“How Do I Stay Sober?” (Thoughts From a Sexaholics Anonymous Old Timer)

A member with one year of sobriety asked me recently to describe the meaning of progressive victory over lust. He asked, “I know the sobriety definition, but how can I define whether I’m sober with progressive victory over lust?”  So I decided to share my experience, strength, and hope on this subject.

The first time I acted out, at age 11, it was at best a naive act. The last time I acted out, my senses were filled with sights, sounds, and aromas. How did I get there? Young people enter kindergarten, and twelve years later they graduate and are ready to enter college. How did they make that progress?  One lesson at a time. The first time I attended a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, I knew nothing. After 13 years of days, I have gained new outlooks and information concerning recovery and the sober life. We all get here the same way: one lesson at a time, one book at a time, and one day at a time.

I believe that all behaviors are learned over time. We make progress by making wise decisions about our behaviors, and changing and growing. If we fail to change and grow, we are stuck in the old rut. But if we are willing to change--as we travel this road of happy destiny--we no longer curse the pot holes, speed bumps, and other obstructions. We learn to avoid obstacles that might cause serious damage. Thus we move forward, making progress toward our goal by changing old habits and patterns.

Today I understand the dangers of looking, thinking, or harboring lustful thoughts and behaviors. I do NOT try to fool myself with comforting lies, such as: “I only looked at porn; I did not masturbate.” The road to hell is paved with good intentions, half-truths, and comfortable lies. Acting out now, for me, would be hell.

Perhaps my experience is helpful, but the ultimate decision in these matters rests with the individual. Do you want a half-measure of sobriety, or the full reward of progressive victory over lust? Today I am happy, joyous, and free––not restless, irritable, and discontent. Which would you rather be? Every person has dignity––no matter his or her station in life, economic status, addictions, illness, or what they have done in the past. Every person has dignity and value and is worthy of respect.

As a recovering sexaholic, I came to believe that I was powerless over lust and my life was unmanageable. Working the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous, my blurred vision changed, and I saw more clearly the wreckage of my past. I set about to right the wrongs I had caused and live a spirit filled life. Things got better; I felt healthier. Those around me saw a miraculous change.

I was grateful for my growth, and then I realized that I had to continue to work with others to keep what was given to me. So, now, I am carrying the message to those who still suffer. I will be happy to work with those who ask. I just am a fellow sufferer on the same journey as others. God and the Twelve Step program of Sexaholics Anonymous will do for us what we cannot not do for ourselves.

Let us journey together so that we both may change for the better. May God keep us and bless us as we trudge this road of happy destiny.