Sunday, 01 April 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by London (See all authors)

We have a new member on our forum, Bruce, who is 22 years old and has struggled with this addiction for many years. He comes from a broken home and struggles also with religion as well as many other issues, but he is desperate to break free, because, as he writes:

"I want to stop staying up all night looking at porn (and thereby ruining the following day), masturbating until my body begs me to stop, thinking inappropriate things about every beautiful woman I see on the street or elsewhere, losing focus and motivation to do things that are actually important and fun, and I want to be able to socialize without feeling uncomfortable with myself and without being unable to see the women that I talk to as people, and not fleshy pleasure things.

And I don't want to go from here to even worse things. All of the porn that I have seen over the years, some of it very messed up stuff, has completely warped my mind and desensitized me to every kind of emotion there is, especially mercy and compassion. Combine that with an intense personality, a natural propensity to anger easily, pent up anger and frustration at the world, and a naturally mischievous mind and you've got a recipe for disaster. I don't want to turn into a monster. To me there is at least a subconscious association in my mind between crime/general immorality and porn. I don't know if such an association is real, but that's how I see it.

I don't see how I can live with integrity this way. I don't see how I can be a good husband. I don't even see how marriage would be appropriate for me the way I am now. I just don't want to turn into a depraved, under achieving, lowlife."

I want to bring a few of "London"s great replies to Bruce, since there is so much we can learn from them:

Dear Bruce,

What you posted regarding a "lowlife" really touched a chord in me, because it seems that you currently see yourself as a lowlife. Bruce, you are very sick with an illness called addiction, and the medication is contained in the GYE Handbook. Work the tools there, until you find what keeps you stopped. You are not a "lowlife". You are "sick" and trying to get "well", not a "bad" person trying to be "good".

You write that you see yourself on the brink of much worse things. This is classic unmanageability - and that is the first step of recovery, i.e. accepting that you are powerless over the addiction and that your life has become unmanageable as a result. I too struggled with my religion vs. my addiction, but I came to realize that this is just another tool of my addict side to keep me in the sickness. We read in the SA meetings at the beginning that "the sexaholic has taken himself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong". I was told to leave the debating society, as I am too sick for that. For me, porn and masturbating are lethal. I need to STOP & stay STOPPED. Recovery for me, is the most important part of my life, without exception. Without recovery, my life is - as you describe, a depraved existence, trying to gratify a never ending craving monster that has no boundaries and no respect for anyone or anything.

Bruce, from your posts it seems that you are still young. You have a really holy and special soul that is crying out for help. Read the posts and see how many of us waited until we were married many years with children, and only then got into recovery. You have an opportunity that I would die for, to have this awareness at such a young age. I admire you and hope and pray that you will take action to stop this deadly cycle of addiction.

Keep coming back,

Bruce responds:

London, Yes I am 22 and still single, so I guess you're right that it's good for me to be tackling this now, but I still wish I had actually realized that it was a problem much earlier than this and that I had taken care of it years ago. Maybe I wouldn't be so crazy if that were case, and maybe things would be normal enough for me to not be single at this point....

It's just so frustrating to see all my friends my age in relationships and getting married, without all the problems that I have. Their lives are so much more normal in so many ways and they have the tools to create successful relationships. I never had an example to follow. It's like their minds are so much clearer and their hearts and souls are so much more at ease. They are at ease and comfortable with themselves, which allows them to share their lives with others. But me, I'm confused, frustrated, I'm uncomfortable with who and what I am (if I can even define that) and I downright can't trust people. I just can't. It's frustrating that I want to be like they are, but I can't, even if I wanted to. I just don't have the tools for it.