I think it is important now for me to share a story of my relapse.
I was able to get one month of sobriety by doing the ERP practice. Since I adopted this system myself, I wasn’t sure how effective it was. I decided to seek further knowledge and purchased membership at the Candeo Can program.
Surprisingly, I found that my system was very close to the solution proposed by Candeo Can. Nevertheless, I was able to learn a lot from Candeo Can and more importantly, I gained confidence that my approach towards recovery was in fact efficient.
With the help of Candeo Can I was able to stay sober for a total of 3 months. Three months with no masturbation and no pornography felt like a miracle to me. Never ever in my life was I able to achieve something like that.
It Felt Like My Life Got Harder
Since I stopped my addiction, I now felt like life will really begin to work out for me. The problem was that it never happened. I did stop my addiction, but it did not help my social anxiety and other issues that I had. If anything, it felt like my life got harder. I lost the only crutch that I used to help self-medicate myself from the pains of life. Without it, I felt all alone and vulnerable.
I felt like the people at Candeo Can and my ERP practice had cheated me. I stopped my addiction. How come
my life was not getting better? Were all of the promises I told myself during the ERP practice just a lie?
Slowly I began to look for new ways to self-medicate myself. Sure I wasn’t going to watch porn anymore, but it was OK to watch a horror movie. After awhile I would start watching 2-3 horror movies a day. It was OK because it wasn’t porn.
Soon I began to fast forward through the movies looking for “interesting” parts, which usually involved extreme violence and sexuality. I wouldn’t even care to watch the plot, just the “interesting parts”.
After that I began to engage in behaviors very similar to the worst days of my addiction. I would stay up all night watching horror movies and I would default on my work. That is when I began to really feel insane. I had all this knowledge on how to stop. I knew that I learned the tricks to allow me to stop. Yet it seemed that I just couldn’t stay in the right mindset for an extended period of time.
Sometimes I would want to be sober. But sometimes, I would just feel like I didn’t care anymore. Like I “deserved a break”.
To make things worse, if I were to admit that my problem wasn’t cured, I would have to come clean before my girlfriend. Just the thought of that was killing me. She was so proud of me being able to stop, and so happy with our relationship. I hadn’t seen her that happy in the first 2 years of us being together.
So I decided to do what any addict would do. Try to fix it on my own, in secrecy.
The problem was that I no longer knew where to turn to for help. I’ve already read some of the best books on the subject. I’d already paid for some of the best recovery programs. I’ve had professional counseling. Yet somehow it just wasn’t enough.
Desperate, I decided to look into 12 steps literature.
During my Candeo Can recovery stage, I decided that it was a good idea to go to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting. I didn’t feel like I needed it, but I wanted to do it, just in case. I thought it would help me to connect better to people.
When I attended the meeting, I felt very out of place. The room was full of people with some real issues. Everybody was hugging each other. We even had to get in a circle and hold each other’s hands at the end of the meeting. This was the weirdest experience of my life.
To make things worse, I decided to go out for a breakfast with these people. That is when my social anxiety really kicked in. This was the first time since I got sober (about 2 months at that time) when I really felt like acting out.
Needless to say, I swore to never come back to the meeting, since it was making me feel like I wanted to act out, instead of being helpful.
On my way back from the breakfast and into the parking lot, I got to talk to one of the old-timers. I asked him how long he was sober for. He told me that it was about 3 years at the time. I was very impressed with his results and I asked him how did he do it?
He said, very easy, my program is spiritual.
Oh SH*T, I thought to myself
Now I get it. This guy is a religious freak. Now he is going to tell me all about Jesus coming over to him one night and saving his soul.
That is nice, I said out loud, and decided to not ask any more questions.
When we got to the parking lot, the guy gave me the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. He said that oftentimes newcomers do not come back. And if I were to never to come back, it was OK, and I could keep the book. But he highly advised me to at least read Bill’s (a founder of AA) story, if I didn’t feel like I wanted to read the whole thing.
I thanked him, and took the book. I read Bill’s story, and mailed the book back to the guy. I decided to not go back to the 12 steps meetings ever again.
But now 4 months since I originally got sober, and finding myself in trouble again, not knowing where to go, I decided to turn to 12 steps literature again, to see if it might have something new to offer.
In summary, I realized that the phrase “Mind, Body, and Spirit” existed for a reason. My ERP practice and Candeo Can took care of my mind. Through healthy daily habits, I was taking care of my body. But my spirit, my soul was not taken care of at all. This was the missing element, and that is what I had to do in order to begin to see positive changes take place in my life.
I’ll tell you the rest of the story in the next chapter.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to take a closer look at your behaviors today, to make sure that you are not letting new addictions replace your old one.