Love is everywhere, I see it.
You are all that you can be, go on and be it.
Life is perfect, I believe it.
Come and play the game with me.
I’m reading ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M. Scott Peck at the moment and I can highly recommend it to anyone who is working on personal development or is walking the path of spiritual enlightenment. Every page is filled with wisdom and he is certainly helping me see and make sense of reality again. Truth is growth and growth is LIFE.
I was struggling this morning. I’ve been back in the SAA 12 Step Program for about 10 days now and for the last couple of days I’ve been having highly erotic dreams. This in and of itself is not a problem and is not unexpected, but this morning I could not get over an overwhelming sense of erotic recall. (For anyone who doesn’t know, erotic recall is the mental preoccupation with sexual thought and feelings that we relive. For example a previous sexual encounter or pornographic imagery that we continually ‘day dream’ about.)
I had woken up, and whether or not it had something to do with my erotic dreams, I don’t know, but I had a feeling coupled with an image/sex scene in my head. I became almost instantly obsessed with this feeling and imagery. It made me feel good because it reminded me of a time when I was safe, comfy and experiencing a sensation of bliss.
I was then faced with the old dilemma, do I act out or not?
What I really wanted to do was turn on my laptop and indulge myself in some pornography that would closely resemble my fantasy. This would satisfy two needs. Firstly; I would relive my past sexual encounter by visually watching in on screen. It’s great when it’s in my head, but to actually make it real by watching it from a truly third person perspective makes it abundantly real. Secondly; I would have to spend time searching for a clip that would satisfy my erotic recall. If I was too hasty and climaxed before I had found the ‘perfect’ clip, that would give me the perfect excuse to start all over again, thus falling into the trap of compulsive masturbation.
Luckily I worked out what was going on in my head and was able to utilise the logical part of my brain to escape from myself. Here’s how it worked. I asked myself if I honestly felt like masturbating without any pornography. The answer that I came back with was a resounding NO. I asked if I wanted to arouse myself through the act of touching and/or probing myself in order to get horny and then masturbate. The answer was another resounding NO. I then asked myself if I wanted to masturbate to pornography. The answer was a resounding YES.
I had my answer. Which was ‘DO NOT ACT OUT’. I knew at that point that I was not feeling sexually aroused in any way, I was entertaining and obsessing over a mental preoccupation with sexual thoughts and feelings and that if left unchecked, this would lead to compulsive behaviour that I would soon become powerless over. Once I am powerless over my thoughts, feelings and actions my life soon becomes unmanageable.
Thankfully my rational brain, my will power and God all acted in my favour at the same time and I decided to just focus on getting on with the next part of my day and didn’t act out.
I then made another good decision, which was to call out and speak to a couple of people and share what had been going on with me earlier. After I’d made those calls I realised that my preoccupation with erotic recall had gone and that serenity had prevailed.
I can liken this preoccupation with sexual thoughts and feelings very closely to that of the preoccupation with depressive thoughts and feelings. It was like I was able to clearly see the ‘sexual thought map’ in my brain and I have been able to use that template as a way of more accurately understanding how I become obsessed with depressive thoughts and feelings that eventually lead to isolating and depressive behaviour.
I really didn’t go back to SAA to become a sex addict again, but in all fairness, this experience today has given me valuable insight both into how sex addiction can still catch me out but also into the inner workings of my brain and how I can so easily become susceptible to depressive illness. Today was a huge step forward and a massive learning curve for me.
…and just to make sure that I am taking my wellness seriously, I took myself off to the Wednesday night SAA meeting. There was only three of us there tonight, so it was a great opportunity to share in greater depth but also with greater honesty, which I really needed to be able to do this evening.
Today I am grateful that I am still clean and sober. I am grateful that my mood has lifted somewhat and that I am existing at a notch above boring, which feels good. I am grateful to my family for their continued efforts to try and understand mental illness and who do their best to support me as best they can. I am grateful to the 12 Step Fellowships and to all who attend them and make them possible. I am grateful to be here.