Tuesday, March 3, 2020

"My" recovery plan

(The following is a post from one of our group members.)

Something I heard recently at a meeting caught my attention. The person was talking about having a recovery plan. I got to thinking about all the recovery plans I had made for myself.

No, they didn't work. If I had to boil it down to the main reason, they didn't work because they didn't make the surrender of my will and life to the care of God the very most important decision that had to be made. Those plans were all designed by me to keep me in control of my own life. They were supposed to make me strong enough to stand up to lust, take control of lust, and use just as much lust as I wanted without things going too far.

Insanity! Lust is my drug. I am a sexaholic, someone addicted to lust. I can't plan on controlling it or controlling myself (managing the unmanageable) without another Power coming to bear on my  problem.

That Power is God.  Connecting with that Power is the purpose of the 12 Steps. The "recovery plan" has already been laid out in plain language for anyone who is ready to take direction from a sponsor and work the program as it is suggested by AA/SA. I didn't come up with it, but I worked it. And it works!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Surrendering to Reality

(The following is a post from one of our group members.)

On page 81 of the Sexaholics Anonymous book is a paragraph which just happens to be my favorite quote from the book.
In summary, for us surrender is the change in attitude of the inner person that makes life possible. It is the great beginning, the insignia and watchword of our program. And no amount of knowledge about surrender can make it a fact until we simply give up, let go, and let God. When we surrender our "freedom," we become truly free. 
It seems that in the 12 Step program, "surrender" can be defined very well by those phrases, "give up, let go, and let God".

We were studying Step 3 in group the other night, and the idea of turning away from lust and turning toward God really fit well for me. There has been plenty of turning in my experience of recovery. But because the deepest core of my addiction is not my outward behaviors, but is my inner attitudes and character and beliefs, the crucial turning, the necessary attitude change of unconditional surrender, had to take place for lasting sobriety to take root in my life. Everything else I had done for decades before to try to gain freedom in my own was doomed to failure because I had never surrendered to God as a core change of attitude. Step 3 had never truly happened because I still thought I had some power over lust. And if I didn't have to surrender to God, why would I? (I am not a saint.)

I had to surrender my fantasy world that I had counted on to immediately give me everything I wanted with no negative consequences. That world was not reality. That is not how the real world works. Escaping from reality into my fantasy world was my drug to deal with everything that I found unpleasant in the real world. And I needed something other than just another drug to replace my fantasy as the "solution" to all my problems. The real world was not going to change; I had to change!

I "came to believe" in a Reality at the core of all that is real. I came to believe that Reality not only has the power to free me from my bondage to lust, but to free me from the bondage of myself, my selfishness and self-seeking, and a myriad of other character defects as well. And all I had to do was to surrender to that Reality. The reality is that I am not god. But the reality also is that a loving God is real and desires to free me from the bondage of self that I may better do his will.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

"Figure it out" is not one of our slogans

(The following is a post from one of our group members.)

I don't know if my experience is like anyone else's or not. But not only did I never "figure it out", trying to figure it out became a roadblock to surrendering (give up, let go, and let God) and kept me from having the necessary change in attitude and taking the action Steps necessary to connect rightly with God and find sobriety and freedom from lust.

For me, "figuring it out" was my attempt to gain control over lust, over myself, and over the world around me. But I couldn't control any of those things; I was powerless. I needed power I didn't have. It had to come from somewhere else, from Someone else.

Trying to figure it out kept me distracted and kept me living deep in my illusions and delusions, instead of having to face the simple truth that I had been thoroughly defeated. Trying to figure it out kept me from abandoning myself to God's grace and power. It kept me from surrendering to God and working the Steps as my sponsors suggested I work them. It kept me wrapped up trying to do things my way. But doing things my way never gained me freedom.

Today I have sobriety, recovery, healing and freedom. I didn't need to "figure it out" to get here. But I did have to lose the fight, surrender to God, and work the Steps under someone else's direction in order to connect with the Power that would free me.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Fighting it alone

(The following is a post from one of our members.)

A thought rearranged itself in my brain. It was this: whenever I was fighting lust and my sexual obsessions and compulsions, I was alone.

I'm not saying that I was not in the physical presence of other people. But I can be in a crowd and still be alone. I can be alone in my own head, with my own thoughts, connected to no one, alone.

But when I am surrendering to God, surrendering my temptations and triggers and lust, I am not alone. I am talking to God. I am connecting with him. I am recognizing the reality that he is present with me (as he always is whether I recognize it or not).

When I was acting out with porn and sexually, I would lie to myself that I was alone, that God was not there. Then I began to believe that lie and act as if it were true. I was in my insanity tying to wish God out of existence so that I could be alone. The consequences of that delusion were devastating.

Then when I decided I'd had enough of being in bondage to lust and my sexual obsessions and compulsions, I still continued to act as if God was not there. I was powerless over lust, but couldn't see the obvious conclusion that if I was powerless, I could not fight against lust and win. Fighting lust was yet another way for me to be alone, to do it myself. So I fought that harder and harder. But that didn't work at all, and eventually led to that sweet despair that made me ready to have a change of attitude and belief.

I had felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. So instead of fighting both lust and God. I decided to surrender to the "Rock" and let him take care of my will and my life and lust as well. Ever since then, I purposefully and consciously "bring God into" my life, and my problems, and my temptations and my joys and my daily routine.

I no longer even try to fight lust. I surrender it to the One who can take care of it. I am never alone.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Terminally unique

(The following is a post from one of our group members.)

One of the problems I had early on when I started in Sexaholics Anonymous was that I thought I had to understand everything, figure everything out, and design something that was just for me in order to have a program that would work just for me. I suffered from a malady others have referred to as being "terminally unique". It was just another variation on being selfish, being prideful, having to be in control, and being fearful of actually having to change.

The solution turned out to be the same "boring" suggestions I hear from recovering s-aholics and alcoholics everywhere: go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the Steps. I had to stop wasting my time worrying about and planning for how I was going to solve all my problems. I simply had to start doing what the sober, recovering people had done and were doing. But as long as I tried to stay in control, figure it out and avoid change, I stayed wallowing in the problem.

Freedom is so much better.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The delusion that I can fight

(The following is a post from one of our group members.)

When I started in SA, I was still talking about the struggle and fight against lust. That made all the sense in the world to me at that time. I figured if I didn't struggle against lust and the desires, obsessions, and compulsions, there's no way I could ever stop my acting out. I was wrong.

Step One tells me that I have to admit powerlessness over lust. But my ongoing struggle against lust meant that I still believed that I had some power over lust. So I had never even gotten through Step One! My actions, my effort to fight lust, proved I had not yet admitted my powerlessness over lust.

SA actually offers a completely different solution. It never suggests fighting against lust. It would be a contradiction if it did so. The problem isn't what the SA program is telling me to do. The problem is me and what I am trying to do. I've not understood. I've got it wrong. I've done it wrong. I don't have the power to do it right. But God does.

The SA solution is to surrender to God, the One who has all power. Surrender is not fighting or struggling. When I surrender, I "simply give up, let go, and let God" (SAWB p. 81).  The 12 Steps are the path to get rightly connected with God, and those Steps do work if I work them. God can and will do for me what I cannot do for myself. But I had to stop fighting both lust and God in order to be set free from the tyranny of lust by living surrendered to God.

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Maze of Addiction

(The following is a personal post from one of our members.)

Being an addict can feel like you are in a maze. And trying to start recovery can feel the same way, especially when you think you are headed in the right direction, but something's still wrong. The Sexaholics Anonymous book puts it this way:
All this was scary. We couldn't see the path ahead, except that others had gone that way before. Each new step of surrender felt it would be off the edge into oblivion, but we took it. And instead of killing us, surrender was killing the obsession! We had stepped into the light, into a whole new way of life. (p. 61)

When I started out in the SA program, it was like I was in the middle of a maze of really high bushes. I first started in SA by going to local face-to-face meetings. I didn't have a clue about what eventually was going to be needed to get out of the maze I had lost myself in. I needed help, because I "couldn't see the path ahead." That I thought I could see the path clearly enough to take it on my own was part of the insanity that kept me from taking the Steps in the right direction right from the beginning. So I wandered around in that maze, mostly taking one or two steps in some direction that looked good to me, but then returning to my starting point having made no real progress for all my effort.

There were people in the meetings who clearly had gotten out of the maze. They were at peace. They seemed to be somewhere above the maze, able to look down at it from some other vantage point, able to describe the path out that they had taken.

I wanted to be where they were, but I also wanted to find my own way out of the maze, to "self-help" my own path out. For me that mostly meant shuffling around a bit with the first Step or two of the program, doing little more than kicking up a little dust. I definitely wasn't ready or willing to take each Step in the same way that those others who had gone before me had taken them.

When I finally got sick enough of myself, I was ready to become just humble enough to take the Steps out of the maze as someone else suggested I take them. That "someone" was what our program calls a sponsor. And the Steps he led me through brought me into a right and growing relationship with God, the one Power that could and would keep me sober and restore me to sanity, one day at a time.

SA has a solution. We admit it's not for everyone, but it does work. It is summarized and introduced in the section from which I copied that one paragraph above. That section is called "The Solution", introduced on pages 61-62 of the SA book. As good as reading about it is, what really works is taking the 12 Steps under the direction of a sponsor and having a "spiritual awakening" to God, which really is the whole point of the program, even if I didn't understand that from the beginning, and even if I didn't believe it from the beginning.