Time In Sexual Sobriety

Time has been an underrated and overlooked tool in my sobriety. When I first came into SA I was struck with the overwhelming difficulty of staying sober. Day by day sexual sobriety was a tremendous struggle. I slipped countless times in my first ten months.

For all its misery, slipping had its rewards. For me one of the rewards was not having to accept responsibility. As long as I wasn’t sober I was not expected to do any service work, and no one looked to me for help staying sober. Besides, in slipping I discovered becoming a periodic rather than having sex several times a day. I developed slipping rituals. Learning more in meetings about the progression of my disease made crossing lines that much easier, and made me feel all the more hopeless.

Knowing this unfortunately did not help me to get sober. Knowledge is not what keeps me sober today. Being sober this moment is what helps me to stay sober, and doing this enough times gets to be habit forming. To get sober I made a “geographic” move to Los Angeles. I was looking for the easier softer way but there has been nothing easy about it.

One of the trickier aspects of gaining sober time in the program for me was my desire to fail. Every new chip I received for varying months of sobriety made turning back harder. Making it past the one year mark was a minor miracle. My most difficult temptation however came when I was close to two years. I wanted to slip, and I started doing things that would make slipping easier. I went to fewer meetings, stopped calling people, and tuned out with TV and movies. I began to feel ambivalent about my sobriety, and questioned why I was staying sober. My ties to SA were strong however, and people in the program helped me through that very difficult transition. Once across the two year barrier I could see that it was fear of growing up, and of having to get on with my life that made me want to slip.

For me recovery takes place very slowly, and I almost always recognize my recovery in retrospect. The first time I realized that I had been going to bed and waking up without the desire to masturbate made me very happy. I thought the desire would never leave, and I had accepted this. I began to believe, not just hope but really believe, that it does get better. I am 33 years old, and I have not had sex with myself or anyone else for a little over two years. Rather than feeling like I am going to explode, I feel peace and serenity. I have space in my brain for thoughts other than sex, and I am beginning to really care about other people.

In my early sobriety I longed for someone to say that tomorrow would be better, and that if I just made it through today it would get easier. What I heard instead was that it is in the temptation that the God connection is made, and that I should be grateful for the temptation, and the victory. So, like a soldier dressed for battle, I took on each temptation as though I were fighting for my life, and I used every tool that was available to me.

The greatest tool of all however is time. Time away from acting out, looking, and fantasizing. In time the lust dreams began to fade, and along with them the wet dreams. After more time I began to talk to women, and men as people, and not lust objects. Does it get easier? Yes. Thank God for the temptations and the victories but mostly for the time in sexual sobriety.

Anonymous — CD May 1988

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