Private Magazine

Finding True Love At Sex Addicts Anonymous

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Disclaimer- Sex Addicts Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous,  etc. ask that addicts keep fellow addicts anonymous, hence the name; therefore, all names and verbatim sentences are fabricated to protect those involved. Also, members of the SAA program depicted in this article, as stated in their booklet, “are not [SAA] representatives or claim to be spokespersons for the press, radio, TV, films , or the Internet.

 

One month ago, I briefly dated a sex addict. It’s hard to be sure, because I’m fairly certain that he’s also a pathological liar. Then again, from what I know, many addicts are also liars.

I only went out with him because he wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept showing up at my job.

“So, when are we going out to dinner?”

“Never.”

It went on like that for a couple of weeks, until finally, I relented. We went to Taste of Siam. Over dinner, he opened up about his wife who suddenly died of cancer four months ago. I realized he was still wearing a wedding band.

“Isn’t that a little quick to be dating?” I asked my 81-year-old friend Annette, afterwards.

“No, you’d be surprised how quick men are able to move on.”

I figured Annette knew what she was talking about, being 81 and all. But only a week into our frenzied fling, my stalker opened up to me at Spot Coffee.

“I’m a sex addict,” he said, looking over his thick black frames. “It’s how I’ve been grieving. It’s hard. I’m dating multiple cougars…” He began to scour the Spot scene with frantic eyes. “You’re the only non-cougar I am seeing.”

He then called over a random woman and  invited her  into a threesome with us.  Not many  situations embarrass me, but that did. I never spoke to him again.

He still stalks me at my job.

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———————

That confession of his has never left my mind. I don’t think about it daily, but sometimes I wonder if he was truly sincere. Probably not. But that isn’t stopping me from investigating the reality of being a sex addict by attending a local chapter meeting of Sex Addicts Anonymous.

I called a phone number I found on the Sex Addicts Anonymous database two days ago; apparently there’s a suburban Christian fellowship that hosts many AA and SA meetings. I pull up outside; a few women are smoking cigarettes in their cars. Armed with a venti Starbucks, I attempt to project a seen-it-all, done-it-all demeanor. In reality, I have no idea what to expect.

I’m worried that my all-black outfit is too sexy for Sex Addicts Anonymous. I mean, vintage leather mini skirt? Hugo Boss blazer? Motorcycle boots? Stockings?

Upon entering the building, I’m greeted with inspirational Christian banners. A few women are heading into an alcove at the left side of a roomy foyer. I follow them. A pot of coffee is steaming on its burner, but it appears to be decaf. Fuck! They start talking about “back when they were drinking.”

“Um, I think I have the wrong meeting,” I meekly express.

“This is a womens-only AA meeting,” says a 30-something with a pleasant face. “What group are you looking for?”

“Well…. well, I must have the wrong place…Maybe it got rescheduled?” I say, walking into the carpeted foyer.

“What group are you looking for?” she asks again, following me.

I swivel around once we arrive in a shadowy corner.

“The sex addicts!”

“Oh, they meet in the basement pretty much every day.”

Figures…

I go down a few steps into an olive green annex. A guy in an olive green dress shirt, cuffed loose-fitting slacks, and orthopedic shoes beckons me into an adjacent room.

“Is this – Sex Addicts Anonymous? I called Tuesday – are you Bruce?”

The guy in olive green confirms that he is Bruce. He facilitates the meetings. I look around; only one other person besides Bruce is present. He’s well into his 70’s and wears sweatpants.  There are a few mismatched recliners and armchairs to choose from, but I opt for the folding chair by the window.

PPhood

I’m surprised there are only three of us here. That is, if you include me, and I’m not even an addict. Or am I? Why the hell am I here? Why do I have a compulsion to do these things? My thoughts aren’t that different from the others in this building. I’m given a blue pamphlet which lays out today’s meeting, two green books about beating sex addiction (which Bruce wrote, impressively), and the monthly group newsletter. We begin with the Feelings Check.

“Russell, would you like to start, since we have a newcomer?”

Russell begins by choosing two adjectives to sum up his feelings of the day.

“I feel appreciated -”

“Yes you are!” Bruce reinforces, winking at me.

“And, um, hopeful.”

“Yes you do!” I chime in this time. For some reason this makes me blush. Then it’s my turn. I start to sweat, and roll up the sleeves of my blazer. This exposes the burn from my stove on my wrist and armful of bracelets. Great, I probably look like a cutter.

“Hi, I’m —-, and  I am a recovering sex addict.  Today I feel calm, because well, this is a pretty laid back setting – and inspired, because I like meeting new people.”

“Yes you are!”

We then recite the Serenity Prayer (“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”) together. However, the group maintains a casual, open, accepting, non-religiously affiliated vibe. I actually learn a lot from Bruce. For example, AA meetings (12 Step programs) originated in the 1930’s, when people asked God to fix problems instead of seeking medical explanations. Bruce finds error in the fact these methods are still used today to mend complex addictions. The man who developed AA in the 30’s apparently got sober from alcohol, but remained a smoker, compulsive spender, and sex addict until his death.

Right in the middle of our Validations – “I am acceptable, competent, and focused; I trust my own thoughts and emotions; I have positive expectations for today and for tomorrow, etc” another man walks into the room. He’s clutching a liter of Coke and filling the room with the aroma of a Marb.

“Are you here for the meeting?” asks Bruce.

“Yeah, uh, SA?”

“Yes, are you Patrick? Weren’t you here last week?”

“Yes I was.”

He takes a seat, and I catch him looking at me many times. He probably wants to bone, I think to myself. But what’s so erroneous about that?

We continue the meeting, reading through a chapter in the green book about the basis of sex addiction. According to Bruce, his group uses the most up to date, medically sound information regarding the nature of addiction. While medical knowledge 25 years ago relied on pegging addiction as a “disease,” that isn’t entirely true. Also, the only addiction relying heavily on genetics is alcoholism.

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Rather, addictions which are “learned behaviors,” like sex, shopping, eating disorders, and gambling,  can also be un-learned. It all goes back to conditioning and feeling abandoned as a child. This “trauma” increases the likelihood you will develop the Addict Personality.

 

I wasn’t abandoned as a child, but I have an Addict Personality. Bruce says some people with Addict Personalities weren’t traumatized as children. Addiction can just form from faulty wiring in the brain, dopamine and seratonin receptors. He tells me you can work hard and re-wire the brain, if you work at it every day for three years.

Staring down at my sex addict literature, I’m forgetting that I’m not really a sex addict. Or am I? No, I’m not. Our generation just has a problem with intimacy as a whole. I’m sure  some will wind up in SAA when they’re a sweatpants-wearing age 70.  But while I’m not a full-blown addict of any sort, I know that I chemically possess the Addict Personality.  Sex addiction was never my problem, not at all. I’ve already marked a nearby wine store, so I can buy a bottle of pinot grigio after this meeting. Am I an alcoholic?  There have been downward spirals and self-destructive benders, over the years. But I think I manage to toe the line before I hit full blown addict rock bottom. I have too much to lose; I always have to keep myself in check.

Martini

The meeting draws to a close, and I thank Bruce. I might return, because I don’t want Bruce to feel Sad during the Feelings Check, sad that I never showed up again. Sad that I gave up my recovery and returned to an addiction that I never really had.  

This thought almost makes me burst into tears, as I walk to my car, smelling a clove cigarette in the night air.

But I need to stop with always putting others’ needs/wants before my own…I need to affirm my own needs/wants…Maybe I will check out the womens-only AA…


I am competent and capable.

From Drunken Makeout to True Love

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We are at DBGB’s, Jennifer and I, posted up at the bar. Suddenly, a kid who looks like a 21-year-old version of Drake, in a red t-shirt, wobbles up to us.

“Isn’t that red dress a little excessive?!” he says to me, bobbing to and fro slowly, like a pendulum.

“…It’s a Christmas party.”

Then, he leans in close to me and his breath absolutely reeks of like, pure mildew.

“Go away!”

I turn to my right. There sits a seemingly-normal gent in a New Era cap, with a mellow demeanor.  He tells me his name is Chris. Apparently Chris is a waiter downtown. He tells me his goofy, Drake-esque accomplice is Justin. Justin wanders over to his bar during the day regularly. He also works downtown. Today, the two hatched a plan to partake in the free buffet at the DBGB Christmas party.

Twenty minutes pass. It seems like Chris and I are hitting it off… although, I am rather tipsy.

“Can I get you something from the free buffet?”

“Sure!”

I see Chris get accosted by an untidy hobo in the buffet line. So I wander over there and begin gnawing on a mouthwatering wing. The hobo leaves. Chris turns to me…and I notice that both of his front teeth are chipped. Like, bad. I think to myself that he must be a hockey player or UFC fighter, even though he already told me that he’s a waiter. But maybe he’s undercover…  Daiquiris

All of a sudden, Chris kisses me right in front of the buffet table. I am completely taken aback. When I pull away, Chris takes hold of my bottom lip with his partial two front teeth and kind of bites me. Like, it feels weird because not all of his front teeth are present.

Now that I have been Bit in the Buffet line, I scamper off and break up Jennifer and Justin. Then, Jennifer and I go back to my apartment to make an oven pizza, take a bleary-eyed scroll through the Newsfeed, and tipsily discuss the evening’s events.

——————————

Two nights later, I receive a text from Chris while at work.

“I’m going to a show at Nietzsche’s and it would be cool if you came with me.”

I accept the invitation, then text Jennifer.

“Should I give him a chance? Even though he seems like a dope/doesn’t have all his teeth?”

“No” is her reply.
Wondering and skeptical of how this night will go, we make plans to meet up at Providence Social, because Chris doesn’t have a car. Providence Social is within walking distance of his house, evidently. What is up with that? Men… If they got a car, they live with their mama. If they got their own place, they have no ride. Maybe they even have no job.

——————

fridge

I walk into Providence Social and am immediately welcomed by a warm, candlelit aura. However, Chris is nowhere to be found. I glance around and suddenly he appears, swilling a half-full pint.

“Oh, hey…” I look at his glass. “How long have you been here?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Five minutes? I ordered some soup.”

A waiter seats us in a cozy booth in the back and leaves. I have no drink. What the hell is he doing ordering everything without me? The waiter comes back.

“And what would you like to eat?” the waiter asks.

“Those Sriracha wings,” Chris says.

The waiter leaves.  Seriously rude, I think. What if I hated sriracha wings?! I don’t know why Chris is so oblivious. I steer the conversation. He is looking glassy-eyed and buck-toothed.

“So, what’s new?”

“Nothing really,” he says.

Dinner is going in a totally boring direction, because I guess Chris can’t carry on a conversation/has nothing going on in life. It’s going to be a long night.

“So…what are, like, your hopes and dreams?”

“Nothing really.”

We conclude our meal and I drive us to Allentown. Upon entering Nietzche’s, the place is dead. I suggest we go across the street to the Buffablog party. Once there, Chris takes it upon himself to get me a PBR. I’m not a high-maintenance bitch or anything, but I don’t like PBR.

“So, what’s your last name?” I ask.

The place is packed full of people; the band playing is super-loud; I swear that he tells me his last name is “Booby.” Glancing around the room sideways, I’m pleading with the universe that I don’t run into anyone I know.

“Listen, why don’t we just sit in the dark corner over there?”

“All right,” Chris says, kind of spitting on me through his broken teeth.

We sit side-by-side. Chris decides to nurse his PBR and stare off in the distance. I’m barely sipping mine and ready to fall asleep.

“Yeah, sorry I’m not more entertaining,” Chris says.

‘It’s ok,” I reply.

“I”m just tired; I worked three days in a row. Let’s go to Caffe Aroma for tea?”

Tea sounds like a great idea, and I’m joyful inside – the night is drawing to an end.

We drive to the café. It’s closed!

“I have tea at my apartment,” Goofy Tooth suggests.

I have to drop him off anyway, I think to myself. Eh, why not? Definitely not going to see this guy again. Jennifer was right. He is a major dud. It’s crazy how better they look while drunk in front of a dark Christmas buffet.

The night has turned into a frozen downpour. I drive my dull companion to his residence on the Lower West Side. He invites me up for some tea. Opening a rusty razor sharp screen door, Chris ushers me into a dark hallway. “It’s right up the stairs,” he says.

“Um, can you go first? I have no clue how to navigate your stairs in the dark.”

So he ascends the ramshackle steps; I clutch the railing and gradually get vertigo. Then Chris opens his apartment door; a wretched unfurnished garret greets me. Taking a chipped dirty mug from a dusty cupboard, he plops in a putrid chamomile tea bag. “Thanks,” I mutter.

“So – do you want to go in my bed?”

I zero in on the chipped, slimy front teeth inching their way towards me. They are ready for action. Like an overzealous beaver, Chris attempts to grab my face again for a little gnawing action, chewing, spewing chamomile…

“I really have to go. I have to get up early tomorrow. Will you walk me to my car?”

Thunder cracks outside as we walk the dreary avenue. Clouds converge in the gloomy nothingness above.

“Yeah – I had a really nice time, thank you Chris.”

I turn to unlock my Pontiac as Chris swivels on his skate-shoe clad heels and runs – literally runs – away from me.