“Our best thinking got us into trouble in the first place.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 63
“Dude, it’s not about sex!” I heard this early in my recovery. Of course sex was about sex, wasn’t it? Or was it? I couldn’t believe it. So what was it about? It was mostly about self-medicating insecurity, beliefs of inadequacy, and uncomfortable feelings such as fear and anxiety. It was about coping with uncomfortable situations like arguments with my partner or bad days at work.
This was mind-blowing! If sex isn’t about sex, then is anything about what I think it’s about? Could anything going on between my ears be trusted? This attitude has changed my life. If I felt triggered to act out, I could ask myself what was really going on. I began praying for my Higher Power to show me the truth. That simple prayer helps calm me, putting space between my swirling thoughts and emotions on the one hand, and my actions on the other.
I began rebuilding my life by praying, talking to program friends, reading the literature, and trying new behaviors. Slowly I began to feel the feelings I had run away from for so long. Sometimes it feels like a punch in the stomach, but each time I face an uncomfortable emotion, ask for guidance, and practice patience, I emerge from the experience a little stronger and a little lighter. Now, there is an adult to protect and nurture that frightened child inside—me.
Feelings are not facts; they will not kill me. I can learn about myself from them, knowing that for this moment, I am safe.