Step 3 Has Helped Me Learn To Be of Help

At first, Step Three for me (“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”) was just the surrender that I heard talked about in Sexaholics Anonymous meetings.

But I soon learned that it is the help of day-to-day real surrender—in which I make a decision to do things in accordance with God’s will (as I understand it), instead of my own will that helps me stay sober. It’s a greater help than just saying, “I surrender this (lust hit/temptation/anger/resentment/whatever).” It is doing something differently, even when the thing I am doing seems contrary to my own thinking.

So an example of Step Three in action for me is how I learned to share in SA meetings. I have found that there are two kinds of shares. One kind helps me for a moment. The other kind helps the group, and also helps me long-term.

The first kind of sharing is the easiest and most natural for me, and that is what I did at first. I shared about my pain. I unloaded myself onto the SA group, every time that life felt intolerable. I would share, “I can’t stand how much I hurt!” This eased my pain by opening it up. I felt better—kind of—for awhile, until my pain built up again.

But less than a month into Sexaholics Anonymous recovery, my sponsor pointed out what I was doing wrong. He told me that it was sharing the wrong kind of SA sharing, and that I should change how I share. I resented him for saying so. I didn’t like being told that I was wrong. And besides, my way of sharing made me feel good.

But Step Three says to turn my life and will over to the care of a Higher Power, and at that moment my sponsor was my Higher Power. And if I kept doing things my way, then I was going to get the same results I had gotten for decades: pain and danger.

So I started practicing sharing in a new way: I would share in a way to help others through my personal experience, strength, and hope. With helping others in my mind, I would still share my pain, but now I added what I was doing that helped ease that pain. (And my sponsor also gradually guided me to sharing about the Steps and how they helped me.)

I was surprised at the results. I still felt a bit better for having shared the pain, but now I also felt grateful knowing that I was also helping others. Most of the time, I had no clear idea of who or how I might be helping others, other than knowing that someone might get something out of one of my shares. But sometimes, members would come up to me afterward the meeting and thank me for sharing something that struck a chord with them. And then I felt grateful that I was able to be of help to someone else.

In some ways, my real Sexaholics Anonymous recovery started with this shift in my sharing. I was learning to be real, I was becoming less selfish, and I was able to help others by God’s grace. And then I began to feel better about myself, and not so “inadequate, unworthy, alone, and afraid” all the time. I would never have thought of this on my own. It took my sponsor and my Step Three surrender of trying it his way, for me to discover how well it worked.


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