Search results ({{ }}):

Finally Moving Forward

An old-timer on our network sent me the following e-mail:

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dear Reb Guard,

I must admit that I have not been reading all the emails that you kindly send out every day but I am doing other work for myself. In February last year, I went to my first SA meeting. It was very embarrassing. It was a huge leap for me, but I thought I could not keep on trying to recover from my online habits and fantasies via correspondence. I had reached the point that I could not continue acting out in the ways that I had been during the three four years prior to that. My acting out would eventually have severe consequences. I had to deal with this head-on. In my view, there is no alternative to a 12-step group, and the need to work with a sponsor. I purchased the SA book. Additional resources are "Addictive thinking/Addictive personality" by Rabbi Twerski and "Out of the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes. I do believe that all of them can contribute positively to a struggling addict. It took me 10 months until I was properly able to deal with my acting out.

We are powerless over our addictive sexual behavior. That is the first and most important step. Stand up and raise the figurative white flag. The battle is over. The point of this step is to overcome the denial that one can, on one's own, deal with this problem. There are many ways denial can manifest itself - We must accept that we have a problem and that we cannot deal with it on our own. We need help - the help of our Higher Power and those who care about us in the group. I relapsed 10 days ago because I thought if I take my laptop to a public place and connect there then I wouldn't act out. That was "addictive thinking". I was powerless. I am powerless and so I must not put myself into situations that make be susceptible to relapse.

However, a relapse is not back to square one. It is not the end of the world. If you think it is, then your mind will use that as justification for continuing to engage in acting out behaviors (see Twerski - "Addictive Thinking"). It is that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that is one of the central features of addiction. If we think there is no point to abstinence then we will continue to act out. IT IS OUR ADDICTION TALKING, telling us to get sucked back in because we are going to fall anyway. When we do fall, we must not feel shame - but guilt. Rabbi Twerski explains the difference to mean the following: "Guilt" is "I am sorry for what I have done" and "shame" is "I am sorry for who I am." When we relapse, it is not shame that we must feel. We are good people. Our addiction is not our fault. It is there is allow us to grow!