The weeks before I joined SLAA were tough and painful.
I was alternating between feelings of numbness, sadness, fear, exhaustion, frustration, cravings. I had finally come to the realisation that there was something very wrong in regards to my behaviour around sex and what I thought was love or romance.
The list was long: Promiscuous sex, pornographic images in my head, masturbation, cheating, lying. I would promise myself and others that I would stop. I would stop for a while and then it would start again. It felt like the Jekyll and Hyde story.
Reality and consequences finally hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew I could not go on like this. I searched and found a therapist who immediately confirmed what I already knew. I soon realised that others around me also knew but I thought it was a secret. I was behaving compulsively around sex and love, my life was a mess.
The therapist recommended a couple of books by Patrick Carnes, a sex addiction specialist, and also suggested I attend a sex addiction recovery 12 step group. I found SLAA Singapore and learned that the only requirement to join the group is a willingness to recover from sex and love addiction. The group meetings gave me a support network and a roadmap of recovery from the very first days. I was relieved that I finally had a map of how to go about leading a healthy life and stop creating pain for the ones that cared about me and for my own self.
I immediately learned that I needed to abstain from promiscuous sex and stay away from secret affairs and dishonesty if I was to change and lead a healthy life. I had to be willing and patient if I was to change years of sexual and emotional compulsivity.
In SLAA I found a group of people that realised that they have a problem and are seeking a solution. I found men and women from all ethnic backgrounds that have the courage to change and walk the recovery path. At SLAA I found a sponsor who gave to me his time and worked with me the 12 steps. He helped me see the serenity, peacefulness and joy that are possible through the 12 step program.
It has now been a while since I joined SLAA. Things have changed. I am thankfully sober from having sexual and emotional affairs outside a committed relationship and the pornographic images that used to swirl around my head are not part of my daily life. I don’t have to delete text messages, emails or the browsing history on my computer in fear of being found out. It feels so much better to live in the light without fear and hiding.
I am grateful to have gained a sense of spirituality and my life is a much calmer place. I don’t need to attach myself to another person in order to avoid the feeling of loneliness that used to bother me. I am getting to know and accept myself for who I am and not the actor I used to be in order to hide my insecurities and fears. I also recognise that life is not perfect and I am still learning to deal with feelings, emotions and situations on a daily basis.
I am also finding out each and every day what is like to be in a healthy relationship. Sex is beautiful and connected now, nothing like the frantic addictive thing I used to call sex in the past. Like the SLAA promises mention, I have come to realise that love is a thoughtful and committed decision and not something compulsive and obsessive.
I embrace the fact that the recovery road has given me gifts that I never experienced in the past before. These include moments of joy and peacefulness, a sense of community, kindness and a sense of what real sex and real love are or have the potential to be.
The road at the beginning was tough and painful, today I am grateful.