All that Glitters is not Gold
Thank you for your interest in SA. I have learned through many trials and detours that this is a very tough addiction. I’m writing to share my experience, strength and hope with you, based on my own life both in and out of SA. My purpose is to help you decide if SA really is for you. If, after you have read this, you decide that SA really is for you, please contact us via this web site. We look forward to welcoming you to our fellowship.
Crossdressing and Masturbation
I came into the fellowship in 1988. I was immediately relieved of my lifelong obsession with crossdressing and masturbation. I considered that first experience, an SA miracle, and….. immediately went out in search of a real, live partner!
I soon found her. SA was still relatively new in Europe at the time, and no one had confronted me with SA’s sobriety definition (“…no sex with self or others other than my spouse in a marriage between a man and a woman”). That definition is in our White Book, so I must have read it, but I chose to ignore it. It did not suit. The relationship turned into a disaster. When it was over, I returned to SA again, convinced that the next time I would need to get married (in order to comply with SA’s sobriety definition! But in my heart I was still looking for sex!)
By the fifth year of my second attempt at sobriety, I met my former disaster partner again. She was now in 12 Step recovery, and I took this as a sign that it was now time for me to marry her! Notice who was in charge here… not my sponsor… not even my fellow group members… certainly not any Higher Power! Lust had taken hold of me again, but in a new form…
I mortgaged my house to organize an expensive, flashy wedding. 15 months later I checked into a psychiatric hospital. 18 months later I attempted suicide… After a difficult physical recovery (I ended up paralysed down one side but have since, thank God, recovered) guess where I went? Straight back to my wife. It never occurred to me that what I was suffering from was my own lust response….to her!
It eventually became clear to me that my marriage had never been sober. So I took myself back into SA for the third time for a third period of sobriety that also lasted 5 years. The marriage ended soon after I insisted on entering into a period of sexual abstinence. With my financial resources now much reduced, I returned to Europe, to face lust temptations of yet another another kind…
Lust takes a new turn
As part of my lived amends to my late father, I started and managed a philanthropic organization in Europe. Although I had the support of some SA chums to do this, and even a fellow SA with me during my first week in that country, (how hard God tried to give me every chance at living sober!), my lust rose again. I recruited several young female employees and became infatuated with two older women. I rationalized this away as being “work-related” nothing sexual of course! I had still not recognized the power of lust in my life…
Looking back on those last 10 years, I can also see how infatuated I became with my new, public lifestyle too. How I loved the lights in the TV studios, the anchor women, the fawning journalists. Lust had taken yet another new turn for me…
I ended up being forced by my employees to fire one of the older women on my team whilst living with the other! We obtained a blessing from a priest and I rationalized that this spiritual “marriage” therefore complied with the SA sobriety definition. I never sought anyone else’s opinion. In reality, all this was about lust and how it was controlling my life. Lust kept me on the run, always wanting more, because without it I felt empty, depressed, and eventually desperate.
As far as faith was concerned, I believed in a Higher Power of course. But it wasn’t a faith that worked.
Crossdressing behaviours suddenly returned
In 2009 two of my former SA chums visited me and saw the mess I was in. I could not see it myself because by now lust had completely blinded me again. Despite of my former sobriety in SA, I was now lost in my new, outwardly successful, “philanthropist” lifestyle. I rationalized it as one of the “fruits of recovery”. My chums’ timing was perfect, because within months, my masturbation and crossdressing behaviours suddenly returned though in a MUCH more extreme form than before. They had been slumbering for 30 years!
When my inevitable sexaholic “crash” came, a direct result of my acting out and my glitzy lifestyle I was able to get myself immediately to an SA convention in the UK. I was given a sponsor immediately and started to work the program again…now for the fifth time. And so began my fifth period of SA sobriety.
It took me about 6 months to withdraw completely from lust. I am now living in the UK, with other recovering “hardcore” sex/lust drunks, like myself. After a lifetime of dependent relationships, in which I got partner after partner to look after me in return for sex and money, I am beginning to grow up and take responsibility for myself in a community of fellow recovering people. I have a lifetime of bad habits to change but I also have the powerful program of SA, and change has already begun.
I have learned that lust is a drug that I produce internally, usually without even being aware of it. My lust response can be triggered by the click of heels, a picture, a memory, a fantasy, a voice, an article of clothing, an atmosphere, and so on. I have come to see how I have lived a false life, a life built on false “connections”, on “chemistry”. I needed to have more and more of this falseness, because the moment I began to withdraw from it, I would slip into depression. Depression which I have become expert at treating with lust of course… And because lust is very cunning, it shows up in new ways, deceiving me that “this time it’s the real thing”. Lust appeared to be the perfect cure for my recurrent depressions but today I see that it is the cause of them.
It has helped me enormously to be in an S fellowship with a clear sobriety definition, covering both lust and sexual acting out. The lust concept is central to SA’s recovery program, and has proved so very helpful to me. Without this, I would be like an alcoholic deciding for myself how much drink I might be able to handle. I absolutely need a bottom line other than my own, and this I have found in SA. I also need SA’s lust concept, because lust is what gets me into the “barroom” in the first place.
I hope this gives you a pretty clear picture of the havoc lust has played in my own life. If you can relate to any aspect of my story, please make contact via this website. I hope we shall meet before long and then take the next step of recovery together.