My Story – I Know I Will Be Okay

I grew up as a kid in San Diego. My parents fought a lot. When I was seven years old my mother committed suicide. I became afraid, lonely and isolated. After my mother’s death I started going to religious services with my father. He became very involved with religion and I absorbed what I could. I felt so uncomfortable in my skin. I wanted badly to fit in.

When I was eleven years old, my father decided he wanted to move to Israel. By thirteen I felt broken, lonely and insecure. I remember thinking to myself I want to be good, I want to do good, but I have no one to talk to. My dad was never emotionally present for me and was always nervous and over protective. I felt like I had no parents.

One day a friend of mine introduced me to masturbation and boy did it feel good! From then on, I was hooked. Every week I would masturbate to movies, fantasies or to the blank wall. I started to watch porn on my father’s computer. I was full of self-pity about my life. I had fantasies of moving to Australia and starting life anew. I thought of leaving my religion.

At 17, I decided I needed to be more religiously devoted. Attending a French private religious school, I became a fanatic. I spoke about God but never believed in him. I started having fantasies of having sex with other students. I started buying porno magazines on the street and hiding them. On the outside I was a nice Jewish boy trying to improve my studies and follow directions acting very religiously and piously. On the inside, I was a lonely, scared, confused sex addict. I was suicidal for 3 months and I would pray in all earnestness to God to please kill me, to not wake up in the morning. Nothing interested me besides sex with myself and even then I always felt guilty and wrong afterwards.

Therapy, I thought, would solve all my problems. I started going to a therapist. I also started looking for help online how to overcome porn addiction and I found a “porn coach.” We did a lot of positive self-talk and harmonizing my emotions. I started reading a lot of books. After four months of coaching and self-help, I became Mister Know It All. I have the solution to all my problems. I have positive thinking, and if you don’t like me, you’re the problem because I am a good guy.

My ego soared. It didn’t help me stop masturbating, but I felt good. Later that year I returned to France to be an assistant teacher and rabbi. The younger students didn’t buy my act though — they knew I was full of garbage. This went on for months! At this point I was masturbating 3–4 times a day. I was broken and desperate. I started looking for help.

By a miracle I found an S-fellowship which met once a week and spoke in English. I started attending and I found a man willing to sponsor me. I called and poured my heart out to him. When I was first introduced to the Steps I thought “this is self-help, I’m fixing myself through the 12 Steps.” I was eager to do them. However, I slowly started to see there is something deeper here.

Eventually I came to New York. There I found the SA fellowship. I was studying for my rabbinical ordination and attending SA meetings. However, I was not well. I struggled immensely with lust. I thought sober meant not masturbating and everything else is okay. To realize sober means mentally sober took me a long time.

Taking a job in Florida, I was watching lust, soft core porn, playing around with the web, and always staring at women and men. Why do they have it all good? Why can’t I just be normal, with a normal life and stability. This was all while I was “sober.” I left that job and got another one. I started relapsing with porn and then going to massage parlors and strip clubs. I was broken, desperate, and on the verge of homelessness.

That’s when I was willing to work the Steps and my spiritual awakening started. I got a sponsor who I connected to and trusted. I wanted what he had. In the beginning I argued a lot. I wanted to hear as little of God as possible. I remember saying how do I overcome my lust? I just can’t walk on the street without staring and following women. He just said ask God to help you to not look and turn around. I remember thinking that’s crazy. It’s too simple. These Steps won’t work for me, I already tried them. But I continued calling and asking for help because I had nowhere else to turn.

Today with God’s Grace I am sober. Sober physically and mentally. My solution to my problems is based on my relationship with my Higher Power. All my needs can be met by God. I tried turning my boss into my dad, my therapist into my guru, and my friends into my therapists. Today, because of working the Steps, I have a decent relationship with my father. My anger and blame towards him has disappeared. I am able to respect him. That is a miracle.

I realize no matter how much money, fame, achievements or friends I have, it will never fill me up. I always want more. Therefore, I have to go to the well that satisfies which is a relationship with my creator who loves me and will always be there for me. I have never felt as emotionally and mentally stable as I do now. Today I know peace and content. Not everything is perfect, and I feel okay. I have a God I trust, a sponsor who guides me every step of the way and the SA fellowship. May you find it too.

Anonymous, USA

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