Archives for posts with tag: sex addiction

Reading over this entry I am reminded that perhaps a more pious life might suit me better that a life devoted to intensity.  Piety, we tend to use the word pejoratively,  saying more about our Godless world than the idea behind the action.

Today I crave piety, humility, silence..

Tres Triste urged me to go into one on one therapy.  I will have nothing to do with that.  I am bloated on my experience of one on one therapy.

I am, however, recommitted to the rooms of AA.  I know that they understand because I am just like them.  One on one therapy obviously suits many people but I don’t trust doctors, I don’t trust therapists who profit from the misery of others.  I resent paying them.  That I become their blank cheque.  In fact, I resent paying all doctors because I come from a country where visiting a doctor is free.

AA is free.  For fun and for free.

The simple fact is: I chose to abandon the principles of AA during the last few months.  Not taking a drink is just a small part of what we do in those rooms.  The rest of the time we help and guide each other toward sanity.  During the past months I deliberately abandoned my principles and let my alcoholic head run the show.

Many people ask why I moved to LA.  It really had nothing to do with film making.  I came to LA to be closer to the rooms of AA where I found comfort, solace and peace.  I made friends and found an extended family of people who understood me, who were always willing to forgive…no matter what.   I felt as if I needed, as if I NEED a great deal of forgiveness.

After a few years I became disgruntled and disillusioned with AA and went to fewer and fewer meetings.  As I did so my mind became more and more confused.  If I do not do the work to keep me sane I very quickly unravel.

I believe in the power of AA.  It is a church. It is my church.  For all to see during these past months I threw away my sanity because I wanted to use..so I did.  I used HIM.  He is not even real.  He is a bag of coke, a bump of crystal, my works, my baggy, my bottle, my paraphernalia.   He is not real.  Do I miss him?  I miss him like a glass of Montepulciano.  Full bodied red wine that I secretly want to drink when that day comes…and it very well might.  Never take your sobriety for granted.

You think that I have been cruel but I needed him out of my life and sometimes keeping your dealers number is the way back to active addiction.  If I had not jettisoned him that day I KNOW what would have happened.  We would have remained friends, we would have hooked up, my head just could not take it.

I napalmed the poppy fields.

This morning I chatted with Tim about the past.  A place one tends to reinvent as one gets older. It is invigorating having him there at the other end of the phone/skype.  He is in Worcester waiting for his triple bypass.  We are both waiting to have our skin cut open and our insides messed with by experts.

We talked about the power of prayer.  Our spiritual lives.  I needn’t tell you how important a loving God is in ones life but even though I know that prayer really works I am loathed to pray just in case is doesn’t.

That even God might let me down.

There is no doubt what so ever that for the past few months I used another man as my drug.  Intensity, fixation, obsession etc. etc.  Remember when you spent your last cent on drugs? When the getting and using was your main focus?  Remember the risks you took?  I am a crazy addict.  Yet, it is somehow easier for us to understand a man who cannot say no to drugs than a man who cannot say no to his addiction to people.  It is a far more complex and ultimately destructive addiction.

I think you have all been my witness to that.

I crave a healthy relationship with people who ever they might be, lover, family member, friend, shop assistant, telephone banker etc.    I am powerless and my life becomes unmanageable.  I am powerless over people, places and things.  This powerlessness causes me such misery. Powerlessness, vulnerability, weakness of any kind cannot be tolerated and as you have seen…I will bring you down if you challenge who I am, get to the heart of me.

I don’t think I am so different from most of you?

Yet, I most definitely am.  I do not think like normal people.

The idea that somehow, someday I will control and enjoy my thinking is the obsession of every abnormal thinker.

That was a quote from Bill Wilson with the word drink switched out for think.

Wether you believe it or not the rooms of AA are filled with men and women just like me.  When we sit together sharing our similarities and not our differences then I become aware of the presence of God.

I have struggled with SAA.

There is a big difference between being an alcoholic and a sex/love addict.  Alcoholics share the experience of abstinence.  Sex addicts do not.  The differences between sex addicts, when we share our stories, are all too apparent.  The similarities..scant.  Where there are few similarities I find myself divorced from God.

As I have reported in earlier posts, as the years pass and ones last drunk become a distant memory I am forced to deal with other more pressing, more destructive addictions.

The consequences of my actions are all too apparent.  I have rampaged like a spoiled child through another mans life.  Regardless of his part in it..I have only myself to blame.  As I have said before, it is none of my business assigning blame or becoming an interventionist for others.

We all learn by our mistakes, by the lies we tell, by the havoc we wreak.

So, today’s prayer:  God, relieve me from the bondage of self.  Help me be kind.  Let me be present.  Let me tell the truth.

Bind me so my arms do not flail,  gag me so I cannot speak, shackle me so I cannot walk, lay me down in some quiet place so I do not think.

The house is rented for the week to nice sounding people from Texas.    They arrive at 1.

I am looking forward to spending what may be one of my last weekends in Hollywood.   I fill my suitcase with favorite things and return them to Malibu.

I am listening to BBC Radio Four, Gardeners Question Time.  One of my favorite programmes, the show was first broadcast in 1947.  My grandparents loved listening to it.  My mother loves it too.  I particularly enjoy listening to the advice of the more elderly gardeners they interview most weeks.  Softly spoken with thick regional accents. Even though I cannot take their advice directly because, of course, my high sierra garden is nothing like the lush, green gardens of England.

This morning they discussed string beans.

I often forget that I can tune in and listen to BBC radio live everyday.  It’s very reassuring listening to British news and opinion, current affairs and of course..The Archers.

Yesterday I trimmed the Bougainvillea around the terrace so one can eat breakfast and look over at the ocean.

I am struggling with my sad head, my achy balls, the move, the renovations and the house sale that I hope to make this year.

As for where next?  God only knows.

The door that regularly opened between me and my creative mind is jammed shut.  Barricaded by resentment.  It is obvious that a life which includes a deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness…

I am planning my trip to Australia.  The little dog will have to be in quarantine for 30 days and I fear that he will go mad without me.  I can visit him every day at the kennel but I know that he will hate it.  I would much prefer that he lived with someone he loved here whilst I am away.   Or..maybe I shouldn’t go.

Whilst I seem to report only the most catastrophic thoughts and feelings in this blog I am actually working hard in therapy to understand the consequences of my actions.  As a single man the consequences of watching porn, masturbation, hook ups etc, are few.   However, I had a delicious revelation at group therapy on Wednesday night.  I have struggled applying what I know to work in AA to my sex/love addiction.  I needed a key to unlock this conundrum.  Someone in the group shared that when he read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous he replaces the word drink with think.  We have lost the ability to drink like normal people.  Becomes:  We have lost the ability to THINK like normal people.

I began to make my way through the Big Book replacing the word drink with think and suddenly began to totally embrace how I could make sense of my sex/love addiction.

Through the pain of the last few weeks as I hurtle away from Jake leaving him somewhere in the cosmos I have wilfully forgotten the solace I get from my commitment to sobriety in which ever form that takes.

Must remember to sweep the paths.

Lunch with Jenny A at Joan’s on Third.

I tend to avoid anything flavored with Tarragon because it is most often over used.  Used correctly it is the most delicate and fragrant of all the herbs providing a backdrop for other flavors to make themselves heard.

I ate the three-salad combination plate..chicken with Tarragon salad, butter bean and mozzarella salad and snap pea salad.  Gorgeous.  But what was more gorgeous was hanging with the perennially elegant, devilishly witty and endlessly talented Jenny.

I am still off all food made with anything bleached, processed or enriched so am shrinking daily.  I wore McQueen pants, a black tee and Maison Margiella sandals.  The first time this year I have felt confident to do so.  I knew that I looked fucking great and that, my friends, is all your favorite ‘uncle’ requires of the new day.   Elegance.  Who better to dress to impress than darling Jenny.

As you may have divined I am well and truly out of my funereal dirge and feeling very happy, resolute, fearless.  This is all it takes?  Lunch with Jenny to slough off the past few months of misery?  Well no, it was Jenny plus some really good advice, some incisive questioning and hey presto I can deal with anything..including this bloody city.  Jenny left LA a few years ago to set up shop in Todos Santos, Mexico as the purveyor of the most magical B&B in the whole goddamned world.

Incidentally, it was Jenny who I called the day I took my last drink more than a decade ago.  A drink I shared, rather ironically, with Sebastian Horsley and his then girlfriend Rachel.  It was actually a little more than a drink.   Excuse my coyness.

That last night of debauchery in Kensington included falling in and out of black taxies, vomit on the streets, blazing eyes, insulting the host of a very dull party.  The next morning waking up under that cloud.  I called Jenny.  I had been to her home on many occasions where she graciously served alcohol but never drank a drop herself.

She asked if I was ready to stop, that it was about time.

I had a wrap of something in my wallet and knew that I wanted it.  She told me to call when I was ready to get sober, to renounce drugs and alcohol.   It was October 1st 1997.  I was ready.  I put the wrap into the trash and like nuclear waste held it at arm’s length as I threw the trash bag into the street.

After chucking out the last of the alcohol and drugs I set about cleaning the filthy multi million dollar house, fixing the dent in my car, changing my telephone number and putting my life back together.  I slept in clean sheets.  I went to bed when I was tired.  I ate delicious food that I could taste.  In order to escape those whose best interests it was to keep me drunk I booked a ticket to Sydney Australia where I went every day to 12 step meetings for the next six months.

It was magical.   Sobriety is like magic.  That New Years Eve I was three months without a drink,  I did the unthinkable I sat in the Sydney Opera House enjoying The Magic Flute sober.

I have never had a dud New Year’s Eve in sobriety.

Jenny and I share many of the same personality traits..both good and bad and during the past twenty years have helped each other emotionally, practically and spiritually.   In fact, it was she who very generously lent me her beautiful home in Notting Hill when I made my film Clancy’s Kitchen.   Black finger prints not withstanding our friendship remains as strong today as it ever was.

A truly glamorous Brit with red hair and high cheekbones she wanted to know who and what and when..processed it and spat out wonderful advice.

Just for the record: this is what I am grateful for this sunny LA day in 2010:

My health, my life, my little dog, my great friends, my sobriety, food on the table, my trip to Paris, my upcoming birthday, my view, the new road to the house..

Actually, I am grateful for rather a lot.  Now, that’s the way to start the day?  I think so.  With a gratitude list.  Perhaps that’s how I need to start my blog rather than the list of all that is wrong in my life.

For a while I forgot why I got sober!  I didn’t get sober to mope around, to complain about shit or live in fear.   Good God!   Dr Jenny laid me on her couch and reminded me of what I needed to hear.

As a result I challenge those thoughts of obsession to come to me.  Every time my head is clouded with unwanted thoughts I say, bring it on.   There is only so much pain I can endure.  Rather than fight the thoughts or submerge them in drugs, alcohol or orgasm I let them consume me for a few moments and they vanish a few seconds later.

It’s odd that when one is obsessed with anything by simply trying to marshal those thoughts one merely feeds them.   By letting them wash over me like heavy rain the storm passes.

This too will pass.

Joan of Joan’s on Third sat with us for a few minutes and told us about an armoire that she had seen in Paris three years ago that she thought was going to be perfect for keeping her linens.  Sadly, the shopkeeper told her that the beautiful piece was already sold.  For three solid years Joan lusted after that armoire, looking at pictures of it on her phone.

When she finally returned to Paris a short while ago Joan popped back into the store to find that miraculously the armoire had not been sold after all, delighted she opened the door and upon closer inspection saw that it was full of safes and totally inappropriate for linens.

Of course she didn’t buy it.  She said, “I was obsessed with it because it was unavailable and I hadn’t looked inside.”  Which is exactly how I get obsessed…with that that is unavailable and because often..I haven’t looked inside.

I dreampt that I drank a pint of amber-colored beer.  It was cold and sparkling just like I remember it.   It was delicious.  In my dream I noted that it had no effect.  That I was as sober at the end of the pint as I was when I took the first sip.  Oh, if only that were true!

I am determined that nothing will get in the way of the good time I am planning to have in the UK during this next few weeks.  I am going home to celebrate with old friends who expect me to return from this stinking hole triumphant!  I am triumphant.

I have been weakened of late and it does not suit me.   Who says that happiness depends on me being loved, being rich, being anything else than what I am?  Who wrote that bullshit?  I really have no right to anything other than this very moment.

For fuck sake I have survived on my own for nearly five decades.  Why the hell am I so inclined to believe that I can’t do that anymore is a totally mystery.  Who the hell is running this insane asylum?

I have an adventure, life’s adventure to complete here and nothing is going to get in my way.

I think some of you were rather hoping that at this point I might do what my other less determined friends have done..and kill myself.   No such luck!  If the fags don’t get me,  the pancreatic cancer might but never, never expect me to do myself in.

There’s too much to look forward to!

Dream:  weirdly compelling dream, I am in a beautiful country house in South America, there is an anaconda, I am guarding the little dog, then we are on a train to a small village, lots of people..then on my own.

I am on a high protein diet so I can lose a few pounds before I get to England rather than work it off whilst I am there.      The upshot is I am feeling aggressively horny.   Need..want..love.

Taming the beast.    Look, I have to confide in you:  I have never been interested in second best, making do, half measures not only availed me nothing but I am turned OFF by the avowedly second rate.  I am interested in first class everything and why shouldn’t I be?  I don’t mean huge houses or fancy cars, I don’t want ravishing beauty or perfect bodies all I have ever wanted was something or someone who could tell me the truth.

Again, let me state as boldly and confidently as I know how: AUTHENTICITY.  I am only interested, I have only ever been interested and will always only ever be interested in that that is authentic and true.

This may account for the kind of pornography with which I used to be obsessed.

If I look around my home I can tell you that there is not one fork, spoon, chair or rug that I don’t LOVE.

Selling my art recently has given me the freedom to let everything go.  I may have no option.  Yet, as fast as I let things go I acquire more.   It is an addiction as grave as pornography or drugs.  I used to look around my home in Whitstable and I could tell you to the day how badly I felt by the amount of money I spent on the possessions I owned.

Last night I met some actor from a show called Dollhouse.  I don’t remember his name.  Fran someone or other.   He was/is attractive but because I no longer objectify or intrigue I really didn’t know how to engage with strangers.  The conversation lingered and died.    Is this how things will be from now on?

Fuck.

Before my sexual maturity work in therapy when ever I went out I would flit from table to table intriguing and flirting and having a gay old-time.  Yesterday night I was compelled to chat with people I knew rather than making brand new friends.

Fuck!

I really do not want to lose that motivation.  I love people but how do I love people without them becoming my drug of choice?

Hours of conversation with a friend this morning and later this afternoon.

Feel like the skin has been burned off of 90% of my body.  Vulnerable to the memory of the Big Dog.  Remembering her broken and bloody body.  She comes to me and reminds me of what I am capable of.

The conversation was at first a crude attempt at land grab in the emotional terrain we had been inhabiting these past few months  but after a while we settled into a healthy dialogue about much-needed closure.

The last vestiges of what was are now stowed away.  The resentments are dealt with, every fact revealed, keeping my side of the street totally clean.  For that I am proud. In the realm of full disclosure I am king.

I had to listen to truths I would rather not hear.  I am smarting from words like ‘damaged’ and ‘unhealthy’.   I just took them on the chin.  It would be easy for me to fight back, to make excuses, to tell the story of my life but really..I consider the source.  Everything I am left with is for me to deal with without recrimination or harmful actions to the other.

The little dog is restless tonight, unable to find a place to get comfortable.  He perfectly reflects the way I feel.  After Josh’s cancer party we walked the streets of Hollywood and I gazed at men longingly, as if strange flesh would make my head ache less.

I wish that I could drink, sit in some bar somewhere and get totally wasted.  I wish I could take drugs like vicodin or morphine.  I wish I could open my veins to let out theses screaming demons.    I have only one solution and that is to pray.  That is my weapon of last resort.  As the obsession shrinks, the man diminishes, the heart fills full of love once again rather than the desiccated scarcely beating leaden thing that fills the place where my heart should be.

If I pray to that God others have such a problem believing in then all will be well.  I have been embarrassed by my belief in God when that was all I really had, what I came to believe, that gave me succor and a will to live!  I am alive today.  I did not die when I wanted to.  I chose to live so now I must live the best life possible however ‘damaged’ I might be.

Oh damn you addiction.  Damn you for taking me once again to the brink of oblivion.  Damn you for blinding me to the consequences.  The unenlightened live in a world without consequences.

The greatest insults were not leveled at me today, the ones I truly deserved.  That I had been willful and disobedient before my creator.    God had shown me the path to happiness elsewhere and I ignored it.   How embarrassing!  How totally and utterly embarrassing that I should have got caught up in some suburban drama, a bit player in some bad soap opera.  Acquainting myself with those who do not have the willingness, honesty and open-mindedness required for living a serene existence before God.

I am crushed by own actions.  I have no one else to blame.  I now retreat into what has held me for 13 years, that has continued to show me forgiveness and opened its doors and arms to me.  It is my true love, it is the only path I know that will help me achieve my initial desire when I first got sober:  Peace of Mind.

Remember the relief you felt when you first saw the word God written in the 12 steps?   I offered myself to God because I had nowhere else to turn.  Tomorrow I will do the same thing, I will sit with men and women who came to believe, who daily turn over their extraordinariness to a God of their understanding so that they might live a humble life with Peace of Mind their goal.

I know that they will understand, that they will forgive me and help me to forgive myself.

Jennie and topless gay boy toy

October 12th 2009.

Overcast, drizzle. Chilly.

Sirens screaming through the streets.

When the dull, lifeless cloudy days come to LA the American’s say-‘remind you of home?’ Well, no, it does not remind me of home. Cold, bright, winter days-lawns sparkling with frost remind me of home. Sultry August evenings strolling through freshly harvested fields of wheat remind me of home. Bracing walks by the sea remind me of home.

At breakfast, in Brentwood, with the lads a waiter (who usually ignores me) sheepishly asked if I was that guy from the TV. I had a flush of amusement, excitement and fear. It had to happen sooner or later. Just not now. Not yet. It was too soon. VH1 are doing a sterling job of marketing the show. Twittering, Facebook and black and white commercials play endlessly now. Black and white commercials imply that this show might have to be taken seriously. Dr Drew is ‘serious’; the confessions are ‘serious’. The condition is Sex Addiction and we need to take sex addiction very seriously indeed.

Whilst I might take sex addiction seriously my co-revelers at yesterdays benefit for the housing of aged gays and lesbians did not.

I had not been to a gay event for some time, probably because ‘they’ know that I have a withering disregard for most gay events.

Jennie and I decided to go together. We arrive to the leaden thud of vintage disco. We walk the red carpet. Beyond the red carpet lay shrimp skewers, a silent auction with, amongst other things, tickets to Ellen and Melissa Etheridge‘s guitar. Beyond the red carpet half naked boys are selling raffle tickets and there’s a huge spackled house filled with 30 ‘professionally designed’ sofas and jars of spiced lemons. We are advised NOT to sit on the sofas, to admire the spiced lemons from a respectful distance.

We saw Rosie O’Donnell who is a giantess. We tormented the shirtless boys, one of whom is called Lenny and comes from Wisconsin. He moved to LA to fight in cages. I told him that Jennie was a cage fighter. We did not buy any raffle tickets.

We ate the shrimp skewers and engaged, as best we could, with the other guests. Finally, we met an Austrian and his boyfriend who were funny and engaging. They were almost identically dressed.

They, in turn, introduced us to their friends. I began to really enjoy myself.

Jennie had to leave so I left with her. I changed and drove back to the party. It was then that my new friends noticed that I didn’t drink and began looking at me curiously. Why don’t you drink? Did you have a ‘problem’ the word falls on me like an anvil.

A gay who doesn’t drink=damaged goods.

I want to fit in with them but it’s really HARD. I just yearned for my sober breakfast buddies who understand me. I was told later that I really had no chance of meeting a man if I didn’t drink.

We ate dinner at a lesbian owned tex mex spot. The food was cold and uninspiring.

By the time I left Here! Bar in West Hollywood it was half past midnight and I was way past my expiration date. My new friends were going to a house party where they would pour tequila down male model backs and drink it from their asses-or something like that. Where porn stars would wander around with erections. Where landscape gardeners and their friends would fuck in hot tubs until dawn.

What kind of gay man wouldn’t find that alluring? Sadly, not me.