Rock bottom

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My last post, prompted by an article in which the author did very little to differentiate sex addiction from sex offending (criminal behavior, pedophilia, sex with a minor, etc…), elicited some interesting conversation in the comments. It also got me and Blue Eyes talking quite a bit about this subject of sex addicts and their escalating behavior. It is true that many addicts progress and fall deeper into their addiction until they finally hit rock bottom, but not all sex addicts continue to escalate behavior, and some addicts never do hit rock bottom. Not the rock bottom where they are discovered, or the rock bottom that has them finally divulging their secret life. And one person’s rock bottom can be quite different from another’s. Some addicts go to their death bed without ever having been found out. It has been my observation that very few sex addicts out themselves, so something they did or are doing got them caught. Sometimes this behavior is unhinged, out of touch with reality, dangerous or escalating in frequency. Sometimes they have merely tried to break it off with an acting out partner who is hell bent on the wife (or the world for that matter) knowing the truth, now. Now that they have lost.

Here are some stories of sex addiction “rock bottom” from people we know or stories we have heard first hand:

A wealthy single 30-something Los Angeles attorney is so dependent on his addiction that he is unable to carry on a lasting intimate relationship even though he desperately wants to. He has had short term relationships with many lovely women, but it never lasts because his addiction always gets in the way. He craves sex with prostitutes. He has to have it, then he feels deep shame for participating in behavior he feels is dirty. It is also illegal. He could lose his license and his career if he is caught. He does it anyway. He tries to stop and tells himself he will never seek a prostitute again. He tries to go “cold turkey.” He becomes so desperate that he leaves his downtown office in his $4000 suit in the middle of the day and heads to the nearest street where cheap prostitutes are readily available. He chooses the first woman he encounters and pays her $50 for a blow job. She does not use a condom. She is a drug addict and her face and mouth are covered in sores and it doesn’t stop him. He is not caught by the police. He returns to his office and in an act of desperation, he looks up a number for an addiction center specializing in sex addiction and he calls the number.

A 50-something man with two children has been married for 24 years. This is his second marriage. He cheated on his first wife and married the mistress. He has now cheated on his second wife (the mistress) their entire marriage. He has slept with 20-30 women, some of them being short term, others developing into longer affairs over the two plus decades of his second marriage. He has never loved any of these women. He regrets cheating, but each and every time he partakes, he convinces himself he will never do it again. That he has control. The wife is clueless. While the SA is on a business trip with his latest mistress, the wife becomes suspicious and finds proof of the affair. The wife confronts him and he lies and says this is his first affair, and that the mistress means nothing to him (this is true). The wife demands he dump the mistress and seek help and ostensibly, he does. He goes to therapy and is diagnosed as a sex addict and regularly attends SA meetings, but he doesn’t take it seriously. You know, the whole “god” thing and he’s not like those other guys, and whatever. He does not give up the mistress. Nine months later, the mistress calls the wife and informs her that they never stopped seeing each other and he will be leaving the wife and they will be married. This is when the SA starts taking things seriously. He sees 12 step in a whole new light, he doesn’t want to lose his wife, his marriage, his family. Today, he is currently more than 12 years sober and has been a sponsor for numerous men and is still married. All those years ago though, he did spend his 25th wedding anniversary with the mistress in his wife’s bed (while she was away on business) before acknowledging his addiction.

A 40-something man, married with kids, regularly sees prostitutes, and one particular prostitute is his favorite. He considers her his friend (delusional much), but he always pays her for their time together (of course). He has spent time with the prostitute in his home when his wife and kids have been away, so the prostitute knows where he lives and generally knows his schedule. He goes away with his wife and kids on vacation. There is an emergency and they must return to their house early. When they arrive home, they find that the prostitute and her boyfriend have broken into, and are robbing the house. The prostitute holds the SA and his wife and young kids at gunpoint while she proceeds to tell the wife all her husband’s dirty secrets. The family is not harmed physically. He enters 12 step and therapy. He is still married.

A retired 70 year old man, father of 4, grandfather of 11, is in his home office. The doorbell rings and his wife, taking a break from baking cookies for her grandchildren, opens the door. Standing there is a county sheriff. He has a search warrant. He proceeds to inform her that they will need to confiscate all electronics in the home, specifically any computers or devices with access to the internet. Her husband has been downloading child porn. He claims he had no idea. He is arrested on the spot. The entire family must be interviewed to make sure none of his children or grandchildren have been harmed by grandpa. He enters a mandatory rehabilitative program for porn addiction. He doesn’t return home for weeks, and once he does, he is not allowed to be alone in a room with his grandchildren. He never touched any of them, but this is the consequence of his escalating behavior into child porn. He is in 12 step recovery and is a registered sex offender.

A 30 something male, married with two young children, day job as a software engineer, night job playing in a band, has been caught cheating by his wife. Desperately trying to save her marriage, the wife agrees to an open relationship. She feels like the reason for his behavior is not enough excitement in the bedroom. The rules are, either of them can “date” and have sex with people as long as they inform each other of their plans and their whereabouts and each comes home to the other every night and they wake up together and have breakfast as a family. Both proceed to have sex outside the marriage. One evening while the wife is making dinner, she receives a phone call from a woman saying she is running late for a date with the husband. The wife has no idea who this woman is, so she asks. The woman says she has been dating the husband for six months and they have had sex since the first night, and every encounter since. She says when she couldn’t get ahold of the husband, she looked up their home number. She wants to know what the big deal is as she knows they have an open marriage. So, even though husband has an open marriage and all he has to do is tell the truth, he can’t. What he really wants is the secret. After months of fighting and husband being kicked out of the house, he enters therapy and is diagnosed as a sex addict. He struggles for two+ years and is not able to remain sober. Divorce pending.

A successful 40-something government attorney is out of control. He regularly drinks in excess, partakes in recreational drug use, and has multiple affairs. He has clandestine sexual relationships with women. He is married with two young children. He “dates” two 20-something women in his office at the same time. When one finds out about the other, she becomes unhinged. Out of spite, she accuses the attorney of rape. She has her sister call the wife. She goes to the man’s house and spray paints it with derogatory remarks about the husband. The man is an addict and although he manages to hold onto his job, and his family, he is unable to master his alcoholism and excessive drug use. It’s probably a matter of time before he loses it all. He rarely attends 12 step meetings.

A 30 something married man regularly sees prostitutes. He has maxed out his credit cards and double mortgaged his home in order to pay for his wining and dining lifestyle. He is nearly bankrupt, but decides to take his prostitute “friend” to Atlantic City for a fun getaway. While he is gone, the bank calls the wife and all is revealed. He literally loses everything, his lifestyle, his house, his job (he is so distracted by the rest of his life falling apart) his wife and of course his prostitute “friend.” He regularly attends 12 step meetings and is still hoping to build his life back, some day.

A 60 something accomplished heart surgeon, married with two grown children, has been having affairs with nurses for as along as he can remember. He slips up and the wife finds out, about one. Eventually the whole truth comes out and surgeon is diagnosed as a sex addict. Wife now hates all nurses. She never has sex with her husband again, but remains married for the lifestyle. Surgeon regularly attends SA meetings and cries because he has lost all intimacy with his wife, the only woman he has ever loved. He has 15+ years sobriety.

A 40 something married man is regularly viewing porn at work and at home, and having extramarital relationships with women he meets in chat rooms. He is warned at work to stop viewing porn on company time and company computers. He continues to view porn anyway, and is fired. He and his wife proceed to move from city to city as he is fired from jobs and also as he runs away from the angry women he pursues and then summarily dumps. A new city never does solve the problem, however, and when his wife threatens to leave him because he can’t keep a job and she is tired of moving, he comes clean, enters therapy, is diagnosed as a sex addict and attends regular 12 step meetings. He has been diagnosed for 10 years and has four years of sobriety. Sobriety is hard, people. He has a contentious relationship with his wife, but they are still together. He is one frenetic guy. ADD seems to be a common diagnosis of sex addicts.

And, the familiar story of Blue Eyes (and so many others)… middle aged man behaves badly, escalates from masturbation and porn to affairs with consenting adults, feels shame, promises himself over and over and over that he will never do it again. Never seeks to find the mystery inside of why he behaves in such a manner, so different from what he presents to the world and against his own moral compass. He really really really wants to stop the madness and he breaks things off with the angry other woman. She calls wife, secret life spanning decades is revealed. Sex addiction diagnosis. Recovery begins.

There are many many more stories I could tell, and I am very much simplifying here, but these pretty much represent the majority of scenarios we have been exposed to. There were numerous methods of meeting and grooming the partners including chat rooms, Craig’s List, Ashley Madison and other dating sites. Lots of lying about availability and lies about spouses. Sexual preferences and porn proclivities vary widely, but generally speaking, the stories are scarily similar. I did not, of course, include any stories of my readers. The included stories likewise are anonymous and are from people that were in a meeting one or the other of us attended at some point in time during the past 3 1/2 years of recovery.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that none of the behavior of these men crossed over into sex with minors, or pedophilia, except the porn addict. From the stories I have heard, quite a few porn addicts (unknowingly?) cross over into the realm of child porn. Usually the excuse is that they were downloading so much porn with diminishing returns and they completely lost control of what they were doing and stumbled upon child porn without knowing. Escalation for most often meant they were participating in the illicit activity to a higher degree than they could keep under wraps. Other women don’t like to be ignored, and they often elicit the first discovery event. Or partners just know something is wrong and go snooping. If there is something to find, perhaps the SA has gotten sloppy. I understand that sex addiction is progressive, but I don’t necessarily believe that left unattended sex addition will enter the realm of sex offending.

After listening to my husband talk about his secret life all those many months ago, and after his filling out dozens of pages with hundreds of questions, and then hours of therapy, and three separate diagnoses by trained professionals, I finally accepted the fact that Blue Eyes is an addict. He was diagnosed with sexual acting out problems, with sexual compulsivity, and finally sexual addiction. They are all the same thing. It doesn’t really matter what we call it. Blue Eyes didn’t want to be the way he was anymore. He was obsessed with shame filled behavior that he couldn’t control. He used it to cope with life. Blue Eyes defined his own sobriety and then he defined his recovery path. No one forced him to go to therapy or to go to 12 step, or to do anything really. Sex addiction is not an excuse to hide behind. Recovering sex addicts know this. Blue Eyes floundered for a while. He went to some SA and SAA meetings that weren’t for him. He didn’t want to go at all, but he did. And he kept going until he found the meeting(s) that worked for him. We have that luxury in the town we live in. There are a lot of meetings. By the time I spoke with a specialist in the field of Sex Addiction Induced Trauma (SAIT), six months into the process, my boundaries (to stay) included Blue Eyes continuing to attend SA meetings. There are many success stories there. To me, success stories are the ones where the addicts keep working towards being a better person, not perfect, but better. They don’t all have decades of sobriety, some slip up, some don’t, some have been there for two decades, some for two days. They do have one thing in common though, they admit that they need help mastering their sexual compulsivity, and they find solace in a room full of people who totally understand how that feels.

For those who have just stumbled onto this blog, when my husband was first diagnosed as a sex addict, I frantically searched for articles about sex addiction. I ended up at Psych Central and there before my eyes was a listing of what my husband described as his secret life. The thing about it though, is that Blue Eyes wasn’t escalating. He wasn’t out of control. He just was. He was participating in the same behavior and in the same way as he had been for years. Masturbation and porn, to grooming, to extramarital affairs, this was the progression, the escalation. And when he wasn’t in the throes of acting out with the other woman, he still had masturbation and porn. They were his best friends and they helped him cope with life, from a very young age. They helped him become successful, both in his partnership with me, and in his business. Blue Eyes’ rock bottom was realizing if he didn’t get help, if he didn’t come clean, he truly believed his addiction would kill him. So, although recovery is hard, it is nothing like being an active sex addict.

From Psych Central:

Symptoms of Sexual Addiction

While there is no official diagnosis for sex addiction, clinicians and researchers have attempted to define the disorder using criteria based on chemical dependency literature. They include:

  • Frequently engaging in more sex and with more partners than intended.
  • Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity.
  • Thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities or continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop.
  • Spending considerable time in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic Web sites.
  • Neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex.
  • Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or potential health risks.
  • Escalating scope or frequency of sexual activity to achieve the desired effect, such as more frequent visits to prostitutes or more sex partners.
  • Feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired behavior.

You may have a sex addiction problem if you identify with three or more of the above criteria. More generally, sex addicts tend to organize their world around sex in the same way that cocaine addicts organize theirs around cocaine. Their goal in interacting with people and in social situations is obtaining sexual pleasure.

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14 thoughts on “Rock bottom

  1. Wow. Great quote by Rowling. I’ve been so consumed by my own emotional pain, physical pain, fatigue, and flat-out overwhelm — that I hadn’t even thought of our situation of “the bomb going off” and my hub’s ‘rock bottom’ as being a beginning — a solid ground to rebuild his life.

    You said, “Many of the sex addicts BE knows were dying to reveal their secret life, but fear of losing everything, and fear of admitting they were monsters (in their own minds) was overwhelming.”

    This rings true for what I saw with my husband and my own eyes. It also correlates with what more than one therapist has said, in essence, that my husband was consumed with guilt and shame and he just let it out. He confessed his secrets. A few weeks later, he almost ended his life.

    So, since there are stories here, I’ll share the only one I know. It’s longer than a brief synopsis. I’m not the best at “brief.” Ha.

    A man, married for 23 years, began masturbating with fantasy and porn as a young male. He used it to cope with stress. He didn’t feel self-confident enough to date and form relationships with females. He developed testicular cancer in his early 20s, was treated successfully, received no emotional support from his family, and continued to masturbate excessively to relieve stress. He went to strip clubs occasionally while in dental school and medical school. He saw women as objects. He met and married a lovely woman in his last year of medical school, who was an authentic, empathic, loving, professional woman. He hit the jackpot. He was in a loving relationship with a female companion. Working as a physician is a high-stress career. When high-speed internet came into their home, he began viewing on-line porn. Infertility in the marriage compounded his career stress and brought back the trauma of having a cancer diagnosis as a young man.

    His porn use escalated and then he discovered BackPage. He used a “secret cell phone” to contact sex workers. He drove his car, with his license plate, to meet prostitutes. He smashed the phone, only to get another secret cell phone and continue the behavior. One of the establishments he had visited was near the hospital where he worked. This business was raided by the FBI and two local county sheriff departments. A few days after it was raided, this man saw the local newspaper at work. On the front page was a picture of the prostitute he was with, along with an article about the task force. The man became paranoid that the FBI was after him and was stalking their home. Meanwhile, the wife had no idea about her husband’s secret life. She thought he was responding only to a very stressful career. They decide to make a change for work/life balance.

    Meanwhile, the man couldn’t take the stress any longer, and he told his secrets to his wife. First, he told his wife how he embezzled money from their accounts, cashed checks, and hid the cash hoards in the walls and his car. His wife was shocked, but empathic and rational and she secured the cash for safety. A few days later, his eyes looked very strange. She asked him if he had more to tell. He told her about the prostitutes, BackPage, and the cell phones. Then he called 911, telling them he wanted to kill himself. He was hospitalized in a locked psych ward, diagnosed with Major Depression, and released after two weeks. The physician and staff observed him being psychotic and hallucinating the morning of his release, but they released him to home and his wife regardless. A few days later, he was almost successful in ending his pain. He nearly ended his life, and had a psychotic break (not uncommon with Major Depression). His wife was able to find him a few miles down the road and she intervened. She was told by the first responders that he was a few minutes from death. He hasn’t practiced medicine in 17 months and has no plan to return to practice any time soon. His wife has terrible flashbacks (PTSD) from the trauma, especially from the suicide attempt and his psychotic face.

    Sex addiction is a painful reality. The escalation in this man’s story is clear. He risked it all — his career, his marriage, and his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi beleeme. I know this story is yours and my heart breaks for you and for your husband. I hope he can get to a place where he lets go of the shame and fear and can embrace life again. We very much simplified our life that first year post discovery. BE wasn’t stable enough to work. We were lucky to have employees that could handle the existing business, then because BE is the salesman, the company struggled for two years (while we were building the beach house, ugh) and now business is back up, but so is BE’s need for a drug to cope. He flies high on business success, runs himself ragged, then crashes. Thank you for sharing your painful story. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • I do agree, SW, we never really know someone. I didn’t realize to what extent this was true until I found out about my husband. I guess the result, now, is I don’t care so much. I’ve lost my belief that most people are honest. We live in a very selfish world for the most part, addiction or not. I’m not the same person I was, but I’m happy again, so there’s that. I hope you are well!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrote an epistle which got lost in the ether but I realized that all that verbiage only needed a few sentences to make my case. Pedophiles and rapist do not have willing victims, sex addicts do. If they find “willing” victims who are youngsters they are still pedophiles because children cannot make that decision. BE had willing victims and he never escalated.
    Maggie, I do not mean to hijack this blog but you cannot make generalize statements about people. Our genetic make up, our circumstances, send us into our adult lives. At some point most people get caught at their worst. Those that don’t must lead miserable lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moi, you are never hijacking anything. You come here with a valid point of view based on experience in a specific field. Blogs are a great venue to share and have a civil conversation. Always feel free to share your point of view.

      I do think those who don’t get caught must be miserable. I know BE was miserable and orchestrated discovery. He was on his way to attending a seminar on co-dependence at The Meadows and was voraciously reading Pia Mellody and finally absorbing the extent to which his childhood influenced who he had become. I was in the dark, so of course I was thrilled that he was finally acknowledging that he had issues to work on, but I had no idea the extent. Many of the sex addicts BE knows were dying to reveal their secret life, but fear of losing everything, and fear of admitting they were monsters (in their own minds) was overwhelming. That combined with the fact that they are ADDICTS, so giving up their drug was impossible without help, kept them from telling the truth. Compassion is an important tool in my mind when dealing with those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, etc… disorders in which they inflict pain on others even though and especially because, pain was inflicted on them.

      I had a commenter once ask me why I had so much compassion for Blue Eyes and why I didn’t seem to have much compassion for myself. I was confused. To me, compassion literally defined means having concern for others. It’s what I do, in spades. I don’t think it is a bad thing and it doesn’t mean I don’t love myself. I, frankly, just do not have the same kinds of wounds as my husband.

      Thanks, Moi. I hope you are enjoying the new season! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I realized after I sent my remarks onward that used the word “victim” writing about BE’s ow. No such thing. I assume he never hid his marriage, and if he did it could not stay hidden. “Participant” seems a much more appropriate word.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, willing participants is what they were. BE holds responsibility for his behavior, and they do for theirs. He did lie to them about his feelings and about me, but they all knew he was married. They appeared to not care at all. Visiting BE in a hotel room, begging to spend time with him at his apartment, sexual escapades in an office environment, and then the ultimate sex addict partner, someone who desperately wanted any attention she could steal. They have their own issues to deal with but my guess is they are not dealing with anything. Such is life, all too often.

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  3. Good post, Kat. Here are the stories I know of:

    28 year old man, single, nice-looking, good job, has a girlfriend and a bright future. Uses porn more and more. At first is open about it, but then gets secretive. Tries out chat rooms but without much success in hooking up. Starts exposing himself to unsuspecting women. His favorite mode of operation is to approach women in their cars as he if he is asking for directions. Because he is young, clean cut and attractive most greet him smiling. Then he exposes himself. They are shocked, some scream. One calls the police and he is caught. Judge gives him probation, orders counseling. He is diagnosed a sex addict. Probation includes no use of porn. He attends SAA, works the steps, has a sponsor. Keeps his job because he is good at it. Girlfriend leaves. He’s ok for a while but starts in the chat rooms again and looking at porn (sneaking). Starts sexting, sending dick pics. Sexting back and forth with and sends a dick pic to a 15 yr old. Unknowingly. She turns him in saying he knew she was 15. He didn’t. Violation of probation and now a minor is involved. He goes to state prison to serve a 2 yr sentence. He gets out in 1 yr due to good behavior. Starts attending SAA again. Can’t do that in prison or even admit being a sex addict due to the prison hierarchy that puts sex offenders at the bottom and could put him in physical danger. But he attended NA (drug addiction 12 step) in prison. Never said he is a drug addict, just an addict. Now that he’s out, swears he will never go back to prison. Will do what it takes. Starts using porn again, downloading onto dvds from his mom’s computer. He was not allowed to have a computer and figured out mom’s password. He’s a smart guy. Probation officer makes a surprise visit and finds the porn. He’s in jail pending a hearing.

    A 40 yr old man, “Bill,” owns a very successful business, married to a teacher, no children. Gorgeous home, great vacations, friends. He has a thing for young women, 18 or 19 yrs old. Meets them online and hooks up. Wife never suspects. Will drive 500 miles for a hook up. 15 yr old approaches him online. At first he’s not interested but she’s persistent. Then he gets a message from her father. Dad says his daughter hooks up with adult men and he’s ok with it as long as he can come along. Bill is put off, but then gets interested. They make plans to meet at a hotel. The day before Bill gets cold feet and contacts Dad to say he’s backing out. Dad talks him in to showing up just to talk. Bill shows up at the hotel, waits in the lobby for awhile, doesn’t see anyone so he starts to leave. Two federal agents stop him at the door and arrest him. It was a sting. Hires the best, most expensive defense attorney in town. He gets 4 yrs in prison. Must register as a sex offender. Wife divorces him while he’s in prison. Concerned about her career if she would stay. He’s diagnosed as a sex addict. Got out of prison 2 yrs ago. Went to inpatient treatment. Attends SA. He and ex wife are friends now and his business is thriving once again. And yes, he has a girlfriend. The ex wife is also in a new relationship.

    A respected ob-gyn, 50, married, adult children, has his own practice, had multiple affairs. Wife is suspicious from time to time, but he always lies his way out. Has a patient who flirts with him. Asks if she can see his dick, since he’s seen her lady parts. Because of his addiction, he agrees. She takes a picture of his dick. She wants to date. They date for a bit, then he loses interest (his pattern). She gets angry and takes the dick pic to the medical board and claims he came on to her. He loses his medical license and practice. He is diagnosed as a sex addict. The wife learns about all of it. He attends SA, has been sober 9 yrs. Started a new career in IT. They are still together.

    Elementary school principal, second marriage has numerous affairs over a 30 yr career, most with teachers. Likes to have one main long-term affair, then other shorter affairs in addition. First wife caught him and divorced. Second wife never suspects. He’s learned how to be more careful. Only goes for married women who are less likely to expose him. He’s handsome, charming, an expert groomer. He retires, continues the affairs. Has a great retirement boating in FL. Wife has a stroke. He takes care of her, continues affairs. He’s in his 70s now. At
    some point he comes on to a teen. He attempts to fondle her. She does nothing at first, then two years later reports him. He hires expert defense attorney but is sentenced to two years in prison. At age 80, serves 9 mos. in prison and is released for good behavior. Diagnosed as a sex addict, court ordered 12
    Step meetings, but he refuses to accept that he is an addict because he only had affairs. No porn, no prostitutes. He’s not like those other guys and the thing with the teen was a misunderstanding. Wife is in a nursing home due to deteriorating health. He visits every day.

    40 something man, married no children. Uses prostitutes, thinks some of them may have been underage, started using drugs with them. Prostitute convinces him to participate in a crime with her, a robbery He agrees (it’s surprising how often that happens, wtf?). He gets arrested for a felony. This is the first his wife learns of anything. Serves some jail time, but avoids prison. Admitted to his wife that sex addiction is his main addiction and the drug use came about to medicate the sex addiction. He attends SA and NA. He is 10 yrs sober with a few relapses. All of the relapses have been with drugs, not sex. He and his wife are still together.

    I still maintain that untreated sex addiction is a progressive disease. How it progresses and how fast it progresses differs but IMO, it’s dangerous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Maggie. I have talked a lot on this blog about Blue Eyes. I have basically laid him out bare here. He is the sex addict I know the best, of course. One thing we do know is that sex addicts lie, they lie regularly, and very well, especially un-recovering sex addicts, so what I believe and what I write comes from the lies I have been able to uncover, and what I believe in my gut, and in my heart. As we all know, Blue Eyes’ acting out partners were all older women. His behavior was mainstream, nothing strange or kinky, just disgusting in my mind. He claimed he couldn’t control his behavior, BUT, he did not hire prostitutes because it was criminal behavior and he didn’t want to lose his career. I find that confusing. That he had some control when it was to protect that aspect of his life, but not enough control to protect the intimate aspect of our partnership. That still bothers me. I was asked by more than one person if BE had sexually molested my children. I chalked that up to ignorance. I do not for one second think it is fair that sex addicts are blocked in with sex offenders by people who don’t understand sex addiction. I do realize that people who have a propensity to go younger might get themselves in trouble. I also realize that some sex addicts are sex offenders. Some people’s secrets have always included criminal tendencies and it was just a matter of time before they were caught doing something illegal. There are a couple of sex offenders in BE’s main 12 step group, but they aren’t as open with their stories. He knows they were sexually molested as children. He knows that they are not allowed electronics with access to the internet as part of their parole, and we all know that addicts can be very creative when seeking their drug. I purposely didn’t go into childhood wounds or what the addict looked like as addicts come in all shapes and sizes and manage to obtain their drug no matter what. An especially distressing aspect of all of this to me is how desperate some women are, what they are willing to do for a little attention, and how mean and vindictive they can be once they are rejected.

      Interestingly enough, my uncle is a raging alcoholic (which is very obvious), conventionally handsome and when he was in his 30’s he exposed himself on a local college campus and was sent to jail where he spent 30 days. I assume he is also a sex addict. Co-addictions are quite common. An addict is an addict is an addict. His arrest was kept secret in my family. I found out when I was in my 30’s. He has never been arrested again, but he is still very much an unrecovered alcoholic, in his early 60’s, divorced with two grown kids plus grandkids. We don’t have a lot of contact directly with him, just through his kids. He holds my mom responsible (because messed up people do that sometimes) for some childhood wounds. I don’t know where his story will go or what he does in his spare time, but at this point we know he has the propensity for criminal behavior. Sad. Pretty positive he would not associate himself with being a sex addict because, you know, sex addicts are selfish and creepy… that is what we are told by society.

      The very first SA meeting Blue Eyes attended, it may have been SAA, I can’t remember, was held at a large church fairly close to our house. There were multiple anon meetings being held there that Saturday morning. He walked up to what he thought was the SA meeting, but was in fact an AA gathering. When he asked if this was the SA meeting, the people waiting for their AA meeting were less than gracious when they pointed him in the direction of “his” meeting. They met him with contempt, because, you know, sex addicts are a whole different beast, not like alcoholics at all. The “you are a creep invading our space” factor ran high. That is the message being sent to sex addicts and it further compounds the shame element and turns people away.

      I try to make my message one of hope, not fear. Most of the time when I get up on my soap box, it is because people are denying sex addiction. That it is an excuse for bad behavior. I have always maintained my belief that the diagnosis of sex addiction is not an excuse for anything, it is a pathway to recovery methods that have worked for other people. I hope people don’t crawl further into that denial hole and not seek help because what they have or what they have done is considered criminal or dangerous by “society.” I don’t think scare tactics work. I hate the fact that some people are frankly too scared to tell their story, to own it, to celebrate the rest of their life with sobriety. But, I know, life is hard.

      Thanks for coming here and representing your experiences and your point of view, Maggie. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Kat, for a very insightful post. I agree that sex addicts can be very resourceful when it comes to their acting out behavior. I, too, have struggled with the “control” part of the disease. Sometimes when I’m listening to others talk in my meetings, I think, “What is it with these guys? Why not just be single and go act out without having to hide it from anyone? Why create this weird dynamic of lying and a double life? Why the fights, the separations, the promises to never do it again?” In fact I think I read somewhere that the study of sex addiction came about because therapists were confused by these acting out people who claimed to love their spouses. It was like, what gives? Why don’t they stop? Its complicated and I only have control over myself, so I’ve learned to put my energy there. Hugs!❤️

        Liked by 2 people

        • There is also the fact that there are lots of single people seeking help for sex addiction. Married or not, one of the critical components is that people are doing things they don’t want to be doing. They often feel shame even if they’re not betraying anyone, even if they are viewing completely legal pornography, or whatever. So yeah, the addiction definitely lies outside of committed relationships as well. Even for married guys who lose their spouses in the process of discovery, they often quickly seek another partner. Loneliness is a component for many, even if they are surrounded by people, they feel lonely in their secret. Sex addiction is not fun. xo

          Liked by 1 person

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