“…..I’m a believer in Christ, and I am a recovering sex addict.”
Those were the jarring initial words I heard after I walked into my first Castimonia meeting several months ago, before I had admitted to myself that I couldn’t control whatever had gotten me to this point. Ok, I just have to dwell on those initial words for a moment. A “believer in Christ AND a recovering sex addict?” How is that even possible? What does that mean and how does that apply to me? At that point in time, I didn’t or wouldn’t or even couldn’t admit that it did apply to me. I didn’t know what sexual addiction was or if I even believed in it.
When I went to my first meeting, I was only going to satisfy my wife and her counselor. I certainly did not believe I belonged in that meeting. I hadn’t admitted to anyone that I had more than one acting out partner. I hadn’t admitted to myself I had a problem. This stuff didn’t apply to me. Sexual addiction is a term people use to try and excuse their affairs or using porn or to try and get out of sex related crimes. I wasn’t that. Those guys needed help!
Eight months later, here I was again. At a Castimonia meeting, trying to satisfy my wife and her counselor and mine, hoping to keep my marriage from ending. Sitting in there again, knowing what to expect, but listening closely this time.
Different guys in the group read different parts, obviously there is a structure to this. The facilitator went through the rules and then someone read “Our Problem.” One thing really sticks with me from this reading………”Many of us found we were powerless and unable to control our behaviors.” Does that apply to me? Am I really powerless? After the first time I was found out, I swore I wouldn’t do it again. God took that away from me, I was baptized again, and I knew that He could help me have a great marriage with my wife. I know I had confessed to my counselor, but my wife really didn’t have to know everything. I had taken a polygraph before for an employer and lied on that and didn’t get caught. I could do the same at whatever “disclosure” was. After all, I was doing this for her. I know I can’t hurt her with all of my issues.
Then we got to an explanation of “How it Works.” This reading covered how a 12 step program of recovery worked and why it was structured this way. “Half measures availed us nothing” That’s what they said. No half measures. Dang. That stung. That was me. Nothing but half measures. That’s how I had been approaching my marriage, my relationship with God, my relationship with my kids. Half measures. I didn’t know that term before. Now, I was finding that it fit me. I had lived in nothing but half measures.
The sharing portion wasn’t what I expected. I expected excuses, guys trying to justify their actions, to blame their wives or their jobs or stress for their issues. Exactly what I was doing……..blaming and not really looking inward. It was the opposite. From the reading to the sharing, this was all about men taking responsibility and looking for healing and talking about their struggles. This terrified me. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t face this. I couldn’t be rigorously honest. And then I heard myself say…..
“Hi, I am _________, I’m a Christian and I am struggling with….I am not sure what.”