I know that I am not unique in this regard, but fantasy was a large part of my addictive behaviours. The sights and situations that I saw in real life which became the small foundational pieces for hours of derived fantasy adventures were at times limitless. There is research out there (thanks Google) that would suggest that men think about sex on average 19 times a day. At the high points of my addiction, I would guess that number was closer to 100 times a day, or perhaps a lower number but that those moments of thinking were not just a few minutes, but tens of minutes or even hours. There were sexual thoughts and fantasies running frequently, not just while I was awake, but also in my dreams.
There were many reasons to stay attracted to these moments of escaping into this fictional world. I was in control, the master of my destiny. I could dictate what happened, how it happened, and who it happened with. There were no consequences to myself on anyone that I was interacting with. I could explore anything that came to my imagination. Things generally evolved the way I planned, and had results that met or exceeded my wildest expectations. It was a time and place where I could present only those aspects of me that were important, I could take on roles and character traits that I was lacking, and certainly shed any faults or weaknesses.
Life in fantasy was usually the ultimate party.
The internet was certainly a tool to fuel those ideas, but even in its absence, my over-exposure to sexual content of various kinds led me to indulge in a myriad of scenarios. And keep going back. Expanding ideas. Trying outrageous ones. Dabbling in places and topics I would never dare to do in real life.
Spending so much time in fantasy eventually warped my view of reality. I saw the effects in many ways (only realizing most of them in retrospect). Attention from women of any kind, just a simple glance or greeting became flirtatious, no matter how slight the gesture. I would have sworn that my body, my pheromones were often oozing sexual attraction, making me irresistible to the opposite sex. I began to gain an overdeveloped sense of confidence that I could act in whatever way I felt without consequence. And many of the taboo or more unconventional (even risqué) thoughts and behaviours that frequented my fantasies became normalized to such a point I believed everyone else felt the same way.
So when I reached a point where my tolerances were sufficiently low and my confidence acceptably high, I started trying to bring some of my fantasies to life.
Let’s get this party started!
Fantasies are called this for a very good reason. Although they may resemble reality in many aspects, they are severely lacking in others. They do not account for individual reactions, free will and choices. They are absent of real consequences. More simply put, they are extravagant lies.
It should therefore come as no surprise that my attempts to realize many of my fantasies failed. Some to a minor degree, most quite miserably. But I was a slow learner, and it took quite a number of failures and disappointments to understand that my fantasies could never be brought into reality and meet my impossible expectations. I was not the ultimate director who could control every aspect and bend the will of others to my sexual whims.
So how did I manage to recover from this tantalizing realm of unlimited possibility and control? Slowly, baby step by baby step. One of the greatest gifts of my recovery has been my ever increasing awareness. The ability to recognize things for what they truly are. As I gradually began to recognize reality and move towards accepting it, the grip of fantasy in my life ever-so-slowly loosened its hold on me. As awareness increased and I was able not to fall prey for the siren calls of those temptations, space was made in my head for thoughts other than those which revolved around sex and my fantastical desires. I was able to put things off when they popped up, not having to entertain unwanted thoughts every time they tried to exert their power on me.
It was months later that I would come to the sudden realization that the daily occurrences of rampant sexual thoughts had been reduced to only a handful of blips throughout my day. It was odd feeling more normal, more in control of those random ideas that cropped up between my ears. And it was a welcome relief, for I had not truly realized just how much space those sexual fantasies had taken in my precious grey matter.
These days there is now space and proper use of fantasy for healthy means. It is no longer a predominantly obsessive and compulsive behaviour tied to sex. My imagination is once again allowed to roam free and wide, with areas and topics which are off-limits but not truly missed.
The party may be over, but the mess left behind has been cleaned up, broken pieces have been picked up and put back together, and life is moving forward, still a baby step at a time, but in a healthy, recovery-focused direction.
Until next time,