Not Looking Back

The journey of freedom from this long standing addiction is a slow yet steady one. I am making progress, even if it is just one step. Many times, people believe that changes occurs instantaneously and do not want to take the steps for the real transformation to take place.  At my age, I am tired of taking two steps forward then going three steps back because of a mental state that I have unfortunately adopted over these years.

I go back to my teenage years. It was after the discovery of the first Penthouse the emotional triggers began to flare up more and more. First it was the magazine that turned into finding a scrambled cable channel with porn.  13 at the time, I was in a process of self discovery and I did not know being inadvertently exposed to these images would open the door to other behaviors. I compare it to a person that begins to use illegal drugs like marijuana for the first time.

The person uses the drug believing there is no harm. The marijuana becomes a gateway to other activities that they could not imagine would occur after the first try. This is how I felt after viewing the first magazine. My father passed at a young age, my mother did not re-marry so I did not have a male role model at home. Additionally, I am an only child and thus, I would be at home playing video games, outside playing sports or coming up with activities to occupy my time.

I discovered during these years more of “myself” that escalated to constant masturbation and increased sexual urges. I was shy and did not approach girls until high school. During the time, I turned to porn and other images as a way of escape since I would not have to put myself out there to potentially be rejected. The virtual woman on the magazine or videos could be accessed at any point of time.

Fast forward, I understand today how this lust has manifested itself in my relationships. I will write about my relationships later but do know that the process of self reflection is helping to truly get down to some of the deep rooted issues I have for a long time and the courage to address them now.

Why does it always come looking for me

Quite the title for a new blog post. This is how I feel sometimes struggling with sexual addiction. I remember the lyrics from a hip-hop song that said “why does it always come looking for me” being played on the radio in the mid 1990s. It is the itch that you scratch but never goes away.  You put lotion on the dry skin, apply other techniques that temporarily fix the problem but issue re-occurs a month or two later.

This analogy summarizes the battle I have undergone with sexual addiction for years. Through prayer, I am able to calm down the innate desires to engage in physical sexual intercourse or urge to view porn. It calms down for a while, particularly during the moments when I am very busy. I find that being occupied is a good thing for me. It keeps my mind sharp, focused to achieve whatever end goal at mind.

However, a busy schedule can also produce the stress as I previously mentioned in a post that triggers stress which leads to behaviors (eg. excessive drinking) that activate the sexual thoughts. More recently I have found outlets through running and playing basketball with friends as a positive stress reliever. I had to also let negative influences, meaning friends go to begin the process of reversing the cycle. I bear no judgment upon them but understand that “evil” company can corrupt good character. It is a conscious decision I made to have my close circle surrounded with positive, encouraging and motivating people.

One ex-friend in particular I met over 5 years ago in an organization that I am actively involved in. He is a successful entrepreneur at a young age but very promiscuous. I saw the nice women, good parties and fun times that he had which I wanted to emulate. Partly, it was because of my past as a teenage and young adult where I wasn’t seen as the popular guy. Most girls at the time saw me as the “nice guy,” and I wanted to play like the bad boys too. My ego and pride coupled with stress at work led me down the path of hanging out with him, engaging in activities with women I had no business with.

Most times I felt guilty afterward coming home from long nights of partying, occasional sexual activity. It was during this period I became involved more with a church in my hometown that began to feed me spiritually. I grew up in church until early teenage years and left for no particular reason. The new church home felt like a place where my past would not be judged and provided a new life in Christ to do better.

I still struggled during this time but kept my mess outside the congregation. I don’t come to church to pick up women or pimp as unfortunately I know occurs that pushes some away from organized religion. I came for healing, restoration and freedom. Despite my failings, the teachings from the Pastor and spiritual environment has matured me to a point now where I am seeking the support from a counselor but also in prayer for greater wisdom and understanding to deal with the situation.

The Struggle

The other night I decided to go out after a long day. The demands of graduate school, running an organization along with an internship can sometimes be stressful. I had a productive yet busy day and said to myself “hey, why not go out for a few.” The weather where I live has been an adventure to say the least. Feeling a portion of warmth makes me with the other million or more people want to jump for joy and take advantage of every single minute of non below zero temperatures.

I went to a local club that I have supported for years. It is a “Cheers” like environment where everyone knows your name. I know a bar staff member well. In the past, I go in after work or a long day of meetings & conference calls to drink excessively (three or more drinks). It was a way to release after a hectic day and socialize with friends or associates that I met over the years. I find as the night progressed, the thoughts of sexuality inpurity would heighten as my social inhibition lowered due to the increased alcohol content.

Most instances the thoughts were just that, thoughts with no action occurring. However, in the past year and half, due to a stressful job combined with leading a large non-profit, managing a relationship and my self, the thoughts manifested to sexual activity. I engage with individuals that I met at the lounge or through an online site. The more stressed I became, the worst the actions grew. Spending excess money, irractic sleeping patterns and gaining weight resulted from non healthy ways of coping.

I was not open with my ex girlfriend about my inner struggles due to my pride but also not wanting to place any unnecessary stress given her work and life responsibilities. Getting back to this week, I found myself back in a similar position. I moderated the amount of beers and when I would drink. However, the same sexual thoughts came to me and the urge to act upon them.

I feel bad that I acted upon them and called a woman that I have known for some time. She came over but nothing ultimately happened sexually. It is a small victory but important lesson I learned. I identified one of the causes, alcohol intake, that triggers these emotions when stressed. I spoke to my prayer partner and told him that I was seeking counseling. He said he was proud that I made the decision.

I have been praying for a while for this struggle to end. It has not yet but still remaining faithful because no matter what it looks like, this too shall pass. I continue to deal with this battle but it will not have a hold on me forever.

How it all Began

I have decided to seek counseling. This is after a failed relationship where my ex-girlfriend, concerned about my well-being, asked if I see a professional counselor to deal with this addiction. Truth be told, how I got here to seek support started at a young age

I come from a middle class background and grew up in a two parent household until seven years old. Years ago, my father experienced a sudden heart attack and passed away unexpectedly on a winter night. It really shook my mother and I. I remember nights when I could hear my mom cry or we had moments when we cried together. Like many people, I grew up faster than I anticipated. Spring forward, it was a day during fifth grade that I came home to find a Penthouse magazine under my mother’s bed.

I recall an attractive young woman on the cover with perfect skin and body complexion. Curious, I opened the magazine to see visuals of naked women page by page. The visuals for a naive young man peeked my curiosity and I felt compelled to share with my friends. I brought the magazine to school to show my friends so that I could be seen as “cool.”

I was and always been a “geek,” People in my fifth grade class knew me as the kid that was laid back, a bit quite but they accepted me. I had a click of friends and I thought sharing the Penthouse would make me even cooler in their eyes. I showed them the book and they had a similar reaction of me. So, it was that day that started the path to where I am today.

The one day of the visual led to further curiosity. I had cable TV and I found a scrambled channel. I could hear adult noises of physical activity. I saw the same nude bodies as I did in Penthouse but now it was a man and woman having sex. The image, even scrambled, further peaked my interest. It is this initial experience that led to other behaviors I grew to normalize as I went through my teenage years.

The First Time

This blog was created as a place to journal my personal struggles. A struggle that started at 11 years old and has impacted me through my teenage years to now early adulthood. A battle that caused many nights of feeling shame, guilt and hurting inadvertently people that I did not want to hurt. The thing that I can talking about is sexual addiction.

Through consultation, I have decided to create “Freedom 1981” blog as an anonymous form to document the battles that I have experienced for the better half of my life. I hope to use this forum as a journal and way to release. A space to process what I went through all these years as a way to put the past behind me.

If anyone discovers this blog, I do hope you find wisdom from what will be shared. I pray that you find healing through the words I write over the next year.

Freedom 1981