Over the past 20 years plus I've work with thousands of men. Over these years men have confided in me about the traumas they experienced, the addictive behaviors they engaged in to numb these traumatic experiences, and the sex they dived into to escape their fears around intimacy and trust. Many of these same men, like myself, were running away and simultaneously attempting to gain 'control' over their lives.

In my personal experiences I was driven to prove to the world that I was acceptable, to be recognized for simply being me, and to be loved, pure and simple. Yet, in my drivenness I was engaged in self-destruction. In my want and need to be recognized I was imploding. In my desire to find intimacy I was having sex with whomever would have me. Till I hit bottom which was found in the soon to be emptied liquor bottle. And I placed myself in a position where my ass was kicked...and I began to awaken...with the help of many people.

The bottom line was I had no idea how to love myself. I had to let go in order to be in control. I recognized that I was lovable and could love. Yet, the dance was far from finished. It became a dance of risk and protection and a lifestyle. I need to risk making mistakes as well as protect myself from being used. The music is still playing, the drum still beating. But, today it's all natural.

As part of my recovery process I began intuitively to work out in the gym and to receive a regular professional massage. It was perhaps the only two behaviors that kept me in my body, albeit on the fringes. As the process continued to unfold I came to realize that my life had several experiences of traumatic events that I had thought I had buried, but my body knew the score. No matter how much I pumped iron or how often I received a massage, my body remained wounded. Every cell and system in my body had stored those events and my drinking was simply repressing them and creating more trauma in my body and psyche, more shame that bubbled over in rage.

Then, in the midst of touch from another, tender and compassionate touch, I began to experience sensate shifts that opened doors of self-awareness. Starting with the process of EMDR I began to recognize more fully the impact of my past upon my present. Continuing with Healing Touch and Reiki, two forms of energy work, my body began to respond to the wounds within me. Concentrating on my strengths and the courage to come into the light, owning myself for who I am, the breeze began to shake loose the webs that armored me and tied me down. My eventual practice of Zen meditation, of becoming mindfully aware, I began to see more clearly options and possibilities as I reached out to others for support. My sex with other men became invitational rather than a craving call for acceptance and validation.

Then, synchronicity became a regular occurrence.

Yet, other instances on another level began to occur. I was meeting men who, likewise, wanted to let go and surrender to their own inner authenticity and integrity. Gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered men wanted to experience themselves as whole in a holistic way. I was and am far from alone in wanting to live my masculinity honoring the yin and yang, the anima and animus, within me. Creating a balance and grounding in my sexuality is essential. There were and are other men who wanted to live their sexuality in relationship to their spirituality. There were and are other men who divined that they were more than their sexual behaviors, more than their inhibitions and fears, and they were and are men who have courage to live their lives in freedom. There are other men who sense that their sexual energy is their life-force.

So, the journey continued and continues. Using breathwork, touch, and energy work astounding forces were and are at work. I can touch and be touched without trauma. Beliefs can be challenged without my feeling rejected or shamed. I can step out without feeling like I'm risking my life. I'm better prepared to know when, with whom, and how to drop my armor and be vulnerable, seek out the intimacy I need and want, and take a chance in trusting another, and more importantly, trusting myself.

This process is far from over. Every day is a new day during which I can learn about myself. It feels so much more satisfying these days knowing there are other men like me who are seeking a similar path in their own lives.

Author's Bio: 

Pittsburgh, PA 1947
Masters in Philosophy
Masters in Theology
Certified Sexological Bodyworker
Somatic Coach for Men