By Max Aldinger
Despite the fact I had to go through half a dozen treatment centers, so many medical detoxes I don’t even attempt to count them anymore and what seems like an infinite number of sincere “This is the last time and I mean it” vows to myself; when I was finally ready to get clean it was actually one of easiest things I’ve ever done in my life. It was simply that gift of absolute desperation and hopelessness mixed with the brutal self-realization of not only what I had become but the terrifying cognizance of what the next six months of my life had in store for me, or probably more accurately the lack of life I saw in the next six months. This is what we alcoholics and drug addicts call a “bottom” and it’s something those in recovery will all nod in agreement with when contemplating how esoteric they can be as well as how incredibly frustrating it is to see someone who you believe should “be there” but isn’t. It’s a frustration based on compassion and understanding because no real drug addict should be able to get sober on the first go around. It’s almost necessary to fail at it countless times to realize how fucked you actually are before you reach that point of willingness to do whatever it takes to turn your life around, but when you’re ready, you’re ready. Only then do the vain attempts to straighten out and the failures that accompanied them make complete sense. But what do you do when your addiction is part of our human nature? When your biggest character defect has become imbued into your culture to be considered the norm?
You rationalize the fuck out of it just like I did there at the end of that last paragraph. And to be quite frank, as time has gone on and our culture has become more connected yet less close, rationalization has become easier and easier with the prevalence of terms like fuck boy, side chick and thot being used in social circles as diverse as the mix of people you can see walking through capitol hill on a Saturday afternoon. But truly, what can you consider healthy dating behavior where memes about infidelity are more common on social media than genuine posts and applications like tinder and plenty of fish consistently rate in the top 100 downloads of any given app store? Don’t get me wrong, I understand dating has more than likely been a tricky thing since the dawn of time but the overall acceptance of meaningless sex and nonchalantly moving from partner to partner with no regard to the current romantic interests feeling has almost become the cool thing to do. It’s like the “free love” mentality of the 60’s without any love. It’s infuriating and disgusting yet it’s something I know all too well and have mastered over the course of my adult life. It’s easily my biggest character defect and the one thing I would like to change about myself more so than anything else.
It’s not as easy as just changing though. With drugs you have to remain abstinent to remain clean. It’s not entirely difficult to stay away from situations where crack and heroin would be presented to you. Don’t go kick it on the blade hitting up the dude on the corner, don’t spend your weekends or free time off in some club where every other person in the room is hammered, delete the numbers of the junkies you use to run with from your phone. Pretty standard shit. Granted, there’s more to it than that which came from a lot of work in a 12 step program but that a completely different topic. Staying abstinent and away from your drug of choice when your drug of choice is pussy though, that’s a whole different story. It’s like the entire world is a trap house and relapse is a normal, casual conversation away. Therein lies the problem with sex addiction. You can’t just swear off the opposite sex forever. Companionship is a normal part of being human which is why in fellowships like sex and love addicts anonymous you’re expected to create “bottom lines” for yourself. Things like watching porn, getting hookers, using dating apps can all be considered a relapse based upon your personal story and problems with sex. After spending some time in and out of various sex addiction meetings the last year or two I have still yet to set any bottom lines for myself. I’ve vowed abstinence for a year once and that lasted two weeks before hanging out with an acquaintance I had met years before turned into a one night stand. Technically it was two nights but you know what I mean.
And that’s what I do. That’s my problem with dating and where I’m currently at with the progression of who I am as a person and my issues with sex. When I was younger I frankly didn’t give a fuck about another person’s feeling and was content sleeping around. It stroked my ego being able to go to a club and bet one of my friends 100 dollars I couldn’t bang a certain girl and then accomplish it. I reveled in the stories I would share about the threesomes and foursomes, the kinks I’d indulge in with whoever I was fucking at the time or had fucked in the past, talking about all the interesting places I’d hooked up with someone like a walk in freezer of a papa johns or a public bathroom at sears or even just gloating about the number of “conquests” I had had in my life. now I want commitment but am unable to commit or remain interested in anything that isn’t a completely broken project I think I can fix. My sex addiction has a lot to do with the validation I get from being able to get the girl everyone lusts over. I place my importance and value on my ability to get the most physically desirable mate. I’m attracted to fucked up “bad bitches” Strippers, the alcoholic east side girl who’s materialistic, fake and goes out to the club every weekend, the hot messes that stumble into recovery but rarely stay around for more than a month or two. These are the women I want in my life but don’t need and the ones I need I don’t want. I have this delusion I can fix them yet if I was to actually fix one I’m sure I wouldn’t be interested any longer. I’ve changed immensely over the course of my sobriety but what I’m attracted to hasn’t and that ego filling drive to make my male competition jealous still lingers. I try to date girl’s I know would be good for me, I invariably end up unintentionally sleeping with them before I actually get to know them and within days end up realizing I have little interest in what they have to say and move on to the next candidate thinking that this one will be the one. I’ve progressed from being a douchebag deliberately to a douchebag unintentionally
I use sex and companionship like others do shopping or church. My mind tells me I need it in my life to feel complete. Even in sobriety I’ve done some pretty reprehensible shit. I’ve strung along multiple women at once, I’ve hooked up with vulnerable girls in early recovery. In coping with breakups I’ve purchased hookers, I’ve given girls I’ve known personally money to get dope in exchange for sexual favors. I’ve wasted company dollars by spending countless hours in the bathroom jerking off instead of working. These are all things I’m ashamed to admit but valuable experiences that are necessary for me to examine in order to actually see the things I’ve done at my low points sexually in attempt to make myself feel better. In the end it’s always the emotional bottoms that make me want to change. From the feeling of hopelessness and futility that brought me to stop shooting dope to even the small struggles in sobriety that have made me reach for that solution I know is readily available. It’s those emotional bottoms that bring me to a place of surrender. The catalyst for that point for drugs was the realization that death was around the corner. I can’t seem to find that bottom for sex. It’s a conundrum because I know it doesn’t have to reach the point that it will lead to yet without that hopelessness I simply lack the willingness to change. I just continue to rationalize and minimize my behaviors despite the fact I know it’s not normal to see chlamydia as a non-issue because it’s something you simply take two pills to treat. You shouldn’t just shrug off buying Dr. Scholls wart remover to use on your genitals because you have a date in 3 days and don’t have time to get into the doctor to clear up the HPV outbreak you currently have. It’s fucked up shit, but they’re minuscule issues when compared to my problems with narcotics. I see people in recovery for sex addiction whose wife stumbled upon their browser history and decide it’s time to stop looking at pretty girls on the internet. I see that as the equivalent as someone who gets sober after a single DUI. It’s incomprehensible to me. Maybe I’ll have that spiritual awakening in regards to sex and not have to contract some sort of incurable STD to make me change my behavior and start purchasing condoms. But that’s on me and it’s an inside job. Until then, its progress not perfection and as far as I’m concerned I’m a lot better now than I was several years ago. At least today I recognize it as a problem.