What it was like for us
Chris' story - a story about love & sex addiction
I got a job, we had 2 children but I wasn’t satisfied, kept flying into rages and living fantasies in my head either about other people or what my wife was up to, which made it difficult to go to work, to save my marriage and job I tried anger management classes which didn’t really help.
I became very depressed, started taking more and more time off work feeling guilty, ashamed, convinced my wife didn’t love me, no-one could love me enough. I saw a counsellor for 2 years for my depression but I couldn’t or wouldn’t tell her my darkest thoughts and behaviour. She seemed to know I was holding back and when she got too close by describing addictive behaviour I left counselling.
I couldn’t stop my need for love and sex in other places
I went back to her when I thought I had hit rock bottom even though now looking back I still had a long way to go. I had been caught out by my wife seeing an obviously sexy text message on my phone to someone I had been seeing. I was terrified, wanted to keep my family, my job and yet I couldn’t stop my need for love and sex in other places. I finally told my counsellor that I had been cruising gay streets and visiting gay bars for years. I was in a small community where I could have been found out at any time, dangerous areas of the city and strange sometimes violent men, (one time I was beaten and mugged by a guy, but made up a story for my wife), but I was oblivious to the danger I needed that buzz.
I told all this to my counsellor the whole sordid truth of my life for the first time, she didn’t judge me….
Once found out and convincing my wife I was OK I turned to internet sites and chat rooms (my wife didn’t use the internet). I would stay up all night miss work and the anger, guilt, shame and depression was overwhelming. I met a college student on one site and we began seeing each other. I fell in love and became obsessed by him, constantly mailing, texting and following him to college. The old buzz was there at the start but I became more and more agitated, missing work again and fighting at home. I never felt loved enough and the more I hassled him, the more he pulled away. He told me it was over but I couldn’t accept it. I was in despair. I told all this to my counsellor the whole sordid truth of my life for the first time, she didn’t judge me, offered to help by saying it was the addiction, giving me pamphlets and suggesting I go back to AA as there was no SALA in our country, but really all I wanted was to keep my family and job and my ‘other life’.
I raged at the Dr because I found she was supporting my wife.
I wanted someone to talk to my wife. I thought if my wife knew I was seeking help she would forgive me and leave me alone. My wife told me to leave the house but I wouldn’t go. I threatened suicide and I wanted to die, all the time I was raging, lost angry confused, why wouldn’t people do what I wanted, why didn’t my counsellor fix it instead of suggesting I admit defeat and that I couldn’t control myself or others, suggesting AA again when I wasn’t even drinking? I didn’t understand what enabling meant. I just wanted the pain to go away. The G.P prescribed more anti-depressants but my wife left and went to her mother’s with my kids. I raged at the Dr because I found she was supporting my wife. I shouted at my counsellor that I wasn’t going to change and didn’t want to and left counselling again.
Eventually there were no highs only lows that got worse…
I was alone in complete despair and when I rang my counsellor she gave me the number of a treatment centre that helped sex and love addicts. I went back to AA first and it was to try and get my wife back but gradually I began to see how my addictions had always caused me problems. First alcohol then obsessive love and sex, all my behaviours were obsessive and out of control, I thought I could control them but I couldn’t and eventually there were no highs only lows that got worse. I don’t know if I am gay or a sex addict or love too much. I was always living in a fantasy world where there was no room in my head for myself and the fantasies, no real relationships or thought for others.
I don’t know what happy is. I thought I did with the thrill of secret meetings for sex in alleys or clubs or a new boyfriend…
I am thinking of going into the treatment centre but I am very frightened. I can’t die but I can’t live like this. I blamed my father, the Catholic Church, my family, my boyfriends, everyone, but I am alone now with myself. I don’t know if my wife will have me back or if treatment will work. I only know nothing else worked and there are other people who have recovered and been happy. I don’t know what happy is. I thought I did with the thrill of secret meetings for sex in alleys or clubs or a new boyfriend, but the build up and the fantasy were the buzz, the reality was ending up full of shame and guilt, loneliness, despair, it is amazing I wasn’t killed or gave my wife a disease and yet I was always left wanting more but hating myself for it.
I have found online sharing with other SALA’s helps…..
There is hope knowing that I have an illness and that there is a way of arresting it one day at a time with help from others who have felt and done things like me, been to those dark places I thought only I had been but don’t have to anymore. I have found online sharing with other SALA’s and I am waiting for a place in treatment. I am beginning to find reasons to live. I was on my knees in despair asking for help and somehow, all the time, it was there.
You can contact SALA on 07748050456