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Sex addicts ensure a familiar tale in Anthony Weiner’s path to ruin

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False promises, refusal, cravings: sexuality addiction can be every bit as devastating as addiction to a drug. The good news: there is a route back

Nick T thought he’d reached bottom when he dived into the dumpster next to his home at 3am to root out a porn DVD he’d hurled in there in self-disgust at his compulsive masturbation habit, brought it in, cleaned it off, made use of it then flung it back out. He did that three times that night.

But Nick’s real rock bottom, he later realized, came when he was on a business trip-up to Tokyo and went through his call-girl routine.

” I would check into my hotel room, pace around as the preoccupation built up, pick up the phone to order a prostitute, then curl up in the fetal position frightened that she would show up, and equally terrified she wouldn’t. After she’d visited, I’d be so unhappy, fretting that I’d need to get tested again for STDs and knowing that I’d spent fund that I needed to get my daughter a pair of shoes or something ,” he said.

In Tokyo that time, after the sex employee left, he was so stressed out he opened his laptop to surf pornography.

” That’s what I would do when I was emphasized. Then I eventually had the epiphany:’ This is completely ridiculous .’ So instead I Googled’ sexuality addict’ and within two months I was in counseling ,” he said.

This is something Anthony Weiner might relate to. On Monday, the legislator, 53, was sentenced in New York to 21 months in prison. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, after being involved in virtual sex encounters via Snapchat and Skype with a 15 -year-old girl.

Now, Weiner will be able to add inmate to his inglorious listing of titles, after offender, fallen US congressman, pilloried mayoral candidate, failed spouse and blighted parent. Not to mention that his final fall from grace was perhaps a factor in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential defeat, after emails on devices he shared with his high-powered spouse, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, came under scrutiny by the FBI late in the campaign.

Weiner’s defense memo to the court describes his crime as arising from” untreated addiction … an uncontrolled sickness … compulsively responding to … a curious high school student” whose online approach he at first rebuffed then later responded to” with his judgment clouded by disease “.

Few may feel empathy for Weiner, preferring to conclude he’s not suffering from a sickness but is simply “sick”.

While many deem sex addiction to be a sex ailment, it is currently not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorder, in agreement with the American Psychiatric Association.

” If I’m driven to rummage around in the dumpster at 3am for a DVD, there’s something wrong in my brain, I’m ill … it’s mental illness, what it is you want to call it ,” Nick said.

In 2011, the charismatic married Democratic congressman Weiner tweeted a link to a lewd photo of himself to an adult female follower on Twitter, and was obliged to resign. In 2013 he fell out of his “comeback” race to be mayor of New York City after similar conduct. He later sent out racy pictures of himself, including one while his and Abedin’s toddler son was on the bed with him.

” Weiner has followed the same pattern: he initially denied his conduct; he suffered personal and professional outcomes; he publicly apologized and claimed reform. Yet he has continued to engage in the very conduct he swore off ,” attorneys told the court.

Weiner and Abedin are currently divorcing.

” Addicts are all assholes, we do things you just can’t believe, and we rationalize and justify it and most of us need to have a horrible thing happens to build us get help. Sometimes even being arrested isn’t enough ,” said Greg T, in his early 40 s, who chose not to use his full name.

Greg is a middle-school teacher in the Seattle area. He married his college sweetie, a “super” conservative young woman, but at night while she slept he would be on the computer getting off to porn that involved humen being made to suffer by a dominatrix. He was ” on his way” to hiring a sadist in real life, he said, but his wife was too close to growling him, and he tried help. Also, although he was not attracted to pre-pubescent or adolescent children, he was attracted to 17 – and 18 -year-old girls, the kind he encountered in his old task as a high-school teacher.

” I’ve never acted on that but I didn’t want to work in that situation, so I tried recovery ,” he said.

That was five years ago. He said that assuring a trained sex addiction counselor and taking a classic 12 -step program modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous was the answer for him, although being “sober” entails giving up injury sexual compulsions , not avoiding sexual contact altogether.

Greg says he knows two fellow educators, one male and one female, who’ve been fired for sleeping with students, and has a friend who’s been arrested for similar behaviour. Greg, who is recently divorced, is alleviated he sought assistance sooner rather than later.

” Jay Parker saved my life ,” he said. Parker is a sex addiction recovery specialist and his outpatient program in Seattle, No more Secrets, is well known in the field.

” These are not sociopaths or psychopaths, they have a conscience, they know right from incorrect. It’s very difficult to deal with, but it is treatable ,” Parker said.

He has pointed out that, as with so many cravings, and as willful and hedonistic as it may seem, sex craving is rooted in emotional trauma in childhood. That could be as simple as an eight-year-old stumbling on his father’s porn collection and becoming secretly obsessed with its unhealthy objectifications, especially in a household where parents are remote or in a messy divorce. Or it can be as serious as a child being sexually or physically abused, or witnessing domestic violence. Experts estimate that 10% of children thus exposed will become sex addicts, Parker said. Any cravings among parents or grandparents may contribute.

Michael Morton, clinical director of the KeyStone Center, a residential rehab for” sexual compulsivity and trauma” in Chester, Pennsylvania, said that the neurobiological damage from trauma can lead to anger problems, impulsivity and compulsivity, and cuts off addicts’ they are able to empathize with those they are hurting- indeed, psychologically penalise- along the way.

” There are a lot of family dynamics in the making of a sexuality junkie ,” he said. Clients at KeyStone go across family therapy as well as individual therapy, including bringing parents in for sessions with their adult children” even if mama is 94″, and specialized therapy techniques such as eye motion desensitization and reprocessing( EMDR ), which can help the brain safely interred past traumatic events.

Morton also warned that” the digital age is a breeding ground for the next generation of sexuality junkies” with their habits poisoned early on by ubiquitous internet porn.

Nick T, meanwhile, is a successful marketing executive and has not” acted out” with porn or sex employees for many years. His second spouse knows his whole history” and loves me to bits ,” he said. Nick T is a pseudonym.

But growing up in the Pacific north-west, at 11 Nick received a VHS porn tape in his parents’ dresser. His brother was nine and they both watched it.” It never affected him, but some people are wired differently to others. I was totally electrified and it got me hooked. My childhood was very chaotic, there was divorce, dysfunction ,” he said. He was especially fixated on a” glorified rape scene” on the tape and from 11 he was compulsively masturbating multiple times a day.

Jay Parker said:” There is so much deep disgrace involved. That’s when it runs underground and you’re living a double life .”

In college, Nick’s sex life was nothing but masturbation, though on the surface he became the hilarious, charming, drunken romantic.

” I was a serial love bomb, falling instantly head over heels in love and ratcheting it up to 10, super intense, wooing and romancing the heck out of her, talking marriage really quickly when I scarcely knew her- but not having sexuality, I was afraid of having sexuality with an actual person, my only sexuality life was with myself. Within a couple of weeks, I’d dump her ,” he said. As he got older, he started hiring sexuality employees. Afterward, he attempted help as both a sex and a love addict.

Greg grew up in Montana. His mom was an alcoholic. At 13, his parents divorced and his mother went off with” a bad guy”, taking Greg’s little brother and sister and leaving Greg with his father,” who came from a long line of men who were very good at working hard but the worst at communicating or indicating love ,” he said.

A few years later, Greg’s mother’s new man killed her, and himself. Being raised by his father, Greg expended the majority of members of his time in the house alone. Porn and the fantasy of love became his refuge.

” Deep down, we hate ourselves ,” he said of sexuality addicts.

It’s hard to square that when watching the documentary Weiner, about Anthony. The viewer sees him bossing Abedin about and putting her down, then being visibly mesmerized by his own image on TV, even when the news item is about his own scandal.

“Grandiosity,” said Parker, describing Weiner’s deluded arrogance and narcissistic behaviour, his hollow contrition. All part of the addiction, he explained. All treatable, when and if he’s ready to” do the work”, he said.

John R, 62, who withheld his full name, has expended 20 difficult years working on his recovery from sex craving. He mentioned relapses along the way, false promises, denial, cravings, self-loathing, and the painful” truth and reconciliation” involved in facing himself, the roots of his condition, the effects on his loved ones and the way forward. The son he raised in his first matrimony doesn’t speak to him” because of how I treated his mother “.

His rock bottom involved several visits to a series of brothels in Mexico, all while when he was working in building administration for companies as illustrious as Disney and Motorola. For him, sex outside the matrimony and porn at night was as good as crack cocaine, and just as addictive. In therapy, he talked about growing up in the Washington DC area with his detached, strictly religious parents, and memories of being molested by his father and by a priest.

” Eventually you have to talk about what happened to you and own your shortcomings and weaknesses, and work on your ego esteem. That’s really hard for famous people and there’s no anonymity. The first time I went to a sexuality and love craving session I knew three people there and I was scared shitless. But it’s worth it ,” he said.” For you and your loved ones .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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