The “First Step” of Sexual Addiction Recovery

Reclaim Sexual Sanity:  Find Recovery Now by Calling 212-673-5717 for an Initial Consultation.  See www.sextreatment.com for 35 full-length articles about sex addiction and for details about my private practice.

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“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”.
Carl Rogers
I was very young when I went to my first AA meeting in Greenwich Village, New York.  And I was confused, baffled, frightened, desperate, and hurting.
I shared a bit about my situation and people recommended that I not pick up the first drink, call people on the phone, and come back to the meeting the next day.  I did that for 20 years.
But when I first looked out at the big “Twelve Suggested Step” board on the wall, I would stare at the first step because I had no idea what it meant to be “powerless” over alcohol.  I could, however, certainly understand that my inner and outer life was unmanageable.
It took years for me to really GET, internalize, the first part of the first step.
This is how I came to understand it.  When I would go out for “a” drink, I couldn’t really determine if I’d have “a” drink or 10 drinks.  I couldn’t really even determine if I would go for “a” drink.  Many an evening I’d have a professional occasion planned and never get to it because I’d rather have “a” drink.  I found I couldn’t really do the things I wanted to do.  Trips to the meditation hall, going to see good movies, quality time spent with friends and family would, at the last minute, get overlooked because suddenly I wanted to go for “a” drink.  I was powerless to choose when I drank and powerless to control the amount of time I’d spend and the amount of alcohol I’d consume.
Ultimately, when I was in my addiction, the minute I lifted the glass to my mouth I could no longer decide what my behaviors or actions would be that night.  I lost the power of choice.  Would I end up going to another bar?  Or end up in the emergency room?  Or go to bed at my own home?
TO HAVE LOSS OF THE POWER TO DECIDE, TO MAKE CHOICES, IS TO BE POWERLESS OVER YOUR ADDICTION.
So ask yourself:
  • Can you control the amount of time you spend on the computer?  Haven’t you often sat down for a few minutes and before you knew it, six or more hours have slipped away?
  • Can you control the times you’ll go to porn or cybersex?  When you have other important engagements, does the power of the computer call and you, puppet-like, succumb?
  • Do you really have any control over the consequences of your behavior?
  • Have you told yourself again and again, “Never again” only to be pulled back in?
  • Once on the computer, does your hunger for novelty and new levels of stimulation take you to visit sites that, if you weren’t in the “Erotic Haze”, you might find morally reprehensible?
  • When the act is finished, do have have any control of what you feel – shame, guilt, disappointment, self-loathing?  Are you not powerless over your own feelings?
Don’t feel so bad.  There is hope that comes in the form of surrendering to the reality that you are a person who can’t look at porn safely.  Eighty percent of the guys who look at porn don’t get hung up in the compulsion.  What’s real for you is that you’re in the other 20%.  For a whole confluence of reasons, you can’t look at internet pornography or act out sexually and still live a full life as a whole human being.  Some can.  You can’t.  Stop fighting it.
Surrender into freedom.
 
If you’re interested in treatment, contact me at dorothyhayden1231@gmail.com for a free 30-minute consultation.
 
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