I was given the following quote by a friend of mine in recovery who has over 25 years sober. Although some may disagree with him about his strategies for recovery and sponsorship, it’s hard to argue with success and surrender of that magnitude. He’s found ways to make staying sober possible for himself and for hundreds of others, maybe even thousands!
It may not be for everyone.
Some may disagree.
Others may think it doesn’t apply to them.
But I feel it’s at the core of progressive victory over lust, surrender, and long-term recovery from sexual addiction.
The Quote that Sums Up Surrender & Progressive Victory Over Lust
I need to teach you something about addiction that will make staying sober possible. What we know about addiction is that when it comes to “cravings” to act out, they can only be created by ourselves, by partaking of lust mentally first.
We cannot cause ourselves to “crave” acting out without eventually giving in. That’s what powerless means. We cannot entertain those thoughts or memories to any degree without causing a strong desire to act out that is impossible to resist. We cannot do it carefully or safely…we cannot participate at all.
If we choose to do so, we trigger ourselves and our cravings, and cause our own relapse.
Yes, situations arise, thoughts pop up, but the second we choose to consider them rather than letting them pass, we have gone too far.
If we cannot accept this truth, we are doomed to continue to live in a cycle of short-term abstinence and relapse, over and over again.
It should go without saying that this knowledge is not enough to maintain abstinence. It will certainly take the power of God to abstain, but we cannot ignore our own responsibility to avoid trouble. This is the honesty of step one…we are unable to “handle it” to any degree and always will be.
So what does this mean?
Are we in charge of our own recovery?
Is addiction all about just not looking at pornography or is there more to it than that?
What is progressive victory over lust and how do we actually practice that?
These quotes from the White Book stood out today:
Knowledge was not power–even right knowledge! What I needed was not more knowledge about my psychology or God, but power to stop what I was powerless over and obey the little light I already had. I had stopped thousands of times; almost every time was the “last time.” Staying stopped was the problem, and I made countless vain attempts at that…(p. 18)
The real freedom began when I could be free of my past. I became as a child, teachable, having to reject my way of doing and thinking for a new way of life based on surrender of my will to God…This process, of course, is still going on…Believe me, none of this came easily! I just discovered that I had to do it to survive! I had to die to myself in order to live. (p. 23)
The obsession and compulsion of sexual lust are gone; I’ve been set free. Not cured. I’m still a sexaholic; my programming still makes me want to turn my head at anything that looks interesting and take a “drink.” Part of me still thinks it will die if I don’t. But one day at a time, one encounter at a time, one glance at a time, one thought or memory at a time, I don’t have to act on those impulses. I don’t have to drink it in. (p. 24)
I look forward to your interpretation of these concepts.
How can these quotes be implemented in day-to-day life? Or can they realistically?