Before I worked the Twelve Steps in Sexaholics Anonymous (under the direction of a sober SA sponsor), I struggled with lust, struggled to not act out, struggled with temptations, struggled with my thoughts, struggled with trigger images, struggled with people I found attractive...I struggled, and struggled, and struggled still more. Everything that related to my addiction was a struggle.
I had no peace and no serenity and no lasting sobriety. I was simply accepting what my own best thinking was telling me, and accepting what the majority of people around me seemed to believe. If I was failing, I just needed to try harder, to struggle a just a bit more. I thought, "You can do it; if you really put your mind to it, you can do anything!"
Maybe that works for some "normal" people out there, but it didn't work for me. I struggled and I failed. And I did this again, and again, and again. Lather, rinse, repeat. This went on and on without any hope in sight. My experience made it very clear that I could not do anything I put my mind to; I struggled hard to succeed at anything. But it didn't have to be that way. There is a solution, but it required that I finally came to grips with my powerlessness (Step One).
One of the things I've noticed in my years of going to SA meetings and participating on SANET and reading the SA and AA literature is that I don't hear people with long-term sobriety say that the solution is to try harder and struggle more. For me, I have learned that if I am struggling, I am absolutely not surrendering my will and my life to the care of God. To struggle is to not surrender. The two are incompatible.
There is a solution. It started with a change of attitude from self-will to willful surrender. As Sexaholics Anonymous (the “White Book”) says on page 81:
"In summary, for us surrender is the change in attitude of the inner person that makes life possible. It is the great beginning, the insignia and watchword of our program. And no amount of knowledge about surrender can make it a fact until we simply give up, let go, and let God. When we surrender our 'freedom,' we become truly free."
Surrendering my "freedom" set me free from the power of lust and connected me to the Power of God. From failure to freedom, that's how the program worked when I finally worked it.
(Sober since August 2009)