A while ago a fuck buddy mentioned that I reminded him of Marla in Fight Club. This story might go some way to explaining that comment.
I was on holiday in LA and looking for a way to occupy a quiet afternoon, when it occurred to me to look up sex addicts anonymous meetings. I’d finished doing all the usual tourist-y things and, besides, I was feeling pretty sex-starved.
I brushed my hair and checked my makeup before walking up the steps to the meeting. I must have looked a little lost as an older man asked if I was ok.
“I’m fine,” I said, wondering if he was one of the anonymous, “just looking for the sex addicts anonymous meeting.”
He pointed me in the direction of a large room with chairs around the periphery. It was a big meeting. Plenty of choice, I thought.
I found myself a seat and surveyed the room. A fifty-something year old man fiddled with papers directly opposite, a skinny girl picked at her fingers to my left, a mature woman in a floaty skirt sat to my right. I was starting to wonder whether attractive, young men could even be sex addicts, but then I saw him: long-haired potential lover at ten o’clock.
The meeting began. The usual preamble rambled on:
“The only requirement for SLAA membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction.”
A heavily tattooed and pierced guy walked in, apologising for being late as he made his way to a spare chair. This meeting was already improving.
“We’re going to begin by giving any newcomers the chance to speak. Are there any newcomers?”
There was one other newcomer. His nervousness soaked his t-shirt as he mumbled about his porn use.
Then it was my turn.
“Hi, I’m S.T. and I’m not sure if I’m a sex addict.”
“Hi, S.T.”, the room echoed.
“This is my first sex addicts anonymous meeting, but I’m not new to the rooms. I’m on holiday from England and trying not to make any poor sexual choices while I’m here, but I honestly don’t think I can get through this whole holiday without sleeping with anyone.”
I glanced over at the two men that had caught my eye. They were both listening intently. While I was glad I had their attention, I was a little concerned with how seriously they were taking this. Were these people really sex addicts? Was this not just a kooky dating service for people in the beverage program?
“I’ve been called a sex addict on more than one occasion, but where does promiscuity end and addiction begin? I suppose I’d like to stop taking stupid risks and it would be good if I didn’t feel I had to have sex, but I wouldn’t want to stop having casual sex. I love sex. It’s love that is the problem…”, I trailed off.
“Basically, I’m just here to listen and to see if I can learn anything to help keep me out of trouble for the next couple of weeks.”
The chair then asked if any people who were new to the meeting wanted to share. The long-haired man raised his hand. Now it was my turn to listen attentively. I adjusted my Jack Daniel’s t-shirt, only then realising it was probably not the best choice for a twelve step meeting.
“Hi, I’m Josh, and I’m a love addict,” he began.
I tried to hide the grimace I could feel creep across my face. I’m a love avoidant (or anorexic, in SLAA terms). I would have been less put off he had said he:
- liked to stick crayons up his nose
- was sexually attracted to door handles
- made whale noises during sex
- had killed someone
There is very little a person can say that will make me run faster than the L word. This fuck-finding strategy really wasn’t going to plan.
The sharing continued. There was a man who was paying to house his mistress, a woman who was dating for the first time since beginning recovery, and another woman who was explaining how scary being single is after a lifetime of serial monogamy. Every single one of them talked about love. It was nothing like I had expected. Where were the crazy sex stories? Where were the orgies?!
Next the hot as fuck, tattoo-faced man volunteered to share. I was sure he’d regale us with tales of sex under the influence of illicit substances, and kinky shit that would make the average person queasy. I was right about the illicit substances, but instead of sex stories, he spoke about how difficult it was maintaining a healthy romantic relationship while he was in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction, after a recent relapse.
All this talk of love was making me want to “act out”. I was ready to find a bar and drink until the sex I had was anonymous sex because I couldn’t even remember my own name, let alone theirs.
Thankfully the sex addicts anonymous meeting drew to a close. We held hands and chanted like we’d been treppaned:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to never attend SLAA again.
NOTE: Names have been changed for anonymity. The stories of the people in the sex addicts anonymous meeting are true but they have either been amalgamated or had details changed/removed to prevent people being identified.