Declaring my true sobriety date

A while back, I reset my sobriety date, even though I had "technically" not acted out the day before (no "sex with one’s self or with partners other than the spouse"). But I certainly had "acted in". I'd looked at porn images and binged on lust. I simply came to the conclusion later on that I was not "sober" in that moment, so my sobriety date should reflect that. I could not honestly say to myself (or God or others) that I was having "progressive victory over lust", since the previous date I had been using. It was a relapse.

I also remember, in one of the early groups I went to, that those who had years of sobriety would declare at each meeting that they were "sober today". They did this to emphasise the "one-day-at-a-time" nature of recovery. Eventually that stopped, following a group conscience meeting at which newer members and those of us with not much sobriety asked that the be pattern changed. We asked because we wanted to be reassured that it really was possible to have "years" of sobriety. Subsequently, some members took to reporting their "physical sobriety" date and their "mental sobriety" date.

Much has changed for me since that time. Finally I have been experiencing "recovery". We started a local group. I worked the Steps of the program and I came to believe and experience that "acting out" is not what I need to be concerned about at all. "Acting out sexually" is simply the result of lusting ("acting in"). And as long as I stay connected to the Source of power, by maintaining my "spiritual condition", I will surrender temptations immediately I become conscious of them. 

"On the other hand, in the instant of temptation, there is absolutely no such thing as progressive victory over lust. Any rationalizations we have notwithstanding, whenever that image, that fantasy, or that memory hits, we either lust or we don't. We either drink or we don’t. The intent is either there or it isn’t. There’s nothing progressive about it. There's no in-between."

Because I am so thoroughly convinced that I am a sexaholic, and that means that I am entirely powerless over lust, I have become convinced that surrender of lust "in the instant of temptation" really is my only option, if I really want to remain sober and in recovery. I can't speak for other people, but I am convinced it is true of me. And having been convinced of that, surrender simply has been my consistent practice ever since my current length of sobriety began.

What I am experiencing as "progressive" is even more so in other areas beyond lust. It is the "progressive" recognition of what my character defects are, how deep that "rabbit hole" goes, and what it really means to "turn my will and my life over to the care of God." It is progressively realizing just how much self-deception, selfishness, and impure motives affect everything I do. It is increasingly experiencing my "Lust-bearer", my Defect-bearer, my Sin-bearer as loving and gracious towards me, just because that is what He does based on who He is, not because I "get it right" or achieve "spiritual perfection".


In summary, for us surrender is the change in attitude of the inner person that makes life possible. It is the great beginning, the insignia and watchword of our program. And no amount of knowledge about surrender can make it a fact until we simply give up, let go, and let God. When we surrender our "freedom," we become truly free. (SAWB p.82)