How I Escaped the Lust Valley

How I Escaped the Lust Valley

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My name is Mervat, and I am a recovering sexaholic, or to be more precise, a lustaholic, from Egypt. I walked through the valley of the shadow of Death—or Lust—since I was a four-year-old. My full-throttle sexual acting-out started when I was 18 years old. I lived in that Lust Valley for more than 3 decades, not knowing the wages I had to pay: my life. It was a miracle that I found SA because all I wanted was to live.

When I joined SA, I could not comprehend the new recovery language (relapse, recovery, sobriety, etc.). I was cautious about sharing, thinking that everything was just between me and Him. But recovery is full of surprises and I had to change my attitude. I would like to share 12 experiences that I have had on this, my beautiful journey. I hope you’ll find them beneficial for your own recovery!

Experience One: Confession
As the fellowship is a group of men and women sharing their experience, strength, and hope, I thought I had to “dump it all out.” I was cautious about telling it all though, asking myself, should I share explicitly and get a lust hit? Is that what this fellowship is about, or am I mistaken?
The answer I heard: purposefully engineering a lust hit is a relapse! I was happy to realize this because now I knew that life in the Fellowship was not like life in the Lust Valley. I learned how to share without resorting to Lust.

Experience Two: Honesty
During my first 18 months in SA, I attended and shared at meetings. I did not have a sponsor at this time but attendance and sharing helped me quit my lust patterns one after another. However, I was still in Lust Valley, although I did not realize it. I came across certain websites and began engaging with them, celebrating “Recovery” with delusion. Now my acting out progressed in every possible direction. My sickness blinded me from truly understanding the Sobriety Definition. But by the grace of God, I did come to understand it and I declared that I cannot call myself sober so long as I still drink Lust, no matter the source. I admitted defeat, took a deep breath, went back to square one, and started focusing on how to live honestly by the Sobriety Definition, a day at a time. It wasn’t easy. I acted out again.
It was a steep learning curve. I had to do a 3-column inventory after each relapse in order to understand my pattern of thinking and behavior; what I was doing wrong, and what the next right action was. It worked! God spoke to me through these inventories and I learned how to quit my patterns one by one.

Experience Three: Working the Steps
When I joined SA, there were no females available to sponsor me. So, I started working with a male sponsor. Working the Steps uncovered my Higher Power to me and taught me how to let go, but I had to take some extreme measures in order to sustain and maintain that precious connection. I stopped riding a car or a bus if that caused any Lust in me. I did not stay alone, and I attended meetings even if it meant walking, and it was quite a distance. I also learned how to LET GO! Today, I can finally say I have left Lust Valley.

Experience Four: Surrender
Surrender is the weapon that helps me not to give in to any form of Lust. Working the Steps has helped me to identify Lust, my old enemy, in any of its guises! I give up fighting lust but I never give up my program.

Experience Five: Acceptance
I worked the Fourth Step with my sponsor with total honesty. I left empty the column, “Where I was wrong” because I wanted it to come from God, through my Sponsor’s words. I needed to listen to my sponsor more than I needed to talk because I could not understand “My Part.” I am grateful for my Sponsor who took my hand through that column, explaining “My Part” to me; I accepted that I had to Pray and Surrender during the taking of this phase of my recovery. And I said YES, without hesitation, at each amends that I needed to make, direct and indirect. Soon, I began to experience a new Happiness and a new Freedom, and I did not want to lose that!

Experience Six: Being Respectful toward my Triggers
My attitude toward my triggers needed a lot of work:
– How I dressed
– How I sat on the bus
– How I tied my shoes
– How I talked to others
In my addiction, I parceled myself to attract others down to Lust Valley.
Now, I know better. I have completely changed my attitude in clothing, walking, and talking. I have zero tolerance for any form of Lust! And that clarity has paid off:
One day, after a couple of years in Sobriety, I received a text on my cell phone from an unknown number. I forgot I was an addict, let go of Surrendering, and opened the door to Lust – I thought my Calendar Sobriety would protect me from drifting off. Things got involved. One thing led to another until finally, I had to face the question: am I acting out or not? It was both a wake-up call and a miracle. I called my sponsor, and explained everything with complete honesty. We agreed that it was a partial slip, and that I should not do it again. Since then, I don’t respond to any unknown numbers.

Experience Seven: Personal Defects
Early on in recovery I still played the victim role and tolerated my defects of character as “My Rights.” But they were a false Higher Power. They controlled me. They drove me to acting out. But by the grace of God and Steps Six and Seven, I have become grateful for my defects. These defects are actually messages that help me remember that I need God and so I continue my day Surrendering as I go. Personal Defects are no longer tools of Lust, but stings from God to remind me just how much I need Him and how much He wants a true and wholesome connection with me!

Experience Eight: Financial Harms
My Lust does not have any boundaries. It does not limit itself to sex. It can take the shape of anything. Driven by financial insecurity, I did financial harm to others. What made it even harder was that it was not hidden; it became public!
Like alcoholics, I had to pay off my debts. And I did so. I also made several direct and indirect amends.
I am grateful for taking this step as it taught me how to live free from any form of acting out, financial or otherwise. The promise has materialized: I can look the world in the eye and stand free!

Experience Nine: The Way of Amends
I learned from my Sponsor how to make amends, and began making them immediately. I learned from her also to pray for those who harmed me. I dropped old, favorite resentments as they will eventually lead me to a relapse.
I have learned that a well-made amends under God’s care is the antidote to acting out, and the strongest manifestation of the Recovery Freedom.

Experience Ten: Joy through Amends and Service
The joy that comes through service and making amends. Service and amends keep me out of my defects. Actually, identifying and surrendering resentments toward my boss helped me to practice harder taking the actions of love toward him. What joy!

Experience Eleven: Living with God One Moment at a Time
When I was walking about in the loneliness and desolation of Lust Valley, I used to ask God, “Why did you let go of me?” But I have come to realize through my Step work that God never let go of me; He loves me unconditionally; it was just that my heart, my mind and soul were in bondage to the poison of lust and I wasn’t capable of a single clear thought. Now, today, when lust entices me back down the easy slopes, I cry, “GOD HELP ME!” and it works.
God is giving me what I really want. I used to want Lust and so I found myself trapped down in the bottom of Lust Valley, the Valley of the Shadow of Death!
But by joining the fellowship, working with my sponsor, and helping others, I have become Happy, joyous, and free!
Today, I live with God one moment at a time by surrendering, listening, amends, and service.

Experience Twelve: Service by the Grace of God
By the grace of God, I am home, finally safe. Service is the greatest defense against acting out. Service has kept my mind free of Lust which helps me to live with God. Whenever my sobriety is threatened by strong feelings or emotions, I take to service so that I can keep my connection with God.
I am Mervat, a proud recovering sexaholic, and sexually sober since November 1st, 2017. Rising from the Lust Valley, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, to become alive through honestly surrendering to God.

Mervat, Egypt

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