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Enrique moved to the UK from Madrid in 2011 because he was sacked in his job because of a sex addiction. He speaks candidly about the spiral of drugs and sex 

In 2006 I was diagnosed with HIV. I was having a lot of unsafe sex. I struggled to live life with HIV. I accepted it, but I didn’t share it with my friends or family or even go to counseling to feel more comfortable of the idea of living with HIV. In Spain the community is even more ignorant because nobody wants to talk about it even though so many people in the gay community live with HIV. So, HIV doesn’t exist in Madrid.

Coming to the UK, I met a guy through Grindr and said three things: I’m HIV+, I’m an addict and I’m not ready for a relationship because I’m coming from a really destructive one. I just wanted to start from zero. But he was a sex addict, and a drug addict. He introduced me to Narcotics Anonymous, and the twelve step programme, but at the same time we were playing around with guys.

We weren’t going out to bars or clubs, but we were doing worse things at home. That’s how I was introduced to chemsex. My boundary with him was that we will do mephedrone, G, and a lot of stuff but never Tina. It was like that until 2013 until I started pushing down my boundries and playing with my fantasies of using Tina. My boyfriend didn’t want it. We split up and I moved out, but in my own space my behaviour escalated to the point where I stopped being functional, stopped paying the rent, stopped working. My now ex-boyfriend called my brother and told him everything.

I went back to Spain completely addicted to G, coming off Tina and drinking a lot of alcohol to come off the G. I didn’t want to go to rehab in Spain, because I knew the services were not great so I came back to London and applied for funding for rehab. In spring 2013, I started a day programme at Turning Point. I was living in a hostel, playing on Grindr, taking Tina but doing the day programme to show willing. I met a guy that was an escort and drug dealer and moved into his place and got caught in this circle of constantly having sex, selling my body and smoking Tina, yet still going to the day programme to show willing until they said I had a place.

I was in residential rehab for seven months. For four months I worked on drug addiction, and then three months on sex addiction, issues of love, and eating disorders. I came out of rehab in December 2013. I have now been sober 21st May 2013.

I’m currently living in a community dry house of people in recovery with zero tolerance to drugs and alcohol. I’m on benefits. I struggle with money, but it’s not a problem as long as I’m clean I’m all right. I go to Spain every six weeks to see my family. I now work as a volunteer with drug counselor David Stuart at 56 Dean Street.

In regards to the gay scene and my place in it, I’ve been exploring it. I feel out of it in that I can’t participate in bars, clubs or so many places where I don’t control the atmosphere. I don’t use cruising apps, so I struggle to meet guys. I use massageexchange.com to meet guys, which allows me to meet with guys without a directly sexual objective, but to explore intimacy, physicality. And also because I’m sober, I can put boundaries in place, so if I don’t fancy a guy, I can stick just with the massage. The website is not for people that are involved with drugs. It’s clean and safe. There is not a rule against it, but because there are therapists, and professionals on there you won’t find people taking chems. One of the things about being sober and having sober sex is it allows me to be present with every kind of stimulus, emotion and reaction.

My triggers are feeling lonely, angry, upset or anxious. I struggle to identify if I feel really horny or I’m just sexualizing any other feeling or emotion. When I feel like that, I have to break down the feeling to see what’s beneath it, what’s going on. Before that I would just go with that feeling. Go to Grindr, pick up some guys. Now if I feel lonely, I call a friend. I didn’t do this before because it was the pattern of what is familiar, what is easier and what I’m used to that I reacted to.

Using the hashtag #SoberSex is a smart way of instantly identifying other people looking for chem-free sex. Use it online, get it trending and see what’s out there…

 

 

 

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