My will has taken me down the road to addiction.
The last time I acted out, I had unprotected sex with a guy who was at risk for AIDS. I was on a high for three days, then ate for six days and gained 20 pounds. This was my first trip on a new job. I was anxious, afraid I wouldn’t do a good job, and at the last minute was put in charge, which added to my fears. So to kill the pain and hide from the fear, I acted out. I had fantasized about my Team Lead and gave myself permission. I shut my mind and let it happen. Or did I? I knew what I was doing. I know the routine.
I was forty-seven before I truly understood that I could say ‘no’ to a man. That is powerlessness!
When I was three, my mother re-married, and before she died in 1991 she told me she never had sex with my stepfather. Well, he didn’t do without. I was seven when he broke my hymen. My stepfather said if anyone found out, no one would love me. I already knew that my mother didn’t love me…after all she didn’t protect me. I felt that I wasn’t lovable but I couldn’t think about that because it hurt too much.
At age twelve I was raped. Afterwards I asked my mother about rape and she told me there was no such thing. Any woman could fight off a man, so if she has sex, she must have wanted it. I felt so ashamed. I didn’t even fight. It was my fault. Shame doesn’t come with words accusing. It is a title wave of emotions. Shame washed over me and I allowed it to carry me off. No little voices said “I’m bad” or “I’m not good enough.” Just a wave of pure emotions.
When I was seventeen, I let fear lead me to make the decision to become a ‘bad girl’ and the cycle began. I dated ‘nice boys’ that I didn’t have sex with. And then there were the others. Two worlds—one with sex and one without sex.
I moved to a town where no one knew me. No more ‘nice guys.’ I didn’t have to keep up appearances. I could and was as bad as I wanted to be. I was out of control. I only remember a few of the men. When I walked through the Twelve Steps the first time, I identified some but not many and not by name or face: the lewy from California, the high roller, the Pineapple (a kid from Hawaii), and the exchange pilot from Saudi Arabia. The rest are no-name, no-face men that I used to feed my addiction.
One of these men asked me to marry him and I said “yes.” I don’t even know or understand why, but I did. I tried to stay faithful but I didn’t. I had three or four affairs in those seven years. Flirting was one of the tools I used to feel good about myself. When I flirted with a man and he flirted back I felt pretty, lovable, and for a short time the pain and shame was gone. It didn’t last long, so I would take it to the next step which was having an affair. The feelings I had disconnected from were being connected to other things. I would feel shame and guilt over an affair and turn my feelings to anger at my husband. My marriage ended because I wanted out. I couldn’t be a ‘good little housewife.’ The pattern continued. Nothing seemed to stop the pain and fear. The acting out only got worse.
When I got pregnant again I was living with two men. I married one of them and for a while the drugs were almost enough. Oh, by the way, only Papa knows whom the father of my third son is. Did you catch the almost? Well it didn’t take me long to go back to the old habits. It was and is easier to hide the pain and run from the fear, than to admit I’m powerless.
After my second marriage ended, I was celibate/sober for seven years. I do understand that my sexual addiction is progressive and terminal. If I don’t stay in the Program I will either die from AIDS or be killed by some man I pick up. I have no idea how many men I’ve had sex with over the years. But the pain has not stopped. I hurt as much today as I did the first time. I’ve cried an ocean of tears for the hurt inside and for what I’ve done with the life I was given.
My third addiction is spending. I just stopped the foreclosure on my home and by keeping my car unavailable until I could get two payments made, I still have my car. In case you missed my second addition it is eating. It serves two functions. One, eating makes me feel good and two, 90% of the men I pick don’t like fat women so I help my sobriety. Or, better yet, I’m afraid to be thin.
I know the Program works if you work it. I’ve been in denial and in Twelve Step programs for three years now and want my sanity back.
My bottom-line today: no anonymous sex, no affirmation sex, and no sexual fantasy plans.
A First Step Inventory shared by a Member of
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