Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who knows?

After that last trumpeteering post about the spiritual experience in the 12 Steps and turning my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God ... I need to say that this is still hard.

It's difficult to let go of the stash after a relapse into sexual addiction. Yes, in some ways relapse into love addiction is even worse. Neither is a cup of tea.

Like a heroin addict who longs for that first push of the needle, women like me crave that first kiss, we remember the contours of our lover's bodies, and we yearn for the physical touch that is meant to be shared between two people who have committed themselves to one another and share far more than the cost of a hotel room and a few laughs about their physical escapades.

I know that the current loneliness that comes from my husband's extraordinary work committments is contributing to the difficulty of getting through the withdrawal. I am working to occupy my time with and energy with other things, healthy people, and examining my own life through a renewed 4th Step inventory. It helps most of the time. But some of the time ... not so much.

As I'm writing here I'm thinking of the many wonderful and wounded women whose blogs I read. Their husbands or ex-husbands are sex addicts. I often think of them and wonder if they know what a large role they have played in my recovery. How many times has it been their words that come to mind when I think of acting out? I wonder too how painful it must be for them to read my words and not want to slap the living shit out of me. After all, it could have been their man I was craving tonight.

But as the Big Book says ... "probably no human power could or would have relieved" my desire to get that sexual high. If it could ... I would have been "saved" by now from these relentless urges and compulsions.

I've given some thought as I dissect my cravings and hand them over to God to the question of why it is I seek and desire other women's husbands.

I guess the easy answer is because I'm an addict and I seek people who are emotionally unavailable, but for today that's a cop-out. I want to own this truth, and I want to have a bigger answer than that. I want to know how I got from the lie of trying to find something to "supplement" a marriage that "left me feeling empty in some ways" to desiring the attention of men who not only had wives, but also lovers. How did I become obsessed with being the one they told all their secrets to?

A part of the equation I know is that my sick self needs some external force to reaffirm that I have value. For me, being the kind of woman that anyone -- male or female -- can share their deepest secrets with, has meant that I am valued. But my addictive mind has turned even this basic gift of friendship into a tool of my disease.

What am I recreating? I'm regaining that child's sense of power that comes from being the person who keeps information that could tear apart families. Not only could I use it against someone, I can use it to protect myself too. Secrets keep us safe, keep families together, and keep people out of trouble -- that's what I learned as a child. As an adult, I've learned that they are poison. Yet, my addict self wants them, desires them and does not know how to live without them.

One day at a time, I'm learning to live in the light of truth. It's not easy. But it's worth it.


Bernadine said...

I have to confess, I've thought that while reading your blog before. That it could be my husband you are craving. And though I've never wanted to slap the shit out of you, I've wanted to plead, to say-- think of me, of us (in blog world), think of yourself... it's not worth the pain!
But if I've learned anything, it's that my pleading doesn't even reach the heart of the person who says he loves me. If I can't affect positive change in my husband, I certainly can't help 'stop' other sex addicts.
This individual journey shit really sucks sometimes. That's why I don't read you too often, and I hope you understand. It really triggers my codieness.That said, I'm cheering you on. I hope you reach a place of real, genuine recovery. I hope one day at a time can turn into one week at a time... to one month, to years.
Good luck.

MargauxMeade said...

You know, it's weird, but I really don't get angry when I read your blog. I've come to learn that addiction and codependency are two sides of the same coin, and, even though my "acting out" isn't the same as yours, I can relate to many of your issues and, most of all, your pain. If anything, reading your blog gives me a much deeper understanding of how my husband might tick and a lot more compassion. My husband isn't where you are--he's not in recovery and he's unable to express any of his feelings about his addiction (or, really, about anything), so I'm so grateful to you and all the other sex addicts who are willing to share your feelings and struggles so candidly.

Bernadine said...

Oh alright, I just re-read what I wrote and I sound more final than I really meant. Imagine a thoughtful, friendly voice saying all that! :) That's really me.
I also agree with Margaux-- I am grateful that you and others are so willing to be honest, as it adds to my understanding of this addiction. I think what I really meant, if I'm going to be frank, is that sometimes, reality scares the shit out of me, and maybe I don't always want to know! Denial? Maybe! Obviously my cross to carry, right?

Anyway, best wishes to you Rae!