A sexaholic`s life can be very difficult and stressful, especially when a full scale war is going on in my country. It’s so hard to keep sexually and emotionally sober. But it’s possible. So I created a few simple rules for myself, based on 12 step program spiritual principles.
- First things are first. The best thing I can do to help my country in these hard days is to stay sober. After all, when I'm in a relapse, I am the main and sometimes the only real enemy to my friends and family. War, pandemic, even the end of the world, are not an excuse to quit doing the program and act out. Even if I die today, I want to be sober. Actually, every addict passes through his or her own Pearl Harbor, and loses their own war, turning life into a disaster. Now I have to put my purity as a priority to survive. This clarity is the result of my relations with my Higher Power, who helps me on to victory. War will end someday. Can I get back to sobriety, if I decide to relapse? - that’s a big question.
- Let go of everything that is not under my control. I set boundaries for any news about war or hatred, because they are triggering for me. I’m not always successful. My disease makes me look for enemies to fight, and the war in my country is just such a rationalization for finding “enemies”. Being aware of the events of the war is often a manifestation of my unhealthy control and desire to escape from my real life, which sometimes seems boring. If I were a general, a politician, or at least a victim of war, I’d feel myself a hero. My sickness wants me to play a big and dramatic role in the war. So for me to know and think less means to be more active and useful for others. Yet sometimes it seems to me disrespectful to my folk and country not to be interested in their fate. Then I recall Point #1 and remember that I’m just an ordinary spiritually sick person, who is sober only because of God's grace.
- Constantly remember who I am and what I’m capable of. To be honest with myself is very hard, but that’s what the Steps are teaching me. When I hear information about murders and war crimes, I want to go into resentment and righteous judgment, but comparing myself with others is nothing other than alienation from the truth about myself and the desire to appear good in my eyes. The actions and atrocities of others actually only show what I myself am capable of without God and His guidance. And if this is interesting to me, even from the point of view of condemnation and denial, it means that somewhere deep in my soul I want to try these things myself and observe the reaction of others. I am a sexaholic, and if lust and sex are involved there, I will not be able to stop at any boundaries and prohibitions if God does not stop me. And if today I do not act like a lustful beast, this is not my merit at all, but God's mercy and His hand in my life. He guides me, because I want it myself and let Him change my life for the better.
- Call my feelings by their names. As an addict, I constantly wanted to absorb a lot of emotions, both positive and negative, in order to get a release of dopamine in my brain, and as a result feel pleasure and get high. But as a codependent, I was ashamed of my feelings and tried to suppress them. Therefore, my disease recently has found a way out in the fact that, consciously or not, I imagine myself in the place of the victims of air strikes. I imagine the feelings of refugees who have lost their loved ones and their home, the feelings of the soldiers who are fighting on the front line now. But all this is a fiction, and has no connection with compassion. After all, the emotions and pain of war are theirs, not mine. Therefore, if before recovery I avoided feelings because of the fear of relapse, now I accept them and call by name everything that is currently happening inside me. I do this because I can surrender all my emotions, both bad and good, to my loving God and let them go. I think that denial, as well as endless contemplation of my emotions, is nothing but a struggle with them in order to constantly be in tension and feed my ego.
- To live in the present day. The war is a very good teacher for me to appreciate just today, because tomorrow may not come. And the program shows how to do it in practice. Honestly, I do not know what God's will is for my country and whether there will be peace tomorrow or if the war will continue for a long time. But I know that thinking about what I cannot control is definitely not the will of a Higher Power regarding me. After all, I am not the president of this country and my words don't solve anything in the world of big politics. But God definitely wants me to be useful here and now. The more I live according to spiritual principles, the more emotionally sober I become, and sanity returns to me. The problem for me is not that there is a war in my country, but how to live on during it and keep peace in myself. Disasters and wars have raged in all times and in all corners of the world. As my sponsor says: spiritual people were above all this, because they tried to see not external events and human tragedies, but miracles and deeds of God, who is present in every moment of His children's lives.
Alexander B., Ukraine, sober since October 17, 2020