I sometimes find it useful to remind myself of all the ways I tried to stop acting out my addiction to lust and fantasy. One of these came in the form of a Christmas promise. The promise was made in secret and consisted of a determination that my secret Christmas gift to my wife or Jesus would be to stop looking at pornography.
How naive and addicted I was. How convenient for my addiction that this promise was made in secret with no accountability except to myself. The addiction was also aided when my failure to keep my promise led to shame which created the need for more acting out to have to avoid dealing with the pain. How naive I was as I failed to realize each year how triggering it was for me to be around the holiday crush of family with all my associated resentments attacking me in an environment full of unstructured time away from my normal routines. There was never any chance for me, but heck if I knew it.
Page 30 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.”
The process of admitting my powerlessness over lust and conceding to my innermost self that I am a sexaholic is a long one. I laugh and snort at how naive I was then, but I know that I still suffer from denial today.
I think this is why chapter 5 of the Big Book states that recovery requires a program of living that demands rigorous honesty. Lately I’ve taken to saying to my wife, “I’m only as sick as my secrets.” Her response is that I’m “pretty darn sick,” but I really believe this. Each day I am tempted by my addiction to live secretly inside my head. As much as I’d like, I can’t stay sober today on yesterday’s rigorous honesty.
Wishing you a merry sober Christmas full of rigorous honesty and freedom from whatever is trying to bind you down. This year my Christmas gift will be to stop looking at pornography, and this year I know how to make it happen!