Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Journal: Twenty Questions

I have begun my journey in working through the SA White Book.  I'm so anxious to learn I can hardly stand it.  I have thought a lot about where to journal what I learn, whether it be physically writing in a journal, a compilation of word documents, or an entire other blog.  I have settled here, though.  I want to keep everything centralized, and ultimately, this blog is my journey and my experience with SA is part of that journey.

I admit, I'm a bit nervous to share here.  It will require me to be super vulnerable.  I do feel I have achieved deep vulnerability already, but this comes from a different angle.  Like, I've been chopping the tree on one side for quite a lot of time and have a huge healthy chunk carved out, but now it is time to move around to the other side and start chopping from there.

I am practiced at chopping, but I am still starting over in a sense.

So here goes...

In the preface of the White Book there is a list of Twenty Questions; questions that help readers identify not only if they are addicted, but different facets of sexual addiction.  I am going to answer them here:

*Some of these questions do not really apply to me, meaning I will answer 'no,' however, I want to list them here so anyone reading has the list in its entirety

  1. Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking and behavior?
    • Yes - all the time.
  2. That you'd be better off if you didn't keep 'giving in?'
    • Yes - I long for freedom.
  3. That sex or stimuli are controlling you?
    • Yes - I definitely feel controlled. Mostly by my thoughts these days, which is currently the primary focus of my battles.
  4. Have you ever tried to stop or limit doing what you felt was wrong in your sexual behavior?
    • Yes - many times. It is a dreaded cycle.
  5. Do you resort to sex to escape, relieve anxiety, or because you can't cope?
    • I don't feel my use is due to relieving anxiety but more to escape.  In reflecting on this question I can confidently say that I am 1000% times more present than I was when I was active in my addiction.  Most of the time I get in trouble these days is when I am bored.  It is a double edge for me, because I rarely have downtime, but when I do I can't seem to just relax and enjoy just being.  My thoughts inevitably begin to wander and if I let them go unbridled for too long I really get into trouble.
  6. Do you feel guilt, remorse, or depression afterward?
    • YES!!! And SHAME!!
  7. Has your pursuit of sex become more compulsive?
    • When I was active in my addiction it definitely progressed from always wanting more more more...
  8. Does it interfere with relations with your spouse?
    • Yes.  I think I can safely say that we both struggle in this aspect.  I cannot be connected if I am selfishly looking for my own fix.  It is really easy to justify getting that fix from my husband because it is'legal' in the eyes of God (not true - just my rationalization).  What I strive to pay attention to are my feelings.  Often, shame for my actions-even premeditated motives-begin to seep in right at the onset of the thought.  If shame is present, then I am not in a healthy place.  I have previously blogged about it here.
  9. Do you have to resort to images or memories during sex?
    • Yes, this is something I struggle with off and on.  
  10. Does an irresistible impulse arise when the other party makes the overtures or sex is offered?
    • This is something I have previously experienced but I don't feel I do now.  I don't allow myself to be in a position for this situation to even manifest.  
  11. Do you keep going from one relationship or lover to another?
    • Not currently, although I did struggle with this quite a bit in my early twenties.  My boyfriend, whom I had lived with for two years, had recently broken up with me.  During my time with him I learned that to receive love I had to give sex.  After we split (I felt like I had severed a limb) I felt starved for companionship, love, attention and connection.  I felt in order to get it I had to have sex.  I didn't feel worthy of any other type of love, or that anyone even would love me any other way.
  12. Do you feel the right relationship would help you stop lusting, masturbating, or being promiscuous?
    • This is a difficult for me.  Meaning, I'm not sure.  I do resort to fantasy at times - not even necessarily sexual fantasy - but just fantasy in general; a whole other world that helps me escape my own.  I don't think that if that world were really mine that I would be free of my struggle.  I think I would end up wanting to escape that reality too, with a different fantasy.  My addict does not seek connection.  It selfishly seeks isolation.  If the connective fantasy I create were real, my addict would not be satisfied and would seek out another that more suits the isolation it craves.
  13. Do you have a destructive need--a desperate sexual or emotional need for someone?
    • Yes.  I have experienced this in the past and I continue to do so at times.  Most of the time this manifests with people in authority.  Older men that I see as father figures.  I have huge abandonment issues and I feel these feelings derive from feeling abandoned.
  14. Does pursuit of sex make you careless for yourself or the welfare of your family or others?
    • My addiction has never put anyone else in physical danger, but it has put me in physical danger; namely risk of STD's.  It has also definitely put the welfare of my family at risk on an emotional and spiritual level.
  15. Has your effectiveness or concentration decreased as sex has become more compulsive?
    • Yes - it has the power to completely steal my attention and very little will bring it back.  I have to really get mad and silently or audibly yell "STOP!!" in order to wake myself from the trance it puts me under.
  16. Do you lose time from work for it?
    • No. I've kept my addiction pretty separate from work.
  17. Do you turn to a loser environment when pursuing sex?
    • I have, yes.  Sadly.  Same time period as previously mentioned.
  18. Do you  want to get away from the sex partner as soon as possible after the act?
    • I have experienced this as well. It happens when I am in addict mode and just want the fix.  During those times I am not interested in love or connection.  The two simply cannot coexist.
  19. Although your spouse is sexually compatible, do you still masturbate or have sex with others?
    • Masturbation has always been a huge branch of my addictive tree, so yes.  It is not about my spouse.  Masturbation, even in the presence of a spouse, is completely selfish.  
  20. Have you ever been arrested for a sex-related offense?
    • No. But, I do humbly recognize that I am susceptible to my addiction leading to such a consequence.  I recognize my disease as progressive.  Eventually, I would have likely moved into more deviant behavior.
In reflecting over these questions I am filled with gratitude.  I am grateful for the ability to be honest about where I have been and where I am now.  That is not to say it is not uncomfortable answering some of the questions, but even so, I have been blessed with the ability to look at myself and practice hard honesty.  I am also grateful that I can express where I am and have no shame for any of it.  It just is what it is.  I desire to recognize where I am so that I can give it to Him and, through His Grace, get better.

I love Him.  So very much.  He is my King, my advocate, my confidant and my crutch.  

I cannot make it with Him.

5 comments:

  1. You are so awesome. I love you and admire you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your honesty continues to inspire me. I can't thank you enough for it because truly, I don't think I could have been honest about my addiction with others if I hadn't found your blog. It's the help I needed, and I didn't even know it. The fact that you can do it without being anonymous is the most impressive part. The fear of being vulnerability is what was holding me back for so long. Just know that your willingness to be vulnerable is helping so many people take courage. I'm quite sure that the Savior is so proud of your willingness to help others while you learn to over come, as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you so much, Michelle! I appreciate your words. I'm grateful my journey has helped you - it makes it all worth it!

      Delete
  3. Holy brutal honesty huh? I'm impressed. And encouraged by your vulnerability. This is awesome!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"