My name is Matteo and I’m a recovering sexaholic. Throughout my adolescence I was progessively consumed by same-sex behaviours and fantasies. I thought that the problem was being attracted to men. Acting out for 17 years shaped my whole thinking. “I was restless, irritable and discontented”. SA told me that actually the root was lust, and this was music to my ears. I began to detach from the lust one day at a time and stopped carrying around my wound as a trophy.
I commenced living on a new clock: 24 hours. It was a totally new lifestyle! I can be focused on today and surrender my anxiety for tomorrow and my regrets from the past to other fellows or to the God of my own understanding. This was cool! I had spent so much time being disconnected from everybody I was talking to and from everything I was doing.
None of the psychotherapists I went to or my church experiences could give me the serenity I sought. “I wanted to stay in charge. That’s why God and thus, healing could never get to me”.
In August 2019, I attended my first SA meeting but didn’t hit my bottom until three months later while on a journey abroad. Traveling has always been a way to feel unleashed and act out which I couldn’t do where I lived, since I felt too much shame should I be discovered.
The people I hooked up with in that last trip were probably sexaholics like me, and also drug addicts. I realized my addiction would end in complete disaster.
My life had become completely unmanageable and I had no boundaries left. My brain was in other people’s bodies and my fantasies ruled me. I needed to act out anytime my compulsion was there. Although it decreased in terms of frequency over the years, it never disappeared.
Today I am 29 and I am still a love cripple. Although I’ve never been in a relationship and I am looking forward to it, after almost 9 months of sobriety I am starting to experience true freedom, comfort and connection in all parts of my life. I spend on average a few hours on the phone every day, speaking with fellows and attending meetings.
It broadens my mind to attend any meeting, even if it’s on zoom. The anxiety to speak is decreasing but I am still affected by my perfectionism sometimes, for example speaking correct English in international meetings. Thanks to our program, meetings are the perfect place to get new phone numbers and find someone else I can rely on to help me work the programme. Sometimes I get triggered by people in the meetings, connecting with them and working the steps together makes it almost always disappear, thankfully.
God. “It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more than that to start the new path. However, I was very much disillusioned by the many years I had been going to spiritual retreats and different church groups. My God was not healing me. So who was I praying to? My memory is still foggy. For me sobriety began when I let God enter my addiction during crisis and the only solution was continuing, telling myself “This too shall pass” or “This experience, too, can be transformed into a benefit”. Then I went promptly down on my knees admitting my powerlessness to God or to a fellow on the phone.
Thank God a new era has begun for me, but it is still one day at a time. It’s funny now opening and looking at the list of my personal character defects: egocentrism, self pity, jealousy, envy, judgment, expectations, victim hood , moodiness, resentfulness, impatience, procrastination, greediness, always needing to feel good, moody, need of approval and I recently added narcissism. Beforehand I thought I was ok and that only others had to change, but there I was and still am with my own stuff: physically abstinent but emotionally not yet free.
One thing that helps me is to bring all of those character defects to the light, calling “up to ten times” until somebody answers and saying “I was full of self-pity. I want to surrender it” And the same with fear? That also crops up often. And I make another call.
Perfectionism. As a performer I grew up not allowing myself to make any mistake and that consumed me. Judging myself and judging others soon became my norm. Acceptance is the asset which is out there, waiting for me to long for, wish for and ask for. The opportunity to ask God for character assets, opens a new attitude of joyfulness, happiness and freedom for me.
But how to do that since I have this constant need to feel bad? I practice acts of loving kindness to myself and others. Lusting helped me form a hard to beat habit, the need to always beat myself up. Now there are days where I feel happy, joyous and free but even then I may experience some thing or some person who can trigger my compulsive need to feel bad. It’s difficult to reshape that and I can only work the programme one day at a time, surrender it and pray for the opposite
What is encouraging for me now is the opportunity to serve others. And that is something that I’ve always wanted deep inside of me. I’ve always had a healthy desire for other people to be happy.
Now I realize happiness can be an attitude of doing things even when I don’t want to do them. It’s turning my judgmental attitude into acceptance, love and service.
I’ve been asking God for so long to heal me and to be able to serve Him. Sexaholics anonymous allows me to share strength and hope to those who are committed to living a lust-free life, and at the same time they get to be service to me, always ready to answer my next call, hear my next failure and celebrate my next victory over lust.
Matteo P., Italy