I Am a Priest Who Has Struggled for a Long Time

The RECLAiM Student Forum is an area in the RECLAiM Online Recovery Program where students come together to share their stories, offer ideas and provide support and encouragement to each other. For some students, this provides a means of making healthy connections with others, during a time in their recovery when it still may be difficult to do this in real life. This is an actual post from that Forum:

"So here's my story!
It always seemed incongruous for me that I grew up in a stable, loving, supportive, faithful Catholic family with every positive thing in my life, but somehow ended up an insecure adult with Same Sex Attraction. I know what happened:

Since I was young I have always been on the small side of things. I always looked years younger than I was, was one of the shortest boys in a class of 88 children, and was constantly reminded about it by the other boys. I grew up in a tough school where there were playground fights every day, and they were always dismissed by the adults as "boys being boys." Being small, my only tool was my mouth, which I learned to use very well. I was never athletically inclined, but always tops academically, and was normally dismissed by the other boys as a sissy. And yes, I cried at the drop of a hat, which didn't help at all! But while the boys largely dismissed me, the girls accepted me. I think what happened was that, by feeling more comfortable around girls at an age when I should have felt that around boys, I identified more with the girls, and in my subconscious, the boys became "the opposite sex," the group whose acceptance I never had. I always craved acceptance from the other boys, but only got abuse. Then the onset of puberty made it worse! I was traumatized when I started noticing obvious signs of puberty in other boys - usually underarm hair. I was a very late bloomer, and it just added another level of insecurity to an already insecure person. I began finding myself sexually attracted to the other boys, looking for affection from them in a sexual way - at least in my mind. I was extremely envious of any boy who was further developed than I was, and even led to fantasies about them. In high school it only got worse, as I was picked on even more, and my obvious physical lack of development made me even further dismissed as insignificant. In my heart I knew I had a lot to offer, but no one took me seriously no matter how hard I tried to show them what I could do. Watching the other kids dismiss me while I was verbally and physically assaulted made every day in high school a horror. I would immediately go to chapel every morning and ask God to protect me. As I walked through the door of the school every morning I prayed, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, your humble servant!" I prayed to get through the day without being physically or emotionally abused, but too often the abuse happened. I even found myself at times imagining the boy who most abused me actually abusing me in a sexual way, trying somehow to turn the abuse into some form of affection, but of course that never worked. Compulsive masturbation and fantasizing about sexual liaisons with almost every boy in the school was the outcome for me.

By the time I got to college, things changed overnight, and the acceptance I craved in high school was mine for the taking! Since then I have been ordained a priest and have had a tremendous impact in the life of many, both young and old, but those old patterns take a long time to go away. I have had periods where the masturbation subsided, but whenever they returned, they did so with a vengeance. Add to this the problem that 10 years ago I first encountered internet porn, particularly gay porn, and that made matters worse. I have felt so ashamed by these behaviors. By the grace of God I have maintained my virginity and have never even remotely come close to being tempted to violate anyone else or act out sexually with another, but I always feel like I'm hiding this deep, dark, secret, that if the people who love me so much and look up to me with such admiration only knew what I do in private, it would ruin them. Finally, I somewhere came across the advertisement for Reclaim, and I decided it was time to take action in my life. In the past month since I have been using this program, I have found that just the talking alone on the site and being able to hear someone else put into words what I have been feeling has helped me tremendously! Just putting labels on things, such as my Responder, Director, the funnel experience, etc. has given me a power I didn't have before. I've had not even a near slip-up for a month, and before this I would have had many by now. I plan to continue with Reclaim, and I only wish I'd found it sooner!"