It Was And Still Is A Miracle

Lust and acting out had poisoned my soul from early teenhood. A double track had developed in me: On the one hand, a deep desire for a true love, a loving union, for family life, house and kids; on the other hand, an ill and poisoned desire to right away have sex with women, without any sense for personal relation, love or respect. I had even acted clandestinely touching a woman on the metro. I had felt shame, I had known how wrong I was, but I had been a prey of excitement and lust.

God had had no relevance whatsoever in my life. I had been agnostic, without any spiritual experience or prayer routine. I had tried to make my way through life on my own and had never asked for help. I had seen my siblings make their way so I needed to find mine, too, on my own. “I am from an intelligent family, I will make my way”—hidden arrogance!

Probably these are the roots of my disease: “Arrogance—I can and must be Master of my life.” But unconsciously in me and hidden under feelings of shyness was inferiority: “I, the little boy, how can I manage life.“ This dichotomy is how I remember my childhood: On the outside, in daily life, I would function well. But on the inside I felt lonely and unhappy, and dreamed myself away. In an illusionary world, where I would be strong and powerful. And loved—by a wonderful princess!

As a young fellow, I had always had a deep desire to be relieved from loneliness by a beautiful “princess-woman” and to experience sexuality. My fantasies had been overwhelming, but nobody had told me that I must be patient and wait for the right person to come! I had been shy, fearful and felt inferior and inappropriate, and I had been deeply afraid that no girl would want me. So I had remained alone with my desires.

I had always been longing for “the princess” who would fill my life. I had met a girl at university and we soon had had sex. I had not even loved her, my desire for finally having the sexual experience had been so overwhelming. She had gotten pregnant almost immediately and I had felt trapped – marriage, spouse, child, family. Settled! I was only 22 and I was crying for experiencing life! I saw then that my dreams had not been for her, but for having sex with her. Too late!

In this first marriage I should have been happy because my wife was pretty, intelligent, practical, and loved me. We got three more boys, but I was never able to be happy because she was not “my princess”! My dream remained unfulfilled, I never experienced peace. And there was my desire for sex, and hidden lust. I was married and I wanted legitimate sex, three times a day! My wife withdrew more and more. I developed terrible frustration, and started with prostitutes and affairs—blaming my wife.

I was not able to admit my part, but was always blaming my wife. I acted out with sexual fantasies, prostitutes, and masturbation. I had affairs, even at work; four women took abortions because of me. I felt evil and unworthy, but could not stop. I contracted a venereal disease. I felt terrible for infidelity and immorality. The infection quickly was gone but the side-effects started, pain over pain. I had ruined my health, to never gain it back in fullness.

One day in 1982 I met my “princess” and fell in deep love. I felt loved as I always had imagined! In a painful process I left my wife, our kids, our home, in order to be the “prince of my princess.” But I was 40 now and had responsibilities, not 20 and independent anymore, and, of course, I loved my wife and kids. My “princess” had her life too, and we did not match. She got pregnant, she left and married somebody else. That was the end of my “princess” desire for many years – a void illusion, my life torn to pieces. And it was the end of my first marriage.

I fell into a deep depression. A deep spiritual hunger arose in me. Alone in my small apartment I realized how my life—first by my desire for love, then by the hunt for lust and sexuality, had developed in a chain of catastrophes. Was there a way out? I plunged into a new world of spiritual life, different from everything I had chased for so far.

The answer came some days later in August 1982. I had a spiritual experience like that written in the Big Book. A figure of light standing in my room, an incredible power, a stream of love radiated from Him to me, a love I had never experienced. It flowed over me and streamed into me. It filled the deep abyss of all my longings, desires, wishes. It filled me and made me whole. I knew who He was. All pain and fear vanished from me. I overflowed with love. He was – and still is – the end and the aim of all my lifelong desires.

I was newly born, in love and in life. Depression vanished in a moment, to never come back. My quest for the source of life came to its end; HE was my life. HE filled everything, nothing in me remained empty. This day remains the most important in my life, my spiritual birth. Many times since then I have experienced His presence, His love, His mercy and grace. And everything in my life became new, came into a new order:

  1. I had, from this day on, a Higher Power. I will never forget the strange feeling awaking the next morning: I was not alone anymore in the universe! I was not alone anymore in the universe! I had a God who was in the deepest sense connected with me, who, in a certain sense, was me! He was around me, was in me, loved me, was responsible for me! An absolutely new and strange feeling. And in this new feeling I realized what I had made my “higher power’: Women and sexuality, lust and greed, arrogance and inferiority
  2. My life received sense and aim. My HP is the sense and the aim—not me.
  3. He healed my deep pain from the loss of that woman. In one moment, all pain was gone.
  4. He brought me in contact with other people who love Him.
  5. He gave me a new wife, Christine. He directed me into the Program through her. She found the White Book, which brought me into SA in 1987. Reading Roy’s story revealed to me my life’s disaster: “Lust” was the key. Meeting soon Roy in person was my HP’s grace, a great privilege.

Having now found what I was suffering from, I understood that He had made me sober. But now my task was to acquire and to preserve this sobriety. Sobriety from acting out, I was given from the first day. But I kept underestimating the impact of lust within me, “acting in’’ as a friend called it, the invisible monster.

This led me in 2008 to losing my SA sobriety of over 20 years. I left my second marriage of 22 years and resumed the relationship with the “dream-princess” I had fallen in love at the end of my first marriage—and with whom I had a daughter. But this quickly turned out to be too much for me. I felt overwhelmed, confused, chaotic, and full of fear. I felt that I did not have the strength and life power to break up and my Program, and my marriage, and my Higher Power! I was struggling for clarity and for direction.

I flew to the July International Convention in Akron where I hoped to find clarity and direction. When I arrived there, I asked for a check meeting with a group of longtime sober members and told them what I had done. I also shared in big meetings and received helpful response.

As a result, I broke off the relationship, renewed my sobriety commitment—and restarted my program from zero. That day, July 10, 2008, was when I accepted for the second time that I was completely powerless over lust and unable to manage my life on my own, and is my current SA sobriety date.

To let go of this “dream-love” was painful, but at the same time a relief. Accepting this truth was painful as I had always had the deep desire, well-hidden in my heart, to live with that woman, sometime, somehow. In Akron I received the honesty and clarity that this “love” had been in reality an addictive move, an illness, not able to carry me. And without Program and HP there was no way to continue! So I turned home from Akron, and turned back to my own life and wife.

In the months after this I started seeing how this relapse turned out to be beneficial for my recovery. Being free from the icon-like reputation of “over 20 years sober” in the German fellowship was good for my humility—if I ever had had something like humility! After some time, people started addressing me and I gained a bunch of sponsees, where before I hardly had any lasting sponsee relationship.

Today, I am very vigilant about the impact of lust within me, the “acting in’’, the invisible monster. This is and has to be my ongoing work. Listening to others in the program, inventorying my disease, inventorying my character defects, learning to surrender my glances, learning to surrender the curiosity from my childhood for women and their bodies, and for the sexuality of others—a never-ending task.

This is a life-long disease. I am powerless over my life and lust. “Life is not designed to be manageable by me and my strength,” I heard in a meeting. So recovery is one day at a time! Of course I would love recovery at once forever and in totality! But this is not the gift of the Program. I need to do my work, each day—the results come from Him. What incredible relief is it today, that I don’t have to take any decisions on my own anymore, that I have my sponsor, my program, my friends, my HP!

Nothing on earth, in this life, is really mine. It is all loan from Him. But He is mine—if I want Him. The program makes life a daily challenge, never ending, infinite as He is infinite. In my disease, life was chaos. The Program sets an order. The opportunity to make mistakes is there as much as ever. But when I make them, they can be corrected, and do not need to ruin me—as before. Life is much more simple.

Hans L., Munich, Germany

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