by Larry (NY-SCA)
I have been an active sex addict for the better part of three decades.
Until quite recently I had simply assumed I was oversexed: I have too
many male hormones; just a sign that I am exceptionally healthy; this
will pass; I’ll return to normal. I am now convinced that my sex addiction is a progressive illness and that left untreated, it only gets worse. I relate to a saying I once heard in the rooms: My drug of choice was always more. Now in SCA I add men.
As a boy I was always compared to my older brother. He was perfect; I
was flawed. My reality developed around the fact that I couldn’t be my
older brother and that I fell short. I had the feeling I was licked
before I ever got started. That only encouraged me to build a fantasy
world which became steadily more elaborate. My earliest addictions to
people started as a boy. I romanticized every friendship I ever had. I
obsessed constantly over friends: where they were, what they were doing,
I might see them again; the pain and agony of worrying if they were true;
the deep despair I felt because they could never give me enough. Somehow
all of this got sexualized.
My cruising career started slowly enough right after high school.
During college, I endlessly cruised downtown Albany, yet almost never
picked anybody up, perhaps having sex with a total of three or four men.
After college I had some affairs – a few days, a few weeks. They were
nothing serious to me. I knew I was going to get over them. They were
just a phase.
My life led me back to New York City in 1973. I had several
affairs/lovers in rapid succession. Both my love and sex addictions
progressed during this period. Although I did not act out sexually during
a relationship, I always did so right after a breakup. During
relationships, my addiction simply changed form, hiding out as
codependency. I met all my lovers while acting out: I met one cruising
in a supermarket; one in a backroom; one on a train platform; one in the
baths; one in a tearoom. All these relationships lasted a year or less.
I always felt smothered and stifled while in a relationship yet being
single left me lonely and desperate.
The 12th Step says: “Practice these principles in all our affairs.”
But it works both ways. As I look back, the detachment and isolation
caused by my acting out spread to all areas of my life: work, family,
friends, and all relationships. Gradually,
I felt more and more cut off from my humanity. Everything suffered as I
pursued my career of acting out. Between lovers, I threw myself into the
bars and backrooms. I spent most of my time in back corners and dark
areas, becoming steadily more isolated and lonely. Yet I never would have
On the way down in my choice of lovers, there was Roberto. I was
really desperate. Roberto was sharp, charming, intelligent — but a
drunk. I was so desperate I begged him to move in right away. It made no
difference that he was living with his lover (this wasn’t the only time I
moved in to break up lovers.) Within a week or so, I was moving his
things into my house. He would break down and cry every night at first.
Something small and still inside said this wasn’t going to work out at
all. I never
should have ignored that inner voice. Things weren’t all that bad in the
beginning. However, the mutual devotion and caring transformed soon
enough into their negative aspects: jealousy on Roberto’s part, isolation
and emotional shutdown on mine.
I started obsessively thinking of fleeing the house to escape and act out.
We were miserable.
I remember once I wanted to go out for a walk, to get away from him.
He said, “No. I will get dressed and go with you.” Another time we had
an argument and I jumped into a cab to get away. He jumped in the other
side, refusing to allow me space. He was also a mean drunk. We had many
physically violent tussles. Once, only slightly inebriated, he reached
out and scratched me and gave me a three-inch scar that I still have.
Things got even worse after Roberto. I often went to Greenwich
Village, cruising bars mostly, an activity that went on for many years. I
was searching for Mr. Right, but found only that I had become a hard-core
sex addict. The more men I chased and
sex with, the more I seemed to want. I was also getting less and less
picky about whom I went to bed with.
During the late 80s and early 90s, my increasing desperation caused a
shift in the kind of person I picked up. I wasn’t getting any younger, I
reasoned, and I felt driven to settle, to lower my standards in the
quality of men I would pick up. Once a
trick I invited over said he had some crack — would I like some, or mind
if he did it? Truthfully, the answers were no and yes, respectively.
However, I let him light up. The smell was terrible.
Shortly after that however, someone else tried to get me to take it.
This time I did. I hated it. But after the second or third try I was
hooked. No drug I had ever done before — acid, pot, poppers, alcohol —
had ever put its ugly tentacles around me
like crack. There is no describing the ecstatic promise of the drug. The
negative aspects are also far beyond description. Hypnotically the drug
called to me, striving to lure me to my death. I still experience
Once during my stay in a rehab, we had a lecture on sexual
compulsivity. I remember sitting bolt upright at a certain point during
the lecture. The lecturer said, “I’m going to speak now to those of you
whose drug was cocaine or crack: abusing these
drugs causes a dramatic spike in sexual acting out.” God, had she hit
that right on the head! With crack, my sex addiction progressed rapidly.
For so long I had ignored my sex addiction, but when crack came along, I
started picking anyone up for drugs
and sex, even if they were homeless. Crack had picked me up and hurled
me toward a bottom and it finally forced me to see I had a sex problem.
Early on with crack, I made a decision that I would go only so far with
it; I would know when I really couldn’t go on. I had no idea of the power
of the drug or how low it would force me to go. Sexually the drug caused
complete impotence. Emotionally and mentally I was dragged further and
further down. I consciously decided to stop going to the Village. Why
bother going all the way to the Village? Why not, I reasoned, go directly
to a crowded transportation center to pick up sex partners. I would go
there at 4 a.m. after the bars closed. After all, I lived much closer to
these depressing places. So what if I was picking up homeless crackheads
regardless of their sexual orientation? Looking back, I realize they also
did not care who they slept
with. They were just doing it for the drugs or beer or whatever small
handout I might provide. But at the time I couldn’t see that.
Then I had to face a serious consequence of my sex addiction. Driven
by desperation and need, I went to a tearoom in a crowded transportation
complex in New York City and was arrested. The police led me away in
handcuffs and escorted me the entire length of the facility through
rush-hour crowds. I was mortified. The police brought me all the way
downtown, where I was paraded though a busy downtown building. The same
building where, coincidentally, my employer recently had its personnel
When I started using $300 worth of crack each weekend, I saw that I had
totally lost control of the situation and that I needed help. I called
Cocaine Anonymous and got a wonderful sponsor Melissa. She introduced me
to some beautiful people in CA, some
of whom have become true friends. However, I kept slipping back to
anonymous sex and crack every few days, so I decided to go back to a
rehab. After that, feeling that I was not ready to go back to work, I
arranged to go to a halfway house in Arizona.
I managed to put together nine months off drugs, but unfortunately
anonymous sex was a different matter. Anonymous sex was harder to find in
Arizona but that didn’t stop me. I finally found someone as desperate as
I was. We went to his job location at
night. It was awful.
The time came for me to drive my brother’s car back to Chicago and
return home to New York City. I enjoyed the drive, but quickly forgot
about going to any meetings (“I’ll go to meetings when I get back!”) I
cruised lots of rest areas and other acting
out places in cities all along the way. I was stoking that fire.
I stayed in Chicago three weeks. For a time I was all right, but then
hell broke loose. I found a guy to act out with who was in a long-term
committed relationship and had been drinking when I met him.
Finally, I hit my bottom. My parents met me at the airport on a hot
humid day in August 1994. God! I couldn’t wait to get away from them. I
went to my first meeting in more than a month, and went directly from
there to several acting out places. Around six a.m., I went to a public
restroom in the same transportation complex I had been arrested in. I met
a guy cruising there and brought him home. The sex was so hot and before
I knew what was happening I asked if we could score some crack. He
agreed. Unknowingly, I had picked up a drug addict.
I told my CA sponsor Melissa what had happened. We agreed this slip
showed that sex is my primary addiction and crack my secondary one. I
decided if I wanted to get better I would just have to sit in the rooms of
SCA until I got it. Nothing else had
worked. Something just clicked in my gut. I had surrendered.
For so long I had tried without success to curb my acting out. Because
my sex addiction had progressed so much, I believed it would take years
before I would experience any relief at all. However, once I had
surrendered to the program the compulsion
quickly began to lift, and I was finally able to put some days together on
my plan. Now as I watch others grow and heal in SCA, I can also see my
own growth and healing thanks to the program. There is definitely a light
at the end of my tunnel. I have
already attained important changes in my attitudes about life. My life is
more manageable than ever before because of my willingness to get honest
about my own issues.
As I look back on my relatively short time in program, I have seen the
compulsion starting to lift. I have also noticed I am beginning to deal
better with my romantic obsessions. They are getting briefer and less
intense. The healing has begun, both
inside of me and in my relationships. I have a growing sense of serenity
that I never had before. I feel better about my life. All of this is due
to my working the program. More and more, I have a feeling that I can do.
As the Program teaches me, I
indeed exactly where I need to be in my recovery today.
(Note: As of July 1995: in Program 9 months; 3+ months on my Plan.)
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