The Sexaholics Anonymous Program of Recovery Really Works, If You Work It!
Recently when I was meeting with a Sexaholics Anonymous sponsee, he asked me how the ideas of “powerlessness” and “choices” can work together. I could see the seeming paradox as to how those options might work together, but I'm okay with that. Here is how I think it works, based on readings from the book Sexaholics Anonymous (aka “the White Book”):
The sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop. Lust has become an addiction. Our situation is like that of the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and must stop drinking altogether but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with the sexaholic, or sex drunk, who can no longer tolerate lust but cannot stop (SA, p. 202).
We discovered that we could stop, that not feeding the hunger didn't kill us, that sex was indeed optional. There was hope for freedom, and we began to feel alive. Encouraged to continue, we turned more and more away from our isolating obsession with sex and self and turned to God and others (SA, p. 204)
So I'm "not free to stop,” but I "could stop"? Yeah, that does sound like a paradox. Lust is more powerful than I am. Once I let lust begin, I cannot stop what will happen next. And in my own power, I am hopeless when it comes to lust. That is why both Alcoholics Anonymous literature and Sexaholics Anonymous literature tell me to stop fighting lust (or anything else for that matter [see Alcoholics Anonymous, Step Ten]). I do not struggle with lust, because I can not win. I am powerless over lust, and fighting lust just gives lust more power. I have lost the ability to stop lusting in my own power (Step One).
I need a Power greater than myself if I am to have any hope of stopping lusting and staying stopped. That Power is God (Step Two). I need to connect with God daily, in the first moment of my day, when my powerlessness over lust comes into my consciousness (temptations, triggers, other defects that will drive me to lusting, etc.), and give that up in a conscious decision of surrender of lust and my whole self to God (Step Three). Then I need to develop a new way of living if I am to have any hope of continuing to do that one day at a time, for the rest of my life (Steps Four through Twelve).
It turns out that I do have a choice, but specifically not a choice to exert power over lust. I lost that power of choice when I became a sexaholic (addicted to lust). But, as I shared with my sponsee, I do have a choice to surrender to God. That is the choice that I can make. I can make a clear and definitive choice to surrender lust and myself (and my will and my life) to God, and then He can and will receive what I freely surrender to Him. And then He can and will keep me sober as I continue to live in the attitude and state of surrender to His will for me.
This is what has been working for me as I work the SA program, and "it works if you work it." The Steps work, if you work them in the power of God.
If you're trying to do this on your own, all I can say is good luck. That never worked for me.
Sober since 2009