I started to recover way back in 2012 when I was 29 years old. I was making good progress but then, towards the end of the year, something seemed to trigger my underlying issues.
I think it was because, between the ages of about 16-21 my addiction (perhaps combined with simple teenage impulsivity) had caused me to do some things that I genuinely found traumatic which were seemingly tied into things that happened to me during my childhood. I managed to cope with these things all on my own but in 2005 aged 22, this feeling of horror overhwelmed me and I found myself going through life like a ghost for 7 years.
I was glad to have found sex addiction treatment in 2012 but I don't think I really made use of the treatment to deal with the underlying issues. A number of counsellors and therapists over the years have said how I can recount really upsetting experiences with a smile on my face. I think the therapist I was seeing in 2012 got under the surface of that but I hadn't developed the trust to work through it with them so I left therapy abruptly. That's something that I still feel really sad about.
After I left therapy, I started to behave and think quite strangely, did something utterly stupid (not directly addictive acting out but based on a need to manage feelings of shame about my past) and just collapsed back into depression and addiction.
It genuinely haunts me how I utterly trashed everything just as I started to make progress. I can kind of forgive myself for that given the underlying issues that I hadn't dealt with. I just want to turn the clocks back but I know that feeling like that just keeps me stuck. I need to move on from where I am now.
Since 2012, I've been able to function but I've not really been growing as a person. Addictive behaviours haven't been completely overwhelming so I tried to convince myself that they don't matter. But I suspect that they do. I think it's just that I don't have a partner or family and my employers tolerate me being mentally "scattered" a lot of the time. Basically the addictive behaviours don't feel like they matter because I don't have anything more important in my life. Says it all really.
I've been seeing a psychotherapist about the other issues but she isn't trained in sex addiction. I've been reluctant to get sex addiction treatment again because of what happened the first time. A large part of me felt like the addiction treatment was "telling me what to do" and I really didn't like it. That's just my feelings and responses though. I couldn't accept that I'd not already found a way to live a healthy life on my own - shame, shame, shame placed me beyond help. I felt like it was my fault that I had these unresolved issues keeping me stuck.
I feel like I know the basics of what I need to do from my previous attempt at recovery and the treatment that I had back then. I'm very open with the therapist that I'm seeing now so if I'm not doing the things that I say I'm going to do then she'll gently bring it to my attention. Part of me feels like I'll need a therapist who can be more directive with me. But I'm working well with this therapist so I'll give it a try with them. It's got to start with removing addictive behaviours using whatever tools are available and doing the basics of looking after myself again. I'm prepared for underlying issues to become harder to deal with as I remove the addictive behaviours but I do have support with them now.
Not sure why I'm writing this - just reaching out somewhere.