Opinion by EHN Alumni
Written by Adam W, a recent graduate of the sex addiction program at Edgewood
Before I arrived at Edgewood my life was like being in the eye of a tornado. That might be a tough analogy for someone to understand but I was in the middle of a storm, with no way out. Everything around me was getting caught in the storm and I was simply waiting for it to take me away with it. I could not find my own way out, and I certainly was trying to harm myself enough so that perhaps I wouldn’t wake up. I remember the feeling of despair and this heavy sadness. When it was suggested I “go away” for a while, to take a break and heal—despite the tremendous arguments I had not to go—I simply gave up and said “okay.”
I had lost my wife, been kicked out of my house, and had been removed from being a part of my kids’ lives. My family of origin stopped being involved with me, my business was crumbling, and my closest of friends had given up on trying to help. As typical of a pretreatment story that is—it was and is my story.
I quickly packed up my personal belongings in Calgary and travelled to Edgewood, soon realizing that I was no longer alone in this storm. The men’s sex addiction group was a critical part of my recovery and healing. I could speak with men who could relate about the pain and shame of my behaviours and mistakes I had made over the years. Although the group structure throughout the week was tremendous for unpacking a lot of stuff, the ability to really do the work in the confidence of men who were walking a similar path made it safe for me to express, accept, and move on from that part of my life. In previous treatments and therapy, I never was able to explore my sexual dysfunction and the associated guilt, shame, and sadness that I held inside. If I had not addressed that pain I would have not been able to grow and find my footing in recovery.
Some of the highlights of the program at Edgewood include the sacredness of the room, the compassion from the men, and the guidance from the sex addiction therapists. The ability to share my story, the unheard version of my life that I was not able to previously share in co-ed settings, with other men who were willing to do the same, was transformational in my healing and essential for my recovery.
I also know that the work, meetings, groups, walking with men in recovery, and service are all lifelong habits and commitments that I need to make daily to continue to enjoy the blessings of sobriety and good mental and spiritual health. It’s not a destination but a journey of awakenings, blessings, and sharing and giving that allows me to enjoy life today.
The opportunity to give back in some small way to this program and to the men I walked with is something I cherish and for which I am thankful.
A grateful, recovering sex addict.