Positive Sobriety Begins With Sexual Sobriety
Everything begins with sobriety. Without sobriety, there is no program of recovery. But without reversing the deadly traits that underlie our addiction, there is no positive and lasting sobriety (Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book,” page 77).
I have experienced a lot about the truth of that message. I had no positive sobriety and no lasting sobriety until I finally experienced the recovery that comes from working the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous and connecting rightly with God and others in the SA fellowship.
I attended my first Sexaholics Anonymous meeting a very long time ago. I remember how excited I was to get one week of sobriety. Yes, relapses happened. But then there were two weeks, and then a month...and then three months, six months, nine months, and then eventually a whole year of sexual sobriety. I was so excited to be able to say that I had a year of sexual sobriety!
However, although I had stayed sober, I had accepted a sobriety that was based only on my own hard effort at working the first Two-and-a-half Steps. I did not finish Step Three because I still believed that as long as I stayed sober, I must be doing things correctly. I had not yet experienced positive sobriety. I had not yet experienced the "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization" that my addiction would eventually bring me to.
So before I was able to reach one year and three months of sexual sobriety, I acted out again. I was devastated, but I was not yet willing to work the SA program as it was designed to be worked, and I was not yet ready to commit to working the Steps--all Twelve of them--under the direction of a sponsor.
Time For Positive Sobriety
Fast forward two decades later, and I was finally beaten. I had been in and out of the SA fellowship, sometimes staying for a few months, and sometimes achieving a month or so of sobriety, but I was never willing to do whatever it would take to find freedom from the obsessions and compulsions of lust. "Whatever it takes" was to work all the Steps--and in finally doing so, I had a "spiritual awakening," and I was able to connect rightly with God--the Higher Power Who could and would be able to keep me sexually sober. I began to learn what positive sobriety is.
Along the way I learned how to "clear away the wreckage of my past" and how to continue to "practice these principles in all my affairs." Today, I don't have a desire to act out sexually again. Lust is toxic to me, and sexual temptations and triggers result in an almost automatic reaction to go to God in prayer and to surrender even a whiff of lust to Him. Sexaholics Anonymous recovery means that I no longer need the lust drug to deal with life. By the grace of God, today I can "deal with life on life's terms," instead of always having to escape from it. As the White Book says:
We began practicing a positive sobriety, taking the actions of love to improve our relations with others. We were learning how to give; and the measure we gave was the measure we got back. We were finding what none of the substitutes had ever supplied. We were making the real Connection. We were home (Sexaholics Anonymous, p. 62).
This is so much better!