I’m Mike and I’m a sexaholic, sobriety date Aug 7, 2005. SA has given me my second chance at life and has been central to my recovery, but other things have helped too.
From the age of four, I always felt different, less than; that I was on the outside looking in. I was afraid of people and hid my true self from them. Instead, I put on an act to try to get them to like me. At age seven I became obsessed with the pretty girls in my school class—voyeuring, dreaming and fantasising about them. There was no sexual component yet, but the obsession was strong; I was now a ‘romantic’ lust addict. Over time, I became a disruptive child.
I discovered masturbation at age 11 and it quickly became my secret coping mechanism, used to manage all uncomfortable feelings. It was an ecstatic escape that I experimented with in order to achieve longer and greater highs. I quickly became addicted to pornography too. It disrupted my ability to form any relationship with girls and then women. It affected my ability to connect with others and I became a loner. It undermined any interest I had in a promising career. I became an empty shell, the lust inside ever-increasing, feeding on my soul, my emotions, leaving me empty, in growing pain. I tried for ten years to stop in various ways, but it was impossible. This included trying four 12-Step fellowships, including SA.
By age 32 I was desperate. My rock bottom was seeing my true spiritual condition and realizing I had no way out, just a never-ending descent into (I believed) greater depths of pain and depravity. I realized I would have to give ‘one of the S-Fellowships’ a serious go. This was truly my last resort.
I tried counseling (again) and for the first time was fully honest with the counsellor. She didn’t pretend to understand sex addiction, but her skill lay in supporting my search for my own solutions. By some miracle I came to realize that masturbation was my enemy and not my friend. The counselor supported me in going to the S-Fellowship where you “stop it all”—SA.
I was twelve-stepped, and the next miracle on my journey was to learn that lust was the invisible monster that was killing me. I finally knew my problem, and that giving it all up was the beginning of the solution. I found it difficult in SA to find a sponsor and good Fellowship. Conventions proved critical. A couple of times I wavered in my determination to continue in SA. However, this counselor helped me to stay the course for the first nine months or so. After this, I had a solid sponsor and other SA support and could stand on my own two feet in SA. It is likely that without this counsellor I would not be in recovery.
I’ve worked the Steps a couple of times; have participated in SA enthusiastically; have held a variety of service positions, started a local meeting, sponsored others and generally, have grown up in SA. The 12 Steps have provided me with a manner of living free from compulsion to lust. For about ten years SA was my principal activity outside of work and marriage. However, I reached a point where I did need something extra in my life. I have no children. I’ve always enjoyed walking and I ended up joining a long-distance walking club. Making friends doesn’t come easily with me, but I’d learned enough in SA to stay the course with this club and gradually came out of myself.
This hobby has helped me enormously. I found that I have a talent for ultra-distance walking. Being an obsessive, I did try to become one of the best. However, whilst I had the ability, I found that the time, sacrifice and focus needed to become the best would take too much time away from my recovery and marriage. I’m a rock-bottom sexaholic addict and I must keep recovery first, marriage second and let other things follow. I am grateful for this insight and for the willingness by the Grace of my Higher Power, to place recovery first.
My walking does take up a long day each week, but it is in balance with other areas of my life. I love either walking alone in wilderness areas or walking with a group. I also do multi-day hikes and wild camps. When I’m alone I ask my Higher Power to walk with me, and I find him reflected back to me in the beauty of the landscape and nature. A long walk gives me clarity of thinking and emotional balance, and I often come home and write down insights for my recovery.
I used to feel guilty for taking so much time for myself each week, but I do give back by leading walks. I’ve also nearly finished an 1100 mile walk with my wife, a wonderful experience together. Ultimately my walking is an expression of my Step 11, a form of meditation with my Higher Power, and allows me to bring a better quality me to other areas of my life. I regard it as a gift from God to be enjoyed while I can.
Mike B., Cardiff, UK