Mark's story
My name’s Mark, and I’m a sex addict. When I was a 9 years old boy I was sexually abused by a family friend for over a year. I couldn’t tell anyone about it. It made me feel isolated, alone and with no self worth. I found my first porn film at the age of 11. Porn then became my best friend. No matter what life threw at me, no matter how painful the feelings were, no matter how much I was bullied, I could always turn to the one thing that was always there. I was also raped at 15 and so I found addiction.

As I grew up, and married and started a life with my own family, the addiction only seemed to get worse. There was affair after affair. I kept telling myself that this one will be the last, however, I would always return. Filling myself will more shame and hatred of the person that I was becoming. The intoxication and high of the chase would invariably bring me back. I didn’t want to cause all this pain and suffering to my wife or myself but I felt it was too late to start being honest and open. I began to cover up lie with lie, but this again only caused me suffering, pain and more shame. I was caught out a few times but spun more lies to cover up and deny that anything had gone on. Irrelevant if my wife knew the truth and all the facts. The less I said, the more I wouldn’t feel so ashamed (so I thought). I would carry around the guilt and shame of my past acting out behaviours but this would only cause me more discomfort, which the only way I knew how, to relieve myself of this pain was to act out again. Along then came the internet. I remember watching porn until sunrise on a few too many occasions. Creeping up to bed, getting undressed outside the bedroom door, so if my wife woke up I could make out, I’d just been to the bathroom.

I then had my last affair which became my marriage break up. It was then, when I’d hit my rock bottom, and my life, as I knew it, crumbled around me and I’d lost everything. I found myself at an SAA meeting, an isolated, dejected beaten man. I found myself a sponsor and so began my programme of recovery working the 12 steps. I finally found solace with people who had experienced the feelings of isolation, dishonesty, shame to mention a few, that I thought only I had experienced. SAA is my home, a place of warmth and love, with no fear of rejection or judgement that I feel safe.

My life now? I’ve started a new group, I’m in the process of publishing a book, I’m about to start a counselling degree, I’m sponsoring other addicts and I’m back with my family and about to renew my vows again with my wife. I owe this to SAA. It was such a small step in comparison, for how my life is today. A miracle.

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