A few weeks ago I broke the one bottom-line that I’d kept for nearly eight months — no sexual activity outside of a committed relationship. I did this with my friend Carson. Carson is a good man, but so lost in his own untreated addictions that he’s not a suitable partner.

I’m not sure how to even write about this. Maybe I shouldn’t even be writing about it at all, yet. I want to write, “I am recovering from a relapse,” but a more accurate statement would probably be, “I am attempting to recover from a relapse.”

I’m still committed to SLAA, the program of recovery I’ve been a member of for the past nine months. I’m still going to meetings, going to fellowship, talking with my sponsor, working the steps, and still doing top-line behaviors every day. According to this program, “The only requirement for SLAA membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction.” I still have this desire, now more than ever, yet the words attributed to St. Augustine keep coming to mind, “Dear God, grant me chastity and continence… but not yet.”

I know how pointless it is to look for solace and salvation in the arms of a lover, particularly this lover. I know, but I still want.

14 comments on “Relapse

  1. Gillian Colbert says:

    Be kind to yourself … it’s a process.

  2. After my latest sexploit, when my therapist confronted me about having an addiction, she related my behavior to that of an alcoholic or drug addict in order to help me understand the addiction. It’s easier to apply concepts of addiction to substance abuse, but it’s not as obvious when talking about a “natural” and complex human behavior like love and sex.  She challenged my excuses and explanations by using the example of an alcoholic, saying, “So is it OK if I only get really drunk once a month, and I’m only an hour late to work the next day, and my boss is fine with it.” I knew what she was getting at, but I thought about the question as an honest one. I’m not sure if I really understand addiction, or maybe the truth is that there’s no one right answer, because I sort of thought, “Well, yeah it’s not ideal, but if it really is only once a month….”

    Truthfully, I hardly know anything about addiction or SSLA, but I really don’t think there’s one right answer to what it means to “relapse”, what “sobriaty” is, and what the consequences really are for your behavior. I think back to your post, “I Wish I Could”. Are you becoming obsessive, clingy, and needy? You said you’re keeping up with your top lines, so you are making room for healthy pursuits. Are you staying up all night scouring the internet? Are you in any dangerous situations?

    I’m not trying to give you ‘permission’ to be with Carson if none of these things are happening. But it’s worth thinking about, what is wrong with being with Carson? Why is, “No sex outside of a committed relationship” one of your bottom lies? That you’re getting emotional support from an unhealthy male, when you should be working on supporting yourself? That it’s a slippery slope to more addictive behavior? I was also wondering, after you’re with Carson, do you feel satisfied for a while?

    In my experience, it’s especially difficult when I’m doing my “top lines” and I still feel such a yearning. OK, so I haven’t actually sat down to write top lines, what I mean by “top lines” is everything I can think of to keep myself healthy and happy, that time allows. My desire feels so strong sometimes I feel like I’ll explode. Is a person supposed to do with such a yearning?

    I have a totally unrelated question now- have you ever read Dear Sugar? I like reading her column, I think you’d like it too.

  3. Jim says:

    Keep coming back! Great post. Look at your recovery IN TOTAL… not just one day, one week, one month, etc…

  4. Friend says:

    If it was that easy it wouldn’t be worth the journey you set out on 8 months ago. One bad decision does not take away from the work you have been doing for the past months, it’s the decisions that you continue to make from today on that are important

  5. I really hope you don’t beat yourself up too much over this; you have come so far and a slip or two doesn’t erase all the progress you’ve made. Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start. I don’t consider myself to be a sex addict but I have certainly had sex for the sake of having sex and felt shitty about it the next day; hell at the time!

    Alcoholics go to AA because they have a drinking problem, if they didn’t have a problem they wouldn’t need AA, a person joins a gym ti get in shape; they are defeating the purpose if they don’t go to the gym until they are in shape. If you didn’t have issues with sex you wouldn’t be going to SLAA. All I’m trying to say is; you are human, you think you made a mistake, forgive yourself and carry on.

    I still think you are doing really well!

  6. castimonia says:

    Progress, not perfection. I do hope, however, that you are dealing with the thoughts, emotions, and spiritual side of your addiction not just the behaviors (acting out). This can be done with a therapist specializing in sexual addictions and other intimacy disorders. Good luck!

    • Imperfect says:

      Thank you Castimonia. I am part of a recovery program, SLAA, where I get help with the emotional and spiritual side of the addiction. I’m not currently in therapy, but was for about eight years.

  7. yasipoo says:

    I find my self currently in a similar boat – I pray we both find our path!

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