This is the first chapter of A. D. Burks’s book, Sex and Surrender. You may read it here, or download it as as a pdf.
JUST SPILL IT
As a recovering sex addict, you have to have one person who you can tell everything so you won’t go too far off the deep end. This is the person you can trust with your life. So even if they berate you, you know deep down they are only telling you what you need to hear because of their unconditional love. For me, this person is Mitchell Morris.
Of all the people in the world, Mitch was the last person I would have picked for a best friend. We are polar opposites who just happen to have a lot in common. He’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert. He’s reserved, I’m unrestrained. He’s genuinely caring, I’m selfish. But we both bring out the best in each other, as best friends always do.
While some people can claim they grew up in the same neighborhood as their best friend, Mitch and I can’t. He was raised in what some might consider the rough part of the inner city, while I was brought up in the traditional ethnically diverse suburbs. The High School for Health Professions is where we first met: we really weren’t in the same cliques, but we had the same mentor, Dr. Axelrod, a pediatrician who worked with the promising male students at our school. Now the fact we had attended the same college might have drawn us closer, but it actually pushed me further away.
Mitch would always tell people on campus, “Yeah, A.D. and I went to the same high school.” Every time I would hear him say it or someone else would tell me they heard it, I would cringe. Mitch was a member of what my group called the “social untouchables.” You didn’t want to associate with them because they could potentially bring your stock value down. Besides having no fashion sense, Mitch was an un-ordained Christian preacher. For college students away from home, getting their first taste of freedom, the last thing they want to hear about is Jesus. Mitch loved the Lord and was vocal about it. Yet beneath all that professing of God’s word, he was struggling with his sexuality.
In the best of all worlds, people grow – and, thankfully, Mitch and I had both matured. It wasn’t until after we graduated that we finally became true friends. You might ask, what could bring a sex addict and a preacher together? That’s easy: sexuality. Once each of us discovered that the other had experimented with men, the floodgates of our friendship opened like the parting of the Red Sea. I was flabbergasted to find out some of the guys he had been in relationships with during undergrad, while he was surprised to hear who I had had a crush on.
Our attempts to reconcile homosexuality and being a Christian are what really sealed our friendship. The Bible is constantly being used to condemn and alienate homosexuals from the church, and the “Body of Christ.” Yet Christ’s message was just the opposite: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone (John 8:7). Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1). Mitch has both a thorough understanding of the Bible and an intimate relationship with God. Through my friendship with Mitch, I learned that when you know God for yourself, you don’t have to be burdened with what Bible fundamentalists and interpreters say.
At this point in my life, Mitch and I have been best friends for twelve years. He knows the good, the bad and the dirty side of me. My relationship with Santiago was making me feel things that I hadn’t felt in years, and I had to tell someone: Mitch was definitely one of the first on that list. He just happened to stop by my house on a night when Santiago was performing. I gave him a hug at my from door and commented on his dreadlocks as he headed into the living room. Mitch likes to dress for functionality and comfort, and he was wearing what I liked to call his “Jesus sandals,” which are a fashion step down from Birkenstocks. Every time I see him, it appears as if he’s added another pound of muscle to his well-built six-foot frame. He sat on the loveseat facing Allan Hill’s “Hackensack Sessions,” an artwork he had given me as a birthday present years earlier.
“Mitch, you’re going to kill me.”
“What did you do now?”
“Okay, you’re not going to want to hear this.”
“Just spill it.”
“I had the best sex of my life. Four hours straight.” I looked at him, elated.
“What? Uh, with whom? Cause I know it wasn’t with your ex,” he said.
I hesitated. “Mark? Nah, it was with a stripper.”
“Have you lost your mind?” he said as his jaw dropped and his hazel eyes grew huge in disbelief.
“Yeah, he’s Chilean and his body is out of this world.” I couldn’t help it; I knew Mitch was appalled, but even just thinking about Santiago made me feel exuberant.
“So where exactly did you meet?” he wanted to know.
I gave him all the details about how I had decided to go out and had stumbled upon the strip club. Mitch knew I had been doing well about resisting the seedy side of my past, so his shocked expression didn’t surprise me. But I also sensed that he was at least cautiously happy for me – I hadn’t been this excited about anyone in years.
“Oh and there’s one more thing.”
“What’s that?” he asked, bracing himself.
“He’s married with a son.”
“Okay, so you really have lost your mind.”
“I know. I know. But you’ve got to see him. We can go tonight.”
“Uh, my boyfriend isn’t going to be happy about me going to a strip club with you.”
“He’ll be alright. We aren’t staying long,” I promised.
“No sir. The last place I need to be is some strip club.”
“Come on! We’ll be in and out in no time. I just want you to see him,” I pleaded.
After a bit more cajoling, Mitch agreed to go. There was just one minor problem – Mitch liked to be comfy when he wasn’t planning on going out, and tonight was no exception. I knew he couldn’t wear any of my clothes, since he’s six feet tall and muscular with a shirt size of XXL. Luckily, one of my homeboys who I had hung out with months before had left his shirt in my car and it fit Mitch.
When we arrived at the club, we went through the back entrance, right where Santiago and I had spoken our first words. The show hadn’t started so most of the dancers were mingling in the audience. It didn’t take long for me to spot the reason I had selfishly dragged my best friend to a place he had adamantly resisted going.
“There he is,” I said, looking in Santiago’s direction.