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Stories of Addiction Recovery

Sharing your story (available anonymously) is a great way to express your feelings and possibly relieve tension knowing that someone will read it and know.

Stories about addiction, recovery, and continued relationship with God help others know that they are not alone in their addiction, encourages many, and shares ideas.

Sex Addict Stories by:

> Men

> Spouses of addicts

> Women

> Young Men

> Young Woman

Transformed

by Juli

My story is one of God’s transforming power, on both the inside of my heart and the outside of my heart. Over 2 years ago I recommitted my life to Christ. Wounds from my childhood influenced choices I made as a young girl, as a young adult and an adult--wounds that started in my mother’s womb.  My parents were expecting, the heart beat was strong and thus the thought was they were going to have a boy.  Two months premature they received identical twin girls.  My parents unintentionally projected onto me the boy they never received.  This began in my mother’s womb, and at a very young age I began to learn how to perform to feel valued, to be recognized, to obtain affirmation in order to not feel rejected or alone.  I became my Dad’s buddy, his helper and an   “affirmation junky.”  He taught me how to play sports: basketball, baseball, golf, football.  I even received a complete football uniform, helmet, shoulder pads and jersey on my 5th Christmas--my identical twin sister received a doll with all the accessories.  I quickly became a “tom-girl”, playing with the neighborhood boys. I  wore more masculine clothing and was not really interested in wearing dresses even though my Mom did try at first.  As I moved into Elementary school it became harder for me to relate to the boys and somewhat difficult to relate to the girls, so I started to become an “introvert” and isolate.  My identity had been violated.

 
At age 16 I accepted Christ into my life through a group called Young Life.  Through my Elementary & High School years I did manage to have a couple of boyfriends – two actually.  One in Elementary school, and then in my sophomore year  when  I meet my  high school sweet heart.  Sometime in my early teens, it’s unclear when, I was introduced to pornography by some neighborhood boys and began to masturbate.   Now, my parents never talked about sex or the special unity between a man and women in marriage.  I learned about sex in a physical education class.  I was naïve to the whole marriage and unity concept God had created for man and women.  At age 19, my high school sweet heart proposed to me.  Here was a man that was affirming me, made me feel valued, a strong Christian and I felt safe with him.  I was brought up with the thought that,  as a women you were to get married and have kids so I said yes.
 
Honeymoon night was a form of spousal abuse.  I felt like there was something wrong with me and rejected.  Our marriage began to spiral.  We moved from a mid-western State to Florida were I immediately began working in a major Theme Park.  After 3.5 years of marriage, he left me for another woman.  The hurt and pain of feeling abandoned, rejected, the fear of being alone, and now feeling like I could not be safe with men was overwhelming.  I tried to drink my pain away for a few months, and then decided to toughen up and stuff those emotions deep down within my heart and throw away the key.   I dove into work and became a work-a-holic. This “affirmation junky” was being affirmed, recognized; receiving praise from my leaders…so I worked non-stop.   My walk with God had begun to grow weary from the beginning of the marriage and now was poor at best and quiet honestly I probably was a little mad at Him for allowing all this to happen.
 
My work environment had many diverse lifestyles, one of which I found to be safe; where I was accepted, valued and loved.  At the age of 22, I stepped into the gay lifestyle.  At first I struggled with the lifestyle as I was brought up as a Presbyterian. I remember sermons about the homosexual lifestyle, how it was a sin and you would go to hell.   Eventually the enemy’s lies that this lifestyle was good in God’s eyes prevailed, and I became very open at work and in my personal life with friends and family, with the exception of my parents.  I did not want to disappoint them and felt if they found out they would be hurt, reject me and be disappointed in me.  Thus I continued to perform in front of them, hiding not only the lifestyle I was in but all the hurt, pain and rejection I felt.   My use of pornography increased as well as masturbating and began to fantasize,. These were ways to self medicate from all the emotions, heart ache and loneliness I was trying to stuff and run away from.
 
All along, I felt this void that there had to be something more than work and having a partner…something was missing.
 
My turning point was 9 years ago when one of my parents was in a significant accident. As my family members arrived at the hospital from out of state, I immediately recognized and felt something that my sisters had brought with them even though I could not see it.   Although my siblings’ church family was not with them physically, I felt the love, support and encouragement they were providing to my sisters.  I knew right then and there that this had to be the void, and that I needed to find a church that would except me for who I was, that would provide me with support and love.   Nine years ago I started attending the church I am in today and that’s when God started working on my heart.  I walked into this church with a heaviness of shame, loneliness and fear that someone within the church would find out my “secret.” For the first time in a long time, I hide my lifestyle from anyone within the church; that was my perception however the lifestyle I was living was fairly obvious to my church family. As I look back now, the cool thing about the atmosphere the church created was one of welcoming, safety.  And without them knowing who I was, what I was hiding and running from, without confirmation of the “secret sin” that I was caring around with me, they welcomed me with open arms I did not realize then the significant role the church would play in my transformation.
 
Two years into my attending church, I started a new relationship and we began to attend services together.  I thought this was filling the void I had been feeling for such a long time.  However as time went on, the void, the emptiness was still there and growing stronger.  Soon after my partner and I started dating, the church was going to plant a new campus and I had this deep desire to be part of this start up.  It would be fun and it was part of my skill set that had been developed through my work.  This is where God really started to do His work.  He placed handpicked individuals and couples smack dab into my life’s path that would ultimately play a major role in my recovery process.
 
I stepped out of the lifestyle 3 years ago and He has been peeling back the layers of my heart in order to re-shape it into the women He planned me to be.
 
Growing up, I never received the “right of passage” from a young girl to womanhood from my mother due to her own childhood wounds, so over these past few years  I have gone through a significant transformation and learning curve.  From learning about makeup, how to apply it; to experiencing my first trip to DSW (major shoe store the size of a football field – well it seemed like it to me), beginning to dress more feminine, learning how to take care of myself as a woman of God.  What used to take me 30 minutes to get ready in the morning now takes me 1.5 hours! 
 
He’s taught me how to develop healthy intimate relationships with women and men.  I’ve learned that Christian men can be and are safe.  God has shown me how to identify and establish healthy boundaries with my family and friends, to experience and know His unconditional love for me.  Most importantly my walk with God has developed into a true intimate relationship that grows deeper each and every day.
 
Now, I could not have gone through this transformation alone; in fact I tried once to step out of the lifestyle in the early 90’s.  It was a 32 week program to support men and women who wanted to step out of the homosexual lifestyle.  I thought to myself, “this is it, I can do this!”  I ended my relationship with my partner at the time and focused on my effort to step out of the lifestyle.  However what this program failed to establish was the importance of developing a core group of friends that would hold me accountable; a church family, a support group and spirit-filled counselor experienced in sexual addictions that would help me work on healing the traumas from my past.  Since these key elements were missing in my effort to step out of the lifestyle, I finished the program and immediately jumped back into the lifestyle for lack of the support structure that is so critical for my (our) recovery.  The other key factor missing in this program was the focus to identify the traumas from my past that developed these addictions and intimacy disorders.
 
I thank God for placing core healthy relationships in my life over the last 5 years that have made me feel safe to share my “secret sin” of sexual addiction.   Relationships that have and continue to hold me accountable; that I can feel safe to call upon anytime and know I will not be rejected, condemned or judged.  He has provided an amazing church family that has shown the unconditional love, support and safety that God intended for me and all of us to experience. 
 
God took my desperate brokenness 3 years ago and transformed me into the woman that I am today, the woman He planned for me to be.  I wish I could say that part of my transformation was because of a Women’s Support group but sadly there was not one in the central area I lived in.  He has taken my hurts, pains and turned them into His passion, His calling on my life.  That calling was to start a L.I.F.E. Women’s Support group in my community, allowing women a safe place to share and learn about sexual integrity, to share my story of His transforming power to all that He brings across my path, and to be an Ambassador for L.I.F.E. Ministries International in order to educate Church and Secular communities of this epidemic – this “secret sin” – sexual addiction.  My hope and prayer in sharing my story is to let women and men know that they are not alone, there is hope and they can experience God’s unconditional love.

The process of transforming, changing, is dynamic, at times dramatic, can be slow and sometimes unnoticeable to you because of the hurt and pain; however to others so very visible.  The process of transforming is never ending.  During this time He will show you things about your life that may be hard to see and could be something we don’t want to see in ourselves and difficult to understand… if you follow and keep your eyes focused on God, if you don’t give up, keep running the race, keep moving forward one step at a time, you will be transformed and experience the lifelong expression of His unconditional love.