Sunday, June 26th
Isolation pushes recovery away.
As sexual compulsives, many of us act out to escape feelings of shame and low self-esteem. We may seek attention in sexual situations or, conversely, might retreat into fantasy and isolation. We may assume that connecting with another person will somehow make us feel whole, relieving our isolation and self-doubt. If this strategy doesn’t work, we might revert to having mindless sex, hoping to relieve our emptiness and boredom.
For many of us, searching for sex or retreating into isolation has become a way of life.
“In my nightly sexual encounters, I was a shadow. I didn’t want to relate to anyone except through sex.”
Shattering the wall of isolation takes time and effort. Our experience has been that we cannot recover in isolation; that support from others gives us strength and courage.
As we attend meetings, others’ experiences may help us become more comfortable with our sexuality and find ways to express it appropriately. Sharing our concerns with other members can help break destructive patterns of isolation and self-pity. We learn how to trust our Higher Power to help us build new lives based on reality rather than fantasies while working the Steps and using the tools to establish and maintain sexual sobriety.
“A power greater than ourselves” takes us out of isolation and into hope.
Saturday, June 25th
While acting out through compulsive sex, I didn’t believe anyone could help me.
Before entering recovery, many of us instinctively felt that our sexual compulsion was taking us further away from any real connection. This void in our lives contributed to our shame and made us more likely to dismiss the value of any spiritual way of life.
Once we get past the fog of denial, we encounter Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. First, we realize that we are not that higher power. Self-will is useless in the face of our compulsion. If we are to have any hope at all, we find a power stronger than self-will.
Our willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves gives us the freedom to choose what that power may be. For some, it could be the collective wisdom of the group. Others may equate it to a “traditional” understanding or a new concept of God. Some program members focus on finding a Higher Power that has a positive attitude toward sex and sexuality.
Whatever our understanding is, our faith in this Higher Power grows as we work through the Steps. Gradually, we gain knowledge of God’s will and use that power to take right actions.
We become increasingly useful instruments of our Higher Power.
I could always tell when someone wasn’t respecting me.
Many of us tried to hide our activities from others in our compulsive state, seeking to avoid the humiliation of being exposed. Our need for secrecy and concealment invariably led to self-isolation, sometimes to the point where we hid from ourselves.
This denial also fed its way into resentments. Our sense of low self-esteem would hurt even more if we felt disrespected. We might carry this resentment through our interactions with other people. As our compulsion deepened, some of us acted out our resentments and sense of victimhood through anger, sometimes by lashing out at others. We might tie our anger to a growing sense of entitlement: we had been through so much that we deserved “special” consideration.
In recovery, we may find relief from re-living past wounds and traumas as we work the Steps and begin having compassion for ourselves and others. We learn to build new coping skills instead of falling back into the ways of our compulsion.
I’m no longer a victim; I’m working my recovery daily.