It’s about time. I have been thinking a lot about how to write about this solution. I first focused on the 3 parts problem of porn addiction. If you missed them, here are the links:
Part 1 - The physical allergy - Part 1 - Understanding the 3 problems of addiction - The Physical Allergy
Part 2 - The Obsession of the Mind - https://rewirecompanion.com/t/part-2-the-mental-obsession-problem-meet-the-lier/77585
Part 3 - The Spiritual Malady - Part 3 - The Spiritual Malady - The Brain and Negative Emotions
If you have not read these 3 parts I recommend that you start there. The solution will make a lot more sense as you understand the problem.
So as many have asked me, what is the solution? The first point is that the solution is not me, my efforts and my strategies. That is not the solution and I have proved it to myself a thousand times in the past. When I try to stop - I fail. I therefore have to find a power that is stronger than me or any thing that I have ever tried before, including my complete will power. If you have read my list of things that I have tried to stop my addiction, you will see that I have tried almost everything (see the end of part 2 for a post called My Failed Solution List).
The solution that I am going to share with you comes from the experience of millions of addicts that have recovered from addictions to alcohol, drugs, including cocaine, meth, fentanyl, all mind altering drugs, sex, lust, porn masturbation, gambling, gaming and a tons of other conditions. Every addiction has been treated with this solution. It is the same 12 steps program for all addictions. They had a 75% success rate and say: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” (AA p. 58)
HOW DID IT START
A group of 100 people that had recovered from an addiction to alcohol published a book called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1939. This book explained not only the problem of addiction but the exact program (they called it a simple program of actions) they followed to recover from alcoholism. It involved 12 steps. Since then this program and the 12 steps have been adapted and used to help addicts to recover from over 100 types of addictions including, sex, lust, pornography, masturbation and orgasm.
THE SOLUTION IS RECOVERY NOT ABSTINENCE
Before I explain the 12 steps, let me also define for you what I mean by being recovered or to live in recovery. This solution is much more than abstinence and working really hard to not give in to temptation. It allows people (like me) that were hopelessly addicted to stop their addiction for good, it left them in a state where they were not even tempted to drink or lust or view porn. It is not just abstinence (not doing it for a number of days), recovery is much more than that. Their lives have become happy, joyous and free. Here is a quote from the book:
“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol (lust and porn). For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor (lust and porn). If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor (lust and porn) has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we have been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.” (AA p. 84-85)
“If we are painstaking about this phase (step 8 and 9) of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. “ (AA p. 83)
What I am trying to say is that recovery is much, much more than just not fapping. It is not about struggling or trying harder, or taking cold showers or not being able to live and enjoy life. The recovery that I want is to live free from the addiction as long as I continue to follow the steps of recovery.
Abstinence is struggling with lust and porn and recovery is freedom from lust and porn.
Recovery is really possible and I know this because it is my reality today and I know a lot of guys that have the same results from living the same steps.
So here we go.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Before I discuss the steps themselves, let’s look at two things that have been really important to my recovery:
1. Attending recovery meetings: In the same way that Alcoholic Anonymous has meetings where people that are suffering from an addiction to alcohol can go to, I have attended many recovery meetings, including Sexaholic Anonymous (SA) and Sexaholic Anonymous Lifeline (SAL) the fellowship that I attend right now on Zoom. There are many other fellowships that use the 12 steps of recovery for lust, porn and sex and I believe that most of them have zoom meetings.
(I will share where you can find the zoom info for SAL in a comment below.)
Why I attend these meetings:
- I have found the meetings to be very good for me. They are confidential, everyone there is dealing with an addiction to lust and porn (and some with many more issues). No one has ever judged me.
- I learned a lot about the steps of recovery. Each meeting we take time to read and study the steps. Meetings are 100% free.
- I was able to find people that had real recovery that were willing to help me.
- I was able to share my difficulties and to feel that I was alone and that others had been in the same position and had recovered. There was hope.
- I was able to find a sponsor to help me recover.
Even today as I have found real recovery, I still attend meetings each week and it helps me to stay sober and to find others that are suffering that I can help to work the steps and become their sponsor.
2. Get a sponsor: This is probably the most important thing that you can do to recover from your addiction. I have had 3 sponsors in my life and it has made all the difference. You can learn the steps of recovery on your own, you can understand them to some degree, but chances are you will not be able to really work them and gain recovery without someone else that have lived the 12 steps for some time to help guide you through the program of recovery. I have tried for years and it is only when I was humble enough to ask someone to sponsor me that I actually found recovery.
Why have a sponsor:
It works. It really takes an addict to help another addict.
It gave me a person that had experience and a working knowledge of working the steps. I could ask questions, follow his counsel and talk with him often.
He helped me understand the steps and apply them to my life and my recovery
It gave me hope that if it worked for him it could work for me.
It helped me be accountable as I worked the steps. I was able to share my progress and report back on what I was doing and not doing.
I could call him and talk when I was struggling with triggers or cravings.
In both cases meetings and sponsors have been free. No cost. The sponsors are doing it because they have freely received it from others before and it actually helps them to stay in recovery.
I will post about Step 1 the next few days, but if you are serious about getting better and finding recovery from your addiction, start by finding a meeting that you can attend and then you will be able to get to know someone that can become your sponsor. This is how it worked for me, and so many men that I know.