Category: Sex Addiction

Dear Recovering Man…

Dear Recovering Man,  

Is there are a part of you that believes that just the right attractive woman or man will simply and amazingly take care of everything you ever yearned for – motivating all that is good within you?  Two things in this world are deceptive in this way: Riches and Beauty.   They are God substitutes.

As you continue to consistently surrender lust, the new kind of capacity and love you have started to experience will grow in you.  Then you will be ready to express your sexuality in marriage with a beautiful woman of your choice – because then you will know how to love!  You will have God and so not be dependent on either your woman or your fantasy of romance.  You will be a provider to her of good things – and she will love you back….it is a divine triangle.  

First, your foundation…keep surrendering the deception of lust…by growing stronger and stronger in your higher power and firmer and firmer in reality.

Keeping Connections

So good that you are finding sobriety – which for me has always associated with clearer thinking, less obsessiveness, and more flexibility around everyday things not even associated with the addiction.….which makes it worth it all by itself.  For me there is no doubt that keeping connections maintain this freedom.  Connection with God and others.  I need this everyday or I am vulnerable to all kinds of old stuff, so it is first priority regardless of anything else.  Please call or text recovery friends, sponsor, or other accountability folks at the first sign of lust…This neutralizes its effects so it suddenly isn’t pouring over the dam and you wonder how you got to where you are.

Your drug of choice

Depression and Anxiety

As time passed in my sobriety, many other emotions presented themselves that I had to surrender -resentments, boredom, and fears for example.  Over time, by not resorting to my “drug” to medicate these emotions –  but turning to God, I found a great calm come over my mind that I had not experienced before.  I also felt more interested and satisfied by everyday small things – I felt connected to God.  This freedom and this connection was the greatest medication I could hope for – but with no regrets, no coming back-to-reality, no self-destruction.  Only peace.

Regulating Resentment

A note to a sponsee:

 It is interesting how you spoke of your recovery time on the angry outburst – you stayed in the light and saw the weakness and more quickly got centered.

This is a similar process to what you have experienced with your addiction and reflects my history as well.  Using the 12-step tools of recovery,  relapses for both anger and your drug are contained and overcome quickly and soon don’t occur at all.  It is a wonderful process!    I find that if I work to stay aware and surrender resentments early, from whatever source, I can deal comfortably and directly and reasonably with conflict as it comes up.  This, as opposed to its spilling over in a rush of overinflated emotion at some unpredictable moment.
Resentment and your addiction are very similar in this regard!  Their history needs to be confessed and neutralized in step 1, 4, 5, 8 and 9 and then they need to be neutralized  quickly along the way through surrender and admitting when we are wrong!
Good work….

Feeling Whole – The Real Connection

There was always something about certain attractive women which fit a certain attraction template I had somehow created – which is a bit different for everyone.   That triggered a kind of mystery I wanted resolved – like there was something she had having to do with my feeling whole that I needed to fathom – like this missing element was going to save me.  I am sure the SSA men have some sense of what I am talking about relative to specific men…that a certain man with a certain look and characteristics is going to make all whole.  When I am feeling disconnected, I still experience this… and feel compelled to check to see if that woman in that other car or at the grocery store, etc. has that certain mystery in face or form that could-have-would-have saved me.   It was great to read today in Paul’s writing how we receive a fullness in Jesus and that he completes us (it said complete!).  I totally got that.  It really resonated.  I have loved reading the scriptures as recovery progresses, because it seems like I can, more and more, say – OK that isn’t just a cool doctrinal thought, that is something I understand in my whole soul – something I experience!  

Inflated Emotions

Depression and AnxietyI found in my mid-range recovery that sometimes I would come across a thought or an image that may cause a brief inflated emotion, but that I could say a quick prayer or otherwise wave it off and move on.  However, sometimes the thought or image moved  quickly from head to heart and seemed to kind of linger in my chemistry even after I had physically moved on.   I would always surrender openly with another  person these types of events and their after-effects.  That way they never had a chance to build up.  At one point I started surrendering even the inflated emotions…I would do it by simply typing “i.e.” to a recovery friend.  Soon I found it would rather just avoid looking in the first place where possible than have to surrender the i.e. …I also found that this small temporary denial caused my  emotions to become a lot less inflated and my need to look a lot less compelling.  

Committments

Commitments are different than “things-I-would-also-like-to-do” or goals I have.  So as an Addicted, ADD, commitment-guy-in-training I started with some things I KNEW were possible.  At first that meant what is possible only TODAY.  So at any given time at work,  I never commit to myself or others beyond 1-3  things at a time – things I KNOW I can accomplish before the remainder of the day expires.  In my personal life, that means I only commit to doing one or two small things – like getting to bed on time at 10:00 – for say the next three days – NO MATTER WHAT.   .

I can do that….and  I surrender the ILLUSION of CONTROL beyond that which is immediate and understandably doable in the present.

Once I got in the habit of making and keeping small commitments and felt I could trust myself, I enthusiastically found my capacity for commitment expanding and maybe I could make a commitment for a week then a month’s worth (still surrendering temptations to not follow through one moment and one day at a time – but now I knew how to do this).

Perhaps someday I will know deep in my heart that I can make and keep a significant and difficult new years resolution – but not quite yet!  =)

So I pause when I say to myself “I am going to start getting to bed at 10:00”  and ask myself – is this something I would ‘like to do’ or am I making a COMMITMENT… and if I am making a commitment, how many days can I be sure I can commit myself to it NO MATTER WHAT.  Until I know I know how to surrender temptations to not follow through – I commit for just today  – and I may renew that commitment tomorrow.    We run patiently the race that is before us…line upon line. Of course the sooner something is habit from repeated surrenders to doing the right thing one decision at a time over repeated days, the sooner my life simplifies and I can spend commitment energy somewhere else.

If something I would like to do falls short of being a commitment   I don’t berate myself up when I don’t come through – I just consider whether that should be be a commitment thing instead at one point and try not to stuff too much in.

First get the big weeds out….your addiction behavior with a very few small supportive self-care commitments.  Don’t distract yourself with the thousand small weeds and make them commitments – your addict wants that so you are tempted to say “forget the whole thing.”

In my early recovery I would commit to endure the next 10 minutes lust free and make a phone cal or text in that time as well.  That was as great a commitment as I could keep, and perhaps I could go from there with another 10 minutes if I still needed it.

This is why I make such a big deal up front before taking a new sponsee about their asking themselves whether they are truly really and absolutely ready to do a 100% every-day for 100 days intensive program.  I am not trying to be a rigid dogmatic bonehead – that just goes without saying.  I am in these instances, saying – please, I want you to succeed this time, please you can’t afford to buy in half-way and expect change.

That said, it is NOT better to just start avoiding commitments – life is very dismal that way.  Rather, we just slowly expand our self-perception as a commitment-making and commitment-keeping person.

Note to Those in Recovery

Note to Those Individuals in Recovery:

You are doing well and that should be congratulated – by yourself and others.    

I found the path of recovery to be very nurturing and very gentle.  Specifically, as I exercised enough confidence to  trust the program and do it fully, I found that shifts which seemed so scary, which I had worked on for years, softened.  There have consistently been times when I am doing things that have nothing to do with recovery, like when driving or talking to someone, when suddenly I become aware of a sweet shift, however minor.  Truly the best description of this is found by saying these concepts or changes ‘distill upon my soul as the dews from heaven.’  Is that not gentle?   

So my point being – don’t force yourself to face difficult emotions – just let God do his perfect work – and my full belief is that right now that means staying sober and do the actions of the program – one day at a time – one moment at a time.  That will bring you to what you need – it is all structured out.  There will be nothing that will be too difficult or too much of a leap.  Nothing forced.  So far, it appears you are making full room for the program as outlined.  If you don’t compromise that, or make it second to anything else, or do things half way, then you can rest assured you are doing all you can do and all that is expected and can expect the blessings.   

I honestly think you have a lot of good thoughts about the meetings etc. I resonate with much of them.    I also found tremendous relief when I could finally just allow myself to be a part of what it was, as it was….(for me btw SA programs seemed to be more useful than ARP – although I found them both helpful).  Perhaps someday there will be meetings – ones that in fact you generate – that are tailored more to your thoughts regarding what is most helpful.  But for now the general format is working for countless thousands of people, and there is much to be said about just letting go and joining as just a guy who is, at least currently, new to this process of recovery.

The simple act of surrendering to the process – as imperfect as I found it – was perhaps as important to my feeling a spiritual transformation as anything I actually did or said in the program itself.

Finding Higher Power, Aid to Recovery

young man rest on wheat field

 

For me, when I first got sober, it made me feel better, as they say.   I particularly felt anxiety better – but also depression – and more resentment than I ever imagined I possessed.  Everything was crashing down on me and I could hardly move my waxy limbs.  I did keep the praying sincere and honest and would have small packets of sunshine as tender mercies from God from time to time.   In the meantime, the 12 step group where there were guys with long term sobriety was in reality my higher power….it was the first time since high school I was being honest and open with a bunch of guys and I found that this provided “juice” to my soul….like I was a rusty machine and it provided lube and oil to make things move again.    This higher power was particularly important because at that time, God was still like a cosmic servant to me – I knew He was there but I wasn’t in relation to Him as his Son.  Rather he was more like a guy kinda responsible for both the good – and the mess and would he now please do what He needed to do to clean it up.  PLEASE.

Eventually my prayers went more toward “what would you have me do.” and were less self-focused.  I started to believe, very slowly and still today with some reluctance, that God in fact knows me personally.   Now, more than ever, this belief is turning slowly into something very real and ongoing and mutually communicative.  There is some depth and joy to having a real God who cares about me as my higher power – and the 12 step meetings are still important reminders and a kind of affirmation of the peace I feel.

Are you fighting your addiction?

Are you fighting your addiction?

On being tired of controlling and fighting all your lust in its various forms:  Don’t fight.  Whenever that familiar feeling comes up in any of the forms or manifestations you mentioned, don’t fight them – surrender them openly to another and to  God while turning away  long enough to where they subside for a time.  At first it may seem that this is, in itself, a never-ending fight, but eventually you will better understand this concept of surrender –  and instead of feeling battle weary and tired,  you will rejoice in the strength that is replacing the weakness and the Spirit that is filling the emptiness.

These small moments are simply battles you cannot fight or mentally wrestle with anymore.  You are in a situation where you need to bury your weapons of war deep in the ground – because you have your own form of blood lust and your soul can’t afford to bloody your old sword again – for any cause or reason.   Instead you prostrate yourself and be killed, or watch on the sidelines while your brothers are killed for you and around you.   But you, with your addiction,  can’t afford the risk of engaging in the fight anymore.  This is a relief that will grow with your growing trust.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this in regard to your own addiction!