Lust vs. Sex: "Lust" is a Motivation; "Sex" is an act

Part 2/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
How can a married man avoid the "first sip" if he is obviously not celibate?

by Dov (See all authors)

Dov, it seems you are saying that the reason why lust is so bad (as opposed to the act of sex with one's spouse) is because it's a completely selfish act?

Dov Responds:

Who said it's bad? Good/bad is a matter for religion.

All I am saying is that lust does not work. I cannot live successfully with it. Like the AAs discovered, "we cannot drink like gentlemen." Eventually, it throws us in the gutter.

That is the only thing that the recovery I am familiar with is concerned about: life just doesn't work with active addiction. And lust just doesn't work - for addicts. It may work OK for normal people, but not for addicts. We do not do well with moderation or controlled lusting. It eventually, ultimately screws us up and makes living impossible for us, and for the people around us.

And the answer that the program offers is getting not just faith, but a faith that really works, for a change.

Does all this make sense to you?


But for me, the reason why lust makes my life unmanageable stems from an inner conflict. This conflict is a religious contradiction for me. I have guilt and sometimes become depressed after acting out. The reason why I feel guilty and depressed is because the acting out prevents me from becoming the type of person I want to become. Is this a good enough reason for me to say that my life has become unmanageable? It seems that my issue stems from a religious belief, but for me, this religious belief is so important that I can't live like this anymore.

Dov Responds:

You know, I do not know that answer to your question because I haven't had that experience. I had tremendous inner conflict, but it did not stop me - in fact, I did not even get the help I really needed as a result of it. Perhaps you are getting it though. For me, the help I needed was a true change in lifestyle: I started coming out to other (safe) people about my problem, being fully open in meetings and with my sponsor, and actually coming to meetings with other perverts like me. That is when I started getting better. And in order to keep getting better, I need to become progressively more open with these people, and appropriately open with my wife - and really with everyone.

Now, I am not open about my addiction with everyone I meet, nor even with my wife - for example, I do not tell her "Sweetheart, I saw a woman on the train today who was so pretty that I am still dying to follow her to her car and talk to her." Not quite. I also do not share with her other crazy thoughts I have, like fear that I married the wrong person, fear of death, bewilderment about having purpose in my life or believing in G-d, or whether I am in fact and addict or not. Why should I share these things with her?

Truth be told, I used to try to share these very things with her - until she educated me that there is no sensible purpose in her learning about every crazy aberration in my brain - particularly if it will just scare her.

The reason I had to learn it (what to and what not to talk with her about) davka the hard way, was that I had been spending the past 11 years of our marriage lying to her and covering up and manipulating. Of course, I did not see what I was doing as that, but it was exactly that. So in the beginning, I wanted to do the opposite (generally a good approach to rehab) and tell her every tiny stupid thing, so I do not revert to secrecy and "the double life". Nu. I was wrong. Over time, I learned how to balance it a bit better - stupid crazy thoughts go to my sponsor and program buddies, while real life stuff goes to her. Generally speaking.

Make any sense?


It seems from your story that the next step that you would have had to take, would have led to loss of your wife, children, etc... For me, however, the next step is just not being able to live with myself. I know this will be a tough question to answer, but can where I be right now be considered rock bottom?

Dov Responds:

I do not see why it cannot be so. There are many alkies who have not lost jobs, are young, etc - and are going to meetings and are sober. Perhaps it all depends on how you treat yourself. If you take the measures indicative that you feel you are truly in deep trouble, then you will be OK. If you minimize it, then the denial will keep you in the addiction cycle.