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February 01 • Pleasure for Pain

Day 207 Sexual compulsion has been described to me as a world of absorbed selfishness where time and real people cease to exist. Thinking in those terms is like staring into the ugly mirror, and I would rather forget those years. I'd rather think and discuss what I've learned about healthy relationships, not to be reminded of the sick places I've been. But this "world of absorbed selfishness" was my life more than I can believe from today's perspective in my recovery, and I don't want to forget it. When I felt pain, I thought about sexual possibilities, and when I felt rejection, I envisioned reception. After decades of thinking that just thinking about these things was okay, my thoughts became deeds, and I quickly lost myself in a quagmire of sensory overload that promptly became routine, and not enough. Over the years, I had seasons of serious efforts to control my fantasies — religious renewals, retreat commitments, moments of clarity — but these were all measured in days, maybe weeks. I would eventually and consciously give in to the normalcy of looking and thinking and sexualizing life as easily as breathing. Now, 207 days sober, this has mostly stopped. Not entirely, but enough to know that I don't have to go back to that, and I can improve on where I am today. I must. I will. This healing will happen one day at a time and consistent with my growth in releasing my secrets and pursuing relentless honesty with myself, and with my wife. I did not anticipate, nor did I recognize until just now, that my renewing love for the bride of my youth runs parallel with the decline of, and dare I say victory over, those former thoughts of ubiquity. –JR

February 01 • Pleasure for Pain
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