I acted out again yesterday.
That’s the nice way I’d say it if I were sharing in a 12-step meeting – one for sex addicts, that is. If I’m in an AA meeting I generally keep my mouth shut. That’s also the nice way say it to my sponsor. My sponsor has over 20 years of continuous SA sobriety and lives with a woman who is (in my opinion) a sexual anorexic. So even though he’s married, he doesn’t have sex since his wife doesn’t want to. So that means he is celibate. I picked him to sponsor me because he’s safe and he’s happy. Generally it’s not a good idea to have a member of the opposite sex sponsor you (Duh) but I have a real problem feeling safe with women. Yeah, yeah. Feelings are not facts. I know. But there’s no way I could imagine myself talking about this kind of stuff with another woman.
My sponsor has a way of cutting through the bullshit and getting right to the important stuff. When I told him that I lost my sobriety, he said he was sorry to hear that. And then he wanted to know how I acted out. Porn and masturbation don’t sound all that terrible, so that’s what I said. Porn and masturbation. Of course, there’s a world of variation in those two words. He’s listened to me share in meetings for years – in our meetings we state our addiction and our length of sobriety when we introduce ourselves. Our introductions are fairly long but it’s a good way of telling everyone what you struggle with and where your addiction tends to lead you. For example, my addiction has never led me to anonymous hookups in rest areas, truck stops, or bars. Another person’s addiction has never led them toward bdsm. My addiction does not lead me to flirting and affairs. Another person’s addiction might never include visits to the newsgroups. And since the meetings are recovery focused, we really don’t spend much time talking about acting out. We’re careful to not be too descriptive because that can be triggering for others. In our meetings, we never use the f-word. Masturbation is masturbation, not spanking the monkey or jacking off. “Acting out” is the usual word of choice to cover a whole myriad of behaviors. When I say acting out, others in my group know from my introduction what behaviors I engage in. Besides, it’s not really the behavior that matters as much as the compulsion that drives the behavior. And that’s the same for all of us.
All of which to say that my sponsor knew exactly what to ask. He ran down the list of the lowest of my acting out behaviors and asked if I’d done them. That let both of us see that while I’m in big trouble, it could be much worse. I’ve probably shared somewhere on this blog exactly what I say at meetings, but I feel like I don’t want to repeat it here. The few times we have open meetings, we omit that part altogether because non-sex addicts just can’t understand how people could do some of the stuff we do. And just now the possibility of having someone turn away in disgust is too intimidating, even in cyberspace.
I’ve got to stop acting out though. Being injured makes it way easier not to masturbate. But unfortunately, I know that reading the bdsm erotica I’ve downloaded (and paid for, another line crossed) is acting out. I’m afraid to even delete those items because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to do it without reading them first.
And there, my friend, is the center of the addiction dilemma. I’ve got to stop but I can’t. Every cell in my body is screaming for sex and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that anything sexual I do is going to hurt both physically and emotionally. And worst of all, it’s not going to relieve the sexual tension I feel. There was a twilight zone or Stephen King movie about this — the bad guy reads a magic fortune cookie and he becomes hungry but cannot feel full. He eats himself to death. Very scary.
I know this and still I want sex.
Instead, I’m going to post this, then take a shower and go to work. Then I’m going to go grocery shopping, get my cell phone fixed. I’ll go for a walk with the dog, make dinner, and sometime along the way this sexual tension will dissipate. A kind person sent me some information about telemeetings. I’m going to put those on the calendar and give them a try even though the thought of talking to a bunch of women scares the living shit out of me.