Thursday, 4 August 2011

Therapeutic Writing...

According to Professor Wiseman, a world leading psychologist (author of 59 seconds) writing is actually far more effective than talking to someone else in the "therapeutic context." I wonder whether this extends to typing. I would normally argue that typing does not engage the brain in the same way as pen to paper, but at least it is worth a try.

Finding out about sex as a child was somewhat traumatic in that I was 11 years old and my neighbour who was around 14 was already highly sexually active and would tease me about not having lost my virginity, calling me a "frigid little virgin." In fact I was happy, spiritually, at school and in my life and this unwelcome addition to life - being shown pornographic images, taught about masturbation and sex and being told I was essentially not normal for not wishing to or actually engaging in these activities. This was painful.

Prior to this, I had had sexual experiences as a child, like showing off each others bodies, possibly touching as well, but I didn't think much of them, only at the time I sure wanted more of them and was deeply offended when it was refused and I was pointed out at for being "disgusting" as if I was the arbitrator and no one else was involved.

So I began masturbating in order to seek approval aged about 11. And quickly became very addicted to the intense emotional and spiritual high of sexual orgasm. As alcoholics say, "one was too many and a thousand never enough."

In order also to gain approval, of myself, of the neighbour I engaged in games of spin the bottle with other children. I also masturbated during sleepovers with my male friends and we would assist each other with guided fantasy about the females we fancied.

My masturbation really became an addiction quickly. Daily and nightly fixes, which soon became 3-5 times per day, once in the afternoon, once or twice at night and once or twice in the morning were routine without fail for years.

My relationship with my parents broke down somewhat in my teens in that it wasn't there. When I wasn't masturbating, watching films over and again, especially relishing sexual scenes, I was stealing money from my mother's purse to feed my compulsive gambling (fruit machine) addiction and to buy extra helpings of food and vending snacks at school, again a fix which I'm addicted to - stuffing myself with food to feel relaxed and at ease, especially junk. The gambling has reared its ugly head lately as well, for the first time in many years and I've had a series of several gambling binges that defy rational intelligence.

The addict was taking over and fast.

At school, I began fantasizing about sex with both sexes. Occasionally I'd yearn to make these fantasies real. I got into alcohol aged about 15, another terrible idea, and soon I was attempting to act out on my fantasies, with terrible shame and guilt resulting. My ritual would involve going to bed, setting up a fantasy movie in my brain, complete with 3-5 characters from school I would select for acting out with in my head and masturbating about.

I'd disappear off to the toilet several times at Sunday dinners with my stepfathers family, to masturbate over his youngest sister, or my adoptive cousins, or simply the wallpaper which bore topless beauties on it from the style.

By seventeen, I'd had my first relationship and it had ended in my drunken abuse at her showing interest at a pal and resulted further in my taking up alcoholic drinking along with self harm and soon the psychologist, counsellor and doctor were on show and I took an anti-psychotic medication which sent me double crazy. I mentioned nothing to my parents who had often teased me about the idea of girlfriends and made me feel dreadfully awkward and depressed, in addition to embarassing me about my body, so I felt uncomfortable and unnatural to show my body in front of my family or anyone else.

I did not do well in my exams, to my grave and bitter disappointment, for the first time in an academic life which had been described as high-flying in the past. I also met a "hippy" girl who was schizophrenic and in my eyes the most enticing and beautiful creature I'd ever come across.

I chased her for around two years, masking my desire to be in a romantic and sexual relationship with her (for fear of eventual rejection) with a desire for friendship. She occupied my head what felt like almost 24 hours per day. She had a powerful and drug like effect on me, or at least my mind's fantasy version of her.

Getting more into drugs and alcohol, I eventually nose-dived. When I saw the girl kissing a friend in a night-club whom she had previously been in a relationship and seeing others, who I thought of as "less than" I, having relationships with her, and with her telling me who she loved and it never being myself, on the come down of an ecstasy pill I had popped, I made a stab at taking my own life that night.

A few days later, after more heavy drugs, like magic mushrooms and a lot of cannabis (which I used ultimately to enhance sexual hallucinations and the effect of masturbation, same as ecstasy as well as for "social reasons") and I had a full on psychotic breakdown starting at work where I was a kitchen hand, smashing plates as a "cry for help." A doctor was called, and whilst I argued that my experience was of religious significance, I was told outright that the medical man thought my condition a psychiatric one.

The first psychiatrist I saw quickly diagnosed me as experiencing psychosis, although I was untruthful to him about my subjective experiences, was I truthful to anyone, including myself at that time? He recommended hospitalisation but I was too suspicious and paranoid to allow that. However, within a couple of weeks, I was practically begging to be taken away, such was the terror and bewilderment of the hallucinations which can certainly be compared with the dreaded DT's of alcoholism.

I had convinced myself that I had committed an act of rape on the girl I believed I loved. In fact, I had lost my virginity and I could not reconcile the disappointment and shame that my performance was not that of the adonis I believed myself to be in my fantasies about sex. And I was scared out of my wits that I was going to get into terrible trouble. This problem of not understanding the sexual act in reality and being terrified that I might be considered to have raped plagued me for a couple of years of mental agony and anguish, coupled with mental illness which only made this erroneous thought the more convincing.

For 12 weeks, I continued my masturbation addiction in the mental hospital, most of the time having convinced myself I didn't need to be there in the hospital, after all, did I really need help? Wasn't it simple as using will power and thought to get what you want? No-one understood! I was helpless and powerless. I did not realise masturbation could have been a problem, after all didn't they make a point of communicating that masturbation was "normal" at school and didn't that give me the undeniable right to be able to get away with it? Neither did I accept or realise that it could be alcohol or drugs which were the problem. Either I was the problem or THEY were the problem and there were no solutions as far as my eyes could see at that time.

to be followed up...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

It's been a whole year since I last posted...

It has been a year since I last posted. I think it has been one of my less successful in terms of sobriety from sex addiction, but in terms of benefits of choosing to try to do something about my sex addiction, I have achieved a lot - like living abroad for 3 months and starting a Ph.D. program.

I am posting because I've come across a blog on sex addiction recovery on blogspot by a guy who seems like an ex-addict and has a counselling service. His articles are absolutely top notch in my opinion. He is somewhat anti-12-step program but since the 12 steps are not seeming to work for me in this addiction (or I am not working for them) I am ok about that.

Actually, I set up an SLAA group in my city with another addict and that group is still going strong, that was a couple of years ago now. I'd like to get some recovery at the moment. They say the addiction gets worse. In the last 3 months I had an insane amount of sexual partners, including sex workers.

My psychiatrist has referred me to psycho-sexual counselling. This is what he says about me:

- I would be grateful if you would consider offering this gentleman an assessment. I have been seeing him in my outpatient clinic and he has made a good recovery from a past experience of psychosis. However, he continues to struggle with a sexual addiction which is having considerable impact on his life. He describes compulsion to act out sexually with women and sex workers. In the past he has found it difficult to maintain boundaries around pornography use. He is married and has regularly tried to address his compulsions but frequently relapses. He has contact with a support group which has been helpful in the past but has never had any individual work. We have talked about some of the origins of his behaviour and he told me that when he was about 10 years old an older boy introduced him to sexual ideas, using pornography and bullied him with threats of sexual assault. It appears that some of the patterns of his current behaviours are associated with these earlier experiences He is not taking any psychotropic medication at this time and is studying for a Ph.D. In many aspects of his life, he has achieved a great deal and has stability. He told me that at times he feels quite desperate about his addiction and is well motivated to engage in some form of therapeutic intervention. -

So, there you have it. The last three months has made me realise for sure that I am a sex addict. There is just no doubt now because of the sheer amount of acting out and the feelings and insanity of it all. Recently, I completed a step 4 which I shared with a 12 step sponsor, also in recovery from alcoholism and sex addiction. This was a real release, but I have to say I acted out before and after in just as bad ways as before.

So I am seeking out counselling, psychotherapy and looking at the below blog's articles as well as attending online SLAA meetings, face to face 12 step meetings and writing this blog. The blog below is offering a free counselling session for 30 minutes.


See you anon.

SARC (Sex addiction recovery confessions blog).

Saturday, 12 June 2010

13 weeks of sobriety.

I finally have 13 weeks without any porn or masturbation. I've had many "minor" slips meaning that I've done stuff like sending inappropriate messages to old contacts- people who may have been not a part of my life for many years and vice versa, trying to "ignite old flames" and conjur fantasy and memory. The biggest struggle is using visual fantasy to "switch off" during sex with my wife. This seems like the last bastion of the addiction for me. As a result I've become very triggered and tempted to act out in other ways. Over the last two or three years I've had several period of 12-16 weeks of recovery and the 12-16 weeks has tended to be the period in to which I've relapsed.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Recovery continues...

Last time I wrote I thought I had made amazing progress having done a rigorous soul searching, get-honest-with-myself session and read through of AA's "Big Book" to try to follow things exactly as that book lays out.

Since my long time away over the summer, in which I "acted out" with several prostitutes, I've not really got back on track and have been using porn about once possibly twice per week.

I've moved forward in my life and there's no doubt I feel blessed and think I've made progress, but my feeling is I just don't want to give up enough to really quit this addiction.

I went to a brothel today. I know God is looking after me because I walked out with all my money and made 2 friends in the process and felt compassion for the hookers and they treat me well after they found I have a Godly side to my personality but the fact is I shouldn't be there in first place.

Anyway, I prayed for God's protection and for God to be with me because I knew that I was not willing enough to totally surrender. If you are searching for recovery from sexual addiction and you are already working a "spiritual program" in a 12 step program, then you may want to use this tip as someone from the "SAA" fellowship once taught me which is to ASK GOD TO BE BY YOUR SIDE AND LOVE YOU AND HOLD YOU EVEN AS YOU KNOWINGLY ACT OUT.

It worked for me this time round because I sincerely wanted God to be with me.

Friday, 29 August 2008

The first part - the admission...

In Step 1 of the Twelve Steps of AA, there are two parts the first part says: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol" and the second part says: "and that our lives had become unmanageable"

When I decided to head on tackle my sex addiction if that's what I am to call it, I realised that I needed to really get to the cause of the problem, not just deal with the effects - hadn't I already tried doing that so much?

I knew that there was not "one way" to recover because I had succeeded with Bill Fleeman's work on anger without the 12 steps (although his work is openly similar to the 12 steps) and at the same time I have successfully kicked other addictions with the help of the 12 step program and that model of addiction.

Having worked the steps and also having had the experience of years of study of so-called "self help" books, business training, meditation and so forth, as well as the below mentioned anger management workbook which for some part has a relationship to the 12 step programs, but Pathways to Peace is independent body, I knew I must have the answers "in here somewhere" and also had the conviction that God is within and therefore I've everything I need here and now, right now, within me (and without) to recover.

On a basis similar to this I set off to examine myself utterly thoroughly, starting first with the frank admission of my problem, describing it in detail and describing my understanding of the many component contributing factors to the cause of the sexual addiction that had been causing me a lot of problems it would have seemed.

This took the form of believing that I could be guided if not through my own inner knowledge then that of the God power within to ask the right questions and give thorough enough answer as to be able to finally be totally honest, to face my actions and behaviour and to deal with the issues as they are, not as I would have them be, or as the unreality of what goes on in my head would lead me to believe.

So I started asking questions like, what is self esteem? what is shame? what is guilt? and giving examples of where I experience these and tying them to my sexual addiction behaviours, again citing examples. After I had done some very helpful soul searching in this regard, I decided to write my life story as suggested in Fleeman's book at the end of the first chapter. I will share the exact questions I went through on this sexual addiction recovery blog.

This in itself was a tremendously liberating experience and a real break from the pain and monotony of the "active addiction" (which currently I am back in again as I write this I suppose) the same time, I pretty much know why this is so. I know that a huge part of the 12 steps is having and sharing step work with a sponsor. In Fleeman's book although a sponsor is not mandatory, it is recommended if a group has been formed. What these two approaches have in common however is that once a life story has been written, eg as a step one, that it is shared with another.

This is where my intuition led me. Now I have written this story and faced myself square on, looking at my life in as much detail as possible in terms of my sexual experiences, behaviour, compulsions, attitudes etc I MUST share it with another. Not to deaden the guilt or shame - because that has already lifted in my honest and frank look at what I've actually done, my real needs and how I may have neglected them in pursuit of the "something better" in sex that does NOT serve as a replacement for these needs, there is little of guilt, more of relief. But I must share this work with another because it will further my commitment to recover and lead a purposeful life and allow myself to become more human by sharing my own humanness with another person. Does that make sense? I'm not sure if it does - but intuitively I knew that this next step was vital. And because I was abroad and did not know who I could trust to share this work with at the time, I left it, and so have gone back to the sexual addiction behaviours again - with the same results as normal it would seem. More about those later...

That's all for now.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Issues that need to be dealt with...

Again, not an exhaustive list but some of the things I know need work on to cover all bases.

Self esteem
Beliefs - mistaken certainties vs. empowering beliefs
God, spirituality, higher power
Meditation, prayer
Forgiveness vs resentment
Selfishness vs love, caring about self and others
Looking after oneself

Rage & anger and a sex addict...

Recently, after I used the services of a masseuse with "extra services", I realised how badly I really need a "program" in order to recover. I have tried many of the 12 step groups available and even applied myself with fervent might and total surrender but to no avail. I realised also how bad my rage and anger had got especially around my sex addiction. Being married with children and being a sex addict is hard - especially the hurt I have caused myself and of course, others, time and time again, repeatedly, despite "warnings" from every aspect of my inner and outer being. It calls me back, it seems to call me home. But it takes me to a kind of hell really if I'm permitting myself to use a religious term. A place without hope, love or God.

So I decided to really tackle my anger issue first of all. And I attacked it with an amazing program by a guy in USA called Bill Fleeman who has written the book "Pathways to Peace - the Anger Management Workbook" --- and I can say when I've worked the program set out in Bill's book it has successfully, dramatically and powerfully assisted me in overcoming my addiction.

As my addiction to sex kept having a hold, so my anger and rage seemed to get worse. Although I don't know if they're connected - dealing with anger and rage I feel is a priority for me, because it is a very, very destructive form of addictive behaviour which I absolutely must deal with as first priority.

After this time I went to a prostitute, the next day I started putting together a program that will work for the sex addict who doesn't want a 12 step group approach neccessarily, but wants the effectiveness of the twelve steps AND an effective program of recovery. And who better to test it out on but myself. I cannot say that so far I have managed to stay off my addiction with my new program, but I'm 100% confident I can find a way to a meaningful life and happy destiny with the knowledge and experience I do have and the willingness to see it through and to have an open mind as to what others have been through to recover from this kind of problem.

That's all for now.