Thank you for publishing Dave Purdy’s Aug. 8 article, “The Sex Addiction Epidemic.” I am writing on behalf of several gay men in the D.C. area who are recovering from sexual addiction. As Purdy states, there is considerable stigma attached to this disease. (For that reason, I have chosen not to sign this and to remain anonymous.)
Purdy does a great service by highlighting the work of Dr. Patrick Carnes, who has devoted much of his life to shedding light on this issue. He and his colleagues have been instrumental in bringing sexual addiction into the mainstream. This has led to more treatment options, a growing number of therapists and counselors working in this field, more literature on the topic and an explosion of self-help and 12-step groups.
There has also been heightened interest within the LGBT community. Not too long ago, many of us in recovery found ourselves in situations where our sexual addiction turned our lives upside down, creating financial turmoil, destroying relationships and leading to negative health and legal consequences. Purdy is correct when he describes how easy it is to access sexual content online or to hook up with a Smart Phone. However, many of us who used the Internet and phones to look for sex now use these same tools to heal from our addiction. By acknowledging our addictive patterns and finding new ways of living, many of us have been able to break out of the chaos and isolation. We are healing our shattered lives, one day at a time.
To those of you in the D.C. area who are struggling with sexual addiction, we want you to know that there is a community – including many gay men – whose lives have been positively changed as a result of recovery from sexual addiction. Recovery is truly only a click away. — A grateful recovering sex addict in D.C.