I was born in 1989 in Kurdistan, Iran, in a family with 3 older brothers and no sisters. The concept of women and girls was always a mystery to me. The only female that I had a real connection with was my mother. That was not my only challenge though.

As far as I can remember, I was living a double life. There was a whole world inside my head, and another world outside me. And I was constantly trying not to let the outside world know what is going on inside my head. Fancy or real, I was feeling unloved and unworthy, and to make up for these deficiencies, I was trying hard to be the best in everything so that I could get approval from my family and my teachers.

I must have started lusting much younger, but the first lust memories that I remember are from the age of 5 or 6, when I was obsessing and fantasizing about being cuddled and adored by our female relatives. 

As I grew older, I continued to develop this double life. And my inside world was pouring out into the real world, making my life more and more unmanageable. I was progressing at my lusting career and I was adding more features to it; masturbation, pornography, sex with self, with same sex, with opposite sex, with other species, prostitution, adultery, and so on. By this time, I was around 16 years old and I had already started taking drugs as well, since lust alone was not medicating enough. I had reached that point where I could not or would not resist any ideas that my head was bringing to table. Actually, the situation was one of “I am thinking of it, therefore I have to do it.” This ordeal went on for another 10 years, and I lost almost everything that had any value; emotionally, socially, spiritually, and materially.

With the help of AA and another fellowship, I got clean from my drug addiction when I was 26. Although I was working a rigorous program in the other fellowships, my lusting issue was not solved. I was hoping that once I am past Steps 6 and 7 in AA, then I will get a reprieve from lusting, but I was wrong. There were some short periods that I would stop acting out, yet they were always followed by another lust binge. 

Now I realize that what I was doing back then was merely stopping the physical acting out while I was still lusting in my head. Had there been a solution, it had to be one that would deal with lust and sobriety from lust on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level, and guess what, there was a program who was particularly designed for the same purpose. It was Sexaholics Anonymous.

I went to SA for the first time in 2015, and I stayed sober for a couple of months without having an SA sponsor or working the steps in SA. Not surprisingly, I relapsed. I finally joined SA on 21st of June 2016, when I was 27, and I have stayed sober ever since.

This time round I was serious about my recovery. I had an SA sponsor, I was working the Steps, I was sponsoring other sexaholics,  I was going to meetings and I was doing service. Most importantly, I had decided not to willfully entertain lust in any form, one day at a time.

I sobered up in Iran where there is an abundance of SA meetings, and was there for the first 6 months of my sobriety. Then I moved to Greece and have been here in Greece ever since. When I came to Greece, there were no established SA meetings. I was basically a loner. Also, I had just moved from a country that was more restricted lust-wise to a country where you could legally pay for sex. And I was only 6 months sober. But, against the odds, the program did not fail me. I was in touch with my sponsor, was working the Steps with sponsees remotely and I was surrendering every lust thought, being sure that once I consent to enjoying lust in my head, I will not be able to stop. 

After a couple of months in Greece, I started searching to see if there are other members in the country. I found a couple of members and we started meeting in parks and public places. Unfortunately, our meetings never took off and my fellow SA buddies did not manage to get a substantial amount of sobriety. Recently, we have started an online meeting for Greek members, and we are meeting once a week on Zoom. We are around 6 or 7 members now. It will be a dream come true if one day SA takes off in Greece.

Today, I still practice my SA program on a daily basis. I wake up, pray, meditate, and go to work. During the day, whenever lust thoughts come up, and they do come up, I start praying and surrendering them. If a specific thought or fantasy lingers even after praying, I call a member to share with them. However, most of the time, praying does the job. Also, if I feel disturbed with negative emotions, I start writing an inventory on the spot and share it with someone as soon as possible. At night before going to bed, I ask myself if I have been selfish, dishonest, fearful, or resentful during the day. If the answer is yes, I ask God to forgive me and to help me be and do better the next day. I also check to see if I still have any lust thoughts or images in my system that I have not surrendered. Once spotted, I surrender the thoughts and pray for the person(s) involved. Then I ask God to keep me sober during the night while I am asleep. Every week, I attend one or two SA meetings and two meetings in other fellowships related to my drug addiction. Another thing that helps me with my SA sobriety is having some sort of discipline around food. I am not attending a specific fellowship to be sane around food, yet I follow a plan that works for me.

Staying sober in my twenties had its own challenges. The thought that “am I really a sexaholic?” is almost a constant. It comes and goes all the time. Also, peer pressure can be dangerous at times. I have friends who can lust like a gentleman and they sometimes try to convince me, with a good will maybe, that I am being too strict, and I am missing out big time. The solution that has worked for me is not to try to convince people about my SA sobriety. I almost never talk about it with people who are not in SA. However, sometimes I brag about being celibate when I talk with my friends. 

A lot has changed during these 5 years. I do live a life beyond my wildest dreams. Most importantly, I have a relationship with the God of my understanding. I feel alright inside my own skin and I enjoy life. I also went back to school and got a graduate degree. I have a job and I am financially independent. I have lost my fear of people and financial insecurity. Please do not get me wrong. It is not that I am full of joy and happiness all the time. There are many times that I feel unpleasant feelings. The difference is that now I can coexist with these feelings without having to act out on them, knowing that God will take care of me so long as I turn over my life and my will over to His care.

In closing, I can confidently say that had I not stayed sexually sober with the help of SA, I would not be anywhere near where I am now spiritually, emotionally, physically, and materially, and for that I can only be grateful.

Farzad P., Athens, Greece