Why should I give up lust? Many of us turned to Sexólicos Anónimos (SA) because our self-destructive sexual thoughts and activities had led us to total despair. At the SA meetings we discovered, to our surprise, that lust was the driving force behind our addictive sexual practices. Sexual lust is a thought or appetite that leads us to use ourselves, others or certain things for self-centered destructive purposes. The spiritual disease of lust demands sexual stimulation instead of what a Higher Power or God, as we understand it, offers us at that moment. Later we come to understand that lust is wanting anything less than a Higher Power, or God as we understand it, provides us. At first we found it hard to believe. As we began to accept this fact, we wondered how we would be able to live without lust. It was clear that we had to renounce it, but at the same time we doubted that life would be possible without lust. In the SA fraternity, we met people who had found a way to interrupt their self-destructive sexual behaviors. That also seemed incredible to us. However, their sincerity and the happiness that radiated their faces told us that it was true. They had achieved the answer we were so desperately looking for. Why can not I “enjoy” lust, even if it is “just a little?” From the first days of our illness we had thought that lust was our friend. We used it for many reasons: to have fun, to cover the pain, to avoid having to face our problems. At a certain moment we realized that lust had become a bigger problem than the problems we were trying to get away from. Medicine had become a poison. The “solution” had become the problem. We had lost control. Lust, for us, is like riding a roller coaster in an amusement park. Once the vehicle starts up, it is impossible to stop. Therefore, lust must be stopped just at its beginning, before the first drink. To free ourselves from the influence of lust, therefore, we must try to prevent it from penetrating us. This implied to stop looking for emotions and risks. But how were we to abandon something that with our consent had dominated our lives for so many years? How were we going to achieve what a thousand and one times it had been impossible for us to achieve?
Our addiction to lust is like the alcoholic’s problem with alcohol. In the same way that the alcoholic can not tolerate a drop of alcohol, we sexists can not tolerate the slightest sip of lust. Lust always demands more lust, until in the end we end up drunk. Once drunk, the desire to perform addictive sexual behaviors is impossible to resist. And what is even worse, lust drags us more and more strongly into behaviors that we promised ourselves that we would never practice. The shame that these behaviors cause us in turn demanded even more lust to cover them. Enjoying “just a little bit” does not work for sexists in our class.
How can I give up lust? First of all we accept the fact that if we allowed lust to lodge inside us it would lead to some addictive sexual behavior. The idea that we could interrupt our harmful sexual behaviors and at the same time allow lust in our head should be overcome. The conclusion was crystal clear: we had to free ourselves from lust if we wanted to interrupt our addictive sexual practices.
In the second place we admit that we did not have the necessary strength to stop and that we needed a power superior to ourselves. Recognizing our weakness is equivalent to recognizing the need for the recovery process of the twelve steps, the support of other members in recovery, and a Higher Power or God as we understand it.
In the third place we decided to follow the simple program of recovery of SA. These three points became the keys of our progressive victory over lust. We stop fighting with lust, we begin to renounce it and place it in the hands of our Higher Power. Once we overcome our initial despair, we were able to surrender completely to this recovery program known as the twelve steps.
What will happen to me? We who have problems with lust know perfectly what effects it has. Lust is a wall that separates us and prevents us from enjoying satisfying relationships with God and with the people around us. Lust pushes us and encloses us, more and more strongly, towards our interior causing our isolation,
loneliness and despair. But to the extent that we overcome the cycle of lust while working the steps of recovery, our life experiences a remarkable change.
As we recover, we acquire a new sense of dignity and we are happy to be alive. We do not have to hide anymore! The lies and the double life that characterized us remain behind. As the weight of shame and guilt disappears, we have more energy for our family and friends, for work and leisure. Our face, which once expressed concern and bitterness, passes to radiate a resplendent life of happiness, joy and freedom.
Overcoming the lustful behaviors we have Our personal experience teaches us that lust is cunning, disconcerting and powerful, and very patient. In our daily routine, we consider how we are going to be able to defeat an enemy that never rests and never gives up. In the past, when lust knocked on the door, we always opened it. We had no other choice. But today, with recovery, we have other alternatives. We have many tools that we can use to keep the door closed to lust. Here are a few:
Sincerity – For a long time we did not dare to tell anyone what was going on in our head. The secrets allowed our addictive thoughts to consolidate and increase. By telling other SA members what we thought and what we were doing, we found that a large part of the power that was exercised over us was diminished. Therefore, it is convenient that SA members be sincere both when intervening in meetings and when talking with other members outside of them.
Avoid triggers or triggers – There are many things that can trigger lust: movies, magazines, beaches and swimming pools, Internet, even certain parts of the newspaper. There is no doubt that we have innumerable opportunities to satisfy lust. A close and honest examination of our lives can help us identify the thoughts, people, places and objects that normally cause us more problems. Once identified, we avoid them to reduce the chances of falling into lust.
Prayer – We resort to all kinds of prayers to free ourselves from lust. A very brief one can be: “My God, help me”. Many of us ask God to bless the person object of our temptation. We ask God to provide all the good things we want for ourselves. By acting like this, that person stops being a lustful object to become a creature of God. Another prayer, very simple, is: “My God, may I find in you what I am looking for in that person”.
Sponsorship – A sponsor or godmother is a more experienced member who helps us work through the twelve steps of recovery. In theory a sponsor or godmother must work the steps, go to meetings and at the same time have a sponsor or godmother who in turn helps. This person can help us use the steps to give up the obsession with lust in order to live a balanced and joyful life.
How can we be sure that these tools will serve us? The experience of thousands of sexually recovering tells us that they are useful in their lives, day by day.
There is hope! Progressive victory over lust is possible. We ask God for help, as we understand it; we received help from the SA fraternity; and we work the twelve steps to recover. Whoever follows this plan will undoubtedly find great relief from the attacks of lust.
Remember, lust is not going to disappear overnight. We must face lust step by step, day by day. Lust is tenacious; will not give up easily. Our experience, however, shows that anyone who suffers from sexism can improve if they are willing to be honest in addressing their problem and work the twelve steps and traditions of the SA recovery program. A life of freedom is available to all
Remember that you are not alone anymore! There are many other people who have your same problem but they are recovering and they are waiting for you to help you walk that path. You never have to be alone anymore.
Come with us!