Anatomy of a Sex Addict with Multiple Addictions. Thora’s Story.

Those of you who have been following this site know that I recently censured a comment posted by a reader named thora1. I did this because it contained graphic descriptions of her sexual behaviors.

I have decided to post her story here, with just a few portions deleted and with my thoughts placed within her story in bold. The reason that I have chosen to feature Thora’s story is because she is an active Sex Addict with multiple addictions who is in a relationship with another Sex Addict who is also a drug addict.

Why should we care about this? Well, first, because she is a woman in pain who has reached out to us. And, in addition, her minimizing and denial is so perfectly articulated I felt that my readers would get a better understanding of how Sex Addicts tick.

I have been brutally critical with Thora and I hope she will understand that the only way she can ever recover is to face her addictions and do the things she must to change her life. It will be interesting to see if she is up to the challenge.

Here is her original story with my comments in bold.

I have always had a high sex drive ever since I first lost my virginity as a teenager. However, I never cheated on my boyfriend, even when it was suspected that he had cheated on me (Here we see an example of distorted thinking. She appears to think that having a high sex drive predisposes one to cheating–and, she thinks rather highly of herself for not cheating. In reality, not cheating is the norm.). And, he had cheated on me. So, from there I tried to be abstinent from sex. (WHY? Right from the beginning she has an unusual focus on sex.) I easily went without any sexual intercourse with a man, as long as alcohol was not involved (Here we get our first clue that she has a problem with alcohol). But, I was a binge drinker. If I got drunk, it often landed me in bed with a man. Often would be as little as 1 time in a year, and perhaps up to 5 or 6. I cannot really recall. (She is aware of the alcohol problem, but calling it ‘binge drinking’ is minimizing. She is also unaware that many Sex Addicts require alcohol or drugs during acting out.)

So, then when I was married to my ex-husband I found out the hard way about all kinds of internet activities, and that he was trying to hook up for sex to meet women he would email off of the websites. When confronted, he was angry, and he was defensive of his privacy. He said he would go to sex addicts anonymous, and I was floored. I thought that sex addicts did certain things, but now I realized it is an inside job. It is their thought life, and their fantasies.

So, after the divorce, my goal was to again abstain from sex outside of marriage (Again we see this focus on abstaining from sex. Sex Addicts go through phases of acting out and abstaining–but either way they have an obsession with sex). I dated a couple of men who respected those boundaries. I had a 9 month, and a briefer 4 month relationship that involved no sex of any kind.

Something started to shift for me when I was again single, and angry that I did not have the family I had wanted. I was upset that we planned our child together, as I already had two, because he said our relationship was good. I was very happy at the time. So, I started to feel like maybe I could have my cake and eat it, too. I thought maybe I could do what it seemed “everybody else” was doing with having casual sex.(Her Sex Addiction is changing gears from abstinence to acting out.) I was triggered by my new phone that browsed the internet. (An excuse rather than recognition of her problem) I got on craigslist for an innocent venture (This is a perfect example of denial and minimizing.) and I found myself in “casual encounters”. The man said he would perform oral sex, and no reciprocation would be necessary. I thought it sounded perfect. Some text deleted here. I went on over the summer to meet about 8-10 men. I had wanted to keep it to oral sex, but several of them “advanced”. I felt guilty about it, and I realized I felt “out of alignment”, and that this was not particularly a fit for me. I wondered how I had gotten myself into the situation.(All Sex Addicts have a sense that all is not right and often feel guilty and ashamed of their actions.)

Well, I met “R”, and he was an admitted sex addict. He was divorced, raised and professing Christian like me, and he was just months within my age. He lived close by, and so I thought I could have the intimate partner/boyfriend that suited me so well (Why would she think this man, who was an admitted Sex Addict, would suit her well? This is an example of what Sex Addicts in recovery call ‘Stinkin’ Thinkin’, as they try to rationalize bad choices. ). When we met he initially told me he was in recovery from a meth problem (She knew right from the beginning that this man had multiple addictions.) he had had “early in his marriage”. So, he had the supposed 12 month period of clean time. After we were already having intercourse, and becoming fast lovers and friends he relapses. He told me, and he made it to where at the time I had an invitation to walk away. However, I did not want to break up with him if he had one lapse (Why not? Besides her addictions Thora also has trouble setting any boundaries for herself or her relationship. This is a sure sign of low self-esteem.).

Well flash forward to today, and he had a pattern of using every 2 to 4 weeks. (Why has she accepted this behavior? I see this as the ongoing lack of self esteem and the inability to set boundaries.) I suspected he never had a year clean, and finally when I absolutely pressed and pressed he admitted it. He said that he knew I would not date him if I did not have a year. I related to a term I saw for the first time about how sex addicts (and, really all people to an extent), slowly reveal the more shocking events from their lives. So, I was under the assumption that “R” was in quit mode (Denial. I don’t know why she would assume this, lying is a way of life for addicts. She assumed that because she was getting staggered disclosures that this meant he was in ‘quit’ mode, which makes no sense at all.), and he did try ever so hard. He said that he discovered meth in his 30’s, and he had never been drunk (This statement is an example of minimizing, ignoring his drug addiction and acting as if never being drunk was a virtue.). It allowed him to “play” with men, which he could not get into when not high. So, he did not see himself as a meth addict (he was fairly controlled throughout his use, and used on monthly occasions), (This shows her complete denial of his situation–there is no such thing as ‘controlled’ addictive behaviors) but rather a sex addict who used meth as a tool (She just doesn’t see that he is a drug addict as well as a Sex Addict. She keeps making excuses for his behavior.). So, he would find drugs through the men seeking men on craigslist. I was surprised because he said that he did not like men, but with the right drug he forced himself (No, he made a choice.) to get into sometimes even dangerous sexual orgies and parties. He lost his marriage, although initially his wife encouraged him to play, and was turned onto it until he had contracted an STD (Thora is oblivious to the fact that this man, not his ex wife, is responsible for his own choices in the past, and is continuing to make bad choices now.).

So, he started referring to me as a sex addict as well. I could see that I had had the behaviors of one for some months (Denial. Thora has exhibited an escalating Sexual Addiction beginning in her teenage years.), but I lacked so much of the drive, need, and lack of control (Denial of the facts.). Or, at least I felt I did. I ended up relapsing on alcohol one time with “R”, and he had a guy come over. This happened again a couple of months later, even though we both decided we had not liked it. He was not high, and so he was not into it. Nevertheless, I drank again, and another guy came over. The two men ended up having sex with me while he watched, and it was not really a threesome (What else do you call it, and why does she feel she needs to make this distinction? Again, this is minimizing, as if what she did was not really that bad because it was not a threesome. ) – which, I had never had, and was not really interested in. Well, “R” continued with his cyclical relapses (Minimizing. She is calling his addictive behavior relapses, as if he were in recovery.). I was getting dismayed that I stayed with him while he chased his sexual addiction using meth. So, I got the brilliant idea to start cheating on him behind his back. (Perfect example of Sex Addict Stinkin’ Thinkin’.) I thought it would help me detach. (More Stinkin’ Thinkin’.) So, I did cheat on him 5 times with 3 men. Two of the times alcohol was involved. I was careful except with one man who I was not planning on having sex with, and he did not have any protection. (Her Sexual Addiction is escalating.)

I felt very guilty, and I cut contact off with the men, and the next time “R” relapsed it did not make it any easier like I had stupidly thought. So, I worked up the nerve to tell him. He took it very hard, and withdrew for a day from me. But, he still wanted to be with me (Co-addictive behavior, shows his lack of self esteem and boundaries.). I was astounded, and what I saw next was something I never would have thought of. He started to fantasize about the experiences that I had had. He would ask me about some of the details. He actually got turned on by it, (Thora is fueling his Sex Addiction.) but then sometimes it would hurt him again, or he would express his distrust in me. Which, granted, I had earned.

So, I guess we are two sex addicts, although he is further in the progression (It is very common for Sex Addicts to compare themselves to other addicts and assert that they are not as bad as the others.). I have managed to stop all of the cheating for a couple of months now. And, I am very happy to find that I am not really even struggling with it. That was an unexpected, pleasant surprise. (Addictions do not go away. She was simply in a resting phase that lulls addict into thinking they are cured. But the root causes of their addiction are still there.)) So, “R” and I got engaged, (Why?) and I decided to accept his relapse cycle (There is no such thing, he is an active drug addict.) until the day came when he fully recovers, and never goes back (And how will this magically happen?)There were more men that came over when we would be playing around. We would say how we did not want to do it again, and that it had not been the fantasy of his mind. All in all, there have been another man over almost every 2-3 weeks. And, I was not really 100% into it, it was just when partying occurred. (So, how has she recovered from her Sex Addiction if she is still participating in these behaviors? This is complete minimizing as if it were not even important.)

Then, I did something I never thought I would do: meth. “R” never had it at his house, but he was given some. He had apparently been very nervous driving by cops when he was transporting it. (My god!) Anyhow, it was being offered to me right then, and I had all night. So, I tried it. “R” told me to start masturbating. Text here has been deleted. I went on to do it a handful more times, and have now quit. I am going to stay that way since I find that I currently can take it or leave it, (All addicts think they can quit at any time.) and I feel that is a good way to be. I do not want to wait for major medical problems, skin problems, tooth decay – you name it.

So, I told “R” that I was done, and he supported me. He has the mind to quit, although he had realized he was now no longer turned on by men. He tried to stimulate himself with craigslist pictures, but they did nothing for him. Then, he told me that it seemed even when he was high men were no longer arousing him. Then, he told me for the first time that in the past he had been unable to shake the attraction. It was to blame for his marriage failing. He had desperately wanted to remain with his wife. Now, almost on accident men no longer did the trick. (This man suffers from both drug and Sex Addiction. He also struggles with his sexual orientation, a pain which he tries to soothe with the drugs and sex.)

So, about 2-3 days later, he was a little high (There is no such thing as a ‘little’ high. Minimizing.), and he started asking about having a guy over again. I am now adamantly against it. He then asked if when we were married if I would mind if he played with a guy on a monthly basis. I was baffled! Talk about a discrepancy – he no longer gets aroused by men, but wants me to endorse playing with men should he want to. I told him that I liked the fact he seemed to be resolving that attraction, and I knew he did not want to be attracted to them (He does not WANT to be attracted to men, but he is.). So, I said I was not okay with it. His reaction was pretty severe, and he told me that since I did not want him to do it, it caused him to want to all the more?! He said that it was more about knowing he had the freedom. (Manipulation.) I told him that the bottom line is that it would hurt me. (Thora does not have any boundaries for her relationship.) He sometimes brings up my cheating on him, but he does a pretty good job of not totally using it against me (Well, what do you call it when he brings it up?).

I would love any feedback, and I am thinking of pushing the wedding date up. He is still “quitting”, and his binge pattern is better than daily use or than those who use several times a week, or even weekly (Minimizing. Any use means he is not quitting.). Basically, I believe he is eventually going to succeed. (What do you base this idea upon?) I know he wants to (Wanting to is never enough. All addicts want to quit.). However, he stopped getting the free drugs playing with guys he found on craigslist. He still used craigslist, but we had used a handful of times with me. He now liked it with me, but I ended up hating it. (When? How  many times did it take you to decide that you hated it?) When he was high, his fantasies were so outrageous, and he would ask me a ton of yes or no questions. I guess I am almost hating to think I might be right, that since I have cleaned up my act (Denial. I see no indication that she has changed.), that he will probably go back to getting free meth from men who will expect him to do things sexually with him.

Another thing that does not fit quite right, is he said he never would cheat on me with a woman. He said he knows how much that would hurt me. I was amazed, and comforted (This is not a statement that should comfort anyone.) . But, it made sense that for the sex the men were more readily available, and they did it even if they did not identify it as homosexual. So, I am going to need to see him succeed in quitting this before I reset the date, I think. I also have children to think of,(I have more to say about this below.) and I have asked him about potential safeguards and risks as a step parent. He is quite confident in this area (Confident about what? Addicts do not make good parents.) in fact more so than in the other areas. He is really patient, and he has an amazing way of teaching that kids do well with. He does not interfere with discipline, and he has been very gentle with what little he has been around the kids.

So, I told him that if the feelings changed about guys again, that I would want to know of course. He said that my not “allowing” it made it more tempting. I feel like I should have lied! He will not be with a woman because it hurts me………I don’t know.

I was wondering what I should require before a ceremony? I am going to a weekly recovery group, but I don’t have anybody that I have been able to disclose all of this to. I know I wrote quite a bit. I feel like Jenny and I just had sooooo much in common! (Denial, Thora has nothing in common with Jenny. )

I am also including a paragraph below from Thora’s subsequent comment that is posted on this site under Jenn’s Story. I could have put the entire piece here, but it is more of the same, and I think  I have dissected this woman enough. But this paragraph really bothered me:

The thing I need help with the most is dealing with my significant other. Then, secondly, I need to be in recovery from alcohol and drugs. I am doing that today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Then, I don’t know if it going to be hard for me to not want casual encounters anymore. I sure don’t think so…….the encounters were largely under the influence. I don’t do what I normally would do, so getting sober is the answer for me.

So, here are my thoughts.

She is so engrossed in her addiction and co-addiction (in this case this label entirely accurate) with her partner that her priorities have become skewed. This happens as individuals sink lower and lower into their addiction. They lose sight of what is really important in life. They will risk everything in order to continue their addictive behaviors. I know Thora may not see this, but let’s consider this question:

WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? She states in the paragraph above that what she needs help with the most is dealing with her significant other. In all of this there is no mention of the children. She says she has two. Where are they living? Is she not concerned that her sex parties, her casual encounters and her drinking and drugging will have an effect on the children? Even worse, she is planning on marrying a drug and Sex Addict who is fueling her Sex Addiction. I am exhausted just thinking about it.

Thora1, please get help. The first step that an addict takes when they are serious about recovery is to distance themselves from the influences that lead to acting out. This man is poison! You cannot help him and he is taking you down a dark and disastrous path. You need to face your demons honestly, find a counselor, and get yourself and your children away from this man.

I don’t know how old your children are, but even very young children know what is going on and they are profoundly affected. Your addictions are sucking up all of your energy that you and your children need. If you don’t get help soon I can guarantee that those children will be taken away from you.

Thora, I hope you realize that this was written with love and concern for you. You have given me and everyone who visits this site a gift by sharing your story with such honesty and openness.  Spouses and partners of Sex Addicts rarely, if ever, get such a complete picture of the other side of Sex Addiction.

Now, let me give you a gift. The gift of hope and recovery. I will support you through all of your efforts, and I will direct you to resources, but, I do have a well defined sense of self esteem and I will impose boundaries upon you and you will suffer consequences if you cross those boundaries.

Take up my challenge and  get yourself and your children into counseling and distance yourself from this man. Allow him to find his own path toward recovery as you do not have the energy or the resources to help him in any way. Take yourself and your children to a better place.

Take care, be safe and stay with us.

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Responses

  1. Thora, sweetie, listen up…. If you want to recover from your addictions, you have to do the following:
    1. Get away from “R” forever, run don’t walk, do not look back
    2. Take your children and go to a social service organization and get help
    3. Attend at least one AA Meeting a day
    4. Attend at least one meeting for drug addiction a day (NA)
    5. Attend at least one meeting for sex addiction a day (SLAA, SCA, SA, SAA)
    6. Get tested for STD’s, All of them (You need to know you’re ok)
    7. Insist that “R’ get tested
    8. If either of you have an STD, file charges with law enforcement
    9. If you have a church, contact it for spiritual support
    10. Do not have sex with anyone. If you do, insist on a clean lab test report for STD’s from that person.
    11. If you believe in a God, Pray, Pray, and Pray some more.
    12. I know this sounds redundant, do not drink, do not use any drugs, and abstain from sex
    13. And keep doing this over and over and over
    I know this sounds impossible, but I personally know another woman that went through something similar and she was able to get “sober” and stay sober. She’s going on 8 years sober now. Nothing is impossible.

  2. Hi there,

    I don’t have much time, as I need to turn in. But, I managed to read through the above. I will try to respond in more detail when I get chances. Thanks to JoAnn’s husband, and to JoAnn. It was not easy to write what I did, and when I reread it, it was like somebody else wrote it. The reason being because I was so tired that I was partly in a fog, but was having trouble sleeping, and it just came right out of me.

    So, rest assured the children are doing good. I went to “R”s when they visited dad. Were they completely unaffected? Of course not, as I was tired, or upset about the relationship issues. I know that well enough, of course. Also, I was able to see “R” when they were in school. In other words, I would not mix them together regularly. But, about once or twice a month we have done outings to a park, or things of that nature. Every school/weeknight (except some school vacations), I am going to sleep with my youngest child, so I am consistently home with them. Since the children share a room, they like to come into mine. So, it is very safe, and I am sober every single time so far. God willing, that will continue.

    One thing I wanted to clarify, and that is that abstinence was a value. I was taught to wait until marriage to have sex, so that is why I tried to abstain. I was taught, and I could see SO many good reasons to wait, that I had wanted to. So, it was not about rebellion, but instead a very tragic mistake under the influence of alcohol. I had drank so much that I had thrown up the first night I was with my boyfriend. My alcohol use at a young age prevented that from happening, and so I then thought that maybe I would get married to my boyfriend at the time, and I guess that would somehow remedy the situation??? I was too naive at the time to recognize the problem. The other thing is that binge drinking is a real thing, and Dr. Drew talks about it. It is also very hard to treat, because the binge drinker can go without for so long. Then, I would feel powerful because I would go without (sometimes months and months, and I know of an 18 month stretch, and another 9 month stretch in there, too). Then, when relapse happened (I do think it is relapse if you are trying to work a program, and it has been months)…….it is especially cunning, baffling, and powerful as they say.

    But, as far as focus on sex – I would say I was focused on abstinence as a value. Then, the addictions cause you to do things against your values when you are under the influence, as it is well known. I am probably preaching to the choir.

    As far as meetings, I want to go to a meth anonymous meeting because I have heard that with that drug it is especially good to get a specific type of support. I also am going to go to a recovery group that will be for the sexual addiction and alcohol.

    I have had extra trainings and classes so it has been a dawn to dusk thing, and I have not been able to go to the meetings yet. But, I guess they have on-line meetings, too. So, I will be able to do that until I can attend in person in a couple of days. So, I have a snoring young one next to me, and must get my zzzzzzzzzz’s.

    I was surprised when I saw the effect of my post……..I had no idea it would do that. Thanks for the support.

  3. First of all, I’d like to commend Thora for her courage in sharing her story. Additionally, JoAnn, you did quite a job going through and analyzing the writing in order to pull as much out of it as possible.
    It sounds to me as if Thora is dealing with early sexual conflict that she’s going to need to resolve through some seriously uncomfortable, but ultimately freeing, therapy. I’m not sure what’s there since she didn’t talk about it much, but I’d guess some serious mixing of self-esteem and sexual behavior.
    I for one don’t necessarily agree that Thora’s sexual addiction started very early. There aren’t enough facts from her early years here, but in terms of unmanageability, it sounds to me as if her acting-out started sometime after her divorce, but her addiction really went into full-swing with “R,” which I guess no one is questioning here. When Thora used alcohol before that point, it would get her into situations she didn’t mean to get into, showing some serious lack of control and many of the aspects of impulse-control-issues that I often talk about on All About Addiction in relation to addiction. Those impulse control problems really unloaded on her when she joined forces with “R” who obviously has serious issues controlling his own intentions.
    There’s no doubt that Thora needs help, and it sounds from her comment as if money is a real issue, so a good first step would be self-support groups like sex and love addicts, or sex addicts anonymous. I’m not sure which of the two she’ll feel more comfortable in since it seems as if for her, sex was a way to get love and not necessarily something she ended up enjoying in itself. I would seriously recommend going to some therapy (you can find sliding fee scale services almost everywhere) so that you can dig into the issues behind your sexual acting out Thora! And unless “R” gets his own help, it’s time to walk away.
    I’d love to hear updates as Thora looks for her way out.

  4. Thora,

    I admire you for posting your story, although I am not entirely certain of the reason you posted it. Some people may try to ascertain that you are reaching for help and support because you are in a relationship with an addict. Some others may try to assume that you are reaching out for help for yourself. There could be multiple reasons that you posted what you did.

    But what seems to be so obvious to me, and may be to others as well, is that you have categorized yourself into a “victim” role. And I suppose that perhaps in some way you are a victim. But your post is full of rationalizations, defending your own irresponsible behaviors, and minimizing your actions to where you are a “victim” and not a “perpetrator”.

    Thora, you are doing to yourself and to your children and to anyone who is in your life EXACTLY what “R” is doing to you. And because you’ve chosen to actively and/or passively do these actions, you can no longer claim the “vitim” status IMO. You are a perpetrator to yourself as well as your children and anyone else in your life that has a relationship with you.

    Your first priority should be to GET YOURSELF RIGHTED. Fix yourself. You cannot be a decent partner or spouse to any person on this earth (whether it be “R” or anyone else) in your current state/condition. And you can never claim to be a good parent, no matter how much love you feel for your children, because of the way you behave and act out. You can claim you love your children more than anything in the world (til the cows come home) but that will NEVER make you a good parent. 1000’s of abusive parents love their children. That doesn’t make them good parents anymore than you are a good parent.

    I must say that I went to the effort in responding to this post, not because I want to be mean or to hurt you but rather send you a wake up call, because IMO to-date you are not yet a lost cause. In other words – you are still worth it. But make no mistake, human beings can eventually cross a line in which society and other human beings lose the ability to see any value in another human being once they’ve crossed a line that cannot be rectified. I can think of so many possibilities that come to mind including, but not limited to, the permanent damage that you are instilling in your own children right this very minute. What if a situation occurs in which one or both of your children get raped or exposed to drug use? Do you honestly think that if you’re “careful” stuff like that will never happen?

    You are, IMO, very sick in your head right now. This does NOT make you a horrible person. It makes you a “sick” person that needs help. You cannot be the one to help yourself/nurse yourself through a recovery program. You are in need of professional help and assistance and I am pretty certain/confident that if your addicted brain chooses not to go that route, you will eventually and permanently destroy not only your own life but also the lives of your children.

    Get help now, Thora. Immediately. Without it, the worst WILL happen.

  5. I have to say, that when I read this story my immediate instinct was that this was a person under the influence of either alcohol or more probably drugs, reaching out for help. Fleeting/flitting and non-connected experiences and thoughts. Obviously distressed. I have experienced this first hand through the type of work I do. I hope you are getting the help you need. xx

  6. As someone who has been in multiple recovery programs for many years, I could relate to the powerfully, off-the-hook, insane thinking from first word to last in Thora1’s letter. I can also appreciate the review and comments of clarity, honesty and reality from the blog author. I have only my own view from my own perspective. It is not necessarily “right,” for Thora1 or in any objective sense. But what hits me is that Thora1 has no desire for recovery from her issues whatsoever – at this moment in time. Right now she is not only in all her major addictions, but she is also deep in her related behavioral/emotional addictions to drama, fear, worrying, obsession, and desperate need for attention. People who have genuinely hit a real bottom look for a 12 Step group and go work the program. It’s far from easy, but the next steps are not rocket science, either. This isn’t 1927, it’s 2013. It’s commonly understood that if you want to stop doing something but can’t do it on your own, you’re an addict and you need a 12 step program to go recover from it. People who aren’t ready to surrender talk about surrendering. People who are ready to surrender, surrender, and get on with healing. If Thora1 truly believes that she can control certain addictions of her own and those of her partner, and that this is what would give her the life she truly wants, the suggestion from not just myself, but many others would be: keep doing that. Stop torturing yourself with should-I/shouldn’t-I and should-he/shouldn’t he. Keep having sex parties and sleeping with anonymous men and drinking and drugging and letting your partner do the same. And see where your life goes. If that thought scares you, get on your knees, go to a meeting, and share that you need a sponsor, because you’re done.