After three months in the Love In Action program, I moved into what was known as “phase two”, a time where clients started to apply what they learned in the program in the outside world. I was allowed to get a job, but still had to go to the LIA campus at least twice/three times a week for counseling sessions and lectures on homosexuality – just to make sure that I would stay on the “right path”. My first test came when I met Michael – one of my managers. He was the first openly gay man that I had ever met. Once I met Michael, the walls of “trust” in the Love In Action program started to slowly fall. Please don’t misunderstand me, I was never attracted to him, I just began to realize that there were people who were gay, were happy and comfortable with their sexuality, and who were not on the road to death. Sadly, this realization was overshadowed by another experience that I had…my first kiss. It spun me into even more confusion, for though I enjoyed it, I felt dirty and wrong. I felt as though I had betrayed my family, my God, and my “sobriety” from homosexuality. I went running back to Love In Action and ran into Tommy’s office…I was so scared. He reassured me that a relapse was normal, and that I just needed to resist the “devil” and his temptations. But I didn’t feel like this was normal, I had never experienced this before, and I was afraid that this was a tell tale sign of my decent into the “homosexual lifestyle”.
After the kiss fiasco, I continued to go through the program, even more and more confused. On one hand I saw Michael and how happy him and his partner were; yet at the same time, I was constantly told by Love In Action that Michael was living a lie, that he could never have a fulfilling relationship with his partner because only a woman could provide that fulfillment, and that he had made the choice to engage in the homosexual lifestyle. I didn’t know what to think. I continued to diligently write my Moral Inventory’s, yet they didn’t seem to help. I continued to talk with Tommy, but our sessions seemed to go nowhere. I would often go into a private room in the house that I lived in to cry and pray to God. Why couldn’t I overcome this? Why was I so confused? The months slowly passed; I went to my job, I went to Love In Action, I struggled, I cried, I relapsed, and I felt hopeless – my family and my God would forever be ashamed of me.
I graduated from the Love In Action program after six months, and for the next year lived a confused and despondent existence. Tommy agreed to give free counseling, as I made my way into the “real world”. My family thought that I was on the path to “recovery”, and I let them think that, for I didn’t want for my one emotional safety net to be gone. Another six months passed, and I was still confused. I threw myself into religion, thinking that it would help me with my “struggle” – that if I could get closer to God, I would be able to get better. I attended the “Love Won Out” conference sponsored by Exodus International and Focus on the Family, and was shown others who had “come out” of the “lifestyle”. “What are they doing right?” I asked myself, “Why have I not gotten to where they are? They are happy and “heterosexual””. As much as a tried, I was still attracted to men, and I still “relapsed” almost daily into homosexuality. My life was in shambles, I was depressed and didn’t want to live anymore, it was too hard to constantly fight this demon. Above all, I was living a lie.
Kyle Luebke is an author and public speaker with an interest in LGBT issues, energy policy, and the Canadian-American relationship. Having experienced the pain of reparative therapy, Kyle attempts to use that experience in his writing to speak out against the false information that permeates the dialogue on gay rights. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys reading, hiking in state/provincial parks, camping, and spending time with his husband.
Be sure and check out his blog : An Enduring Vision: One Guys View of LGBT issues, Energy Policy, and Canadian/U.S. Politics