Excerpt from Ch 11
One day, while cleaning my room, I discovered a book called Overcoming Internet Addiction under my bed. A well-meaning friend had given it to me, but I never read it. As I flipped through the pages, I was immediately drawn to the sections addressing cybersex.
Tears formed as I empathized with those in the personal stories. The author used the term “sexual addiction” to describe people caught up in cybersex. I tried to tell myself it didn’t have anything to do with me, but deep down I was afraid it did.
Over Thanksgiving break, I made an appointment with Susan, the licensed professional counselor I was seeing. She was helping me cope with life after the Internet, but I had something even more serious to talk about now.
I sat opposite Susan in her small but comfortable office. “Do you think I have a sexual addiction?”
“I wrote it down as a possible diagnosis on your first visit,” she responded.
Gee, I thought, when were you gonna let me in on that? I stared at the floor and played with my hands. “What can I do about it?”
“Most inpatient programs are thirty days or more, so you’d have to take time off from work. Can you wait until Christmas vacation?”
“No!” The thought of waiting even a few weeks terrified me.
“Then call your health insurance company and see what kind of coverage you have.”
“You mean they might cover that?”
“Some companies don’t. But the ones that do can tell you what rehabs they’ll pay for and how much it will cost.”
“Can’t I just call it substance abuse?”
“No. They’re two different things.”
I felt sick to my stomach. How could I have something so vile?
“On your next visit, we can discuss your options.” She went to her closet and brought back a book. “In the meantime, you might want to read Leaving the Enchanted Forest. It’s an excellent book on relationship addiction.”
I looked at the book. Relationship addiction? I’m falling to pieces because I’m a romantic? I left her office feeling as if a bomb had exploded inside me.
As I got into the car, I thought, Even if it means leaving my boys and taking time off from school, I’ll do whatever it takes. I don’t want to feel like this anymore! Gripping the steering wheel, I sobbed all the way home.
As I fell across my bed, I saw the book that started it all lying on the floor. I wanted to throw it across the room. Then I remembered it had a list of resources in the back. I looked over the extensive listings and called Focus on the Family. They gave me a referral for a therapist in Savannah.
The clock on my nightstand read 5:08. I figured the office was closed for the day but I called anyway. To my surprise, someone answered. “I was wondering if you have a counselor for sexual addiction,” I said meekly.
“Oh, yes. Actually, we have an opening with Bill tomorrow at four. Would you like to come in then?”
Tomorrow? I started to feel as if God had set up this whole thing. “Okay.” I gave her my information.
Bill was in the lobby when I arrived the next day. He seemed friendly enough, but I was still unsure I wanted to share this with anyone. The only thing that made me follow him to his office was the knowledge that he was a licensed counselor in sexual addiction. If he had helped others, maybe he could help me.
Bill let me talk for an hour and a half about my obsessive Internet and phone-line use. When I finished, he nodded. “Yes, I believe you have an addiction.”
“What do I do?”
“I’d like you to come back tomorrow and take a test to make sure.”
Tomorrow. This thing was moving right along. I left my new therapist’s office in a daze. When I got to my car, I felt the loving presence of Jesus. He gave me a big hug and said, “See? I take care of my baby girl.” I knew I was in the right place at the right time.
About Faith Richards