12-Step Meetings Were My Idea

I’ve never had a therapist recommend I go to 12-step meetings. They’ve been my idea.

Yes, I saw Fight Club, but that didn’t spur me to go to 12-step meetings.

I never considered it until about two months ago when my psycho-therapist said that my fantasies sounded like “eroticized rage.”

I went home and Googled the topic and read essays by Patrick Carnes with fascination.

I then went to lapl.org and checked out all of his books. They’re on sex addiction.

I’ve had various people over the years suggest to me that I’m a sex addict, but none of them were professionals, and I did not take their comments seriously.

After learning that my fantasies were 100% rage, that I was still dreaming on a daily basis about attaining a control with women I lost in my earliest years, and that I had many of the characteristics of sex addiction (without the behaviors, I haven’t done much acting out in this department in more than 15 years), I thought I would benefit from going to 12-step meetings for sex addiction.

It used to be that something had to make complete sense to me for me to do it. It was that way for me in my earliest years in Judaism. Then, sometime between 1994-2000, I became fascinated by the practice of Orthodox Judaism and making sense became less important. Love is like that.

I got asked on Tuesday why do Jews eat dairy on Shuvuot and I replied, “There are reasons, but I’ve forgotten them.”

I’ve forgotten the reasons because they are no long important to me.

I say this a lot in response to questions put to me about Orthodox Jewish practice — “there are reasons, but I’ve forgotten them.”

Until the last year or so, I would never have considered going to a 12-step meeting unless I was convinced I was an addict. Now I go to meetings because I think they can help me. I have no concern about whether or not I’m an addict.

I’m more flexible these days. It’s largely the result of psycho-therapy and Alexander Technique.

I just want to know what can help my life. That’s true for religion and for recovery groups and for pretty much anything else. It doesn’t have to make complete sense and it doesn’t have to be congruent with my other commitments. If it might be worth trying, I’m open.

I get asked how much courage did it take you to go to your first 12-step meeting? The answer is almost none.

The first thing I do every morning is to take a 60-second cold shower. It’s a rare day that anything else I do is that painful. Going to my first 12-step meeting was about one-tenth as painful as my daily cold shower.

I dream a lot about women. I fantasize that this or that particular woman might be the missing piece in my puzzle. I think that if I could only attain her, then I’ll be happy.

But once I get to know a woman, all these fantasies start dying quickly. Once she becomes flesh and blood to me and this can happen in a matter of seconds, I react to her as a human being.

I remember how clearly this happened with porn stars I interviewed. Once I got to know them, their status as sex objects quickly disappeared. I didn’t want to look at their work because I knew them as real people.

Too much reality can be a bad thing. I was early into a relationship with perhaps the most beautiful woman I’ve ever dated, we ended up seeing each other for about a year, but in our first week together, I noticed that she perspired a little too conspicuously. She dripped with sweat after a little walking on a sunny day and she smelt sweaty too. And she was about five pounds overweight.

I was turned off, even talked about it with a friend, but I never noticed this problem again. I guess we got close and my concerns disappeared. I doubt that she stopped sweating. I think I just started caring.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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