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  • Stuart's story

    As sex addicts, we all have a story on how we got here. I’m no different. I have my story, my defining events in my past, those wrongs that were “done to me”, the people who didn’t show me love, care, or protection. My explanations of who I was and why I was.

    Less featured in my story was my part in that. For over 30 years, I lived trying to control my addiction, to be different to who I wanted to be. I failed – repeatedly. Despite hundreds of personal development books, dozens of therapists of varying types and personal development courses – name a therapy and odds are I’ve probably done it.

    I wasn’t ready.

    I hadn’t suffered enough; I hadn’t caused enough harm so that I could no longer hide from it and pretend it was OK. But I did. I reached that point at 44 – suicide had become a pre-occupying thought, and my tools to medicate and avoid what I was facing had stopped working. All that was left was the pain, the hurt, the shame, the disappointment of who I’d become.

    In that moment, came an opening, a chink of light in the SAA programme. In that moment, it wasn’t the solution to all my problems, but it was enough of an opening for me to walk towards it, to try something new. Desperation.

    What I did about it

    But how I got here isn’t as important as the choice I decide to live today. That choice is a continuous one; the spiritual awakening within me wasn’t a nirvanic experience of enlightened peace – as I had expected.

    Rather it has been a realisation of the darkness within me, the harm that I’ve done, to myself and others. That black hole inside is deep, it’s extremely powerful, all consuming. It will never be satisfied and it will try to devour everything. It will take everything I am inside and anything it can take from others.

    My awakening has helped me face this darkness, to know it will never be gone – in that way I will always be a sex addict, but that darkness is more than just my sex addiction. My acting out was just a vehicle for it – it fed on my anger, my resentments, my isolation, lack of connection, my fear, my hurt.

    And I caused all of that, so that my darkness could continue to gorge. I am grateful for it however, for it reached a point where that hurt became so unbearable, so deep, so tragic, that I had to stop and face the horrific consequences of my actions. It was hard. But when I reached the time, when I had the courage to feel these consequences, the harm of my oppression, I then had a choice.

    And it was a choice. My awakening was not forced upon me. I had 2 paths unfold in front of me – I could continue to walk into the dark. Continue to harm myself and others – for when one of us hurts, we all hurt. Or I could make a choice to turn to the light. The choice was very consensual, no one was going to make me do it, and also, I could continue to go back to that way of living.

    The difference being that this time it would be in the full knowledge, the awakened realisation within me of what that meant. The harm and hurt it would cause. Those old behaviours weren’t serving me, or others, or life. I now need to serve. Only I can surrender, and only when the time is right. And it is a choice but I’m no longer surrendering my addiction, I’m surrendering me – all of me.

    The light within me

    I am also grateful for my darkness – I have no desire for it to leave me. Not that this is possible anyway, but I want to feel the dark, and with that the harrowing pain that it causes. That darkness is more powerful than I am, and that’s what I cannot control and never will. That’s my reference now – to feel that, and to turn to the light. That’s my choice; to turn to my higher power.

    And as big and as dark, as deep, and as powerful as that darkness is, so too is the light within me. It is equally as strong, equally as bright and as powerful. The Yin and the Yang. I am a powerful man, not because of who I am but of what’s inside of me. And whether I direct that power to harm, or to serve us, is down to me. There is a forgiveness in all of this. It’s important to feel, but not to self-flagellate – that’s just more harm.

    All of us have the gift of our higher power expressing themselves through us; we have a unique window, our own personal show on life. We have endless possibilities; life is limitless and the universe is our playground to explore those possibilities. That’s scary too, we can really get hurt but in the end, it’s all a dance. I am perfect the way I am, before I was born, with each brush stroke added, and with my end.

    There is no right or wrong dance, we can dance whatever we like, but we do only get to dance one dance. So make a choice.

    If you think you might benefit from the SAA fellowship, or if you simply want to find out more, meetings can be found here or you may call 07585 091502 or write to us here for more information.

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    Last updated: February 27th, 2023