“I recently fell after a clean period of 40 days, and it hurts. How can I finally beat this thing so that I never come back to it?” Jamie K., Brooklyn
I feel your pain. I have been there, in the same place that you are. We all at some point wish we didn’t have this problem and that we could put it behind us forever. (You may be surprised to hear that some of us at some point may also find gratitude for the doorway to a better life that this challenge created for them.)
We learn in the program that recovery has to be worked one day at a time. There cannot be 40 days… it has to be for today only. This is not just a pep-talk to try to make you feel better, I am sharing with you what actually works for me and for many other people in the program.
Is there “obliteration” of the pull to go back to the porn?
I have no idea, and it’s none of my business. But I have been sober today so far for a good few years, and don’t care to look back yet to check the success. I was just trying to be sober for one day…and look at what it became! A giant pile of days, months and years!
As long as my struggle is just to not act out, it remains a contest between me and my addiction. And the stakes build with time. Sobriety only succeeds if I work the 12-Step program that helps me be comfortable with life and myself. The program helps me have a good day, a day where I’m in well-being. And that’s what helps me have another clean day, just for today.
To tell you the truth, at least for me, I believe even that isn’t enough on it’s own. I don’t believe I can “hold out” on my own indefinitely, even one day at a time, even with the program. In my case at least, I have come to see that it is inevitable that I’ll screw up eventually. It’s really God that grants me a reprieve from my powerlessness over lust for this one day. The program helps me allow Him (yes, allow God) to do that for me. The programs helps me do that by teaching me how to maintain my spiritual and emotional condition today and remain vigilant because I tend to lie to myself and forget my disability.
For me, losing the humility and the knowledge that I need God’s help, closes me off from His help. To stay connected I use the steps and the groups. I know of no other way to maintain the honesty, openness, and willingness that I need in order to keep myself out of God’s way.
I don’t need perfection, nor do I need to deserve this daily miracle. I just need to surrender to the truth about myself and begin to put my life in His care today. I must live in the present – right now – and not get distracted by tomorrow or yesterday.
And I can’t do it alone. I need regular meetings with like-minded people, a sponsor, friends who I can call daily, and to develop a real and simple relationship with a God of my very own.
I may still need a lot of work, but I have found that God accepts me anyway. And I have come to accept myself too.