What Addicts Really Want

On kink and casual sex sites it’s common to see terms like “cock worship” and “pussy worship” bandied about. I never quite understood exactly what these terms meant, but my best guess is amazing head delivered by someone who cannot get enough of the receiver’s genitals. While not everyone on these sites is a sex addict, many of them are. I’ll go out on a limb and say I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about worshipping genitals who wasn’t an active sex addict (sorry if I’m offending any non-addict genital worshipers who will undoubtably find their way here after googling “cock worship” and/ or “pussy worship”).

It’s interesting that worship, a term which literally means reverence or devotion to a deity i.e., a higher power, is used in this context. I picture religious pilgrims knelt down in prayer between a stranger’s legs. Why not say “I’m into cock adoration” or “pussy devotion,” or maybe, “I want to venerate your genitals”? These words all have the same meaning as “worship,” without the spiritual element.

I was never into worshiping sex parts, but this reminds me of other behavior I did have. When I was active in my love addiction, I spent most of my free time looking for that perfect partner. I thought once I found the man who would take care of me and make me feel whole, then I could start living my life. Having this man in my life seemed almost as essential as oxygen. Once I found him, then I could work on my career, my finances, my writing, and all my other hopes and dreams. I didn’t realize it then, but what I was really looking for was my Higher Power.

Similarly, on the BDSM sites I used to frequent I was quite literally looking for a man that I could turn my will and my life over to, which is basically Step 3. Except instead of making a decision to turn their will and life over to a dominant, 12-steppers turn it over to the care of a Higher Power.

This all seems so obvious to me now. The whole time I thought I was searching for an amazing lover I could lose myself in, who would take away all my pain; a boyfriend that would save me from myself and make life tolerable; and a dominant who would take over and make all my decisions for me; I was actually looking for a Higher Power.

I don’t presume to speak for all addicts, but it seems like this could be a major component in most addictions. We’re trying to fill a God-sized hole with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, men, whatever we can find. It’s an impossible task. There will never be enough of anything to fill that hole. Note: I don’t think Higher Power and God have to be synonymous. For me, they are, but I know many atheists and agnostics in 12 steps who put their faith in a non-god higher power—nature, for example.

The more work I do on my recovery, the greater my relationship with my Higher Power becomes. And with that relationship comes hope, peace, and serenity, and everything else I thought I would gain once I found the perfect man.

Acceptance is the Answer

From page 417 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.

Straddling the Line

I try to stay fairly positive on this blog. One of the reasons I started it was to give hope to other sex and love addicts still suffering in their addictions. I have been having a hard time the last couple of months, though. I slipped up a bunch in December. Since then I have been more or less sticking to my bottom-lines. There is a big difference between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and I’ve only been doing the former, finding sneaky ways to act out without breaking my bottom lines.

I met Carson at the end of December. In The Downward Spiral, I mentioned that I was going to meet someone off of Craigslist. I did meet him. Like me, he’s the typical person you’ll meet on Craigslist: damaged. We have a lot in common, actually. Carson is attractive, and talented; but going through a hard time. He recently lost his job, he’s broke, he just got a DUI, and he’s extremely depressed. If it wasn’t for SLAA, I would have had sex with Carson that night. Instead I just listened to his sad story.

After our initial meeting, we had some flirty texts and phone conversations until I felt guilty about leading him on and told him I was in SLAA. I also told him I couldn’t have sex outside of a committed relationship. Carson, who really is a good guy, understood and we started a platonic (ish) friendship. Which would be fine, except that Carson is an unavailable male and unavailable men are my drug of choice. I’ve been using Carson.

I keep trying to see how far I can push things with him. Then I get mad when he respects the boundaries I had previously put forth. I keep twisting his words around, using them to play out this sick narrative I’ve had in my head since childhood: I’m the girl that nobody wants. In my head, Carson (who has completely valid, healthy reasons for not wanting a relationship) doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me, because no one ever would want to be in a relationship with me.

The thing that is surprising to me about this “friendship” is that there is the same exact dynamic going on that was present in all of my previous love addicted relationships. I would choose men who were clearly unavailable for a longterm relationship, start a casual sexual relationship with them and then get hurt when they didn’t want a longterm relationship with me. I thought taking sex out of the equation would magically change all of this, but apparently that’s not how it works.

Friday I was working near Carson’s apartment (I work in different locations everyday) so I stopped by for a drink after work. I was more than sufficiently buzzed after two beers (they were strong), but had a third. Carson also appeared to be buzzed after two beers, but kept drinking…. and drinking, and drinking. I had previously suspected that Carson might have a drinking problem, but Friday confirmed it.

His intoxication was not attractive. I wanted to leave, but I needed to sober up before I could drive. At one point I was laying across Carson’s couch, and he came up behind me and swatted my ass. This spanking was the closest I’ve come to sexual activity in eight months and it really turned me on. At the same time, I was repulsed by how drunk he was. When I stood up, I let him push me up against the wall and spank me a few more times. But I pushed his hands away when they tried to go down my pants and up my shirt.

If he had been less intoxicated, I know I would have let Carson fuck me, but instead I found him gross and out of control. When, barely able to stand up, he slurred, “Let’s go get a bottle of wine,” I knew it was time to leave.

I’ve been straddling the line between acting out and recovery since December. I am not having sex with anyone, but I’m also not doing step work. There has been no forward motion in my recovery, or my life.

There is another inappropriate relationship I’m engaged in as well. I reestablished a friendship with my ex-Dom Anthony. I have started to write about Anthony at least half a dozen times on here, but there is so much complicated backstory I don’t even know where to begin.

Yesterday I was talking to my sponsor and she said that I am making Anthony my higher power. She’s right. She also said that both Carson and Anthony need to go on my bottom lines list. She’s also right about that, but I don’t want to deal with adding more qualifiers to my no contact list. One is hard enough already. I told her I wasn’t willing to cut off contact with Anthony and Carson at this point, but I would pray for willingness.

I’m also struggling with food. I don’t want to do anything right now but eat, or act out. At some point I know I am probably going to end up in Overeaters Anonymous, but I feel like I have to get my SLAA issues under control before I add another 12-step program to the mix.

For today, I’m praying for willingness — willingness to stop stuffing my face; willingness to stop doing whatever it is I’m doing with Carson; willingness to stop my dependency on Anthony; willingness to start Step 4; willingness to get out of bed; willingness to clean my apartment; willingness to find a better job; willingness to become a healthy person.

Everyone Else’s Problems: Solved

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon trying to convince a recovery friend not to see her qualifier who had called her out of the blue, for sex, after four months. I was shocked, and frankly a little pissed, that she was even contemplating seeing this asshole after all the shit he had put her though. Why couldn’t she see what a horrible, horrible idea it was to see this guy again? At the same time, though, I am so close to the edge of the cliff that is my sobriety. I want to contact my qualifier so bad right now. He’s married. He’s a sex addict. He lied to you about everything. There is no possible future with this man. I need to keep repeating those lines to myself like a mantra.

When it comes to everyone else’s shitty love life, it’s always so clear what to do. Stop sleeping with the guy who is just using you for sex. Problem solved. Stop calling the guy who keeps telling you it’s over. All better, now. Don’t get back together with the man who physically abused you. Done and done. Stop having sex with people you just met. Check. Stop lying to everyone you have sex with. Fixed. See, it’s so easy. But when it comes to my own history of terrible relationships, it’s always been impossible to see the way out. I’m so scared of what my life will be if I go back to HC or find someone else just like him. That’s what’s keeping me from calling him. I know people in program who are 10, 20, even 30 years older than me who have spent their lives going from one unavailable sex partner to another, using people and being used. I can’t take a lifetime, or even one more year of acting out. I can’t jump back into the cycle, and I can’t go through withdrawal again.

I’ve been white knuckling my sobriety lately, but neglecting many other areas of my life. Even the word “sobriety” sounds ridiculous considering the amount of wine, pot, and junk food I’ve been putting away. I could probably qualify for at least half-a-dozen other 12 Step programs. If I was someone else, I would tell myself, “Instead of coming home after work, plopping down in front of the tv with a glass of wine and some starchy food; you should go to a meeting, or the gym, or yoga.” But, since I’m me, I tell myself, “Don’t worry. You can do all that stuff tomorrow. Have another glass of wine and some more mashed potatoes.”

Connections

There are two types of SLAA meetings I attend. On the weekends I go to one or two in-person meetings. During the week, the in-person meetings are harder for me to catch. They either happen while I’m at work or later in the evening while I am in yoga class (or lately, while I am home watching tv and drinking a glass of wine, too lazy to leave my apartment). So, during the week, I call in to some phone meetings.

While, ultimately, I think the in-person meetings are where I am going to find the most recovery; the phone meetings have really helped me. I’ve made a lot of connections and friendships with women all over the country. I even met my sponsor on a phone meeting.

It’s been harder for me to make connections at in-person meetings. I have made some, but not as many or as deep as the ones I’ve made on the phone. I think the difference is that on the phone meetings, I can’t see anyone and so I’m forced to actually get to know someone based on the content of their character, and not their appearance. I went to a meeting yesterday and I noticed that I am still judging people by their outsides, and not their insides.

For example, there is a man who I see at most of the meetings I go to. Honestly, we have a lot in common — similar profession, similar stories, similar acting out patterns — but I never do more than say hi to him; because, quite frankly, I’m not attracted to him. There is an older lady that says a lot of things that I can relate to and had a relationship with her qualifier that seems pretty similar to the relationship I had with mine. I never give her more than a polite smile though, because she always has lipstick on her teeth and she seems a little bit loopy. It’s not like I’m rude to these people. If they initiate conversation with me, I always reciprocate, but I’m not seeking them out after the meeting to tell them I liked their shares.

The men and women I initiate conversations with are people I find attractive or cool in someway. How fucked up is that?  I’m in this recovery program for sex and love addiction, and I’m essentially only talking to people I want to date/fuck or to people who I think could probably help me meet people I’d like to date/fuck. Obviously I’m not doing this consciously. I’m not currently looking to date/fuck anyone, and when I am ready to look, I’m not going to be looking in the SLAA rooms.

I really need to get out of this habit of judging people by anything less than the content of their character. I’m sure I am missing out on a lot of great friendships and recovery partnerships. Also, it’s not like I’m this flawless, put-together picture-of-perfection myself; far fucking from it. If everyone was as judgmental and as shallow as me, probably no one would ever talk to me.

Tonight, I am going to another meeting and I am going to talk to whoever sits down next to me, regardless of what they look like.

I Used to Think…

I’ve really got a lot going for me… compared to the other women with profiles on collarme. I’m really attractive… compared to the other women posting for casual sex on craigslist. Whether it was true or not, I’m not sure. I do know that on the fetish sites and casual sex sites, I got a lot of attention and dated a lot of “quality” (by superficial standards) men. I was involved with doctors, lawyers, high-powered executives, professionals in the entertainment industry, and men that were way better-looking than me. When I would post profiles on “vanilla” sites or sites that didn’t have a fetish focus, I got much less attention. The same went for meeting men in the real world; without the help of an internet profile.

I wonder what it will be like dating again, as an average looking (or maybe even below-average looking, depending on who is doing the looking) woman, when I only have my own (not so impressive) merits to stand on? Just the fact that I am contemplating this question tells me that I am no where near ready to start dating again.

***

After I wrote the paragraphs above, I went to a meeting and the speaker talked about his identity. It was a compelling and powerful share. He talked about how hard it was for him to discover his own identity apart from his addictions and the labels that he and society has put on himself. It made me think about what I had just written and about how I look at myself and other people. When I strip away everything I labeled myself with in the past, who am I if I’m not a submissive, a kinkster, a slut, a good girl? I’m a sex and love addict, I’m a woman, I’m a writer, I’m my profession. But who am I, really? If I strip away the addictions, the obsessions, the past mistakes, the tragic childhood, my career, my looks; what’s left? Who is Imperfect at the core?

My first year in college, I lived in the dorms. The first night when everyone moved in, we had a floor meeting. We did this icebreaker exercise where you have to introduce yourself by sharing one thing about yourself that people couldn’t tell by looking at you. I hate shit like this. My mind was blank. All I could think to say was, “I’m Imperfect, and I have a boyfriend.” LAME! How was it that I couldn’t think of one fucking thing to share about myself other than “I have a boyfriend?” I had no way of identifying myself in the past without the guy I was with, the guy I wanted to be with, or my sexual proclivities.

For the speaker at my meeting today, he realized that the only way he could honestly identify himself was with his higher power. At his core, he is a child of God. I know I’m a child of God too, and that we all are. But my spiritual practice isn’t there, yet. Knowing it and feeling it are two different things. The spiritual aspect of this twelve-step program is something I’ve struggled with. I believe in God, but I’ve never quite truly felt connected to God. Right now, in my recovery, I think this is where my focus needs to be.

An Animal Attempting to Become a Spiritual Being

Today, I wanted hump pretty much every man who crossed my path. There was my new landlord who answered the door shirtless (not even a pretty sight) when I went to drop off some stuff at my new place; the tall, thuggish looking dude at Rite Aid who I swear grabbed his crotch when he looked at me; the tall meathead guy who pulled up next to me at the grocery store in a freaking Trans Am (do they even still make those?) and got out wearing way too short shorts; the swarthy parking lot attendant, who actually was pretty hot… for a parking lot attendant. I mean, seriously? What the hell is wrong with me? I don’t actually want to fuck any of these highly inappropriate people. Is this what happens when I go nearly 5 months without sex?

I know this has to do with stress. I’m juggling several high-pressure situations right now. And this is how I deal. I’m an animal. All I can think about is indulging my basest instincts and losing myself in the release of sexual oblivion.

My sponsor finally cleared me to move on to Step 4, but have to keep reminding myself to follow Step 3, which is made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of my higher power. I wish I could just make this decision once and be done with it, but I have to keep making it several times a day, or at least reminding myself that I already made it.

I want to be a spiritual being. I want to be lead by a power greater than myself, but apparently it doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to constantly remind myself who is in charge. It’s not me, not my cunt, not my animal instincts, not the bottomless pit of neediness I’ve had inside since childhood. It’s God. My life and my will are now in the care of God. And thank God for that.