I admitted that my life had become unmanageable.
This took me many years to admit. Though I was rarely thrilled with my life, it never occurred to me to 12-step because I thought that such programs were for the weak-willed and I was not weak willed. I did nothing that I could not control. I was the master of my destiny.
Early on in my life, I developed bottom-line behaviors that I would avoid. I did not call them “bottom line behaviors”. I’d never heard of such a term. But I knew there were things that were bad for me.
Many of my classmates at primary school at Avondale College in Australia were into buggering each other and animals. Though I was eager to explore sex, I decided early on that such activity was not for me.
I grew up a little. I decided I would not wait until marriage to have sex, but I would always behave ethically. No married women. No cheating. Nobody under-age. Nothing illegal. And I stuck to that.
Looking back, I see that I was just managing my addictions.
With the exception of my years 18-22, I’ve always felt a need for God. After falling into the morass of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at age 22, I knew that I would destroy myself if left to my own devices. I needed not just God but organized religion.
So I converted to Judaism. But my demons remained. They weren’t even tamed. I took my addictions into the synagogue and after hundreds of hours studying Torah, they were still untamed.
I had converted to Judaism so that I could chase shiksas.
Then the internet came along and all the things I had fantasized about, I could now find video of them online. I knew I needed to do something about this problem, so I decided to write about the industry, investigate it, and thereby innoculate myself from its charms. And I felt like that largely worked, even as it socially isolated me and left me unfit to marry any decent girl.
When I stopped writing on XXX in 2007, the demons returned stronger than ever.
In 2009, I had what I regarded as my best relationship ever, but like the rest of them, it didn’t last beyond a year and was filled with me idealizing somebody who wasn’t there, blaming her for failing to live up to my projections. I obsessed about her and became dependent on her and in the end I wasn’t man enough for her.
Since 2008 I’ve been in therapy (and intermittently during the years before that). Twelve step was an after-thought. I came to it by accident. My defenses were down. I stopped intellectualizing about it and decided to try it on pragmatic grounds. I didn’t worry about buying the program. I just wanted to try the program. And as soon as I did, I felt better.
As the 12-steppers say, going to meetings makes you feel better, but only working the steps helps you to get better.
So step one is just a clear declaration of something I’ve known since I was 22. I need not just God and organized religion, but a community of 12-steppers who grapple with similar problems to what ail me.
My addictions to romantic and sexual obsession were warping my practice of religion, my choice of profession, and the way I interacted with people.
My addiction keeps shifting. I notice that when I feel bereft, I often tune into Facebook to get a hit of connection. I make a provocative status update to get some attention.
Why have I always felt most alive when looking at porn?
I was stuck in two types of romantic relationships — with pathetic irresponsible girls and those high-achieving types who had contempt for me. Neither worked.