Progressive illness, surrender and recovery: John’s Story
I never wanted to or expected to be a trick or a John, a person who pays for sex, but that is where my sexual obsession took me.
I felt terrible when girls appeared on the scene, unable to connect with them, and very early was overtaken by fantasy, lust and masturbation. At university, when I found a girlfriend, I enjoyed the company and the sex, and that was how it started and continued. I still masturbated, fantasized, and lusted over all other women, but by my own standards I was faithful and proud of it. I drank too much alcohol too often, and was stoned every day as soon as my eyes opened, and remained so until they closed. The relationship ended after University, as I believed it would be easy to upgrade my girlfriend for a better model. If you believe in Karma you may see why I have been single, apart from a brief affair with a married women, ever since.
At this time I decided to get back in touch with my ”one true love”, whom I had known when I was growing up; my ‘Queen of Magic’. The sexual and romantic fantasy, the alcoholic drinking, and drug abuse aided my first psychotic nervous breakdown. I was totally obsessed with this women and phoned, wrote and sent flowers constantly and got nowhere. I felt “bad” and felt I was doing wrong, but couldn’t stop: such was my sexual obsessions and delusions. This went on for years, only stopping when I went to Alcoholics Anonymous, pledging not to phone anymore and staying clean from drink and drugs.
Overlapping with this carry on was the escalation of my sexual obession problem through pornography, magazines, internet and videos. I remember my indignation about being invited to a lap-dancing club; my moral high ground when I refused to go. A few years later, in a different city, I found myself with “friends” in such a place. I went back a second time. I was hooked and went three, four five times a week.
Contemplating suicide while masturbating in the bath, I decided first to experience “love” for the last time in my life, and hired an escort. Then, I did it again. I was hooked. I hated myself, I couldn’t stop, I was out of control. I turned down occasional offers of dates, because I would rather act out with paid sex than wait for the date to come.
Lust doesn’t rule
AA stopped my drinking and drug use but not my sexual acting out. As part of the recovery program of AA, I identified lust as being my major remaining problem. I was in denial, I was alone, I could tell no one (although I tried). Eventually, during a financial, emotional and spiritual crisis, I gave up and went to an SA meeting. I had phoned three times in three years, but had always concluded that my sexual obsession wasn’t bad enough, or that I was too bad to attend. I learnt I would have to start at the beginning and accept I couldn’t safely lust. That “watching the girls go by” (lusting and fantasizing) would lead me to act out inappropriately. I learnt to surrender lust, fantasy and euphoric recall of past encounters straight away before they developed. I texted and phoned fellowship members all the time asking for help. I prayed for the people I acted out with, or planned to act out with. I stayed sober as best as I could. At first I could only manage a week. Then a month. When I slipped I was crestfallen, but I was told to “keep coming back” and I did. Thanks to SA, I’ve not had sex with myself, or another for nearly five years now and lust doesn’t rule, or ruin my life any more. A faith in God, a sober life, attending (and starting) meetings, working the 12 step program, daily phone calls, being sponsored, and sponsoring others, are some of my sobriety tools.
I live a full and varied life now, I give rather than take, know peace of mind rather than guilt, have savings rather debt, serenity rather than confusion, and happiness rather than pain. I would highly recommend SA to anyone who thinks they have a problem with lust, sexual behaviour, or sexual obsession.