Yesterday, I had a really great conversation with a man from my 12 step group. We have regular meetings during the middle of the week, but we also have smaller groups of maybe four or five people once a week as well. Normally, the smaller group that I’m a part of can have about 6 of us there on a given week. Yesterday, it was just me and one other individual. This person is more than just a brother in Christ to me, he truly has become one of my best friends. He sponsored me when I know he had a lot of other things going on. I don’t have the time to go into all the ways he has stood beside me and been such an anchor in times of stress, depression, or any situation that I have found myself in.
We spent a while sharing how our week had been and some of the struggles we’ve faced. I feel like both of us opened up to each other and were vulnerable with our feelings and emotions. This is something that I’m learning as I continue in recovery. I’m learning that I can share my secrets, my failures, my wounds, and my fears with another human being and them not run away or judge me. I need to say though that even though I’ve opened up quite a bit over the past year, it’s not something that I find easy even after doing it. Anyway, it was just really good to talk with him and to know that we love one another even in our struggles. I did share with him that I still had lingering feelings toward acting out by watching porn.
I found myself there once again this morning. Again I sat there for several minutes contemplating what I was going to do. Somehow I wound up reading several articles that expose the porn industry and the horrible things that are really going on in the industry. There are two quotes from two different articles that really stuck out to me though. So I will put them here and then discuss what they mean to me personally.
“I have found that the earlier men use porn,” says Dines, “the more likely they are to have trouble developing close, intimate relationships with real women. Some of these men prefer porn to sex with an actual human being. They are bewildered, even angry, when real women don’t want or enjoy porn sex.”
“The unique driving force behind sexual addiction is the attempt to escape the natural, healthy need for intimacy.
Some people escape intimacy more than others. Some escape differently than others. But all sexually addicted people have one thing in common:
To some degree, every sexually addicted person flees from intimacy and turns to fantasy to meet his or her needs for a healthy, loving intimate sexual relationship.”
I guess somewhere deep down I’ve known that I have intimacy issues, but when I read those passages from each article, it really jumped out to me. My mother and father did not have a good relationship with each other. While growing up in my house I can recall lots of arguments, yelling, and sometimes even throwing objects at one another. I rarely ever saw my parents tell each other that they loved one another, nor do I recall them hugging or giving each other a kiss. You know what I’m trying to say, there just wasn’t much of an example of a husband and wife that showed any kind of affection toward one another. As I grew older I became more aware of the real truth. My mother and father were miserable with one another. My father would end up sharing information with me as I grew older. This information didn’t really shock me, but rather it cemented what I had already sort of noticed by just being in my home. To sum things up, I’m not sure that I ever experienced a good example of how a husband and wife should treat one another.
I recall that when I began to date, I would go out of my way to avoid confrontation. What I mean is that when my girlfriend at the time would want to talk to me about the disagreement that we were having, I would leave or do anything I possibly could to smooth things over without actually having to talk about it. I’m not sure if that is connected to the fact that my parents never really “discussed” much of anything. Most of their communication with one another turned into yelling matches and slights towards one another. I know that any time I felt anger start to rise up in me, I was always afraid to let it out or express it in any way because it felt so wrong. There was not much peace in my house and if there ever was, it was very superficial. I always wanted a quick fix with my girlfriend. Let’s just get over it and move on. This led to us never really resolving issues which I can imagine causes her to build up a storehouse of emotions over time.
She would notice how I treated certain other people and wondered why I could treat them one way and her a completely different way. I really didn’t know. I don’t need to go into all the mistakes I’ve made in that area, because I’ve done that many times already. I guess I’m just now realizing though that I have areas of my life that I need God’s training and grace in. Maybe I didn’t learn it from my parents, but that doesn’t mean that my heavenly Father can’t teach me.