At times it seems that I have had to work harder at my SA recovery program than I did in my addiction, but maybe that was because I seemed to slide slowly into my addiction by doing whatever I wanted to do. What finally was most difficult for me was living in my addiction, because I couldn't stand being me anymore.
Initial sobriety was quite hard for me. It seemed abrupt and painful. I had to start facing the realities of life instead of running to my drug of choice. My emotions were raw. I felt depressed and lethargic most of the time. I only really felt good about one thing, and that was that I was sexually sober. But at first I struggled to stay sober, and I only had a rudimentary spiritual connection with God. So I acted out with porn at around my six month sobriety mark. I had to admit that I was never going to stay sober doing it “my way,” and that I needed someone to tell me what to do, someone who had done it himself before me.
Getting a sponsor meant working the Twelve Steps. I was familiar with the Steps, so I had some idea of what was coming--and I was afraid of the Steps. I could see plainly that the Steps would be hard work, and at times humiliating work. I was afraid of my sponsor as well, since I had made a commitment with myself and God that I was going to do whatever he said, even if it killed me. I had no idea if this guy was going to turn out to be some kind of sociopath!
I was not wrong about how hard the Steps would be. But as I worked them, my attitude began to change. I no longer was terrified by the prospect that I would have to admit difficult things, change long-established patterns, and humble myself by admitting my wrongs to others and making amends. Having God run my life instead of always doing things my way proved to be more of a relief than I ever imagined. Loads of pain and guilt and shame and fear just fell away.
I still work at my recovery. Maintaining a "fit spiritual condition" requires work on my part. Continuing to take inventory and making amends is hard work. "Prayer and meditation" take time and effort. Carrying the message to other requires giving to others. Continuing to grow by "practicing these principles in all my affairs" is hard work as well. But unlike my life in addiction, this recovery life is a life worth living! All my hard work in recovery has definitely paid off in so many positive ways.
(Recovering lust addict, sober since 2009)