Withdrawal is a topic that came up over and over in SLAA meetings, it is even something experienced lightly for a very brief period when I first started working the program.
I have been sober for 9 weeks now. It is fair to call out that I am not doing a full withdrawal as part of my program. I can’t believe I am sharing this on a blog but, well, it is a relevant piece of information and this is a recovery blog about a sex addiction anyway. So here we go. I am still enjoying sex with my wife on somewhat regular basis, once a week or thereabout.
So I found myself going through an accidental withdrawal for just over two or three weeks. I actually don’t know the exact count but it felt like 2 to 3 weeks. It wasn’t planned it just happened that my wife and I haven’t had sex for a while. Either busy or tired or not in the mood. I was HORNY… Surprise? Not really. I was aware that these are withdrawal symptoms and I thought I’d pull through to experience what it is like.
Two nights ago I was watching a Stand Up comedian on YouTube, innocent right? Then the guy starts talking about Channing Tatum’s movie “Magic Mike”, which is a male stripping movie. I looked up the movie on YouTube and then Daniel Radcliffe’s gay scene from the movie “Kill your darlings” shows up as one of the recommended Videos! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
I played it of course. It was not a porn kind of scene but it was hot, it aroused me, and got me hocked on all sort of videos on YouTube for over 10 minutes, I knew it was my addict at play. I didn’t watch porn but I explored all these gay relationship clips I could see without feeling that I am compromising my sobriety. It was HARD (as in difficult, this wasn’t meant to be anything else)
Next morning, a normal day took place, I was busy with this and that, kids, house, blah blah, then I went to my SLAA face to face meeting, then got home, kids asleep, AND the wife asked for me. We had sex. And it was almost like it was all okay after that. I know it wasn’t my addict who had sex with her. It was intimate, it was fun for both of us, and it was her who initiated it. But I also know that my addict got something out of it because of that release it offered. It scared me to think of what sobriety would look like if I didn’t have sex with my wife on regular basis, or if I wasn’t married for whatever reason. yes having a wonderful sex with my wife is an amazing by-product of sobriety but I don’t want it to be the main one, I want to be me, whole and complete without sex, and then have sex offer the high it does to normal people rather than have sex offer a rescue for a miserable addict who is desperate for a fix.
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It is a find day over here, I am sober and I am thankful to God for that. I am feeling clear minded so I thought I’d share some thoughts. if you’ve been following my blog you’d know that about two months ago I started working on my Step 4, I am still working on it and I am making progress. The way I am approaching this step with the help of my sponsor requires going through a number of worksheets, first resentment, then Fear, then sexual conduct and finally people we’ve harmed. My resentment list wasn’t very long but it took a lot out of me to complete, the fear list was relatively easy to compile. Now that I type this I remember that I finished typing the list but I am yet to recite the prayer as prescribed. I have been continually praying though, so I should include the portion around specifically asking God to remove my fears.
A few days ago after I finished my fear list I had a call with my sponsor. the call started with me saying that I am doing great, I was almost uncertain that I am done with my fear list, BUT, after a couple of questions from my sponsor he concluded that I am done and that I shouldn’t try to make it perfect. That meant I had to move on to the next stage: Sexual Conduct! So as we are talking on the phone I pulled the instruction sheet and started looking at the work required for this part of the step and I found myself in tears. It was overwhelming to think that I will have to write down my sexual history, I don’t even think I am capable of remembering an exhaustive list not to mention scared of seeing it on paper.
The call ended and I didn’t touch my list, I read the instructions but I left it at that. then I got really busy for a couple days and I started to realize that I am avoiding the work and so I decided to be willing and I popped open my worksheet and started writing a list of names of people that I acted out with. It was hard in ways I was not expecting. I expected to feel a bit of shame or guilt but rather I was turned on! the memories kept coming back combined with a number of insane thoughts around what I could have done with that person and what I missed out on with this person and all sorts of sexual fantasies kept popping like popcorn in my head. All I wanted to do at that moment is go act out. I was angry at myself for deleting all messages, apps, contact details of people that I could act out with. Of course I knew other ways to act out but while craving it so much I still didn’t want to throw away the program and my sobriety.
I texted roughly about six SLAA members telling them exactly that” I am working on my sexual inventory and all I want to do is go have sex”, then I left my phone and went and said my prayers after my prayers I came back to my phone to see a few replies, some made me laugh, some gave me hope and others cheered me on to keep going. These messages got me through the next couple of hours. I got to my desk at work and still the thoughts haven’t left me, I know exactly where to go, what to do to add a couple of items to my list. I decided to go to the online SLAA IRC chat room, over there I chatted with a lovely bunch of recovering SLAA members and one of them “heard” me share as I typed away and got it all out that I was so emotional my tears were flowing while sitting at my desk at work, I had to step away and get it together so I don’t have to explain to people around me what is going on.
The tears helped, I felt much better and that got me through the next couple of hours of the day and that got me to my next SLAA meeting. I was so happy to be at the meeting. I was so happy to have remained sober.
More work to go with my step 4 and I will be here again writing about it.