[From Essay, March 2010]
Now that Roy has passed, it is incumbent on all of us to carry on his primary emphasis on recovery from Lust. Unlike other “S” fellow- ships, where the emphasis is on the powerlessness over acting out, we in SA emphasize our powerlessness over lust. Through Roy’s guidance, our Step One says that “we were powerless over lust and our lives had become unmanageable.” It does not say that we were powerless over sexual acting out and our lives became un- manageable. Yet when I sit in meetings, the emphasis seems to be more on sexual acting out than on Lust.
Perhaps that is why there is a great deal of relapsing in our fellowship. Perhaps many members never do get sober from lust even though they will, for a time, get sober from sexually acting out.
Can you imagine how a recovering alcoholic would remain sober in AA if, even though the person was not drinking alcohol, he or she was opening a bottle of liquor throughout the day and sniffing it frequently? Is this not what many sexaholics in recovery try to do?
Sexaholics Anonymous clearly states that, “Lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out”(202).
What is lust? According to SA, lust is “an attitude demanding that a natural instinct serve unnatural desires” (40). Also, “Lust is not sex and it is not physical. It seems to be a screen of self-indulgent fantasy separating us from reality” (42).
I have had great difficulty trying to convince SA members that sexual fantasies are a ”no-no” — not because they are morally wrong in my opinion, but because sexual fantasies just don’t work if comfort and serenity are goals of recovery.
Jesse L. would always say that the first look is on God and the second look is on me. Whether it is the look or the fantasy, it is in our heads first. If I let the two-dimensional sexual photograph become a motion picture in my head, then I am on my way to increasing my chance for sexually acting out.
If I am truly powerless, how can I stop the static in my head from going into a fantasy? I cannot. However, I can surrender. I personally use the 18 suggestions found in the White Book section entitled “How I Overcame My Obsession with Lust” (SA, 158) to help prevent the first thought from turning into a fantasy.
I know this works. How do I know? Because it has worked for me for over 25 years. If it can work for me, it can work for anyone.
—Harvey A., Nashville, TN