Telling Your Whole Story in Spite of its Stigma
I'm sitting at a retreat and just finished listening to an amazing speaker who has a very long story of recovery from addiction. One aspect of his workshop was about helping others by sharing your own story of addiction.
So here is mine.
Man, I don't know where to start..........
And - that was as far as I got. That hesitancy about not knowing how to start continued, then the idea got buried. The retreat was in October 2022 and I'm just now getting back to finishing it in March 2023.
If you read my "No Longer Afraid" posts, you'll have much more context on why I'm suddenly brave enough to share this part of my story. However, reading them isn't necessary for this post.
Here I go...
Yeah, I can do this...
Maybe I'm still a little nervous about it...
Here I really go...
It's only four little words - Tracy, you can do this!
Okay... I'm a sex addict.
There, I said it.
Of all of the addictions, I feel that sex addiction is the one connected with the most stigma. Think about it - a man can get up in front of a large congregation in a conservative church and say he was sober from alcohol or drugs and he'll get applause and support.
Not so with sex addiction. I've been "sober" for almost 5 years now and I would never imagine being able to share it with a big group. (Great... those could be famous last words, as I can see God taking them and then leading me to share this part of my story with a big group. Only time will tell.)
I do want to clarify before you start thinking the worst... I was addicted to pornography. It never got to the point of acting out (as we sex addicts call it) with another person or doing something illegal.
One disclaimer - though I don't believe that porn is morally right, I'm not saying that those who watch porn are necessarily sex addicts. It's just like there are plenty of people who drink who aren't alcoholics. It's the compulsion to do the activity in spite of consequences that defines being an addict.
But the thing about addiction is that it's a slippery slope and once you start that slide, it's almost impossible to stop. Many of those in my 12-Step group started with porn and it led to worse and worse things. Some have even spent years in prison for what they ended up doing.
The thing is, I love those people in my group, even the ones who have done some really horrible things. They messed up and every single one of us who attend have had consequences, some major.
All of us became different once we worked the 12-Step program and continued attending meetings. We don't judge each other for what we've done (since we rarely share specifics, any person attending could have done some really bad stuff). We all know that even if we didn't get that far within our addiction, it could have easily happened to us.