Couldn’t Get Myself Home
by Andrew C.
As had happened too many times before, I found myself looking for
sex in a certain dangerous urban park one night after midnight. I had been
drinking. I had started with the notion that I was going to have just one
drink after work before going home. One drink turned into two drinks, and
spontaneously I felt like going to other bars, to maybe run into some
friends, to maybe have some fun. I started reminding myself that no matter
what, I wasn’t going to go to that park, that I wasn’t going to have sex in
a public place. Even though AIDS had already killed two of my friends, I
still hadn’t begun practicing safe sex. Intermittently I argued with myself
during the next several hours, trying to get myself to go home, and
reminding myself that the park was off limits. But my feet just wouldn’t
respond. They seemed to have a will of their own to get into trouble.
Around 1:30am I heard my compulsion direct a cabdriver to drop me off at the
Then I was in the park, in a familiar yet baffling turmoil: against
my will but it was me that brought myself there. For about 40 minutes I
hung around in the shadows feeling ashamed of myself, wishing I could get
myself to just go home. Then I saw an attractive man. And within 15
minutes I was on my knees in the dirt once again, engaging in unsafe sex
with that stranger.
Then a miracle occurred. A voice inside my mind said, “If you don’t
stop doing this it’s going to kill you.” Instantly my mind responded, “But
I wind up here or someplace like this every time I drink and I can’t stop
drinking!” I finished having sex with that stranger and went home. The
next afternoon, I called Alcoholics Anonymous, wanting to attend one of
their meetings to get tips about how to avoid getting drunk so I could stop
acting out. I was feeling a lot of fear and shame about what people would
think of me, but I forced myself to action anyway. Within a couple weeks I
snuck into my first gay AA meeting where I was introduced to the concept of
sobriety. Even though I was at that point unconvinced I was an alcoholic
and could not imagine a life without alcohol and other drugs, I reluctantly
started the first facet of my recovery – not drinking or drugging, one day
at a time – to see what would happen. I expected it would probably help me
stay out of that hated park. I had no idea it would turn out to be so
difficult for me to abstain from alcohol and other drugs.
Though I hadn’t yet mentioned my sex “problems” to anyone, after an
A.A. meeting I heard mention of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous and during my
first sober week I walked into my first S.C.A. meeting, to learn about how
to say “no” and how to avoid engaging in risky sex and going to degrading
places to find sex. There I heard about sexual sobriety, people, places &
things, and the idea of the sexual recovery plan. I knew that a recovery
plan was for me, but I was too ashamed of myself for being sexually
compulsive, and at the same time feeling egotistically superior to all the
other people in the SCA, to speak with anyone. Instead I immediately made
my first sex plan by myself, which, against the odds, turned out to be not
too hard and not too soft for me to follow.
I intuitively knew that even abstaining from alcohol and other drugs
I didn’t yet have the ability to say no to unsafe sex with certain people,
so I decided that until that ability would develop, I would, one day at a
time, have no sex partners. This simple plan left me at home solitary
masturbation as a safer sex life than what I had known, and I found that
without alcohol or other drugs in my system I felt much less compulsion to
seek out degrading and dangerous sex. This plan would serve me well until I
became ready to explore safe and sane sexuality with another person.
Attending more meetings, I would later come to learn more rewarding ways to
work the program, like sharing and sponsorship.
That is how my recovery started. I have come a long way since then.
My issues are much more subtle and on a much more beautiful level. My
focus, now that my sexual behavior has a long-term basic stability, is on
experiencing intimacy and love and connecting with other people. And I’m
very glad to be working on these issues, painful as they are at times,
rather than risking my life for anonymous “potato-chip” sex.
I have faith that there is a great deal more for me to learn,
probably enough to last far beyond any one lifetime. I am grateful to both
SCA and AA for together they not only saved my life but transformed my life.
I feel I couldn’t have recovered successfully in one area without
the other. Having attended lots of SCA meetings and hearing about other
people’s acting out, I now know that alcohol and other drugs are very
slippery, not only for alcoholics, but for anyone trying to stay sexually
Today I have the ability to live by my own boundaries that are safe
and loving, not only in sexual relationships, but also in family, friend,
and work relationships. I have learned how to say no; I have learned how to
say yes; and when I don’t know whether it’s yes or no, I have learned that I
can take more time to think my answer over. The principles of SCA have
given me a life more rewarding than any I’d ever known before.