What Is The Link Between STDs And Alcoholism?

What Is The Link Between STDs And Alcoholism?

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STD and alcoholism

At first glance, youíd be tempted to say getting an STD has nothing to do with addiction, well, maybe not to alcohol or drugs at least. Although the DSM V still does not classify sexual addiction as an actual mental condition, we all know of at least one person who simply canít keep his or her hands off the opposite or even the same sex.

The person Iím talking about is a former college friend of mine, Richard. He recently came out as gay, but Iíve known about his sexual preferences for a while. I was slightly shocked to find out that heís also been battling alcoholism for quite some time, but has never managed to find his way into long term sobriety just yet.

Numbing the Feelings

Richard and I were briefly reacquainted during our 10 year college reunion. I saw that he wasnít feeling very comfortable in the crowd and went over to see how he was doing. We hit it off pretty quickly and started conversing about the post-college parts of our life. Thatís when I found out that he was also on a slippery slope into depression and alcoholism, but that was only part of the problem.

You see, Richardís lifestyle revolved heavily around a local gay club where he would often pick up casual sex partners for one night stands. Iíd also like to point out that his family was deeply religious and shunned Richard after coming out as gay. Heíd drink until he couldnít see straight to numb his feelings of abandonment and then hit on the person who looked the most available and take him home. The next morning, theyíd part ways as complete strangers.

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Now, in addition to perpetuating the feelings of loneliness and fear of commitment, Richardís hookups†came with some very real physical consequences. To put it simply, while having sex with random strangers drunk out of his mind, Richard never thought about using protection. As a result, he contracted almost every common STD out there, except thankfully HIV and syphilis. At the time of our reunion, he told me he had developed some nasty looking warts and was currently treating Chlamydia. Yikes!

I Tried to Help

Upon our college reunion, I was already entering my third year of sobriety, but the memories of my former alcoholism were still quite vivid. I could understand the feelings of frustration that Richard must have felt when his own family refused to accept his sexual preference and the depression that led him to drink. I asked Richard if he ever checked into rehab and he said he once was kicked out of one for making sexual advances on the group therapist.

He was kidding, obviously, using humor to mask his fear of taking this step because he didnít think himself capable of going through with it. Thatís when I thought it was†appropriate to let him know that I was also in his shoes at one point in my life. I could see Richardís face light up upon hearing the news; he wasnít happy about my suffering but he probably felt that, for once in a very long time, he wasnít alone.

You are not alone too if you have such issues, all you need is to open up to someone you can trust so that guidance can come along.

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