all my heart.

This addiction destroyed my marriage. I blamed my husband for not meeting my needs which justified my having affairs. I thought our marriage was loveless and hopeless. This addiction created so much pain for me I thought I was going insane. I got to the point where I couldn’t sleep or function well. The obsessions drained me of my energy and consumed my waking hours. Through the help of another 12 Step program and a loving sponsor I was able to stop dating for a year. The emotional agony began to subside. I started feeling peaceful. That gave me time to heal myself and begin to discover who I was and how to start nurturing myself emotionally. But still, I could feel the old behavior creeping back in. I was scared. I didn’t know who to talk to about this. No one seemed to understand.

A friend of mine gave me a booklet from Sex Addicts Anonymous. They were stories that other people wrote. They sounded just like me. But I was afraid to go to a meeting. I was afraid they would all be perverted men who would try to put the make on me or even worse…I would try to put the make on them.

Something in me pushed me to go. I have never stopped going to those meetings ever since. I got a sponsor, went to a lot of meetings and worked the 12 steps of Sex Addicts Anonymous. Today my life has completely changed. I now know the difference between sex addiction and love. Real love does not make me feel sick today. I can love and receive love. My husband and I have remarried and our family is whole again. SAA gave me my life back. I tear up every time I think about what it has done for me. It has given me joy, peace, self esteem and love. All the things I was constantly seeking but pushing further away with every step.

Wishing every reader blessings and love, MJS

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