Powerless at Midnight

What a Cybersex Addict Learned from his Slip

Getting home from work at 10 p.m., I switched on the computer to record my expenses of the day and to check my e-mail. My wife was out of town for a week, I hadn’t eaten since noon and my feet ached from walking the car lot all day. Ignoring the messages from my body, I went right to work and before I knew it, two hours had passed. I’d balanced two checking accounts, written e-mail notes to several friends, and researched some car information for my boss. It was midnight and my wife wasn’t there to ask “when are you coming to bed?” My blood-sugar was so low I was numb and actually in a bit of a trance. I get that way when in front of a tube…whether the computer or when surfing the channels on television late at night.

Before signing-off of America Online I once again heard that little voice in the back of my mind asking, “How about a quick peek at the nudies?” And right behind it, another voice saying, “Do you really want to go through all this unhappiness again?” There I was once again for the thousandth time at that old fork-in-the-road. Powerless as I was, I minimized the outcome and keyed in the nudie sites “just for a minute”. Five sites, a dozen printouts, $29.95 on VISA and three hours later I signed off. But the craving didn’t go away. Instead of going on to bed I escalated!

Dialing an all night adult video store, I located some videos I knew would fill the urging, drove there and back and spent the rest of the night masturbating. Going to bed at 6 a.m., I was unable to get up for work and phoned a message to the store. I watched the videos another three hours, went back to bed and finally to work for my shift seven hours late. I made an amend to the boss about being late, and fortunately it didn’t effect my job.

Talking this over with my sponsor the next evening, I got it all told and determined to return to working my Program. With his help I saw the downward spiral of powerlessness, and realized that I could do some things differently before becoming intoxicated with sexual desire. First, while driving home from work, I could check out my feelings against the H-A-L-T criteria (hungry? anxious? lonely? tired?). Looking back, I could see that three of the four were present and I had placed myself in extreme jeopardy just turning the computer “on.” In the future I could get a bite to eat right away and watch the 10 o’clock news (to rest) before doing anything else.

If my wife was at home, I could contract with her to go to bed when she did, or if needed, commit when I would be coming to bed after completing the computer work. Or, I could put-off the computer tasks to the morrow. I needed to get clear that my sobriety was more important. I learned that better choices early in the process could stave off decisions I would be powerless to make later on. I needed to recognize my vulnerability.

When she is away and I don’t have anyone to be time-accountable to, and if I just must complete some computer task before bed:

  1. I will pay attention to my body. I will have a bite to eat first.
  2. Before starting, I will call one of my late-night friends to “book-end” me after finishing the task by calling him to say I’m “done”
  3. I may check beforehand in the SLAA online meetings and see if anyone is there to book-end me
  4. I may just put the work off and pull the plug on my computer, until rested and better able to do my tasks without being powerless to act out.

A Member
St. Barnabas Wednesdays SLAA, Denver
Meeting-Approved 2/04. NOT SLAA Fellowship-Approved Literature