Sometimes I think I must just be a complete sissy when it comes to dealing with stress because honestly, life is good. My family is healthy, we have enough money, and the dog has stopped peeing in the house. We’ve been in a nice stretch with the children too. The older ones are either employed or in school and behaving responsibly (of course, to a certain extent, ignorance is bliss when it comes to adult children), and the younger ones are in a phase where they’re pleasant to be around.
But we have a car that needs replacing and we’re probably going to get zilch on the trade-in. There’s been some major stress with my husband’s job which translates to some financial worries, but even in the worst case scenario, we’re going to be okay financially.
You’d think someone in my situation would be skipping down the road of happy destiny.
Unfortunately, I’m not someone, I’m me.
And me has been getting aggravated that I can’t … omg, this sounds so stupid when I type it out … I’m aggravated that I can’t masturbate.
There. I said it. Typed it. Whatever.
It sounded a whole lot stupider a few nights ago when I told my husband.
[SIDE NOTE: When you can tell your spouse that you’re frustrated that you can’t masturbate when you really, really want to and that spouse understands your frustration, that’s true intimacy. Because in at least in my marriage, that understanding is profound. Not only does he understand my compulsion, he understands the shame of having the desire, the fear of losing my sobriety, the mixed feelings I have about the necessity of abstaining from masturbation and porn. At the same time, I understand how scary this is for him to hear; how difficult it is for him to remain separate (as opposed to enmeshed). We have faith in each other that we will individually take responsibility for our own stuff – I’m not avoiding sharing to keep him from being scared and he’s not taking care of me so I won’t have to act out.
As you can imagine, I was a knot of nervous energy after dropping this bomb on his head, but here’s the funny thing – it wasn’t a bomb at all. I laid this big booger out there and he was like, “Hmmm. Well, duh. Of course you want to masturbate. It’s been a stressful week and this is how you react to stress.”
Right. It’s not exactly rocket science.
And as my husband pointed out, “There are other kinds of self care besides masturbation, you know.”
Which is true. Which I did not want to hear, but it was so funny I just had to laugh! And laughing helps break the addictive cycle. And in that little break, I had a nice cup of tea, and decided to take a day off. I read a non-sexual novel, got some extra sleep, and now I’m blogging.
And that desire to masturbate? Pretty much gone. Not totally and completely; before I started typing this post, I was thinking about downloading some audio erotica, wondering offhandedly whether that would count as a break in sobriety.
That last sentence, which sounded lucid an hour ago, now sounds completely insane. And that, my friend is what is meant by working the steps: taking the actions that enable you to see crazy thoughts as crazy, not lucid.