Ways I've avoided working the Steps

I am sober now for 7 years and I'm grateful to be a sexaholic because now I have a life worth living and tools to help me live that life. And I can help others live a life worth living by working the 12 Steps of SA. But here are some of the ways in which I have actually resisted working the Steps.

1) I need to... I call this "needism." I need to go to a meeting. I need to read the White Book. I need to pray more. And I always said these words but I never had any action to back up my intention. I never really recovered until I actually took action.

2) Remembering. I used to think that if I could only remember how I felt the last time I acted out, the pain I felt, then that would be enough to make me stop. But when I was in the temptation or when the urge would hit, I would forget all of that remembering, that logical thinking, and go right back to acting out. The AA Big Book talks about the strange mental blank spots and how I cannot remember the suffering or humiliation of a week or a month ago because I am powerless over that first lust hit.

3) Staying busy. If I only stay busy, then I won't act out. I tried this numerous times, but inevitably there were times when I had nothing to do or I felt bored or I felt entitled to act out, and so I would. The problem was that wherever I go or whatever I do, I'm still me with this internal condition of the obsession of the mind. It's always there unless I work the steps.

4) Willpower. If I only had enough willpower. I will try harder next time. I have what it takes now. These are lies I would tell myself, and I really meant it. The only problem was that they were always said AFTER I had acted out. That's when, like after eating a meal, I was full and wasn't hungry anymore for lust for the moment. The AA Big Book says I have lost the power of choice. I have no power of choice in lust. I never knew what "enough" was. I didn't control and enjoy lust, it controlled and enjoyed me.

5) Fear of the unknown. For the longest time, I didn't work the steps with a sponsor because I was fearful or thought I could really stop when I wanted, that I didn't need the steps, but it was really about the fear of the unknown because even though my life was unmanageable and even though I had two divorces, I could still somehow manage it. Deep down, it was all about fear because I really wanted instant healing and since that didn't happen, I wasn't going to work the steps. But that was addictive thinking because I could get an instant hit of lust, so why can't I get instant recovery and, poof, I'm healed? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

6) Recovery is boring. Addiction is about instant, immediate, fast, chaos, etc. Recovery is about taking it easy, slow down, relax, peace, serenity. But for the longest time I thought recovery was boring. Now I see that it is anything but boring because I can now live a life worth living. Since working the steps with a sponsor and daily applying the steps and helping others work through the steps, I can now live a life in serenity and peace no matter what is going on externally. I am going back to college at age 52 to finish the degree that I started back when I was in my early 20s.

7) Yes, but... I used to use this phrase a lot: "Yes, but you don't understand my situation." This was simply an excuse and a way to justify my fear of not working the steps. The problem was I had not experienced enough pain until finally I was out of excuses and I hit a brick wall emotionally and didn't know where to turn.

8) I don't have time or money to go to meetings. But I always had time and money to act out, didn't I? I always had an excuse to act out. I would develop excuses to not go to meetings or work the steps, but it was really me thinking I could still control and enjoy lust, when all the while it was controlling and enjoying me.

9) I'll go to more meetings. Meeting makers don't make it. Step takers make it. I went to a lot of meetings but that didn't solve my problem until I worked the steps with a sponsor. I now go to a lot of meetings but I also apply the steps every day and I work with others through the steps.

10) Recovery is too difficult. Really the addiction is too difficult too, I just didn't realize it. It takes a LOT of time and energy to act out. I had to have my mind constantly focused on where a certain place was to act out or click on hundreds and hundreds of images trying to find that "perfect" image, which always seemed to elude me. Isn't that difficult to go through all that chaos and uncertainty? There is a better way to live in recovery where I don't have to live that old way anymore.

11) Figuring it out. I'll figure out where I went wrong or I'll figure out this or that. Figuring it out is using the same brain that got me there in the first place. My BEST thinking got me to SA. My best and brilliant mind has my life unmanageable even when I think it's not really THAT unmanageable. And that was after two divorces and just feeling awful about myself.

12) Why did I have to be a sexaholic? What I was really saying was "why can't I act out and not feel bad about it?" That's what I really wanted. Why did I have to feel so bad all the time about acting out. Why can't I have my cake and eat it too. So I would wish I could control and enjoy lust and act out.

13) I’ll read self-help books and that will help me stop. I read a lot of self-help books but I never was able to follow through with any of it. At first it was empowering and I felt like I had enough of what it took to defeat the addiction, but then I would eventually go back to acting out. And then I would read a different self-help book thinking that, okay, the other book didn't work, but this one seems to have the answer – and on and on it went.

14) Why won’t anyone call me or write to me now that I’m in recovery? When I first got into recovery, I had the old idea that I should be catered to, that others should come to me rather than me go to them. I thought that I should not have to call others but that they, instead, should call me or write to me. I had to let go of that idea and take action and call others, since this is a program of action.

15) I have to work at recovery every day? I thought that I could just go to one meeting a week and then go about my life as usual. I treated recovery like going to church: once a week for me, thank you. I realized that I had to go to many meetings as well as staying in contact with others and work the steps every day. After all, I acted out every day or was thinking about my addiction every day, so why should I not at least do the same with recovery and think about recovery every day and call others every day and go to as many meetings as I could?

16) Since I've been successful in _______, I can be successful in beating this addiction. I was able to quit smoking. I was able to quit drinking. I was able to quit using drugs. I was able to lose weight and start exercising. But no matter what I tried or how hard I tried, I could not apply the same willpower that I had with respect to those other successes in my life. It just didn't work, much to my frustration. I had to finally admit that I was powerless over this addiction to lust. There are just some battles I was not meant to fight.

17) There’s no way I can fail now because ______. I used to think that I had control over my addiction thinking that there’s no way I could fail now, especially now that I know this or that. But it never worked because I always went back to acting out no matter how logical my thinking was at the time I thought I could not fail now.

18) I have so much shame, there’s no way I can go to a meeting with other people. I thought I would be chastised for being a pervert or a low-life or a loser. What I found in the rooms of recovery was complete and unconditional acceptance from others who were going through the same things as me, and some were worse off than I ever felt. 

19) I don’t deserve recovery because of all the things I've done. This goes along with shame. I felt like I was the worst person in the world and there was no hope of ever getting better because I was too far gone. I see now that this was pride in reverse, that I’m not important enough for God to hate, that it is my thinking that is the problem.

20) I can handle this – it’s not that bad. I thought I could figure out some way to quit my addiction, that there was just something I hadn't tried yet or there was some book that had all the answers, that I didn't need the help of others because I could figure it out on my own and didn't need anyone’s help. Thinking that way almost caused me to commit suicide until I heard in my head the words at the closing of each meeting “it works if you work it” and it was then that I realized I had not really been working it. That was my first step toward being honest with myself.

21) What is the point of sobriety? I often asked myself this question, along with the question of “what’s in it for me?” What I have come to realize is that the point of sobriety is inner peace. That’s what I always wanted anyway but I was always looking in the wrong place. Because I have inner peace now, I can concentrate better, I can read something and not have to re-read a sentence or a paragraph. And because of this inner peace, I also have a mind that is free from self-hatred and shame and guilt and remorse.

22) I wish I could wave a magic wand and be free of this addiction. As much as I wanted this to happen, it never did. What I realized I was really saying was that I wanted it to be taken away from me rather than me having to work the steps with a sponsor to be free of the addiction. I’m still a sexaholic with the disease of sexaholism, but I am sober and able to help others work the steps so they can be free also.

23) Church will fix me. I got really involved in church thinking that would stop me, and for a time it did, but I always returned when the urge would hit me. And then I would try harder and read more of the Bible and other religious activities, but the result was always the same because I was asking God to take my addiction away but I really wasn't ready to give it up. What I was really praying was "God, please take this away because I don't want to give it up." It wasn't until I got into this program that my view of God needed to change, obviously, since it wasn't working for me, which was really baffling because I thought I was solid in the knowledge of God and the Bible, could quote scripture, could do all that stuff, but what I really had was a beliefism but I didn't follow it up with action because I was selfish and self-centered.

There are many others, but these are some common lies that I once told myself. The fact is that I had to get honest with myself that I am truly a sexaholic, that I have the disease of sexaholism, which required of me to make a 100% commitment to this program without any reservation whatsoever and get a sponsor and work the 12 Steps with that sponsor.