No More Secrets was blessed to have Mr. Michael Morton, M.A., LMFT, NCGC-1, CSAT-S and Keystone ECU family therapist here visiting us for four days. On Friday August 22 Michael did an afternoon workshop entitled “The Making of a Sex Addict”. His presentation helped people to see the genesis of the illness and how the brain gets hi-jacked though the reward-pleasure systems. Along the way the power of choice goes away as the addiction sets it. As you often hear in the Halls of AA, “The Man Takes the Drink and then the Drink Takes the Man”. We are pleased to announce that the speech was recorded and is now available here at the NMS Website.
One of the “personal inventory” assignments I have my men do is to write a life history. Putting it all down on paper is a fact finding and fact facing exercise. Everything does look worse in black and white. One of my guys recently wrote a piece so descriptive that I asked him if I could use it for a blog and he agreed. I am honored to present it here.
My name is Sean F. I was born at 2:48 am on June 6th in 1981 at Homestead A.F.B., in Homestead Florida. I am the son of Michael F. and Patricia F. Brother of Michael F. On my Mother’s side I am the grandson of Ray W. and survived by my late grandmother Claire W. I have never met nor do I currently know any of my Father’s immediate or extended family.
Leading up to the moment of my birth, the air of anticipation filled the delivery room as the doctor and awaiting nurses prepared to deliver me, the mystery child of unknown sex origin. Prior to my birth I was to be, as my parents collectively decided, a surprise to them and the rest of the family and friends. My mother has delighted my child like curiosity over the years with her vivid account of her pregnancy with me and the day of my delivery into this world. According to memory, her pregnancy with me was said to be much different and in certain aspects, completely opposite of the 9 months that she carried my older brother, and so she felt without a doubt she would soon birth a baby girl. As the moment came for me to enter the world and leave my mother’s womb, the first thing that breached was my hand followed by an outstretched arm. The doctor, looking around and sensing the eagerness from the staff and my mother, was the first to see my little hand and arm and then jokingly exclaimed, “Well it must be a girl, she’s already asking for money.” The mixed reactions of laughter and a sigh of relief perhaps as a result of affirmation to 9 months of my mother’s internal instinct suddenly shifted directions as the rest of my body came out. The doctor looked up at my mom and then countered his initial observation and confirmed that I actually was not a girl, I was a boy. Relief nonetheless. A crying but healthy baby boy, the second and last in my immediate family had now arrived.
Shortly after my birth, existing no more than a few months old, my mother and father’s mother (grandma F.) got into an argument. This unfortunately was one of many, yet this time resulted in my mother grabbing my 2 ½ year old brother and myself leaving involuntarily after being kicked out of Grandma F.’s home. My mom had nowhere to go except for the local Red Cross. My father serving in the Air-force, had just left on military duty to Antarctica. Arriving at the Red Cross my mom quickly informed them of her troubles. They contacted the Air Force Base and signaled out to my Father informing him of his family’s emergency situation. Just shortly after he had arrived in Antarctica the military quickly put together a flight back to the states so that he could tend to his abandon wife and two sons. When he got back to Florida they realized the only course of action would be for us to stay with my mom’s parents until the military could sort out where to re-station my Father and where we would be living. The challenge in the meantime was that my mother’s parents lived in Washington State. This meant we had to drive across the country from Florida all the way up to Ephrata Washington on little money and of short notice. They had no choice and packed up what little belongings they had and needed and set across the USA in a station wagon. To no fault of parent’s, my personal child seat was a laundry basket full of clothes and soft linens. After the short stay in Ephrata WA we moved to and were stationed in Valdosta, Georgia. This would be home for me for the next few years. I’m only able to relive those days in sweltering Georgia from many polaroid pictures my mom and dad took that I would look at and study years later. Some of the pictures resemble a happy and easy going time that even today makes me smile: cute and cuddly wiener dogs; a shiny blue bicycle with training wheels; massive juicy watermelons, big cockroaches; a lush green backyard; freshly caught fish laying on the patio; inflatable Rocky and Clubber Lang punching bags; the sweltering southern summer heat; huge swing sets; playing with various sports balls; my father wearing jean shorts, combat boots and dog tags; my mother caught in hysterical laughter; her smoking cigarettes; and my brothers bleach blonde hair. Thankfully these images, now implanted firmly deep within the memory area of my brain, were positive and happy.
I am now 4 years old and next came Alaska, Fairbanks AK to be exact. The Airforce stationed my father and our family at Eilson A.F.B. in what was unknowingly the last place we (as in my mom, brother and I) would live with my dad and the last time my mother and Father would be together. This new landscape was exploding with bursts of wonder and enchantment. New amazing creatures, weather, a forest for a backyard and playful experiences became the urgent reasons I continually jumped out of bed to explore this new play-land. Winters were like being at the North Pole with Santa Clause himself. Deep, white snow, the sites of Moose, beavers, Cariboo, and even Polar Bears were the very real and tangible aspects that made up the winter seasons for each of the two years I spent there. Summer days were glorious, filled with sunlight that lasted till well into the night. I remember mosquitos that seemed like the size of my little hand. I always loved the big gatherings for outdoor barbeques that brought the cul-de-sac together. One year there, my dad bought me a special Rambo edition big wheels with a scope on the handle bars and a red head band that I religiously wore as I tore ass around the cul-de-sac so that I could chase after pretend bad guys shooting down the enemy. Purposely making loud gun noises, I speed around as fast as I could by the garage in hopes my dad would see me expressing my joy for the amazing toy he got me and impress him with my skills on the Big Wheel. My father was an avid hunter and tool full advantage of the Alaskan wildlife. One day as I tried to zip past the garage where I knew he was, I almost crashed as I glanced in and noticed a dead deer hanging upside down fully skinned and bloody. After the confusion wore off, I tried to hold in my astonishment and fears as I never saw such a site. Pausing momentarily, I gathered my legs and feet back on the pedals and kept going about hoping I wouldn’t be called in to help. Then came the time one evening when my dad came home from a hunting trip with one of his military comrades. They laid out 16 dead foul on the front lawn. I crouched down with amazement as this was my first up close look at dead animals. After gazing at this spectacle I ran into the house and found my dad in the kitchen discussing what most likely was the thrill of the hunt. He was chasing down cold beer after cold beer recounting the event with the company of his friends. This is when I had my first taste of alcohol. My father must have sensed his 4 ½ year old son helplessly gazing as I tried not to act interested but was nevertheless drawn to this male configuration of bonding and laughter. Soon he turned to me and said, “You want a taste son?” somehow intuitively I knew it was something I shouldn’t be drinking, but of course how could I let my hero down? So without hesitation, I proceeded with accepting this intriguing proposition. The pungent taste from the foreign liquid immersed my taste buds while the sight and smell of 3 freshly plucked foul soaking in their own bloody water laid motionless in the kitchen sink filled my noise and lungs and watered my eyes. This deadly sense trifecta I would never soon forget. I managed to swallow and keep the beer down despite the horrific scene and gut wrenching, brand new sensations I was experiencing. I felt I made my dad proud too. I remember feeling confused because I sensed this was something my mother would not agree with but I had also pleased my father on some level at the same time. Nevertheless it was an epic moment. A moment that in real time was very brief but in the big picture of things was everlasting in terms of connecting with my father. The crack of light gained brighter towards what I perceived was a place of acceptance and love by my father.
I’ve seen many pictures of my childhood surrounding that time in Alaska where I was physically very close to my dad. One’s where I’d be curled up on his stomach with my blanky while he laid on his back on the living room floor. My dad, brother and I taking baths together. Being on the couch playing with the puppies. Despite all that un-denying evidence of us spending time, I don’t naturally recall any of those moments. As hard as I try, all I can remember is the feeling of aloneness. Wondering where he was and why was it whenever I looked around it was only my brother and mother. How come when we couldn’t figure out why the VCR was malfunctioning my father didn’t jump on the opportunity to display to the family who was the king of the castle that could fix anything?! Why did my mom seem so quiet like she was worried or distressed sitting at the kitchen table? Why when my dad finally walked in the door when it was really dark outside did he have a stoned look on his face and proceed to march right up the stairs to his bedroom without saying a word to anyone? Those questions must have only swirled for so long in my head as I was too young and too preoccupied about how I was going to have fun in this new and amazing place called home. Little did I know that deep within my subconscious I would keep those moments and feelings locked away.
“Ok so why am I sitting in a big empty van? Wait…. IS it empty? Oh ok there’s my mom in the front passenger seat! Wait….where’s my brother? Oh phew he’s sitting in the back…..but he’s upset…..why? Why does everyone seem so …distant…quiet….sad….? Am I missing something? Hmm who knows….hold on….Where’s my dad? I don’t see him….at all. Maybe this is why everyone is so quiet, perhaps we are just waiting till he jumps in with us?! Something still isn’t right?…. What is going on? Oh there he is! Dad let’s go! I don’t know where we are going but who cares we are in a van together and we must be going to do something fun?! Dad why are you as motionless as a statue standing outside the van, hurry up will you?! Dad, why are you crying?? I’ve never seen you sad before?? Why are you giving me that look?? Wait why are you shutting the door and not coming in? DAD?!? MOM!!? Why is dad now looking at the ground and no longer looking at any of us?? Why are we leaving without him?? What the heck is going on??!!”
That was the aftermath of my mother finding out my dad was having an affair. That was the day we left Alaska and flew back to Washington to be with her parents. That memory is carved into my soul like a bad first tattoo and is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of who my dad is and what he did to us. A man who was guilty of something, feeling sad about something, possibly feeling ashamed, like he was losing something. The reality of us leaving must have brought this man made of steel to his proverbial knees in pain and anguish. I was not even 5 years old and my father more or less was abandoning his family.
“Well now what? Man I am really tired…. I just want to sleep. I am tired of being tired. I am exhausted from worrying, feels like there’s a pit in my stomach. I am so confused, I have so many questions, but there are no answers. Mom I need you. Make this hurt go away…..” (Those are the thoughts I make up that I must have had after looking back at a picture my grandfather took of us arriving at the airport in Spokane, WA as I lay exhausted in my mother’s arms with my head and body drooped on her shoulder.)
Sean F – NMS’s Class of 2017
There are no accidents and this man like all of our men did not raise his hand when he was eight proclaiming that he wanted to be a sex and love addict when he grows up and wanting to know where he can sign up now as a child. This dis-ease chooses us. But there is a way out. Misery is optional.