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May 09 • Am I (still) a Sex Addict?

Day 670

As sex addicts, we are told not to forget our rock bottoms, and that eventually,

“We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

That remains to be seen, but recovery has me moving in that direction. This week I have spent an unusual amount of time reviewing the Green Book and asking myself questions about things I might have missed. Not because I’m struggling; it just seemed to be where my program pointed. It’s been a good week, but today I was led to re-read part of my Step One. It happened to be the section where I talked about facing the data that indicated I am a sex addict. This reckoning was not my rock bottom, but it was close, and it was devasting to me. It happened a few months after I committed to recovery, and I was still questioning whether recovery was what I needed. The following is taken from what I wrote and delivered in a meeting a little over a year ago.

“An addict friend that I met in an online video meeting asked me what I scored on the SARA. I didn’t know what that was. As you may already know, the paid Sexual Addiction Risk Assessment is a detailed follow‑up to the free Sexual Addiction Screening Test that can be found on Dr. Patrick Carnes' website, among other places. Both are tools for giving guidance on where one might be on the sexual addiction spectrum. I was reluctant to take them, mostly because I was afraid I wouldn’t score high enough to be considered an addict, and then I’d have to find another reason for being a pervert. But I took the tests, and at my friend’s encouragement, I was very conservative with my answers, trying to make sure I didn’t skew the results toward addiction.

According to the descriptions on this paid inventory: • a score between 6 and 10 would indicate a problem in need of outpatient help while 10-12 would suggest either outpatient OR in-patient treatment. • For anyone scoring higher than 12, in-patient treatment was strongly recommended for any significant chance of long-term success.

I scored a 17. My 'red line' scores were:Fantasizing, Seduction of Partners, and Paying for Sex. I freaked out and spent a week trying to discredit the testing methodologies, not to mention the Recovery Zone website and everything ever written by Patrick Carnes and the organizations that continue his work. Eventually, I concluded I had to embrace this new understanding of myself and get serious about getting help, or… reject it, walk away from my life, and immerse myself in the world of sexual debauchery. The decision was not as easy as I think it should have been.

People in SAA showed me the courage to take a stand for what I believed in and what I wanted. But I had another problem; there was no way I could afford in-patient care, and at that point, I was afraid that that was my only real chance. My sponsor, my counselor, my fellow addicts, and even my wife and Higher Power gave me reasons and pieces of evidence that suggested it was possible for me to move toward better health from where I was. So I took the leap of faith, largely because of the SAA Promises. I chose to believe. Mostly." In the eighteen months since taking the SARA and dealing with this interpretation of myself, I've talked to enough guys about their scores and stories that I no longer question its legitimacy. I don't know about its specific accuracy, but the story it tells for my life is much more on point and painfully informative than I wish it was.

Just when I started thinking maybe I’m really not an addict...




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