One of our newer members this past week echoed a frequent concern from newcomers: How can we possibly gain any victory over our disease if we start by admitting we’re powerless?
Yet that was how I came to SA. I had exhausted every avenue that I could think of. I was at immediate risk of death in the extreme sexual things I did, and yet I kept doing them. I doubted my own sanity, and certainly had been beaten down into not trusting myself at all. I desperately wanted someone to show me how to control my actions, because I had flat run out of ideas.
The first SA member I met told me that I was powerless over lust. “What?” I thought. “Is that a sentence of death??” But I came to realize that he was right. I am powerless over lust. What that means is that, when I let lust into my thinking, I do not know how far I will go. I might stop again right after ogling that person on the street. Or I might keep lingering in lust until something else displaces it. Or I might feed that lust for hours or days to the point that I end up acting out with myself. Or (given my extreme modus operandi) I might continue to the point of putting my life at risk again. I just don’t know. I cannot control it. To make it worse, I always convince myself that I’m really in control, and that I’ll stop early this time.
But there is also good news. I am powerless over lust; it will take over. But I do have power in some other areas. I can choose to work the Steps with a sponsor. I can choose to seek a spiritual awakening. I can choose to do the Next Right Thing in each moment. I can choose to examine my resentments and fears, and to find a new attitude toward them. I can choose to ask God (as I understand Him) to remove my character defects. I can choose to make amends for my wrongs to others. I can choose to constantly examine my life and keep it clean. I can choose to seek to know more about God. I can choose to help others, and to live this way for the rest of my life. All of these are things that I do have the power to do.
And the amazing thing in my life is that, by choosing to do these things, I no longer do the dangerous sexual things I used to do. I now live essentially lust-free. I could not choose to live lust-free and carry out that choice. I just don’t have enough power to do that. But by choosing to do these other things that seem largely unrelated to my sexual problems, I have gotten there anyway.
I admit that I’m powerless over lust. But then I followed the SA program by using what power I do have, and I obtained freedom.
Sober since Feb 2014