My first memories are of fear, resentment and separation. Lust first came on the scene when I was four, my mother moved with us to a foreign country without my father. During my first few months in this new place I was sexually abused by kids several years older than myself. I was terrified anybody would find out, I was sure it was my fault and I feel guilty for enjoying the physical aspect and all attention.
We moved again and the abuse stopped, I blacked out what happened but it left something behind. When playing with dolls I would undress them and have them kiss, I would intentionally play with my underwear in a way that provided physical stimulation. I primarily did this when agitated or afraid. Already then as a 5 year old it calmed me and helped me face the world. This progressed to fantasizing about what teachers would do with their spouses when they were home alone, what would the prince and princess do together ect.
When I was a little older I went to a bat mitzvah Workshop, in which they mentioned in passing that it is normal to start touching ourselves and not to worry about it. Naturally the first thing I did when getting home was to seclude myself in my room, touching myself for several hours. I remember the first time I managed to climax, I started chasing that high and sense of relief.
I started fantasizing for hours upon hours trying to escape things in my life I couldn’t cope with. I started looking up pictures of nude women and then going to act out, not feeling good after these episodes I told myself it was because I was looking at pictures of women and not men. If I could be sexually attracted to men I want to feel this way, and so I tried forcibly to be attracted to men. Me being the good sexholic that I am, I managed to be attracted to men as well. I found the solution to getting my fix without feeling guilty afterwards but it wasn’t enough.
So I started looking online for something, I didn’t know what to call it but I was sure that I would know it when I saw it. During this time my brother was sexually abused, and as a result there came up in my family a discussion about pornography. Instead of showing compassion for my brother I was off, consuming pornography. It fascinated and grossed me out at the same time, I told myself I would stop after that first time, but I went back time and time again.
I temporarily dropped out of high school at the beginning of 11th grade, when I went back after a few months I enrolled in a school for dropouts and druggies. During this time I intentionally avoided all interaction with men aside for my family members. I didn’t want to have sex before marriage and I was sure that if I was in contact with guys we’d end up sleeping together. I thought I could control my lust, but I just ended up lusting after all the girls in school. I felt cut off and alone all the time, I compensated with more acting out.
At the end of high school I heard for the first time about 12-step fellowships from a true friend who was attending a teen meeting for anons. I started coming to that meeting and working the steps with a sponsor. One of her assignments was a daily powerless and gratitude list, I started thinking I might have a problem. Every single day pornography and masturbation was on the list of things I was powerless over. I convinced myself I was overreacting. But the more difficult emotions came up as a result of working the steps the more I act it out.
This brought me to a point where I was in contact with a guy who was 26 while I was 18. Depending on the day I either wanted to cut ties all thought or he was going to solve all my emotional problems if he just would lust after me enough. This ended up with me spending the night with him and acting out. I very vividly remember desperately telling myself not to take the right turn to his place pleading with myself to turn left. I felt terrible after the fact, this didn’t stop me from obsessing the very next day about him.
I got in contact with a woman that I knew from my other Fellowship who also is a member of SA. I started to think I might be a sexaholic, before talking to her I didn’t realize that the disease could be just acting out with myself. I thought you needed to be a pedophile, a rapist or have ban to a prostitute.
Despite relating to almost everything she said, even though I admitted I had a problem I still thought I could control and enjoy my lust. It took; bleeding as a result of acting out, sexual fantasies about children, constant fear I would sexually abused someone, fantasies about animals, promising myself that I would stop only to find myself acting out less than 24 hours later and 6 months for me to come to a meeting. It took another month and a half to surrender to the sobriety definition without forgivings or manipulation. I found a sponsor, called him everyday on time and did everything he told me to do. I worked all 12 steps with him over the course of a year and three months. It wasn’t always smooth sailing but I’m grateful to say that my higher power has kept me sober since the 10th of October 2018.
Several things that were important for me coming into SA as 19 year old girl.
- Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. There’s no reason a man has to share with you, especially if he’s not sober. When I came in there was not a lot of female recovery in my country and so I had a male sponsor and talked to male members. This being said I took a sponsor whos disease was primarily towards men, I did not talk to members with under a year of sobriety and my sponsors recommendation,with the exception of service work.
- Fellowship. I cannot do this alone, however I need to stick to the winners. This doesn’t necessarily mean women who were sober for a very long time, but it was important for me to be in daily contact with people working the steps and who realized that are problem was lust and not different forms of acting out. sometimes this moment choosing to limit or entirely cut off contact with certain women.
- Service. I took a service commitment my very first meeting. I continued to take service positions in the meeting I attended regularly. Eventually including comedy work on Intergroup and Regional level.
- Have a home group. In the last year-and-a-half I’ve had the same Home Group, I want what the members there have, I respect the spiritual Journeys they’re making. I feel comfortable and safe they’re even when I’m alone or only with one other woman and 50 man. Group members have encouraged me to deepen my recovery, go to step workshops, International conferences, fellowship before or after the meeting, service work etc.
- And of course this goes without saying, work the steps! Work the steps with a sponsor who has what you want, who has a sponsor himself and has done the steps. This program does not work if you don’t work it.
Mazal E., Jerusalem, Israel