Sexaholics Anonymous Gave Me a New Attitude and a New Heart
Attitude is one of those words that I thought I understood when I first arrived at Sexaholics Anonymous, but really I did not understand it at all. A new heart was one of those things that I thought I did not need when I arrived at SA, but I was wrong.
I did not understand what the SA members meant when they talked about an attitude change, or a new heart. I had to keep an open mind and be willing to do the work (the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous) in order to have that change of heart and attitude. I could not explain the change as it was happening. Only by looking back I can say, "Oh yes that is what you meant by change of heart and attitude." I also know there is still more room for me to grow in this area.
Today I realize that a new heart and a change of attitude were at the very core of my recovery. The Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” says that an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial is the only thing that can defeat me (AA, 568).
The SA White Book says "Lust is an attitude demanding..." (pg 40), so that means that I am powerless over an attitude. Wow. Why can't I just be addicted to porn or masturbation or prostitutes or chat rooms, or some other form of acting out? But being powerless over an attitude?--how the heck do I "put the plug in the jug" of an attitude?
I have come to understand that "I” is an attitude demanding something. Demanding is the default setting of my perspective on life. As a sexaholic not in recovery, I would wake up with a demanding disposition, and things just kept getting worse. Sometimes my attitude looked like self-centered self-preservation, and other times it looked like self-pity. Either way it was based on my old ideas that life is not fair: people are out to get me, and I must above all else protect all that is mine. I thought that the only pleasure I could get out of life is self-generated--and as they say, “instant gratification is not fast enough.”
The absolute miracle for me today is that I no longer have to live in the old attitudes that drove me to destruction. By working the SA Twelve Step program, I have been given a new operating system in life. As a result, none of the old forms of acting out that drove me to Sexaholics Anonymous have very little appeal today. Today I see that my past behaviors were false solutions. I now realize that sexual acting out was not my core problem. My core problem was me. I had a heart of stone and a personality full of self-centered attitudes.
One last thing: the SA White Book tells me there is no such thing as surrender in the abstract. I always thought attitudes were abstract. So how do I surrender an attitude? The SA White Book also tells me that an attitude is a "spiritual action," and I've come to believe that is true.
Today I try to start my day by taking spiritual action. I intentionally give and receive love (proper use of the will), which is the essence of my Higher Power and of my "new" heart. I do the “whatever” prayer: "God whatever you have in store for me today, I'm all in. And I do the “What Can I Do?” prayer. “What can I do to be of service to others today?“
Today I am constantly in the process of surrendering harmful attitudes and anticipating my Higher Power's better idea for me. And one other new attitude: I never surrender anything without faithfully relying on something better heading my way from Higher Power.