Relapse Will Always Cost More Than Making Phone Calls

Once I was in the parking lot of a shopping center, when I was approached by a pretty young woman who had worked as a waitress in a restaurant that I used to go to. Nothing unusual about that. Any time I was in the restaurant she simply took my order. But now, she told me she had lost her job and, stuck for money, said she would supply “whatever I wanted.” She gave me a card with her phone number and with a gesture that left me in no doubt what she meant.

I went into the mall and when I had some privacy, I called an SA friend, told him what had happened and said, “Please hang on there, listening to me tear up this card, making sure I throw it in the bin.” And my SA buddy stayed on the line, listening to me tear up the card, telling him that the pieces were now in the trash can. Before saying goodbye, we each committed to staying sober for the day. The pull of temptation was enormous in that moment, but the call in the moment saved me.

Calling in the midst of temptation has saved me many times during these past fifteen years of sobriety. Sometimes I have made up to ten or more calls, one after another, until the temptation passed. I don’t care how much time or money I spend on these calls; relapse will always cost more.

I understand too that I need to take the actions of sobriety each and every day: what saved me yesterday will not save me today. It helps if I plan my day—but not too rigidly; if I keep myself busy—but not too busy!— avoiding rushing and indecision, remembering too that it is all “Just For Today.”

To paraphrase the Big Book, “There is nothing that ensures sobriety as much as intensive work with other addicts.” Sponsoring other sex addicts has helped me a lot. I like to attend meetings; that’s where the magic is, sharing whatever is happening with me with my fellows. I find it helpful too to read program literature and share about it. I need all these tools and I enjoy them. What a great treasure we have in our White Book and in the book Recovery Continues.

I firmly believe that living in the solution is possible, that sexual sobriety can be maintained, if I work the tools of the program. Prayer has also helped me a lot because, if this disease is spiritual, then the solution must be spiritual too. That is why it is important for me to have time in the day for prayer. When I wake up, the first thing I do is offer the day to my Higher Power. I lift my heart and soul to God in gratitude and then ask him to enlighten my restless mind and to help me surrender my many shortcomings to Him, so that I can be light and joyful and of use to Him and others.

Sometimes I imagine myself raising a shield or, like in science fiction movies, being protected in a force field, or wrapped in a capsule, a protective mantle sent by my Higher Power. And I repeat to myself, “I am not alone in my trials. God will take care of me. With His protection about me, I will remain sober this day.”

And God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself—a miracle, a day at a time. On October 20 this year, by the Grace of God and the fellowship of this program, a day at a time, I will celebrate 15 years of sobriety. When I started out on this path, long-term sobriety seemed impossible. But by letting go the reins and leaving my will and my life in God’s hands, progressive freedom from lust has been possible. I am so grateful for this program. It has saved my marriage and my life.

Nelson D., Caracas, Venezuela

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