My father’s sexaholism had a profound impact on me. I lived under a cloud of impending disaster, even when things were going fine. I couldn’t see the harmful effects on my life of living with and reacting to that dread. I had become too emotionally connected with my father—I didn’t know where he left off and I began. Sexaholism was the big, bad secret in our family, and I loyally guarded that secret for years. In my family it was more important to give an appearance of being happy than to experience the genuine emotion. My main method of coping with the turmoil was to become over-involved with educational pursuits, with extra-curricular projects, and excessive religious activity.

When I left home and got married, I still relied on emotionally withdrawing and piling on activities when circumstances became difficult. I could justify everything I was doing, but I couldn’t prevent my partner from feeling abandoned and unloved. She also reacted strongly toward my father’s sexual acting out and refused to allow him to babysit for his grandchildren. When I felt forced to choose between my wife and my father, I clearly felt my life had become unmanageable, and I decided to get help.

Taking my First Step was painful, but as that truth deep down inside of me came to the surface, I felt reunited with a deep part of myself, and it felt good. My pain had begun when the effects of my father’s sexaholism began to affect me emotionally and spiritually. It was only when life became hopeless that I surrendered, took my First Step, and gave God a chance to restore my life.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 75.

 May 13, 2024

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