“One of the greatest regrets in life
is being what others would want you to be,
rather than being yourself.”
After months of traveling up and down the coast, I finally found my perfect home the end of last year. Everything was brand new, so I was surprised when a utility stopped working unexpectedly and knew right away there was a fated gift in store; as all forms of adversity lead to greater fortune.
When the repair man arrived I sensed he had an important message to impart, so I remained by his side while he performed the repair and within 5 minutes it happened…he began telling me his life story…which took well over 2 hours.
Stories like his had crossed my path many times, but never before had I been given the opportunity to ask candid questions. It was such a mind blowing conversation with astounding revelations, I felt it may open the eyes of many readers to the type of lives a good deal of people lead unbeknownst to those closest to them.
To begin I want to say this man was sincere and forthright, with a good soul. He didn’t show up intending to talk about this, but perhaps it was healing to express such deep truths to a perfect stranger he would never see again.
Apparently he was brought up in a loving home and his dream was to save himself for the perfect girl, get married, have a close monogamous relationship, grow a family and live happily ever after. His college buddies, however, had a different path in mind for him. They taunted him relentlessly with cruel names and spread the rumor in college that he was an inexperienced virgin, in order to humiliate and bully him into joining their licentious gang. Eventually this young lad agreed to a meeting with a rather loose lost girl and something very dark happened to him, which caused him to lose self respect and dignity.
He became more enmeshed with this rough crowd and took to drinking to numb what was happening. Eventually he found himself hooking up with 5-8 different girls every week, and was surprised to enjoy the thrill and challenge of saying and doing anything he had to in order to score, which was not his real personality at all.
This young chap learned he could sort out his prospects by setting up a date and then standing them up. If the girl was upset about his ‘no show,’ he would ditch her completely, but if she was o.k. with it, he would become interested. His statement was, “If she didn’t make a big deal about it, I knew she wouldn’t be a hassle,”…which could have meant he knew he could get away with disrespecting her, overstepping good boundaries and using her without concern for her well being due to her lack of self esteem. Many girls complied.
As a youth he was quite proud of his copious conquests, some of which became regulars, but he did admit to feeling dirty, scummy, cruel and narcissistic, because this behavior went against his true nature. During this time he married a girl who let him stand her up, and had children with her, never missing a beat with his promiscuous activities.
Now this is when I just had to start asking questions:
Q: Did you care for any of the other girls you were having sex with?
Q: You didn’t have any emotion at all?
Q: Not even your regulars that you had sex with every week for 6 years?
Q: Did you love your wife?
Q: Did you feel badly about what you were doing to your wife?
A: I hated myself, but I couldn’t stop
Q: What would you have done if your wife had been cheating on you?
He bowed his head as if he had never considered this question before and then he slowly raised it and said he would have been crushed, destroyed, lost, devastated.
Q: So why would you put your wife through that?
A: I couldn’t think of anyone but myself. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. It made me feel powerful and in control and like I could please women and be someone special.
His wife finally became aware of his liaisons, so he went into counseling and promised to change his ways. They moved to another town and he broke it off with his regular extra marital sex partners quite unceremoniously. One ex sex partner was in tears and told him she had been in love with him for 6 years and thought they would end up together, but he had no emotion for her at all, so he just said goodbye and left. It was just about the sex, domination, control, power and admiration he received if he was able to bring them to climax…especially if they were married and older.
He was loyal to his wife and children for a few months after he promised he would stop, but he found that when he went to do repairs the married and single women at the homes he visited would often text him after he left and invite him back for sex, so he started going back and the whole pattern began again in his new town.
He lifted his cell phone up and said, “At any moment in time I could have girls lined up for sex within the hour. It all happens in chat rooms and texts.”
Q : Did you consider how this would make your family feel after your wife took you back and trusted you?
A: I hated myself, I finally wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. All I could think of was myself and my needs and wants. I was narcissistic, yet the good part of me loathed myself, berated myself, condemned myself, felt guilty, ashamed and horrible, but I couldn’t say no. I had some very dangerous girls I was involved with but they were so sexy I couldn’t resist. One of them threatened to cut my penis off if I ever gave her a disease. She was married, so we had the added thrill of getting caught, but she was dangerous. She scared me, but it was great sex.”
Q: Did you have feelings for her?
A: NO. It was just sex. I didn’t even like her. She was cruel and frightening and totally crazy and imbalanced, but exotic, foreign, gorgeous and the sex was thrilling.
Q: Was it worth it in the end?
His wife eventually caught him cheating again and this time she left him and told him he needed to get serious help. Everything hit him like a ton of bricks when he realized he would lose his children, his home, his wife, and money, so he joined a group of thousands of other people who suffer from sex addiction and was counseled to tell his wife every single thing he had ever done.
Off he went and told his wife every sordid detail, every encounter, and every lie he had ever told; which was pretty much every word out of his mouth according to him. “I lied about the stupidest things that I didn’t even need to lie about just because that was my pattern. It was just who I had become.”
The truth, of course, broke his wife’s heart even more, but it created a space for her to recognize he wanted to change and be with her, so he was on probation for a while and he continued going to his meetings every single day and every single night he would have a meeting with his wife and share what he learned and they would do affirmations and prayers and mediations, and bonding exercises together. He went to counseling and had a mentor and talked openly about his addictions, his fears, his past wounds, traumas and desires. He eventually gave up alcohol, porn, and drugs and won his wife back.
Q: Have you been faithful to your wife since she took you back the second time?
Q: Do you feel healed from your addiction?
A: Every day I am tempted and every day I have to force myself to say no.
Q: What was the key factor in getting this under control?
A: Being honest with my wife, working with mentors, group support, prayer, cutting out alcohol, porn and I stopped going to the gym.
A: I don’t care how strong a person is, if they’re a recovering sex addict and they have alcohol, they’ll end up going home with a stranger without a second thought. I went to the gym to look good for my sex partners, not for my wife.
Porn is a trigger. It’s a drug. It gives the illusion sex without love is normal or o.k. I didn’t even know what love was until I gave it all up and made love with my wife for the first time. Blew my mind…what I’d been missing.
He shared that a bunch of guys all joined his group at the same time and he was among the few that made it through and broke the cycle. According to him, his associates who continued to hang out with drinking buddies and other sex addicts all lost their way and their relationships with their significant partners all ended in disastrous ruin, some of them turning to hookers for constant sex to avoid the emotional disrupt with partners, or to have more power and control over the sex, but he added, they were miserable and had given up on themselves and their lives. Some of them were in their late 70’s and still hiring hookers, like an entourage to travel with and show off. They appeared pathetic and deeply depressed to him.
Q: What would you have done if your wife had not taken you back?
A: I would have thrown caution to the wind and ruined my life because I wouldn’t have cared anymore. I would be the worst version of myself. I like myself now for the first time in a long time. I’m proud of my current behavior. It feels good.
The main point of sharing this private story is to give you the background for a hidden factor. It’s a hidden factor in many addictions and one that groups, counselors, psychiatrists and healers in the western world don’t customarily address, yet it’s often the most significant step in overcoming addiction completely, without the lingering yearning.
Next week’s post will cover this important factor, which can alleviate the struggle, suppression and angst on the road to recovery.
May all hearts be healed
“The greatest joy in life is
living true to your authentic nature;
your heart and soul.”