I met with my pastor today to discuss my Step 2. As I approached this step, I began to realize that I was very angry with God. I've had this addiction for years and years and years. It causes incredible harm as it runs its course. WHY? Why hasn't God taken this away from me?! Why did he let it cause so much harm to me? to my wife? to others? Either God must not exist, he must not care, or he must not be able to help.
My pastor responded by taking me through the serenity prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change:
I cannot change that I am an addict. I cannot change that it has hurt people. I cannot change the will or actions of God. I cannot understand nor answer most of the WHY questions.
I am an addict. Things have happened to me. I am NOT unique. I am NOT special. "Get over yourself and get on with the programme."
Grant me the courage to change the things I can:
I am powerless. Period. I cannot fight my addiction. The only thing I CAN do - the only thing - is admit that I am powerless and that I need help. In any given moment I can only admit my powerlessness to my higher power. But what does that MEAN?
This means so much more than simply saying a quick prayer. My pastor reminded me that, in my tradition, God works through externals. It was God when I talked with the police and got very scared. It was God when I found a therapist. It was God when that therapist told me I needed to get to a meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous.
But why didn't he just directly take away my addiction?!
God will not wave a magic wand. If he waved that magic wand for me, he would do it for others, he would do it all the time and this world would be worse off for it because "we would all become puppets." Or, if he only did it for me, that would make me somehow incredibly, unusually special...which I am not. I am an addict. Average. There is no magic wand for me.
This is not to say that God doesn't care or love me deeply. BUT he works through externals. Every meeting I go to, God is there in the other members. Every phone call I make, God answers the phone. Every email I send, God replies.
God is not a silver bullet. He is not codependent. He will not make things easy. He will not coddle me. He is tough. And I will be better off because of it.
Steps 1 and 2: "Admit that I am powerless over lust, that my life is unmanageable." "Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity."
I fully admit that I am completely powerless over lust and cannot fight it. Period. The only thing I can do is admit my powerlessness. My life is unmanageable because of my addiction to lust. I believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity: I will call that higher power on the phone and see that higher power in meetings and when I sit on the couch talking with him individually and when I email him with my Step 2 reflections.
And grant me the wisdom know know the difference.
I feel a little bit more wise today.