A rocky bottom in a pit so deep you can barely see the light at the surface.
How did I get here?
I did not hit bottom by standing too close to an old well, tumbling over the edge in a sudden free-fall to the depths below. It was not that quick, with an abrupt and painful stop. No, it was more like boiling a live frog.
Boiling a Frog? If you’ve never heard this analogy, I apologize in advance for any with weak stomachs. The gist is that if you want to boil live frogs, you don’t drop them into a pot of boiling water. Rather, you place them in a pot with warm water, and ever so slowly increase the temperature. The frogs remain oblivious to the danger until it is too late, and are boiled alive. I know, not a very pleasant or humane picture. But I did warn you.
If you skipped the previous paragraph, you can open your eyes now. My own path into the depths of my addiction was not a rough and rocky road, with obstacles and challenges. It was a gradual meandering path, something that invited me to follow, and keep going, all the while hiding the fact that I was making an ever-so-gradual descent into the depths of chaos. The way was soft and seductive, with just enough promise of power, happiness and success to keep me wanting to blindly trod forward.
Yes, you read that right – the beginnings of addiction for me were attractive. Sexy. Alluring. Captivating. Stimulating. There was a promise of relief from my pain and suffering. It was granted. It was easy. Too easy, in many cases. I got to escape into a world of fantasy far from the troubles of my life. I had power and control in that world, in those fantastical voyages. I was the master of my universe.
Power corrupts and consumes. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But, it’s a process, a journey of a thousand thousand steps. And, each step where you feed the monster, another tendril is attached to your spirit, to your soul, to your humanity. You don’t notice, because the rewards offered outweigh the tiny filaments that are enslaving you. I barely knew they were there for a very long time. For so long, that by the time I recognized there might be a problem, I was fully enveloped in the spidery web of my addiction.
Where did those initial pleasant experiences of relief take me? Mainly, they super-stimulated my curiosity. How much of the sexual horizon had I been ignorant of? Before the Internet, exploring those thoughts was mainly left to creating fantasy out of things I could find in magazines, or content that was not meant to be sexualized – which I used in that fashion anyways. Then the Internet started to become mainstream, and access to content quickly exploded onto the scene. No longer did you have to create your own fantasies, others were happy to do so for you, and share it for those with the know-how to find. Fast forward to today, and sadly, anything you can think about as even possibly being sexual, it’s likely you can find pornography that meets that niche desire.
Lots of people have a bucket list of things that they want to do before they die. My addict’s equivalent was to explore everything and anything that I could in that dirty, naughty, exhilarating, behind-the-scenes, and under-the-covers world. At least, everything that was not too extreme.
But then what worked to soothe, no longer soothed?
What brought pleasure barely registered?
The addict cried out for more. Like the monsterish plant in the Rocky Horror Picture show, it cried out, “Feed me, Feed me now!”
So, a modest boundary was crossed. Once. Success, soothing and pleasure. Twice, thrice. More. And eventually the novelty faded like all things had before.
Another boundary, and another. This pattern continued, and began to spiral out of control. Porn and masturbation eventually were not enough, no matter the content used to fuel them. Connection with others was required, so there were virtual connections, fake profiles, and still things reached a point where even further escalation was required. And boundaries were broken like walking through an open doorway.
Until the day. That day. A boundary deep within, rooted in strong values and morals was threatened to be crossed. That trigger was serendipitously accompanied by the viewing of a video on addictions. A light bulb flashed. There just might, possibly, be a problem with my behaviour. Perhaps it’s something to look into.
Looking up with that awareness, the sky suddenly seemed very far away. The pit I had spent years walking down into, the cell where I was now a slave, started to become visible. This was rock bottom.
Thankfully, with God’s grace, the spiral didn’t descend any further. In fact, a new chapter began with the smallest glimmer of light and hope. And this is where the seed of my recovery began.
Until next time,