Our Goal Should Be True Growth & True Love
Recovery for a sex and lust addict is not about g'darim, but about sanity. G'darim, and boundaries in general, are indispensable for allowing G-d to give me freedom from lust, but they are not recovery itself. They are only a tool. It's like breathing is to living: Sobriety is like breathing, while recovery is living. Is our goal in life just breathing?
True, for a man coming out of an iron lung, or with terrible asthma, breathing may indeed be the overriding, most prominent goal of his life...but we all hope that this mode will come to an end and that he will eventually be able to appreciate and focus on things like eating, working, having a family, yiddishkeit, you know - living! I work in a hospital and have come to know many sick people who have made the central focus of all their waking moments their own survival. Maybe I'd be like that if I'd be that sick (which I might be), but hope not...
I have seen the same in recovery. Constant focus on g'darim and shunning true growth and living free of the terror of acting-out. And I have seen the same in yiddishkeit, particularly among ba'alei teshuvah (like me). Obsession with a particular struggle, issue, or mitzvah and a sad loss of balance. No grasp of the 'big picture' of living as a Jew. Does anyone know what I mean?
Therefore, what I as a sexaholic need to come to really know is love, instead of lust. Real appropriate love: for other men, for Klal Yisroel, for Hashem - and for my wife.
Real sexuality has very little (or maybe even nothing) to do with lust. It is satisfying - lust is not. It focuses on giving - lust does not. I do not need to do it right now - lust I need. Real sexuality brings simcha and leads to more simcha and unity - lust often brings shame and always leads to more expectation, separation, and pain.
So that is why - as part of my recovery from the tyranny of lust - I try to see intimacy with my wife as a way to appreciate her more as a person. I know that doing that is the only way for me to come to know real love and real sexuality, and become even more free of lust.
It is all about timing. May Hashem help us work on what we are ready for and move mechayil el choyil in recovery and living, one day at a time. Help us experience real loving for a change, by doing it, so that we will come to know that what we accepted before was a counterfeit that we do not need at all any more!