Sunday, December 27, 2009

Guilt-filled Addict Submitted by Dawn Maslar-Ranish on December 19th, 2009

Dear Dawn,

I am 23 years old and it only took 7 years of using for my disease to bring me to my knees. However, I have been in recovery now for a little over a year. This is my first time of abstinence and my first time in a program. I have been in a relationship with the man I love for 4 years. He recently asked me to marry him! So of course I said yes but here is my problem. In active addiction, I was a dancer and did many horrible things. My fourth step is full of shame and guilt. I have just finished my fifth step but sex still is a very uncomfortable area for me. I went from being a highly sexual person to withdrawing from anything sexual. I feel like sex is wrong. I know over time I can work through this but not exactly how to work through my shame and guilt while being in a relationship. This is just not fair to him. I want to be able to have sex and feel good about it. Help! A guilt-filled addict.

Dear Guilt-filled Addict,

Oh sweet child, I want to thank you so much for writing. Many women struggle with this issue in silence. The fear and shame keep many from asking questions, so thank you for being so brave!

Almost every woman I have met in recovery has a past that includes sexual shame and guilt. I am so happy that you said you were working the steps. What the steps will do is allow you to come to terms with this. As you continue to work the steps, you will eventually release all that old pain and the guilt and shame will slip away. steps

This phenomenon is very much like the movement of a pendulum. In our addict we are at one end of the spectrum, with extreme sexual behavior. When we get into recovery, all of a sudden we withdraw as you stated, sometimes to the point of complete abstinence. We go from one end of the spectrum to the other end. You may even find yourself going back and forth a bit, until you finally settle down to a place where you feel comfortable with yourself, your past and your sexuality. So, how do you deal with your fiancĂ© in the meantime? Talk to him (without any gory details) and explain you need this time. If he truly loves you he will understand and give you time. If he doesn’t want to give you time, than it indicates he is probably too young or to selfish to be a husband right now.

Just do me two favors: don’t get married until you finish all your steps, and don’t run off confessing anything until you have talked with your sponsor. You have a long and wonderful life ahead of you. I can assure you that you have many talents and qualities that are untapped right now. I commend you are taking the beginning steps to a life beyond your wildest dreams. Well done little one!


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12 steps, addiction, behavior, guilt, Love, Recovery, relationships, sex, shame
Posted in Dating, Love, Recovery, intimacy, relationships