Whether you’re trying to learn how to hit a curve ball, dribble with your left hand or fade a 7 iron it takes practice, patience, commitment and time. The same is true for achieving a lasting and meaningful recovery from sexual addiction.
My history of using sex to medicate my feelings of unworthiness started over 35 years ago and I’m not going to rewire my body and brain back to normalcy overnight. There’s a saying that if you walk 5 miles into the woods, it’s at least a 5 mile walk out. I’m not saying that I have a 35 year journey to recovery, but the unhealthy thinking over the past 35 years will need to be rewired and it will take time.
I believe one of the best traits a recovering person can have is patience. Often times we want the quick fix or the get rich quick scheme instead of the “slow and steady” way of the turtle. In my work with recovering sex addicts I often see the individual that comes to a meeting the first day and is so gung ho and wants to recover TODAY! While I admire their enthusiasm and don’t want to dash their dreams I believe the only way true recovery can work is by implementing the “one day at a time” attitude. Unfortunately this attitude is contrary to many of our driven personalities. We want results. We know we can get them if we try hard enough and we want them NOW!! But just like learning to dribble with our left hand, recovery does not seem normal. It’s not comfortable and in fact it’s often awkward and hard! Isn’t it much easier to revert to using the right hand? Maybe that’s true, but I’ll never truly be a better player if I don’t put the hard work in and rewire my body until using the left hand is comfortable. All it takes is practice, practice and more practice. Mastering recovery is no different. When I’m feeling angry, lonely, anxious or fearful it’s much easier and in many ways seems much more normal to revert back to old ways of thinking; “If only I looked at some porn I’d feel better.” Or, “If only I masturbated or hooked up with so and so, then I’d feel better.” But in the end, I’m not making myself a better person by giving in. Instead, I have to put in the hard work to make my new tools more effective. The daily tools of my recover are:
- I need to spend every day connecting with a community of brothers and share what’s going on in my life.
- I need to tell those close to me how I’m feeling so they get to know me and see my struggles.
- I need to be vulnerable.
- I need to spend quite time connecting with God through prayer and the bible.
- I need to learn to turn my troubles over to God and have faith that he is guiding my path.
- I need to ask for help.
But I can’t start this and expect instant relief. The truth is, I have to be patient and I have to be committed and I have to let time work its magic. I believe the program of recovery is a program of action. I need to take action, whatever that looks like and however small a step it is, but I need to take it NOW. And I need to take it the next day and the next day until I have a whole bunch of good activities piled on top of each other. Then and only then will my mind and body start to be rewired and the end result will be better, happier, more peaceful me. A me that makes this world a better place. A me that I and my loved ones can be proud of.