An Honest Inventory, A Worrisome Result


Although I have a degree in Psychology and love the field immensely, I am not such a fan of labels.  First of all, I don’t think we all fit inside the parameters of any one box.  Our personalities and experiences differ greatly so there is no way that one size fits all.  Plus, I believe that when we label ourselves and/or allow ourselves to be labeled by others we fall into the pit of self-fulfilling prophesies which often times cause us to unconsciously begin to live in accordance with whatever label(s) we impose upon ourselves and/or accept from others.

Lately though, I have found myself often asking the question, “What’s wrong with me?”  And, as somethings have been brought to my attention and as I’ve taken some steps back to examine certain life pattens, I have learned that there may be a name for a particular set of  some maladaptive, repetitive behaviors that I struggle with.  I think this is significant because I need to uncover the “what” so I can deal with the “why”…which will help me deal with the “how to”, (hopefully) overcome and find healing and freedom.

So I recently read some information for this organization called Sex and Loves Addicts Anonymous that describes itself as “a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition oriented Fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. S.L.A.A. is open to anyone who knows or thinks they have a problem with sex addiction, love addiction, romantic obsession, co-dependent relationships, fantasy addiction and/or sexual, social and emotional anorexia.”

I have never been a fan of 12-step programs as I don’t feel as though that particular method is right for me, but I was looking at their website for information and came across a self-diagnostic tool that I thought I would explore.

Below is a self-diagnostic type of  inventory that I took; I answered each question as honestly as I possibly could.  Here’s what I came up with.  It’s bitterly shameful (I may soon delete this post) but I wonder if anyone can relate to this or has opinions about this particular topic.

I don’t know if this is something that I need to do work on or not.  As a Christian, I genuinely feel that God is my ultimate Healer and that I just need to keep trying to give it all to Him.  However, some of the questions on this inventory hit frightfully close to home.  I don’t know what to think…
The fact of the matter is, I’m not a ho!  In the past, when I have been with men that I believed that I truly loved my sexual experiences were nothing short of cosmic.  When I think that I love a man and we have sex, I feel like it’s often this out-of-body, mystical experience and that our souls are completely intertwined in a way that’s hard to express with mere words.  And when I think I love a man I love him with my whole being…. The thought of being with anyone else makes me sick.
Unfortunately, I’m beginning to see that what I thought was love in my past relationships wasn’t love at all.  As a matter of fact, I question whether I’ve ever experienced true love.  Wild, unbridled passion and addiction to toxic people is not love.  I know that now.  I just don’t know which way to go now.
I'm just a few steps away...

I’m just a few steps away…

I don’t want to cut myself off from love and be one of those cynical ol’ man haters.  I don’t think that’s God’s will for me because I know that to be a true man hater I’d have to truly hate men.  I don’t.   Plus, I don’t think I’d be a very good, stereotypical cat lady because I do not like cats at all.


40 Questions for Self Diagnosis

excerpted © 1985 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.All Rights Reserved

SLAA’s disclaimer:

(The following questions are designed to be used as guidelines to identifying possible signposts of sex and love addiction. They are not intended to provide a sure-fire method of diagnosis, nor can negative answers to these questions provide absolute assurance that the illness is not present. Many sex and love addicts have varying patterns which can result in very different ways of approaching and answering these questions. Despite this fact, we have found that short, to-the-point questions have often provided as effective a tool for self-diagnosis as have lengthy explanations of what sex and love addiction is.)

  1. Have you ever tried to control how much sex to have or how often you would see someone?  YES
  2. Do you find yourself unable to stop seeing a specific person even though you know that seeing this person is destructive to you?  YES
  3. Do you feel that you don’t want anyone to know about your sexual or romantic activities?  YES  Do you feel you need to hide these activities from others – friends, family, co-workers, counselors, etc.?  YES
  4. Do you get “high” from sex and/or romance?  YES  Do you crash?  YES
  5.  Have you had sex at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places, and/or with inappropriate people?  YES
  6. Do you make promises to yourself or rules for yourself concerning your sexual or romantic behavior that you find you cannot follow?  YES
  7. Have you had or do you have sex with someone you don’t (didn’t) want to have sex with?  YES
  8. Do you believe that sex and/or a relationship will make your life bearable? NO
  9. Have you ever felt that you had to have sex?  YES
  10. Do you believe that someone can “fix” you?  NO
  11. Do you keep a list, written or otherwise, of the number of partners you’ve had?  NO
  12. Do you feel desperation or uneasiness when you are away from your lover or sexual partner?  YES
  13. Have you lost count of the number of sexual partners you’ve had?  YES
  14. Do you feel desperate about your need for a lover, sexual fix, or future mate?  YES
  15. Have you or do you have sex regardless of the consequences (e.g. the threat of being caught, the risk of contracting herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, etc.)?  YES
  16. Do you find that you have a pattern of repeating bad relationships?  YES
  17. Do you feel that your only (or major) value in a relationship is your ability to perform sexually, or provide an emotional fix?  YES
  18. Do you feel like a lifeless puppet unless there is someone around with whom you can flirt? Do you feel that you’re not “really alive” unless you are with your sexual romantic partner?  YES
  19. Do you feel entitled to sex?  NO
  20. Do you find yourself in a relationship that you cannot leave?  YES
  21. Have you ever threatened your financial stability or standing in the community by pursuing a sexual partner?  YES
  22. Do you believe that problems in your life “love life” result from not having enough of, or the right kind of sex?   NO  Or from continuing to remain with the “wrong” person?  YES
  23. Have you ever had a serious relationship threatened or destroyed because of outside sexual activity?  NO
  24. Do you feel like life would have no meaning without a love relationship or without sex?  NO  Do you feel like you would have no identity if you were not someone’s lover?  NO
  25. Do you find yourself flirting or sexualizing with someone even if you do not mean to?  YES
  26. Does your sexual/romantic behavior affect your reputation?  YES
  27. Do you have sex and/or “relationships” to try to deal with, or escape from life’s problems?  YES
  28. Do you feel uncomfortable about your masturbation because of the frequency with which you masturbate, the fantasies you engage in, the props you use, and/or the places in which you do it?  YES
  29. Do you engage in the practices of voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc., in ways that bring discomfort and pain?  YES
  30. Do you find yourself needing greater and greater variety and energy in your sexual or romantic activities just to achieve an “acceptable” level of physical and emotional relief?  YES
  31. Do you need to have sex, or “fall in love” in order to feel like a [“real man” or a] “real woman”?  YES
  32. Do you feel that your sexual and romantic behavior is about as rewarding as hijacking a revolving door?  YES   Are you jaded?  YES
  33. Are you unable to concentrate on other areas of your life because of thoughts or feelings you are having about another person or about sex?  YES
  34. Do you find yourself obsessing about a specific person or sexual act even though these thoughts bring pain, craving or discomfort?  YES
  35. Have you ever wished you could stop or control your sexual and romantic activities for a given period of time? YES   Have you ever wished you could be less emotionally dependent? YES
  36. Do you find the pain in your life increasing no matter what you do?  YES  Are you afraid that deep down you are unacceptable?  YES
  37. Do you feel that you lack dignity and wholeness?  YES
  38. Do you feel that your sexual and/or romantic life affects your spiritual life in a negative way?  YES
  39. Do you feel that your life is unmanageable because of your sexual and/or romantic behavior or your excessive dependency needs?  YES
  40. Have you ever thought that there might be more you could do with your life if you were not so driven by sexual and romantic pursuits?  YES

About Ava Elizabeth Wisdom

Greetings Beloved, I am a 41-year old single mother of two boys. I was a stripper for almost a decade and have lived the kind of life that parallels something you'd see in a movie. I not only partied like a rock star, I literally partied with rock stars. I stopped dancing in 2000 and began college when my oldest was 4. Shortly after turning my life back over to the Lord and beginning my academic career at the university, my precious mother, a former Fort Worth Police officer committed suicide. When I found her, she had been dead for 3 days. I did her hair, make-up, got her dressed, and had her nails filled for her viewing and funeral. In spite of my appearance and way with men, I have never been married. Rejection and abandonment have seemed to define me since conception when my biological father deserted my mother as soon as he found out she was carrying me. I am a recovering co-dependent with a heart so big that I have to be cautious so that I don't exhaust myself in focusing on and giving to others. I was a very angry child who grew up in a violent, dysfunctional home so I haven't always loved others from the depths of my heart. However, after the loss of my loved ones, I learned that time is fleeting and that you never know when you're going to see someone for the last time. So now, I am quick to love others and strive to maximize each second that I have with the ones I love. In spite of my sin and my struggles with men, drugs, and alcohol, my faith defines me. I could never deny Christ because at the times of my life when I had everything stripped away I could literally feel Him with me. I love to write and pray that this blog will inspire you and draw you closer to the heart of God. Ava Elizabeth Wisdom

6 responses »

  1. Ava – All a degree does is get your foot in the door for the interview, and gives you an edge over the one without one. I used to joke that when I hired someone I would consider those with degrees as well. I don’t like labels either. A good example of how they create thought forms, that then create realities, is the Zodiac. Although I haven’t done the mapping myself, my understanding is that the Zodiac is not aligned the way it is painted in all the modern interpretations, that the actual position of the stars is way out of alignment with the way we describe the signs today. So are we really who we think we are, no, but yes, because we label ourselves so effectively! Addictions are made, , and I think if you substituted ‘internet’ or ‘shopping’ or ‘smoking’ or any hundred other behaviors you would find we are all stuck in that circle … If you see it (and you do) then you are halfway home. What is life, nothing more than lessons, we are here to experience what we can only get through the body, it’s the ultimate trip! It’s the best it can get. Are you getting better? Of course … and God is not a man (not a Him). Woman looks for the image of God in Man, realize that, I think it’s time you saw …

    • Oh, but I’m so proud of my education. My mom couldn’t get me to go to school when I was in junior high and high school.. I never did my work. I didn’t start college until I was 27 and had just quit dancing. I found myself there. I was President of my honor’s society, I wrote for the school newspaper, I studied with the Honor’s College in Greece… I was a National Science Foundation Scholar and was paid to do graduate-level research and present my findings at professional conferences. I could go on an on… Point being, I rocked college like a boss. Still, you’re right about what a degree is to most people. It’s just so much more to me. I want more than anything to go back and finish my graduate studies!

      And I’ve always though the zodiac thing was horse shit. The generalities are painstakingly obvious… I think there is something to it….but you’re right…the modern-day version is way off.

      And by the way, you mentioned addictions to things like the Internet, shopping, and smoking. I confess to being addicted to all three. LOL

      Now what did you mean by, “Woman looks for the image of God in Man, realize that, I think its time you saw…”?? Elaborate… I soak up your wisdom.

  2. You reference the way it makes you feel when you are with a man, the ecstatic feeling, and the complete loss of self in the moment. Some places in the world they call it the little death. What happens is as human, – as spirits enmeshed in these bodies, we are so taken by the experience that we liken it be being with God …Men look for the image of mother in woman, and woman looks for the image of God in man … we must take care not to allow ourselves to be so enraptured in the experience that we replace the true God, and the true Mother with the experience of the expression of divine creation … We are in him (or her) and she (or he) is within us, we are all a part of Spirit, and we are apart from spirit. Maybe this helps the point – The divine paradox is hard to put into words …

Share your thoughts with me.

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