A continuous look at our assets and liabilities, and a real desire to learn and grow by this means, are necessities for us. We alcoholics have learned this the hard way. More experienced people, of course, in all times and places have practiced unsparing self-survey and criticism. For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong. Twelve and Twelve P. 88

What Happened?

Last week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening I looked at pornographic pictures and video of gay sex. Afterwards on Friday night, I masturbated. My first feelings afterward were not of guilt or shame. I felt an exhilaration from drinking in lust down to the dregs.

I don’t know why I did not stop after the first night. I believed I was doing what I needed to do when Thursday morning I told my wife I had viewed porn the night before. Where I have felt ashamed in the past when sharing with her, this time she simply thanked me for telling her, and I felt I was off the hook. I also checked in my behavior with a member of the program. My understanding of the incident three days later is that my mistake was that I didn’t go far enough to ask for help from one of my fellows. Merely reporting what happened was not enough.

I also remember waking up Thursday morning hung over from drinking in the images and doing a lot of objectifying and touching myself. As one member told me afterwards, “You filled up the cup until it overflowed.”

In addition, I reported looking at pictures on the internet to my Friday morning group. Why wasn’t I spared from the overwhelming lust wave that rushed over me again Friday night? It was most likely that I minimized the lust I was experiencing. I don’t even think I called what I looked at pornography, let alone that it was for an hour on each of the previous two nights. The lie was omitting important details. I needed to reach out to someone after the meeting to ask for help.

What Happened Leading Up to What Happened?

Why now? I had almost five months of sobriety, my longest since entering the program three years ago. My son had just purchased a house two weeks earlier, and I was spending a lot of time helping him fix it up. I felt the urgency of their move in date of November 15. Although my help was a good and worthwhile endeavor, it supplanted my recovery work. I had put off my amends letter writing and was even warned by my sponsor about waiting too long to get started. I told myself I had worked hard over the last few months on steps 4-7 so I could take some time off. It was a bad decision to move my recovery work after my work on the house. Recovery always needs to be first in my life,

Why didn’t I stop after the first night? As I mentioned earlier, I told my wife and a program fellow the next day. Somehow, instead of slowing my lustful feelings, it put them in neutral ready to re-engage at full speed Thursday night. Also, I was embarrassed and ashamed to be looking at gay porn so I said the very minimum when reporting. A lack of complete honesty was a fatal mistake, one that I have perfected during my fifty years as a sex addict.

When I think back I believe the downward slide actually began with a men’s under ware ad on Facebook. It led me to reinstall Instagram where I saw a link to someone’s Twitter account. A simple click and I was seeing images that I had no idea were on Twitter. I’ve uninstalled Instagram and Twitter from my phone and will also delete them from my iPad.

What resentment(s) we’re behind my acting out? Who or what do I resent?

• I am resentful of my wife’s attitude about my same sex addiction. She is disgusted at the thought of two men naked together. I feel she numbs any feelings she may have toward me physically by the repulsion she expresses. She has told me that she has no feelings toward me. Where once she felt great safety in my embrace, she now experiences nothing when we hug. I resent that we do not have a physical relationship. I am afraid that we may never have sexual relations again. It is humiliating to keep asking for a simple hug and knowing that she does not feel anything from them. In some ways it’s like hugging a brick. I get defensive when I hear my wife talk about how she experiences my same sex attraction. I don’t want to have to continue to take responsibility for how I acted out. It takes every recovery tool I have learned to use to keep from tuning out, hiding the way I feel and isolating. I know God wants me to take responsibility and to be fully present and responsive to my wife’s trauma and her need for safety.

• There are times when I resent SA recovery work. I resent having to be so vulnerable. Coming out of hiding takes courage and very hard work. I’m often emotionally and physically exhausted after a phone call in which I have been completely honest about my lusting thoughts and actions. I’m embarrassed to talk about the ways I objectify myself and others. I’ve scrutinized my precursors to masturbation such as spending too much time in the shower and not dressing right after toweling off. I resent knowing that there will always be the next lust behavior that I need to monitor and regulate. It’s humiliating and exhausting. I don’t feel up to the task of staying sober. I realize I’m powerless over lust. I feel inadequate, small and disconnected. God wants me to show up differently. He wants me to know that I am loved and accepted by Him and by others who struggle with sex addiction. I’m committed to receive God’s grace in my life and His provision for the courage and strength I need to stay sober as I lean into the difficult work of recovery. I surrender my limitations while asking that He eliminate the humiliation I experience. I pray that He will turn my humiliation into humility.

What was happening to me internally?

• Selfish (attitudes): I deserve to feel good. I was ashamed and it kept me from going the next right thing. It’s like shame is a two sided coin and one side is “insecurity and poor self esteem” and the opposite side is “the inability to ask for help.”

• Self-seeking (behavior): I wanted to experience the feeling of an organism. I like to masturbate. I like the rush I feel when looking at porn.

• Dishonest (w/self or others): I don’t tell the full truth. I minimize what happened and leave out key facts. I tell myself that it wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t come clean right away and have to talk myself into being completely honest.

• Frightened (where have I been afraid?): I’m afraid that people won’t like me when they find out what I did. I’m afraid that Carol will over react and judge me with disgust. I’m afraid of being embarrassed and rejected for having same sex attraction.

What Happened the Three Days After Losing My Sobriety?

For the last three days I have been irritable, discouraged and upset. I wasn’t specific with my sponsor Monday morning when we talked about what I did. I made it seem like I had told my wife everything when I had only told her about the first night of viewing porn. I was still I’m minimizing mode, telling half truths and convincing myself and others that it was the whole truth. My sponsor asked me to write about what happened and this detailed summary is the result.

I told my wife the full story Monday morning after going for a walk and talking to my sponsor. I was comforted that she was clam and supportive. She even suggested that it must be hard for me to be the one doing all the confessing. This makes the relationship seem a bit one sided. She wondered if there were things she should tell me and said she’d ask Eric what he thinks.

I called another SA member and talked about writing and sharing a tenth step at an SA meeting. He sent me a template and I’ve been using parts of it as I write this document. He also encouraged me to share it at a meeting.

What Will I Do Next?

  • Eliminate Twitter (already done) and Facebook (for the ads) from my phon
  • Unsubscribe to email ad accounts for men’s clothing
  • Share this tenth step with my PBH group, my SA sponsor, and, if my sponsor thinks it’s a good idea, to an SA group next Monday.
  • Listen to the advice of other
  • Keep SA Recovery the first priority in my life
  • Ask for help earlier, i.e. The time I texted my PBH group that I was lusting after football players on TV and then immediately turned off my phone until the next morning.
  • My plan to deal with the times I am tempted to look at pornography:

1.When I experience the first pull towards porn, turn off the device I am using, and admit
to God I’m powerless over lust and surrender my will to Him.

2. Keep the device off for a minimum of 15 minutes. Go for a walk or do some other physical exercise.

3. If the temptation has subsided, talk about the lust hit during my next phone call or meeting.

4. If the temptation does not go away after 15 minutes, call another SA member to talk in detail about what I’m experiencing.

What are the costs to me of engaging in this behavior?

The possible costs of continuing to watch pornography and masturbating include:

• Separation from my wife.

• My family withdrawing from me and the loss of the privilege of being around my

• Lust gradually overtaking my recovery and leading to more devastating ways of acting

• A decrease of self awareness and self-esteem that erases my ability to recognize lust when it comes into my presence. This is the opposite of how my lust detector has gradually become more fine tuned as I have gained a more significant length of sobriety.

Whole and Vulnerable

When I am weak, than I am strong.

I believe in a God of vulnerability, a deity who chose great love and grace instead of power. My faith rests on One so courageous that He emptied himself completely, drained to the dregs of human life, and died. This truth is based, not on human wisdom or strength, but on a life of wholeness that recognizes and welcomes a human need to be loved by God.

We are beloved. God’s favor rests on us as it did on Jesus. We are being saved not based on merit but on God’s choice. He chose us long before we chose Him. He stands at the door and knocks. He waits. God will not force Himself upon us. Our choice is to open the door or not.

We are most vulnerable when we realize that God loves and recognizes us as whole people, the good and the bad. We would like to be content and strong on our own. The lie is that strength seems courageous. Real courage is in acknowledging our idols, those things we cherish in life more than God. Idols call us to turn inward and to solve our own problems. Understanding our weakness, leading with it as we connect with God and others, is the the true path through difficulties.

Problems are best engaged with vulnerability. We must be present to all that we are, whole persons, both the good and the terrible. Wholeness is the starting place for recovering God’s image in us. We can’t offer God our goodness, and expect Him to be impressed. However, offering Him our brokenness is the way to being whole and complete, lacking nothing.

Our brokenness connects us to God. We don’t move out of our brokenness. God moves into it. Our failures connect us to each other.

Leading with our weakness takes courage. God’s vulnerability teaches us this. Without Christ, we are nothing and Jesus was courageously vulnerable. He did not hang on to the power that was rightly His. He released it. He freely gave it away. When we lead with our weakness, then we are strong. When we are vulnerable in relationship, then we are whole and complete, lacking nothing.

Pride, again!

Real and effective fasting by a preacher [or anyone] is not fasting from food, but fasting from eloquence, from impressive diction, and from everything else that might hinder the gospel of God being presented. . . Anything that flatters me . . . will result in making me a traitor to Jesus. – Chambers

We had not even prayed rightly. We had always said, “Grant me my wishes” instead of “Thy will be done.” The love of God and man we understood not at all. Therefore we remained self-deceived, and so incapable of receiving enough grace to restore us to sanity. – 12/12 page 31

I was born into the church. My faith in God has always been an important part of my life. I’ve studied the Bible, I’ve prayed and I’ve even fasted from food on occasion. In recovery I realize that my spirituality has been self-centered. I’ve wanted to be looked up to in church. I always shared “important” truth near the end of discussions in Sunday school or church meetings. Today I read that “anything that flatters me . . . will result in making me a traitor to Jesus.”

These are hard words for me to swallow. But they are true none-the-less. In my addiction I was really praying, “Grant me my wishes.” I wanted to be fixed and I wanted God to immediately render His miracle of healing. I prayed hard for healing, but sooner or later I’d result to acting out again. Each time I relied on lust to save me, I was really loosing my life. Like Sméagol, my true self was becoming a gray, shriveled and cowering Gollum. My addict was growing stronger; my true nature was disappearing.

Thy will be done, not mine. Without living this way, I can’t understand God’s love nor the love of any man. I was deceiving myself into believing I was unlovable. I was the worst of sinners. I didn’t love myself and came to believe that no one loved me. The double life I was living was unmanageable, and I was “incapable of receiving enough grace to restore [me] to sanity.”

Ultimately it was pride and fear that kept me from true recovery. I couldn’t be honest with myself, with God, and certainly not with any other human, especially my wife. I traded being loved for being flattered. I wanted another man to think I had a strong, muscular body with awesome equipment. I longed to be lusted after. Thank God, I found recovery and a group of people who were completely honest about their sex addiction.

Today, because I’m leaning into recovery by appropriately reaching out to connect with others using words and talking about my emotions, I’m able to stay sober one day at a time. I can pray, “Thy will be done,” right now even though my body is screaming out for another lust hit. “God I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and do with me as Thou WILT. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy WILL.” Self bondage equals pride. God, relieve me of the bondage of pride that I may stay sober today in recovery. Help me receive enough of your grace to restore me to sanity.


“The god of intellect displaced the God of our fathers. . . . We saw that we had to reconsider or die. We found many . . . who once thought as we did. They helped us to get down to our right size. By their example they showed us that humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first. When we began to do that, we received the gift of faith, a faith which works. This faith is for you, too.” 12/12 p 29

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty smart person. As I grew older I thought I had a seasoned perspective on many issues. I believed I could hold my life as a husband, father and important leader in one hand and my addiction quietly in another. What I didn’t bargain for was that the addict continued to grow and my intellect had to abandon all humility to keep up. I tried to remain humble by looking meek when it suited my circumstances. False humility became a second lie; my addiction was the first. I tried to live so others would not see what I was like on the inside.

Slowly intellect became another false god in my life. I knew that if I was smart enough I would be an important person, especially to those spiritually minded. I could quote spiritual writers and people who had a distinctively God centered worldview. But inside, my life was crumbling like a piece of burnt toast. I was falling apart, coming apart at the seams. I could not hold my addiction to lust, any form of humility, and my true self together any more.

Only when I disclosed to my wife and two sons that I was attracted to men did I begin to understand that intellect and humility were compatible. My understanding grew when I kept honesty squarely on the table. When I lead with honesty about my addiction, humility rises above intellect. It becomes primary. Intellect becomes secondary. Then, and only then, is my faith a working faith. As one of my SA friends puts it, “Faith with skin on it.”

Honesty disarms my addict. I can’t be honest without being humble. I’m still learning to lead with my weakness when I share in meetings or talk to another person in the fellowship. I still want to lead with my intellect. I want to share what I know about recovery instead of how I am powerless over lust and how my life is unmanagable. For me, the progress in recovery I long for moves from honesty through humility to faith in God.

A crisis of the will.

My will has been my own for so long that I don’t even recognize it as selfishness. Before recovery, I was so wrapped up in protecting myself and my secret that I could no longer notice or admit to the truth. Fantacy corrupted reality.

Surrendering my will is a daily challenge. Just to bring my self-centeredness to mind is difficult and I often skip that acknowledgement during my morning routine. “God I offer myslef to thee, to build with me and do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self.” These words are a great reminder to surrender everything to God.

A year ago I had a major relapse. I remember the incident now because I just reread what I wrote about it. I connected by text to someone from my dark past. I had blocked his number but somehow he made contact. It was easy to step into the soothing waters of pleasuring myself. The arousal intensified as we texted for over five hours. Lust grows through experiences like that until there’s no turning back, no stopping.

Lust kills love, love for self and love for others. Surrender is the only option to curtail addiction and connection with another person is the doorway to surrender. Victory from my difficulties comes from surrender to God. I need a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity. But keeping this truth to myslef doesn’t help. Only when I share with a brother, only when I am completely honest, only then, will the moment of victory arrive. Thy will not mine be done. May I do thy will always.

Impetuous Past

Isaiah 52:12 Yet do not depart quickly or leave in a panic. For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard.

“You shall not go out with haste….” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” – O. Chambers

My biggest challenge is self will. I want, what I want, and I want it now. I want to be relieved from the bondage of my sinful past, right now. I want to be completely healed from addiction, right now. I want to immediately handle all life’s challenges. I want to be rid of my destructive past, for good. I want to forget; my gut is impetuous; my first thoughts are selfish.

But God’s very nature provides a different, slower solution. It is true that my past conduct produced broken and irreversible consequences. I have lost opportunities and lived a good portion of my life in darkness and deceit. But God has not forsaken me. He is slow to anger and quick to love.

He can transform the destructive anxiety aroused from my dark past into a constructive thoughtfulness of the future. I do not need to be paralysed and inactive. I do need to let the past rest in His capable hands. I need to be patient and watchful for His direction. I need to walk into 2019 with the patient power of knowing that God will go before me. My daily prayer will be to “leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with him.” There is no need to fear, I don’t need to “leave [my past] in a panic” because God leads me, and He also has my back. “For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard.” Is 52:12 b


“Individuality is the hard outer layer surrounding the inner spiritual life. Individuality shoves others aside, separating and isolating people. . . Individuality counterfeits spirituality, just as lust counterfeits love. . .

The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-will. . . Watch yourself closely when the Spirit of God is at work in you. He pushes you to the limits of your individuality where a choice must be made. The choice is either to say, “I will not surrender,” or to surrender, breaking the hard shell of individuality, which allows the spiritual life to emerge. “ – Chambers

“No matter what wrong the other party has done, if we are disturbed, there is always something wrong with us, especially in the area of attitude. “ White Book Page 117

Often, it is easy for me to shove other people aside because I feel insecure and threatened. I’m learning to change my attitude, but it is taking time. My natural tendency is to defend myself and to fight back when I get disturbed. When I do, resentment gets a foothold and begins to grow.

I hope I can catch myself when I first begin to feel that someone has wronged me. At this moment I have a decision to make. Will I surrender my will and individuality to God or will I garner my strength to attack.

Surrender is not avoidance. Avoiding conflict leads to anger, and pent up anger leads to rage. Surrender is saying to myself, what part do I have in this drama. When I change my behavior to align with God’s will, clarity forms around the issue. I cannot change the way someone feels about me, and I certainly can’t change their behavior. I must leave that in God’s capable hands. Serenity is changing what I can about myself and accepting everything I cannot change. Wisdom is understanding the difference.

Reality Check

“Once you are rooted in reality, nothing can shake you.” – Chambers

Living in a fantasy world is one hallmark of an addict. We make up our own reality to suit our desire. Until we submit to God, surrender our lust and gain sobriety, we will do anything to get the dopamine fix our brains long for. Our brain will convince us that acting out sexually is the only way to feel better. We are powerless to leave fantasy for reality unless we cling to the fact that we are redeemed.

We are rescued out of addiction when we lean into sobriety. We continue to be delivered from lust when we do the hard work of recovery: surrendering our strong desires to lust, going to meetings, and working the steps. We don’t do this alone but in a fellowship of recovering addicts and only with God’s help. His grace is sufficient.

Reality for me is the moment by moment curiosity I have for what is going on in my heart and in my head. Do I pause and wonder what I’m feeling and how that is related to what I’m thinking? Do I realize when I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired? If I do, how do I react? Do I express my anger at someone else’s expense or swear at God? Do I get defensive or resentful? Do I get sad and isolate myself? Medicating loneliness with isolation never works. Checking in with a fellow in the program almost always does.


I admitted that I had a problem in September of 2017. I first had to admit it to myself. I recognized that God already knew, but I also admitted it to him again. I pledged to be honest about my same sex attraction that day and have not turned back, no more hiding, no more lurking in the dark. When I started in SA I admitted more specifically a third time that I was powerless over lust and that my life had become unmanageable.

Oswald Chambers says, “The feebleness of the church is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this focus on the true center of spiritual power. We have not dwelt enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of redemption.”

I’d like to keep this notion of feebleness at arms length. I don’t like to think of myself as a weakling let alone act like it. I needed to present myself as a strong person – someone to be respected. The irony is that I’m really not feeble when I turn my will over to God.

I thought I’d turned my life over to God when I was at church camp in junior high. But the addict in me was taking root at about the same time and a war between my will for acting out and God’s will began at age 14 and continued for 50 years. This battle of guilt, shame and powerlessness raged on and on and on.

At times I fought with all my might to rid myself of lust. I knew it was wrong and the guilt and shame I felt after acting out, especially that first time with another man, was extreme evidence. I tried to stop, over and over and over again. I even sought help and was relieved from the grip of addiction for a short time.

Chambers says our feebleness is in our lack of focus on the center of the spiritual power that is available to us. SA also says that the addict’s problem is essentially a spiritual one. “It [our addiction] got us high on ourselves, short-circuiting any meaningful connection with others and God.” White Book Page 52. “Most of us confused the personal with the sexual, as though only the sexual aspect of this union would satisfy what essentially is a spiritual drive.” Page 54. Ultimately, lust kills God. And finally, “The insanity of our delusion damns us to a condition where truth about ourselves cannot penetrate. We must finally ask, Doesn’t all this add up to spiritual death?” Page 56

So yes, I am powerless. I admit it. This first step of honesty before God, and now before others, is what is different this time. I tried to be honest with God before. He knows how trapped I was because he’s omnipresent, and also because I brought my trouble to Him over and over again. But I wasn’t ready, really ready, to receive the help I needed from others. Now I surrender to God daily, go to meetings and work the steps. Herein lies my only hope.


In what or in whom do I believe? If I examine my belief system closely, I must confess that the center of my beliefs is me. At least that’s the way I act. When a problem comes my way I believe I can solve it logically. If I simply apply good thinking to the issue, I can reach the appropriate conclusion. I will likely pray for God’s help but I won’t really believe he will solve my problem, at least not in the way that benefits me.

When I entered recovery, I came to realize that I am powerless over several, maybe many, things in my life. I was living an out of control life, insane and unmanageable. I had tried over and over again to stop bad behaviors but logic and self-will were insufficient. I pledged to stop and all that happened was that I’d be sober for a short time and then go back to acting out. Each time the frequency between my addictive cycles seemed to grow shorter and shorter.

Sunday marked three months of sobriety. The last month seemed particularly hard as I stepped close to the edge of oblivion several times, drawn there by memories and fantasies. By God’s grace I did not enter into the darkness although I certainly paced around the edges. I am realizing more and more how I need God and I need the help of my brothers in the fellowship. The way I will remain sober is working on it, one day at a time, believing I am powerless to stop but that God will restore me to sanity.

So I no longer believe in myself as a means to my survival. Today I am asking “God to direct my thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. “ – Big Book p. 86

God, I offer myself to thee to build with me and do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. My belief in God has switched from being something for my own self-interest and benefit to believing that he will help others through me if my own life is in order.