My New Therapist

I get excited about new things.  When I get a new car, I get kinda giddy.  I even name my vehicles.  When I get a new cell phone, I spend hours playing with it to figure out all of its features.  New clothes go into my regular wardrobe rotation immediately. (When I bought a new belt, I put it on in the car before driving away from the store.) This seems a little different though.  I was never that excited about my previous therapists.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I went to talk to them, I just don’t think excited was the right word.  With Jeff Robinson, I was scared.  Going to see him was the one thing that kept me from being excommunicated.  Even then, there was no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen anyway.  When I went to see my second therapist at LDS Family Services, after moving away from UT, I was beginning to be involved with “Kevin.”  Since I was doing things with Kevin that ran in the opposite direction that the therapy was leading, it was difficult to have the therapy have a meaningful effect.

I wasn’t all too excited when I first met this therapist either.  When I first saw John, yes, that is his real name, I thought to myself, “Great, an overweight man is going to help me with my compulsive sexual behaviors which focus on overweight men.”  That being thought, I wasn’t going to walk out of the appointment just because the guy had a certain BMI.

Once we got talking, I found it was relatively easy to open up to John.  He was all the things a therapist should be.  Kind, caring, non-judgemental, patient.  I decided I liked him.  He talked about things that made sense to me, like brian chemistry.  We talked about how the brain can rewire itself over time, eliminating previous connections and forming new ones, assuming the previous connections are not continually reinforced.   John told me that while not all guys with homosexual desires were also sexually compulsive, the correlation ran about 70%.  I liked the way he presented that.  (I like correlations, they make me happy, so long as causality is not assumed…)

John suggested that I get involved in the LifeSTAR program.  The program is designed for those with compulsive sexual behaviors, who want to get rid of them.  He asked me to read through a couple of things on their website.  One was a First Steps Booklet.  It talks about compulsion, addiction and gives some ideas of where to start.  The other is the Healthy Living Booklet.  It talks about brain chemistry, and what can be done to replace compulsion with what they call conscious living.

The program involves three different types of group therapy.  I’m not exactly thrilled about the prospect of being entirely exposed, even in a small group setting.  I am thrilled about the prospect of eliminating my compulsion though.  Because of the excitement of the prospect of that, I am going to ignore the apprehension, and do the program.  John will be the one leading it, and I already trust him, so I will trust the process he suggests.

All in all, I think this is the first therapist I have ever gone to that I actually look forward to working with.  Hopefully it’ll turn out the way I expect it to.


3 thoughts on “My New Therapist

  1. I enjoy reading your blog. Please clarify about the 70% being sexual compulsive. I am a gay man and dont want people to think that all gay men are hyper sexual and only have sex on the brain 24/7. Keep up the great post’s and your journey!

    1. Chad,
      Thank you for reading. I know that some of what I write is not the easiest thing for some gay men to read. I appreciate that you take the time to read it, even if you may disagree with some of what I write.
      As to clarifying the 70%, I’d be more than happy to. In fact, I’m glad you brought it up, as I did neglect to mention what was meant by that. It simply means that there are a large percentage of gay men who are sexually compulsive. THis does not mean that they are constantly having or even thinking about sex. It simply means that they are unable to control themselves as well as they would like to. The alcoholic who loves to drink does not think himself an alcoholic. It is only when he decides that he wants to lessen his consumption of alcohol that he finds it difficult and realizes that there might be a problem. The same is true of sexahol. (A much more powerful brew..)
      While I don’t talk to many straight guys about the frequency with which they masturbate, I have talked with a number of gay men about the topic. When I mention that I have told them of the lengths of time I have been able to abstain, the typical response is something to the effect of “I could never do that” or, “I’d die if I went that long.” While I don’t know that either of those statements are true (especially the second) I think that it does show a compulsion. Even if the person only masturbates once a year, it can still be a compulsion if it is something which they are not able to keep themselves from doing.
      As for this being a uniquely homosexual thing, I doubt very much that it is. Even before I started delving into homosexuality, I masturbated more than I thought I should as a teenager. I tried to figure out a way to stop, but didn’t come up with on that worked. I think that sexual compulsion can afflict anyone, gay, straight, male or female. The point is not who has the compulsion, but rather that it be addressed in order to give the compulsive person relief.
      Thanks again for reading. Hopefully I’ve adequately clarified. If not, please let me know, and I’ll take another crack at it.

  2. It’s not an alcoholic who “loves to drink” it is an alcoholic who loves the high that comes from drinking a lot and uses drinking to avoid responsibilities of life and to medicate his or her difficult emotions. There are plenty of people who love to drink (because they like the taste or wine, beer, etc.) who are not alcoholics. They will have a beer or two or a glass of wine with dinner and/or with friends, etc. but they do not let the alcohol control them and their lives. They don’t have a compulsive need to drink alcoholic beverages. They don’t build their lives around the alcoholic beverage like the alcoholic does. They also don’t want more than a few drinks, just like they wouldn’t want more than one or two glasses of lemonade or iced tea, etc. There is a major difference. There are many misconceptions about alcohol and alcoholics by Mormons because of the LDS extreme emphasis on that one aspect of the word of wisdom that seriously needs to be clarified.

    Also an alcoholic is still typically an alcoholic (unless he or she gets into recovery) even when he or she quits drinking. There are plenty of “dry drunks” out there who don’t drink anymore but still have the typical personality traits of an alcoholic. That is negativity, negative self-image, denial, procrastination, shame, guilt, some have fits of rage and many other common alcoholic traits.

    Yes sexual addiction can affect anyone (gay, heterosexual, male or female). Dr. Patrick Carnes has written some wonderful books on sexual addiction. He is probably the best resource on the topic. Also Dr.. Joe Kort is another awesome resource on this same topic. He really gets into the details.

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