The Problematic Comparison of Homosexuality and Addiction

A reflection by Sarah

It would be impossible for me to count the number of times I’ve heard some form of comparison between homosexuality and addiction. Usually, these analogies come from well-meaning people who are trying to make sense of experiences foreign to their own. My first two questions to these folks are usually, “Do you identify as gay or have a close relationship with someone who does?” and “Do you personally experience addiction or have a close relationship with someone who does?” In most cases, the answer is either “no” to both or “yes” to one but not the other.

A number of Christian bloggers have discussed the problematic nature of comparing homosexuality with addiction, most from within the context of a liberal sexual ethic. Katie Grimes at Women and Theology raises some valid points as she argues that the comparison of homosexuality and alcoholism “fails as a comparison and it fails as an argument against homosexuality.” Another example comes from Registered Runaway, who has written on how comparing homosexuality with a variety of human problems fosters the use of shallow talking points as the Church grapples with how best to approach the LGBT community: “[Analogies] minimize us. Patronize us. They make us strain to see Christ through all of the mud being thrown.” In both posts, there’s much I can relate to as a gay person. I agree with both authors’ declarations that the homosexuality/addiction analogy is flawed, but when reading articles on this topic in general, more often than not I find myself feeling uncomfortable with discussions of where the analogy fails. I see this discomfort as rooted in the fact that I am both a gay person and a recovering addict.

Perhaps unintentionally, some–though not all–discussions about problems with the homosexuality/addiction comparison imply the sentiment, “Don’t vilify gay people. We/they aren’t like those addicts.” Frequently I hear, “Addiction ruins lives and homosexuality doesn’t,” or “Addiction occurs when a person repeatedly uses a substance or engages in a behavior, eventually becoming unable to stop, but gay people don’t choose to become gay.” I don’t contest what these statements have to say about me as a gay person. I have never seen my sexual orientation as an illness or malady, I didn’t choose to be attracted to women, and being gay certainly has not ruined my life. Yet there’s still something in the aforementioned assertions that I perceive as making light of an important aspect of my experience. In discussion of the homosexuality/addiction analogy, there must be a way forward that honors the lived experiences of gay people, addicts, and those of us lucky enough to be part of both demographics.

In this post, I’d like to make an attempt at that forward movement by approaching this topic from a different angle than I’ve seen in other places. I’d like to discuss why the homosexuality/addiction analogy does as much a disservice to addicts as it does to members of the gay community. I should state upfront that I have no professional expertise in the area of addictions or psychology. My entire education on this topic has come from the school of hard knocks. Therefore, the rest of this post will focus on my own personal experience. My intention is not to make generalizations about all gay people or all addicts. In my 29 years of life, I have faced multiple kinds of addiction. I don’t think it’s important at this time to name all of them, but suffice it to say my experience includes both substance and behavioral addictions. Because I’ve referenced it before and because it is the addiction with which I have the most recovery experience, I’ll use my struggle with bulimia as my primary example. If you’re having trouble understanding why one might conceive of bulimia as an addiction, read this. Now, I’m going to highlight three statements I’ve heard people say when they are comparing homosexuality to addiction. Their words are quoted and in bold print.

“Gay sexual desire is just like an addict’s craving for his/her drug of choice.”

In addition to the fact that I don’t know a single non-sex-addicted person, gay, straight, or otherwise, who would describe his/her sexual desires as “cravings,” I see this statement as problematic because shows a profound misapplication of the term “craving.” In addiction studies terms, a craving is a psychological urge to use a particular drug or engage in a particular behavior. Cravings are also part of withdrawal from use of said substance or behavior. When I’ve said in the past, “I’m experiencing a craving” in relation to bulimia, that has meant, “I’m experiencing the urge to acquire a large amount of food, eat it, and purge by means of vomiting.” Several years ago when I was at my lowest point, I was facing these cravings multiple times a day and my entire schedule revolved around getting food and finding places and times to devour it and purge. As I became increasingly ill, I fell into the irrational belief that I wouldn’t be able to survive a day without bulimic behaviors. When my rituals were interrupted, the cravings remained present until I found some way to engage—even if that meant the only place for carrying out the process was an alley behind the nearest grocery store, and the only consumable product I could afford that would be voluminous enough to purge was a gallon of water. Cravings are intense and baffling. Overcoming them takes an incredible amount of work and support, and it’s hard. Dealing with cravings is not as simple as applying a bit of willpower and saying, “I’m deciding not to do this behavior/use this substance, even though I desire it.”

None of what I have been describing thus far is anything remotely like my experience of attraction to other women. When I experience sexual desire, I don’t find myself thinking, “If I don’t have sex, I’m going to die.” I couldn’t possibly imagine scheduling my entire life, or even a portion of my life, around seeking out opportunities for engaging in sexual activity. Even the sex addicts I know would never conflate the level of sexual desire experienced by most people with the cravings of sexual addiction.

I find it offensive that increasingly often, non-addicted people use the word “addiction” to describe something that they enjoy immensely and couldn’t imagine living without. I’ve seen a “List of Things I’m Addicted To” trend emerge at different times on Facebook, in which people will list items such as “my best friends” or “my children.” This is a perfect example of how acceptable it has become to misapply the term “addiction.” A person who truly is addicted to his/her best friends or children has an unhealthy attachment to those people, and I seriously doubt that most would be comfortable broadcasting such a reality proudly on Facebook. As I see it, the term “craving” gets misapplied in a similar way when a person compares homosexuality to addiction. Implying that my sexual inclinations are the same as my urges for bulimic behavior belittles the constant work I’ve had to do over the years to progress in recovery.

“There might be a genetic element to homosexuality, but there’s also a genetic element to addiction, and that doesn’t mean we excuse addiction.”

There are many possibilities for interpreting this statement as problematic (I’ll be glad to discuss more with you in the comments), but here I’ll focus on my observation that it assumes both homosexuality and addiction are behaviors and nothing more. A person who makes this statement assumes that being gay is solely about having sex. I’ve been told before that because I’m celibate, there’s no reason for me to use the label “gay.” I strongly disagree and I would like to write on that topic in the future, but for now I’ll link you to the work of my friend Joshua Gonnerman, who is also a celibate gay Christian.

A person who makes this statement also assumes that addiction is solely about feeding insatiable cravings for one’s substance or behavior of choice and has nothing to do with underlying psychological and/or spiritual problems. My experience with bulimia (and other addictions too) has taught me that reducing it to its behavioral aspect not only ignores the bigger picture of what might be leading to the behavior, but also impedes real progress in recovery. I didn’t start engaging in bulimic behavior because one day I decided it would be nice to become addicted to gorging myself and vomiting. Numerous factors including nutrition, trauma, anxiety, and the way I felt about myself all played a role. In order to attain any level of recovery beyond the superficial “just stop eating and throwing up!” I had to deal with all of those complicating factors and many more. At different points, I spent months in inpatient and residential eating disorder treatment facilities. Though most of these experiences proved beneficial in helping me to stop bulimic behaviors, the majority did very little in terms of helping me construct a way of life outside the facility that would no longer include binging and purging. Those treatment experiences that were most helpful assisted me in focusing not only on behaviors, but also on the underlying reasons for engaging in those behaviors in the first place.

The work of recovering from any addiction involves an honest and thorough look at the darkest parts of oneself. Any person who has worked a 12-step recovery program knows that there is a noteworthy distinction between “dry” and “sober.” Stopping behaviors and abstaining from substances is all a person needs to do in order to maintain dryness, but doing the painful, arduous work that holistic recovery necessitates is what leads an addict to the gift of sobriety. Most people who prefer different, non-12-step types of recovery programs and approaches also would likely agree with the basic idea that recovery is about about so much more than stopping behaviors. Reducing the struggle of a person who experiences addiction to “drinking too much,” “using illegal drugs,” “eating and throwing up,” etc. effectively denies all aspects of recovery that aren’t purely behavioral, thereby implying that recovery merely involves abstinence.

“A gay person involved in a same-sex friendship or ‘celibate’ partnership is no different from an alcoholic tending bar/a prescription drug addict working in a pharmacy/a bulimic working in a restaurant, and it can only lead to temptation.”

Being in a celibate partnership, I think it’s probably obvious that I disagree with the assumptions this statement makes about gay people. At best, it incorrectly suggests that if we experience sexual attraction, we are constantly “at risk” for acting upon that attraction. At worst, it presumes that we are sexually attracted to every person of the same sex. The lack of logic becomes clear when one applies this statement to straight people’s interactions with the opposite sex. I doubt anyone would argue that a straight man must necessarily be attracted to all women, that a straight woman must necessarily be attracted to all men, or that any person in a heterosexual relationship must be playing with fire just by being in that relationship.

This statement also misrepresents addicts by implying that exposure to situations involving substances with which we struggle will necessarily trigger us to use or engage in the addictive behavior. Furthermore, it could be taken to imply that being around said substance or having the opportunity to engage in said behavior is the only possible trigger for a recovering addict. There have been times when specific foods have made me feel uncomfortable or caused negative associations that needed processing. However, when I’ve felt cravings for bulimic behavior, the impetus for those urges hasn’t been cheesecake, pizza, and tacos. Almost always, the trigger has been stressful interactions with family, seemingly unmanageable emotions, or memories of a traumatic event–and often, it’s a combination of all three. Simply being around food, even the food items I consider most challenging, does not trigger me. Being around other substances I have used in the past does not trigger me either. I know plenty of alcoholics who work as bartenders and prescription drug addicts who work as pharmacists, doctors, and nurses, and most of them do not find their work environments triggering. Of course, there are recovering addicts who do find it triggering to be in the same vicinity as the substances they have used and I do not intend to deny their experiences, but it is incorrect to suggest that this is true for all people suffering from or recovering from addiction.

I hope my personal reflections have been helpful in clarifying some ways the homosexuality/addiction comparison is problematic, both in terms of its incorrect characterization of gay people and in its false representation of addicts and addiction. While these three iterations of the analogy are the ones I hear most often, they are not the only forms of comparison people regularly make between homosexuality and addiction. If there are others you would find beneficial to discuss, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

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26 thoughts on “The Problematic Comparison of Homosexuality and Addiction

  1. So, this one is near and dear to my own heart (not that your other posts aren’t).

    I’m a gay Christian man and a recovering alcoholic with 15 years of sobriety. Everything that you stated with such eloquence is spot on. Addiction and sexuality are mutually exclusive discussions. Is my sexuality an addiction? Heck no. Did I spiral into alcoholism as a result of being gay? Absolutely. It was such an underlying source of my drinking that I see it almost as case of cause and effect for me. But not for the reasons that some might like to think.

    Alcoholism is one of a number of addictions that arise later, normally at the point of coming out, when one’s “true adolescence” often begins. So many spend should be those formative years from puberty to their 20s exploring issues of sexuality as most heterosexuals do: safely, and with the support of their peers, parents and pastors, in mainstream society or within church communities. Instead, they’re bullied for who they are, they’re shamed, they keep their inner selves silent and their psychological growth is stunted. When they do finally have the courage to come out, alcohol, drugs and the like can take them away from the kinds of pain unknowable to those casting stones at the ones who they’ve put in a place of torture.

    When religion rejects your nature (often “lovingly”), and family will not tolerate you, the usual place to run as a safe space isn’t the church, or even longstanding friends (in many cases). For so many, it’s normally a the local gay bar, when one can finally be who they are without judgment. There is drinking there. There is validation by a new set of peers who have been damaged to some extent or another. Those predisposed to alcoholism, or to drugs, will take immediately to the release from feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, and such by the various tools of validation to be found in the bar or party culture. One can feel wanted if only for one night as they never could in the institutions that could have/should have provided them that sanctuary in the first place.

    One may or may not fall into middle or late stage alcoholism (or other addictions) as a member of the LGBT secular or faith communities. Finding a life partner doesn’t guarantee freedom from the excess of toxicity that replaces the soul ripped out of you. It makes it less likely that one becomes co-addicted, but again, there are no absolutes.

    Much of the above is my own story. I am gay. I am Christian. I am addicted to alcohol, though I’ve not touched it in a decade and 1/2. I do not, however, equate the two, and view that as an infuriating “bait and switch” style affront on the part of society and/or religion.

    Great post.

    • Thanks for sharing from your personal experience, Kenny. And 15 years of sobriety is awesome! I’m inspired by all the people I know who have had many years of freedom from addiction-related behavior. In the future, I hope to write more about addiction and how common it is among LGBT people. You bring up a great point about gay bars sometimes being the only safe place for LGBT people, especially when someone has been rejected by family or a faith community. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment today. -Sarah

  2. This post is soooo good! You said everything perfectly. I couldn’t agree more and I wish I knew who you were so I could give you a big hug for being so brave and sharing all this. It couldn’t have been easy. I know how hard it is to “come out” about any addiction, and it was probably not as hard for you to use the bulimia as an example here since you did another post about it (I loved that one too, btw!), but do you think you’ll ever blog more about your other addictions? Like Kenny said, there are so many people in the LGBT community who struggle with addictions, and being abused and ridiculed because of sexuality is a big part of that for lots of people. It would be really helpful to see more people writing about that. I know it’s hard and you might not want to break your anonymity with whatever other addictions you may have, but I have a feeling that doing so would make a good contribution to other people’s sobriety. Thank you and God bless you!

    • Hi Candy. Glad to see you in the comments! I appreciate the hug too. Yes, at some point I’d like to write about my experience with other addictions, but as you said, “coming out” about those in such a public space can be a bit intimidating. I hope you’ll be patient with me as I discern when will be the right time to begin addressing some of those other issues on the blog. Thanks for commenting. -Sarah

  3. Dear Sarah,
    This is an excellent post and I’m learning a tremendous amount from your blog.

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the way conservatives look at LGBT people and pathologise our attractions and affections. I’ve discovered I can only understand their mindset if I consider my own negative response to those into, say, BDSM or (far worse) paedophilia. Can either of these things be called addictions? When does a sexual preference become an addiction? I’ve no doubt that many religious conservatives consider SSA to be in the same category as sexual fetishes and kinks that we are not born with but which (they assume) are acquired through psychological wounding in early life. For us that is a category error.

    The interesting thing for me as a bisexual trans woman is that I view paedophilia with exactly the horror, sorrow and revulsion that many Christians view homosexuality. If someone tried to argue that paedophilia is fine and that unrepentant paedophiles should be allowed to be priests I would be up in arms, but this is exactly what conservatives fear may be next if gay marriage becomes an acceptable place in which to express sexual desire.

    So I can almost see where they are coming from.

    The only resolution I can see to this perspective is to somehow persuade conservatives that homosexuality is not an unhealthily corrupt, damaging and addicting deviant attraction (like paedophilia) but is rather a healthy natural variation in human sexuality upon which foundation life-giving relationships may safely be built. Nevertheless they do not wish to believe this because it seems to be going against God’s will and the clear Creation Ordinances of Genesis.

    But at least we can demonstrate that we understand their perspective and be kind as we show them the impact such views have on our lives.

    • Hello Sr. Clare. I can appreciate your willingness to try to see things from a very conservative point of view. However, I believe it a mistake on the part of many Christians to assume that sexual ethics are interested first and foremost in helping people to avoid being “deviants.” I think a well-developed sexual ethic requires a person to ask many questions about his or her own experience. A sexual ethic needs to center on human dignity, respect, and cultivating loving service to others. When one considers sexual ethics more broadly, it becomes easier to navigate the ethical issues you raise, such as the issue of pedophilia. Also, to directly address your question, “When does a sexual preference become an addiction?” I think it is most helpful to consider how the medical community defines “addiction.” This definition from the American Society of Addiction Medicine might be a good starting point: Thanks for reading! -Sarah

      • Firstly, apologies for using my old religious name. I’m no longer a religious but I hadn’t realised I hadn’t updated my wordpress profile.

        I am trying hard to understand your argument because I think the primary cause of misunderstanding between conservative Christians and progressive on this issue is the conservative tendency to see homosexuality as just another sexual issue, on the same scale as paedophilia (and in some cases they see it as just as ‘bad’).

        I wonder if you could write more at some point about how considering sexual ethics ‘more broadly’ makes it ‘easier to navigate’ issues such as paedophilia. I am often at a loss when explaining the difference to conservative Christians, except to point to healthy relationships like yours (and, I trust, mine). I don’t entirely follow your argument above because it seems to me that for conservative Christians sexual ethics *is* entirely about avoiding ‘genital expression’ or anything that might lead to it. So how do we lead people from that perspective to one centred on ‘human dignity’ etc? What are the steps? At the moment the liberal argument seems to be primarily to wail and cry hurt and anguish – and rightly we do this because this is our experience – but then paedophiles can do this too and we have little sympathy.

        • I (Lindsey) am going to chime in here. The argument for considering sexual ethics more broadly stems from a need to consider particular situations. It’s not wise to give all forms of heterosexuality a pass as a category. Even if a conservative says that “Sex is only rightly practiced in a marriage between a man and a woman,” a broader understanding of sexual ethics says that consent and pleasure remain important even within the permissible space of having sex.

          Specifically, a developed understanding of what constitutes consent is critical when trying to make moral judgments around paedophilia. Conservatives (especially religious conservatives) tend to embrace the idea that a child needs to reach a certain degree of maturity before being able to consent to and practice certain ways of being an adult safely. There’s a reason why societies consider the minimum age a person should reach before working a job, driving a car, participating in the electoral process, serving in the military, and entering a marriage. A broader sexual ethic says that it’s important to consider the whole person in a dignified manner.

          I’d be prone to disagree with you that LGBT people are just wailing from their own experience. My own opinion is that many in the conservative camp have so exalted heterosexual marriage as the only acceptable form for living in a meaningfully intimate community that they have forgotten the richness of broader communal structures. The narrow sexual ethics of many conservatives (sex inside heterosexual marriage good, sex outside heterosexual marriage bad) has this odd tendency of introducing a sexual concern into any meaningful relationship. Guys fear developing close friendships with other guys lest they be conceived of as gay. Men and women are constantly warned about friendships with people of the opposite sex other than their spouse lest it be an invitation to an affair. A broader sexual ethic considers how we can live rightly in a gendered world without always considering a sexual ethic exclusively in the context of sexual relationships. – Lindsey

          • Hi Lindsey,

            I broadly agree with you, though I think I would be uncomfortable if paedophilia were considered healthy if only it weren’t for the issue of consent. Eg BDSM participants give consent but that practice still seems (to me) reflective of an unhealthy sexual appetite in a way that gay sex does not (though obviously conservatives and BDSM advocates would not agree and there lies the rub). This is why I’m interested in whether the language of addiction can help elucidate the differences. In any case I’m grateful to you both for your kind replies and I also apologise because I fear at times I haven’t been up to following the sophistication of this discussion!
            With very kind regards, Tess.

          • Hi Tess, I’m going to request respectfully that this is is the last of the discussions we have around paedophilia. My point in raising the social obligations of age is that there are many, many, many reasons why we try to protect children from adult obligations. The reason we try to protect children is that there are a great number of things that cause lived harm. There are other places on the internet to educate oneself on the harms of childhood sexual abuse. Many of these harms get identified as we take a broader sense of ethics.

            Regarding your query about BDSM, there are actually many activities that are on the BDSM spectrum. Many people in their head have images of BDSM that have whips, chains, and other sorts of implements. My approach in discussing BDSM with people who are practicing those activities would be to ask them what BDSM means to them. One of my friends (who identifies with the BDSM spectrum) once told me that she likes being told what to do when sharing intimacy with another person and prefers being intimate with a person who can give firm directions. It’s hard to take my friend’s experience as being particularly about satisfying some odd fetish, treating people in a disrespectful manner, or causing another person pain. To be sure, my friend I’ve just discussed is not the only person who identifies with the BDSM spectrum, but there’s a good deal of variety as far as activity goes. It’s also worth noting that even very plain forms of sexual intimacy can cause partners a great deal of pain… which then says that there’s an important distinction to be discerned about pleasure, pain, and responsibility when discussing sexual ethics. Those distinctions go beyond a clear-cut divide between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

            It’s worth noting that sexual addictions do exist in both the LGBT and cisgender, heterosexual populations. When definitional criteria for addictions are met, then I believe a person is well-served seeking help for their addictions. Sarah’s already provided the definition of addictions.

          • I sincerely apologise again if I have caused offence. I agree it’s a difficult topic to discuss in any forum, let alone a public one. I thank you for your patience.

          • Hi Tess. You haven’t offended either of us. We both believe that it’s possible to have discussion on some intense topics while maintaining respectful interactions with all parties. I think where Lindsey and I are probably most confused regarding your comments is the perceived potential classification of certain types of sexual behaviors as “addictions.” I’ll admit that I don’t know much about sexual addiction, BDSM, or pedophilia, but I’d certainly say that “addiction” in general has some common features like those mentioned in the definition I posted above, and I have a hard time seeing how something like BDSM would fit within that definition unless it’s part of a broader set of behavioral patterns displayed by someone who is addicted to sex. The reason we would like to step away from discussing pedophilia further in this thread is that neither of us are addiction experts, and commenting on whether the behavior associated with pedophilia is linked with addiction or not is a bit beyond our pay grade. I would, however, like us to do a post sometime on the general theme I’m seeing in your comments: sometimes, it seems straight people with very conservative Christian mindsets draw so many comparisons between gay people and other people they perceive as “sexual deviants” that it’s difficult for an LGBT person to defend himself or herself against poor comparisons, so what do we do about it? I think that’s a great question, and I hope we can write on it at some point. -Sarah

          • Yes, that’s precisely the problem I’m struggling with. A post on that subject would be very helpful.

            I think sometimes I only cause myself grief by trying to inhabit the arguments of conservatives, but I am irenic at heart and always seek to understand the ‘other side’…

            Also, in the UK we are about to enter a two year period of ‘facilitated discussions’ between conservatives and liberals in the Church of England on the subject of homosexuality and equal marriage and unfortunately there are some very entrenched views which I fear are going to be horribly painful to listen to. Only a generous heart on both sides is going to help us endure and find peace.

  4. First off, I want to say that thank you for being open and honest. I think it’s very brave. The fact that you share such personal matters not only with someone you know, but a blog full of readers is something I couldn’t even comprehend doing personally.

    Also, I’d like to say that, though I didn’t know much about lives or relationships of gay people, until your blog. But in all the years I have known about it, and was old enough to understand what it meant, I’ve never once heard of the comparison of being gay to being an addict. So, in reading this post, I cannot understand how a person can compare two very different things. To me it sounds like comparing apples to computers or something. It just seems like there’s no real comparison there.

    Thanks for your posts!

    • Thanks for reading today. Since this post has gone live, I’ve been told more than once by straight friends that they have never heard of homosexuality being compared to addiction. I agree that the analogy is bizarre, but I’ve heard it very regularly for years, especially in religious contexts. Some Christian denominations actually have programs based on the 12-step model for “people struggling with same sex attraction,” so it’s also clear to me why someone operating from within that framework might mistakenly conceive of homosexuality as an addiction. I hope that one day, this analogy will die out completely. Even though some people make the comparison with good intentions, it’s extremely hurtful. -Sarah

      • I agree. But I think that (hopefully) all the “fear” and confusion and hate toward gay people, or simply people who are different will fade away. Probably not in our lifetimes, sadly, but eventually. Hopefully. 🙂

  5. Thanks for this post. Even being a gay Christian, I have definitely made similar statements comparing homosexuality to addiction. I believe this to mainly be because: 1. I was denying and trying to hide. 2. It has been what has been taught to me over these subjects. I have since come to realize how demeaning this is, especially as I have been coming out.

    Thank you for your continuing honesty. I used to heavily wrestle with a self-inury addiction. I remember people even telling me, “you just have to stop cutting yourself!”. As if it was some easy thing I could just flip off. You’re absolutely right – the addiction is rooted deep. Being around things I use to hurt myself with do not cause me to want to injure again. Rather, it’s those stressful situations, memories of my past, or just being completely overwhelmed. I know for me, my addiction was in part of searching to be able to control one source of pain in my life. As everything else fell apart, and I couldn’t control it, I could ‘control’ this instead.

    And like you have said, being gay doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every woman I meet. That’s incredibly asinine.

    I do wonder how we can have these types of honest conversations in the Church. To be able to come to the table, talk, and try to understand one another.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective. Self-injury is very much misunderstood in the Church and in society in general. The “just stop it!” directive isn’t at all helpful advice for dealing with addictions. It implies that addicts use or engage in behaviors just because we want to, and that we have 100% control over the behaviors. Most people who give that directive fail to realize how shaming it is. I too wonder how we can have these honest conversations within faith communities. I think a big part of it will involve getting underneath everyone’s hardwired ideologies and challenging ourselves to see the humanity of every person involved. Glad you stopped by to comment. -Sarah

  6. Sarah, the sheer volume of words 2,000 plus put off my reading this until now. The single most important statement which struck me was,

    ” However, when I’ve felt cravings for bulimic behavior, the impetus for those urges hasn’t been cheesecake, pizza, and tacos. Almost always, the trigger has been stressful interactions with family, seemingly unmanageable emotions, or memories of a traumatic event–and often, it’s a combination of all three. Simply being around food, even the food items I consider most challenging, does not trigger me.”

    This describes my relationship with alcohol. These days I can take it or leave it and maybe have a beer with dinner but when I am stressed, especially emotionally, it’s so easy to drink in excess. Thanks for making this distinction. It really made sense

    • That statement was probably the one that flowed most naturally as I was writing this piece. I don’t think that line got revised once (and WordPress says I did 10+ revisions on this thing!). I find the same concept to be true for all my addictions–it isn’t being around people using the substance or doing something similar to the behavior that triggers me. It’s the real life issues that people aren’t often open to discussing. Thanks for reading today. And about the word count: I got a bit passionate with this one. I’m hoping some of my personal reflection pieces in the future will be shorter. -Sarah

  7. Why would anybody think being gay is an addiction? I’m glad you don’t think that. I thought you two would have been the type to say that controlling gay urges is like controlling a person’s alcohol or something.

    • Hi Kay. I agree with you that conflating sexual orientation and addiction is a bit bizarre. Regarding what you think we believe: we notice that most of your comments include assumptions about our beliefs, our way of life, and the way we see the world. If you’re interested in knowing more about us and our story, it’s better to ask us questions rather than make assumptions. Sometimes when you do ask us questions, they are loaded. For example, on another post you asked us, “Why are you afraid to have sex?” This is a loaded question because in asking it, you presume to know that we are afraid of sex, which we are not. In the future, please consider asking questions that do not include sweeping generalizations about gay people, celibates, or other groups of people. -Sarah

  8. God bless you in your recovery. After everything I went through in my life with my moms splitting up after the pastor told them they had to, I got very depressed. When I was in high school I started using drugs and alcohol. I was involved in that for a lot of years before I got some help and rededicated my life to Jesus. That was a very hurtful thing and that wasn’t anything like my moms was doing by just being together and raising me. They being a couple wasn’t like my addictions at all. I don’t like it when people compare those things. I was really sick and got better. My moms did what the pastor said they should do and split up when we all got saved but they are still unhappy. If it was anything like addiction they wouldn’t be so unhappy after they haven’t seen each other in so many years.

    • Thanks so much Anya. We appreciate you sharing your story, and we’re glad you’ve found a space here. We’re praying for you and your family.

  9. You should talk to those, like myself who have NO DOUBT, homosexual sex is very MUCH LIKE drug addiction!

    I wont get into my own situation now, but as both a drug addict and bi-sexual person, for whom bi-sexuality was likely trigged by childhood homosexual abuse, I have met many gays, lesbians and MTF persons , and been open minded to the whole “born that way” mantra…and all the other pro-views

    After years of being a trans-oriented -bi, I have lived BOTH sides of the street, compared MOST theories and have now firmly realized my homosexual side behaves NO DIFFERENTLY than my 20 year experience with drug addiction. I also suspect porn
    (especially since no so easily available on the internet) has had a trigger role.

    The problem is the gay community does not accept someone like myself, and my right to recognize my own issues, nor do they permit my right to try to correct them as I wish..for yes, they DO make me uncomfortable, resentful and wishing , like my drug addiction, that i could be never again plagued by the effects……

    The political swing has gone so out of wack that people with my view have lost the freedom and soon the legal right to express our own thoughts and beliefs- even when supported by our own evidence. As a bi/MTF oriented homosexual, I have NEVER supported same sex marriage. Call it a legal union, call it a co-habitation agreement- but it is NOT marriage. With the recent 5:4 Supreme Court ruling, expressing that view will soon be called bigotry. How many gays are like me? More than you know.

    I have found a great portion of the gay community to be the most hypocritical and bigots towards homosexuals like myself. ( that’s using THEIR definition-refer to the belief that a bi is only a homo who refuses to accept it) I have seen it with relatives and friends, using the “gay lifestyle” no different than the “drug and party” lifestyle I lived…they just get to say “they were born that way and it OK….Like any other moral challenge, like an impulse to steal, for a straight guy to cheat on his wife, for me to cheat on my taxes…it is not always easy to fight these impulses. And so it is with my sexuality- I hate it, I love it , I despise it…it has NOTHING to do with me not being accepted by my family or some other crap. Its like a coke run….I hate , I love it, I despise it….

    I have so much more I could say about my own discovery and how it is similar to so many gay-bi and MTF friends I have met. I have MTF friends , most whom were abused as kids, and some who have regretted the transition. One who reversed it when their addiction changed to man on man sex. Yea – these may be isolated cases, but they exist and should be allowed to be considered supportive that this behaviour is no different than addition or a type of metal illness… the triggers are there, and the negative outfall is there…and i support anyone who wishes to investigate this idea.

    But I wont be allowed this opinion….so Ill just site back at wait for all the anti- homo-addiction flaming..


    • Kimmie,

      One thing I have noticed about Lindsey and Sarah is that they are very big on defining your own narrative for your lived experience. The fact that you experience your homosexuality as an addiction is your story, and this is a safe place to share that experience.

      I can’t speak for how they will respond to you, but I will say that I have never seen either of them be graceless, mean or flame anyone.



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