How to stop sex and porn addiction?
This is the problem that brought us to desperation - we wanted to stop our sexual compulsivity, but we could not. We tried to stop, but it never lasted. Sexaholics Anonymous presented us with a solution that we never knew about; a proven, reliable means of staying sexually sober one day at a time.
Welcome to the Europe and Middle East Region of Sexaholics Anonymous! We are glad you are here.
Below are a selection of stories from members, all now sober, recovering from sex or porn addiction. They will describe what it was like for them under the "lash" of sexaholism. What brought them to Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). And what happened since. We hope their stories will be an inspiration to you and to all.
Please remember that these stories are the individual experiences of SA members, they are not official SA literature. Their stories are here to offer hope to the still suffering sex and/or porn addict.
I have been a sexaholic for about 50 years but it was only about 3 years ago that I was confronted and challenged to change my life. Sure I had struggled to change over the years and with limited success. For periods I'd given up (in my own strength) lusting, pornography and masturbation.
The ultimatum came when I was confronted with a choice: lust and porn or marriage and vocation?
There are no Sexaholics Anonymous meetings where I live, but I obtained a phone Sponsor from another recovery group (not SA) and worked the 12 steps. After 2 years, I completed the 12 Steps a changed man.
Then self-pride stepped in and I acted out. I was confronted once again: lust and porn or marriage and vocation?
I am now back on track, a lot more humble and more determined than ever to stay sober, thanks to my Higher Power, my dear wife and a fellowship of others who have "been there and done that".
I'm a lust addict - a sexaholic. One of my most frequent forms of acting out was masturbation. It was impossible for me to stop. I had lost the power of choice when it came to acting out in that way. But today, I haven't masturbated in more than five years and that is simply impossible! This is why I'm in Sexaholics Anonymous - a programme of recovery for those who need to experience the impossible.
If all I wanted was a "design it yourself programme", SA would be the last place I'd go. These people not only told me that masturbating was acting out, they even put "progressive victory over lust" into the sobriety definition and "a desire to stop lusting" into the requirements for membership. That's crazy! Who can give up lusting?
I really don't like it when people call Sexaholics Anonymous "a self-help programme." That's a ridiculous description. My "self-help" was more lusting, more masturbating and more of other forms of acting out. Left to take care of myself, to help myself, that's what I came up with as a solution to all my problems. And then I found that my "solution" was causing more problems than the problems I tried to use it to solve. And then I tried to stop. And then I couldn't stop. And eventually after years and years of proving to myself that there was no way to stop, I gave up trying to stop. And I also gave up on God, because He wasn't doing anything about it, if He was there at all.
Not masturbationg was impossible - no doubt about that. I would never argue with someone who told me it was impossible for them to stop masturbating. That was my experience as well, so I'm sure it's true for others, but my story doesn't end there.
By now it should be clear that I needed a Solution that came from outside of myself. I needed a Power greater than lust and greater than me. I needed God to do for me what I could not do for myself. But apparently God wasn't very interested in serving as my court jester while I sat on the throne of my life and told him how I wanted things to be run. Nope. When I finally admitted my complete defeat by lust, when I finally surrendered unconditionally to God, then, at that moment, and in all subsequent moments when that same thing happens yet again, the impossible does happen!
I can't explain exactly how it works. I suppose if I could completely explain it, then I'd be God. But since I'm not (and I've proved that over and over again), I just surrender yet again and trust Him to take care of lust and take care of me.
That's been my experience with the impossible. God just does it anyway.
In coming to Sexaholics Anonymous, I wanted more than just "not acting out". I’d tried just not acting out, and it was miserable. I knew that living that celibate life would only lead me to one of two places: suicide, or a return to acting out. I knew when I came that I needed to find a different kind of life.
I wanted the peace of a life in recovery, a peace that comes through making right choices on a moment-by-moment basis, a peace that is the result of a life well lived, a peace with myself without acting out. But there is no way that kind of peace would exist in the climate of my soul as it was. If I wanted to nurture that kind of peace, then I had to change my inner climate.
Oldtimers had told me that the Steps would change my life, so that I could be at peace without acting out. They were right. The only peace I have ever known in my life has been these years of recovery, from working the Steps under the guidance of a sponsor within the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous. I needed to change, and I am very thankful to my fellow SAs and to the God whom I found through SA, for the change that has happened to me.
13 years ago I had absolutely no idea what to do to recover from lust. My wife had just found out about my acting out and was devastated. My marriage was in jeopardy and my life was in ruins. I had arrived at this point, in part, by trying to go it alone. I wanted to stop what I was doing. I knew it was wrong. I could go a few days without acting out, but eventually would give in.
I had the good fortune to have been exposed to the 12 Steps earlier in my life through a family member. I thought"maybe there is a 12 Step Programme that will help me stop masturbating". (My goal was pretty limited at that time). I found that there were a few S-groups and found local meetings. My first meetings were in a different S-fellowship. It was great to be around other addicts who talked about the things I had never told anyone. However, no one was sober. Then I went to my first SA meeting and found people who were sober and in recovery. I was home.
I got a sponsor and started working the steps with him. Things slowly started to get better. I wasn't perfect and was scared to death of losing my wife and family. But I was getting better. I was learning how to live life with its ups and downs, without resorting to acting out. My first sponsor died and I got a new sponsor. My new sponsor lost his sobriety so I got another. We're both veterans of the programme now and we sponsor each other - kind of different but it seems to be working.
The key is that I am not doing this alone. I'm doing it with a group of fellow sex drunks who are practicing the 12 Steps of SA. Through the grace of my Higher Power, it's working and I reached 13 years of sexual sobriety yesterday. That is an absolute miracle and only through the grace of my HP and the fellowship of SA.