It’s A Process, Not A Single Event

It works if you work it! It’s a simple quote. We repeat it at every meeting. Just as simple is the requirement for membership: a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober. But while these are simple truisms, living them is not easy. To stay sober in the face of day to day challenges and to deepen my recovery means I have to work the Steps, practice the tools of recovery, do service for others and take regular guidance from my sponsor.

Here’s how I do it. First, I stop feeding lust, whether through the eyes, the ears, hands, or fantasies. I used to practice partial abstinence for a period before I got serious about recovery; it worked, but only partially. Quite simply, I did not stop feeding lust. As you would expect, I relapsed. This was in August 2019, after a prolonged period of white knuckling which was really uncomfortable (I had been in SA from November 2015 to June 2016; I left then, thinking I could do better on my own.)

Since rejoining SA more than a year ago, I have completed the 12 Steps and try my best to live by them each day. My spiritual life has improved; so too, my relationship with my wife. Today, my life in recovery is comfortable. The work I put into the Steps makes them simply work. For the first time in my life, I can deal with the many things that used to baffle me. For the first time in my life, I accept myself; I am no longer drowning in shame. Just as the Twelve Promises say, I don’t wish to shut the door upon my past, knowing that my experiences back then help me identify and empathize with sponsees, present and in the future. The Promises are real. I see them coming true for me.

I did face considerable “external” challenges en route to this point. I live in a country where, as far as I know, there are no other SA members. I am simply a loner. But I reached out on the global SA website and got access to members and meetings. The Buddy List also put me in touch with SA fellows. And the journey began. One thing led to another, and now I am using the latest communication apps to connect with SA fellows from all over the world. While I am a loner, I am not alone. I have access to meetings, sponsors, sponsees, support, acceptance, so much help, and all at the touch of a finger. I just have to pick up my phone. It’s a miracle, really and truly. As the only recovering sexaholic in Iraq – that I know of – technology is facilitating my recovery, keeping me in touch with the supports that I need.

So, back to the program and how I am working it today. I simply face each and every lust hit, each and every character defect that is triggered by a challenge, with the necessary Steps; the same with a baffling issue, I just work the Steps. When hit by lust, I immediately concede that I am powerless over it (or whatever defect has been triggered), and that it is making my life unmanageable. Next, I remind myself that there is a power greater than me who can and will restore me to sanity. That Higher Power is God as I understand Him. I make a decision then, in the context of my current challenge, to hand my life and my will over to His care. That done, I sift through the mental, emotional and spiritual carnage and pick out the pieces that I am responsible for, admitting my part in it all. If I am honest, it doesn’t take long to identify where I have been resentful, fearful, false, proud, selfish, lazy, lustful or dishonest. Then I pick up the phone and start calling, sharing, and surrendering.

When I am entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character, I humbly ask Him to take them away, praying that He accept all of me, good and bad, and that He help me do His bidding. I check with my sponsor to see if amends are due anywhere and, if they are, I go and make them. Before going to bed that night, I make an inventory of my behaviors and attitudes during the day and share it on a call so that I am truly free of anything that could disturb me with lust, shame or guilt; this helps and encourages the member taking the call too. In the morning, I pray and ask for God’s help and I do my daily DSR with another member. Finally, I am prepared to carry the message as best I can to another sexaholic so that we can maximize our support for each other as we trudge the road of happy destiny.

Working the program is an ongoing process, not a single event.

Thank you!

Ameer M., Iraq

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