Step 12 of ACOA says that after having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I recently had the pleasure and unique learning opportunity watching a TV show about a retired “star.” Former, singer, model, and for a short time he was in the movies. People like this are usually considered to be “stand-offish” to common folk like myself but this person was quite different. He seemed to genuinely care about others.
Anyway, he wass so welcoming and open, yet at the same time very private. He would spend all day talking to you, just as friendly as can be, yet at the same time, he just want to go home, kick off his shoes and relax.
He didn’t care if you did not recognize him from the magazine covers he was on, or the songs he had written. He did not want you to drool at his feet, he just wanted you to be open and friendly and he would return the same respect to you.
I never knew of this man until I moved to England and by watching TV began to figure out the European celebrities. As I have learned of this gentleman, I have come to learn of his past. Alcoholism, sex addiction and numerous other calamities, have run this person’s life. The more I know about him the more I realize how much our lives are the same.
When he speaks of sexual addiction, I was shocked. I just couldn’t imagine him having that type of life. I remember back in the mid 80s, I was homeless and hitch-hiking around America. I was in my mid 20s and had nothing. I was in Utah on Interstate 80, when a car pulled over and offered me a ride.
I hopped in and we chatted for awhile and then he asked me if I ever considered modeling. I had no idea what he meant. My mind was stuck in making car models. He said that he painted nude male models for a hobby. We sat quiet for a minute as the car raced down the road. I was broke and I thought I might make some easy money. So I asked him how much he would pay me.
He said that he didn’t pay anyone to do it. Like he said it was a hobby. But he said he would feed me and I could get cleaned up. I thought about it a bit more. We continued down the road and he pulled into a truck stop to fill his car up. I got out to use the toilet. As I was relieving myself, I thought about it a bit more and snuck out of there and disappeared.
There is no doubt in my mind that my life would have radically changed that day if that guy offered me money. There is no doubt I would have said yes and I would have stripped for him and whatever happened after that would have been OK because I was earning money.
After that first time, I don’t think it would have bothered me to be a male prostitute. I was still homeless for a few more months after that but an offer like that never came to me again and I never sold my body for sex.
I mention this because this person did sell their body. And I can not judge him at all because I know how easily it could happen and how easy it would be to say – just this once.
My childhood still haunts me today. I never developed coping skills to handle it all and never had a support system to help me. As an ACOA, I can now accept the past as my own doing. My parents were screwed up, but they never made me drink, or do drugs, or (almost) sell my body. For years I lived as a victim. Today, I realize that if I had the faith when I was younger to let others hear my pain, I might have had a different life with a lot less dysfunction and self-torture.
No matter the family circumstances, secrets from the past do nothing except keep us locked away from the real world. The secrets I kept for so many years, were not mine and had no place living rent free in my mind. By letting go of those secrets I was able to start living.