My Self-Pity And Me

My name is Martin and I am a sexaholic from Berlin, Germany, sober since August 2014 thanks to my Higher Power and the Fellowship. I want to share about my first year in sobriety.

My main form of acting out was pornography. I used to surf the web for hours until late at night. I stayed home alone for weeks viewing whatever was on TV or playing video games or using the computer. At the latest stages, I used to go to internet cafes until the closing hour, and then walk around the neighborhood searching for another dark corner to resume my downloads.

Since my teen years, I had always been a very shy guy, which eventually developed into social phobia. I was barely able to articulate meaningful sentences in groups of more than three persons nor to women. I crumbled inside, full of shame, blocked and hopeless. The pornography temporarily took all those feelings away.

Self-pity played a major role in my life. I felt like a disabled person among superheroes. I used to torture myself wondering how did people get along with each other. I felt I didn’t have the tools they all had, and that I was hopelessly isolated. I was the victim given the wrong cards in life.

As years went by, my condition worsened. At some point, I tried to stop and even got some length of sobriety. Then the relapses brought me to lower depths in my acting out. Finally, I searched on Google and went to my first SA meeting.

After a couple of months, I got a sponsor and began working the Steps. At six months, my crust of insanity began to crack. One day an image came into my mind: I was sitting on a throne on a white stage in a theater while high on drugs and watching the dealer abusing a child. The child was me. Rather than looking after him, I was consenting to the abuse in exchange for my drug.

An idea started to build: maybe I had not been such a victim. Maybe I was also responsible! This thought, although vague, brought a new and powerful idea: if I had had some responsibility in all those years of suffering, that is, if I had done something at some level to stay in the addiction, then maybe I could actually do something to get out of it.

Around then, I went through a medical test in order to study some recent symptoms. The test was painful and, although it could have some nuisances for some time, it should leave no harm.

Some months later, I had scheduled a stay in a foreign country. The trip was planned before entering SA and, although justifiable by my job, had included plenty of lust intentions. Aware of this situation, I engraved a few ideas in my mind. The first idea, as suggested by my sponsor, was to find SA fellows there and go to local AA meetings as soon as possible. The second was that if I allowed myself to relapse, I may not come back to recovery.

I found an English-speaking group in the city. The meetings took place in front of a skyscraper in an open space scattered with tables and chairs. It was clean, sunny and safe. The SA (and AA) meetings were like an oasis in the midst of my fears and my fight with lust. I needed them. They were the only moments where I had some peace of mind and could break my loneliness.

Approaching my first SA anniversary, we were reading the chapter “The Spiritual Basis of Addiction.” A fellow shared that his anger ultimately led him to his addiction. That share rang a bell in my head: had I myself provoked my acting out? Was I somehow the instigator? It sounded strange to me, as I had always seen myself as the victim. The thought caught my attention.

The words in the reading became a growing obsession. It seemed as if my mind was trying to solve a puzzle. Concepts like resentment, dishonesty and spiritual drug were spinning faster and faster in my head. One morning, not fully awoken, my eyes staring at the ceiling of my tiny room with all those ideas whirling around. My mind suddenly stopped. The puzzle was solved.

All my life I had been watching a theatrical work. For five minutes, I was granted the opportunity to observe backstage and meet the actual person responsible of my disgrace: me, me and only me. It was me who had chosen lust over life. I had been willing to throw my life away for the next rush without caring about the suffering of those who loved me. I could blame no one. Everything I used to tell myself, that nobody understood me, that it didn’t hurt anyone, that I still had time to do the right thing, were merely excuses to smooth the way for my acting out.

It was not those thoughts which were inevitably leading me to the addiction. It was that I was willing to believe them in order to frame myself as the victim. In that mental frame, full of self-pity, self-hatred, envy, resentment towards everyone and myself and my despair was unbearable, then acting out was justified, and lust was the only option.

I could also see the need for resentment to get the rush. It was like a fuel for my lust potion. The more resentment, the stronger the high. Each time all that pain of being a witness of my self-destruction was too much to bear. In order to cover up my own treason, my fall became everyone else’s fault. Enemies had to be created, idols raised, and scenarios set to do me in. The sole architect of this falsehood was me. What a revelation!

So, in the end, I was letting in self-pity. I, the poor little guy whose social skills rendered him unable, was the perpetrator. I was not the victim! I was the executioner!

In that state of mind, days slowly went by until my first anniversary. That same morning of my revelation I decided to check on my medical procedure. I was shocked to find out that what should have been a residual scar had become something with a major visual impact that would partially impair me for the rest of my life.

Waves of self-pity flooded me. How could it be possible? It was just a minor medical test! And then I remembered what self-pity had really meant to me. How I had used it to doom myself into my pit of the addiction. I saw self-pity under a different light: as an option. On one hand, I could let self-pity in, get soaked by it, and go back to my favorite lie. On the other, a new path was now apparent. I could instead choose to love myself unconditionally. The choice was mine, as it had always been. In my anniversary day, that was my present: the old self-pity crossroads under a new light.

Not long after, I returned home. The memories of those days still put a smile on my face. Six months ago I finished the Steps. Today I am building the habit of the Tenth and Eleventh Steps. Self-pity as an obsession has gone away, and, with it, the mild depression that I thought was part of me. Life starts to flow at last.

Martin, Germany

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