When I discuss Step One with a newcomer, I always include the physical powerlessness that we share when it comes to sex addiction, as well as the mental powerlessness. As it states in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous we also have a physical disease. “The body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind,” it states The Doctor’s Opinion- xxvii “We are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete.” This doctor then explains that an alcoholic has developed an allergy for alcohol in his body. As soon as he takes a drink, this allergy is triggered off. It will manifest itself as a craving for more and more alcohol. Quite destructive, one might say – as with most allergies.
If we translate this situation to lust, sex and pornography addiction, the situation is quite the same, or maybe even more obvious. When a person starts lusting or acting out sexually, there is a lot of chemistry involved. The body releases all kinds of endorphins, androgens, dopamine’s, etc. The exact composition of the chemistry may vary, depending on whether I am stealing a look on the street, flirting with a coworker, consuming porn with my eyes or recalling sexual memories in my mind. But in any case, my body has developed an abnormal reaction to the chemistries released when I start using sex and porn as a drug.
For me, it had become so bad, that the moment I took the decision to act out, my body would start trembling and shivering, my back muscles would get stressed, and I would feel cold sweats. As soon as my acting out had started, I told myself: “How could I have ever have lived without this?” The phenomenon of craving had started, and I wanted more and more, until I got sick to the point of nausea, vomiting or auto-mutilation. I understand today that I have a rather abnormal physical reaction to sex addiction and pornography, I would say.
Today in order to recover I just have to admit and accept my allergy to lust as a matter of fact. If I have an allergy for examply to strawberries, I can try to eat strawberries over and again, every time trying not to get an allergic reaction with all my willpower – and always ‘failing’. It makes no sense, because willpower is useless against an allergy! So every time there is a temptation for me to start lusting or acting out sexually, I try to remember immediately my powerlessness over lust, pornography and sexual acting out – both over the obsession of the mind and over the allergy of the body. It helps me to remember that I am powerless over it. When I can then let the temptation go, without having to take a drink from it, my sanity is momentarily restored. And I am still free.