Three Taverns Church

21 Questions For The Addiction Cycle – Question 6

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Question 6: “Have I reviewed the ‘8 Steps to Freedom From Pornography’ today?”

Some cars are damaged in accidents, while others are damaged through poor maintenance. Failing to regularly change a car’s oil and filter over a long period of time can be just as damaging to its engine as a frontal collision.

My recovery program works the same way. Sometimes I have a ‘collision’ when I run into a triggering situation I could not have anticipated; these situations have the potential to immediately send me into the Addiction Cycle. At other times I am lazy with the daily ‘maintenance’ of my recovery and this laxity is just as dangerous to my program.

The purpose of the 8 Steps is to keep a person out of the Addiction Cycle. If I faithfully and diligently work the 8 Steps all day, every day, I will have a very high rate of success in my program. If I stop working the 8 Steps my recovery will break down.

Here are the 8 Steps, in order:

  1. Pray at the beginning of the day for at least 15 minutes
  2. Bounce your eyes
  3. Ignore triggers
  4. Get the Word in you
  5. Surrender your right to lust
  6. Flee the situation, if necessary
  7. Pray for the trigger
  8. Make a phone call

Let me give you an example of a day when I forgot Question 6. It all started with those 15 minutes of prayer. Even though I was unemployed at the time I found a way to get too busy to pray that morning. For me, skipping prayer and Bible meditation is like asking for trouble. I need that time to center myself on God and to prepare myself mentally and spiritually for the day.

After dropping my daughter off at school I went to the gym for my daily workout (which was the only thing keeping me sane during my prolonged job search). Without my morning prayers the gym was converted to a “target rich” environment: Yoga pants and tank tops were everywhere. Instead of ‘bouncing’ my eyes, I let them linger. Instead of ignoring the triggers I was double-checking to confirm they were a trigger. I didn’t want to surrender my right to lust or pray for the triggers because I was ‘enjoying myself’ too much. And I couldn’t flee the situation because I was working out! I had a right to be at the gym (Note: When you catch yourself thinking about your rights in a recovery situation you are using ‘entitlement thinking’…this is bad. Don’t do it.)

I was doing just about everything wrong…until I got home and realized what a fantastic mess I had made of myself. I couldn’t stop fantasizing about the women at the gym. I was being pulled strongly toward the computer and the urge to act out. I was feeling scared, alone, angry and resentful. So I finally did something right: I called my mentor. My feelings erupted in a panicked flurry of words, to which my mentor calmly responded: “When’s the last time you reviewed the 8 Steps?”

Oops.

Even after a year of sobriety it is hard for me to remember all 8 Steps, and that’s  on a good day. On a bad day, in the grip of the Addiction Cycle, it’s virtually impossible. That’s why I need Question 6: To remind me to review my Steps.

Today’s Challenge: If you haven’t already done so, read through my posts on the 8 Steps. Write the Steps down in sequential order on a 3×5 card and carry the card with you. The next time you feel yourself slipping into the Addiction Cycle, remember to ask yourself: “Have I reviewed the 8 Steps today?”

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