My Story: Chris W. (NY)

My Story

Chris W (NY)

My first “S” meeting was in the late 1980’s and I got sober, one
day at a time, thanks to HP, in the fall of 1996…many years later. Which
is not to say that I didn’t have many stretches of ten day periods – or
two weeks, or, less frequently: 30, 60, 90 or 180 days of sobriety (and,
once, nine months!) – with program help, in between those two dates.

I began in SA (now SRA). A month or so of SA’s plan of no
masturbation (as I was single) helped me feel truly marvellous. Then I went running
from the rooms as those constraints, and the added shame of not being able
to live up to them, were too much for me at the time. Eventually, I found
my way to SCA. Virtually from my first meeting, I felt dubious that I
could continue to masturbate (as I could not avoid euphoric recall of past
acting out experiences at such times, which, indeed, only acted to fuel
more and other acting out). However, I was unwilling to give up what, at
times, then seemed like my only “friend” or pleasure, and my
hard earned gay sexuality.

As compulsions are progressive diseases, not
only did my previous AA, Al-Anon, and DA work allow me, positively, to
realize that my core issue was sexual (for which knowledge I was often NOT
grateful) but my acting out worsened (a lot) as I tried to get sexually
sober. I was risking my life, my business, arrest, friendships, family and
disease; at best, I was totally stressing myself out. Relationships became
shorter and shorter, less and less complete, illusory, and then ceased
totally. But, if I was failing at everything else, “at least I was
good at sex…”.

A week long rehab in 1987, a five week rehab in 1994
(during which sexual abstinence for at least a year, which seemed
impossible, was recommended strongly; and a week after the end of which I
was acting in, i.e. trying to convince myself that I could have sober sex
as I lied to myself that I was in sober relationships, then plain old
acting out), several 90-and-90s, hundreds of meetings ( up to one or more
a day when I was in real crisis), having sponsors (and firing sponsors
when the interaction became un-sober), using the phone frequently(cellular
if will help me or a friend stay sober), working the steps, SCA meetings
with sex-offenders in prison, sexual recovery plans, therapy with sex
abuse specialists (who also saw abstinence as necessary for me), ditching
all pornography, blocking hotel TV movies, avoiding steam rooms and
saunas…all helped, on and off, but not consistently.

I could usually get
two weeks of sobriety together, and then I’d fall off the wagon. I
did begin to glimpse that it became easier “physiologically” for
me to stay sober the longer I stayed sober: usually after 30 days,
definitely after 60 or 90 days. Anniversaries, as program says, were
ironically and “unfairly” difficult (30, 60, 90 days, etc.),
however. Friends remind me it is easier, also, to stay sober than to get
sober. Going to more and more meetings helped me to also be able to hear
that I am simply not able to go into any public men’s room (except with a
sober friend) – and that it’s possible not to! And that I could not travel
for a while, then I could only travel with a friend and needed to go to
meetings in other locales when I did, or at least call for meetings and

And still, I could not stop acting out. I’d go to bed determined
at least to not act out with anybody else, or outside my home, masturbate
(or not) wake up fifteen minutes later, not bookend with anyone in program
and, powerless, dress, leave the house and act out ’til the next morning,
or longer. And I’d wonder why I constantly had colds, and was angry and
tired at work! And why the homeless person on Thorazine, and living at a
half-way house, I’d picked up at a toilet and asked to sleep over at my
house was unwilling to become a boyfriend.

I want to stay away from
triggering details; the truth is that I was killing myself, and (A) I did
not want to (B) if I had to, it seemed it would be better to not draw it
out endlessly. I felt hopeless, desperate…suicidal. For me, ANY sex led
to a sex slip, if not a sex binge. I was thrown out of my gym, legally,
for trying to act out. I only just talked my way out of being arrested in
a hotel by being indignant, and well-dressed. Why, I asked myself again
and again, had years of effort not paid off? Was I stupid? I’d LEARNED
that I couldn’t do it alone. Counting the approximate number of my sex
partners had helped put things in perspective. I’d BEEN able to come to
see at least the “rooms” (people in meetings), as well as brief
periods of sobriety, showed there WAS sometimes a higher power – despite
my agnostic upbringing.

Then it came to me, thank god: MY way simply did
NOT work, and does not work. Only that, in a way, made room in my life for
ANOTHER WAY, higher power’s! The first three steps became real. I again
remembered a favorite slogan: “half measures availed us naught”.
I surrendered…and simultaneously tried the only two things I’d been
reluctant to keep to: sexual abstinence, and the new generation of
seratonin effecting drugs (and I did NOT lose my personality..!). I had
tried and tried to reach sobriety, and I had equally resisted it as well.

Without abstinence, I can forget any hope for my life. My addict wants me
dead, and wanted to scare me with the specter of “celibacy”, I
am not celibate, I am abstinent. I do not know when, and if, I will again
be sexual. AND, for the first time in years, I don’t need to know.
Truly, anything ( and everything!) is better than acting out and the
devastation it creates in my life. I now can face what I used sex to
cover, one day at a time AND work with it. One day at a time, I
miraculously have two and a half years of total abstinence today! Yet, may
I never have “too many years of sobriety and not enough days of
sobriety…” Equally miraculously, I have been able to date three
men, consecutively and soberly, on and off, for the last year. Actually
not even getting to the point where sex was appropriate, nurturing and
wouldn’t have been re-traumatizing!

There have been times when I wanted to
act out in the last two and a half years. I guess my sobriety muscles ARE
toned: HP did not even bring acting out partners near me! Letting go is
easier; life is more fun, and runs with more and more joyful
synchronicity… I feel I actually may grow up after all!