“When a man has a spiritual awakening…he has been set on a path which tells him he is really going somewhere, that life is not a dead-end, not something to be endured or mastered.”
Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions
On my good days I recognize that life is not a dead-end, but rather that I am on an adventure in recovery. I can look back over the last two years and see I am not the same person today that I was when I entered recovery; life is going somewhere. Of course, I also have bad days when I struggle with lust as much as I did two years ago. On those days life does feel a bit like a dead-end. I look at my behavior and say, “Haven’t I learned anything over the last two years? Will things ever get any better?” On those days life is something I feel I have to endure.
The good news is that those days of endurance are few and far between. Life will include days that must be endured; days of temptation and days of sorrow when friends and family pass away. But to say that life will include days which must be endured is not the same as saying life itself is something to be endured.
Life before recovery was something I had to endure. I failed God and myself by acting out on an almost daily basis. In those days I endured feelings of duplicity and failure. The only thing looked forward to was falling to pornography, again and again. Like a broken record or a hamster in a wheel, I kept going over the same old ground. I still remember feeling resigned to my fate when I descended into the basement to act out. I could not stop myself. That was a hopeless feeling.
These days when I struggle with temptation I should remember what real hopelessness felt like. These days when I feel like flirting with temptation I should remember that sad climb downstairs to my basement computer. Perhaps some men can go online and act out with pornography when they want to, and only when they want to; I’m not one of those guys. If I choose to use pornography today, that will be the last time I will choose to use it. The next time I use it I will be acting out of addiction, a hopeless sinking back into well-worn patterns of behavior.
I must do everything I can to not make that poor first choice, including working Step 12 as a mentor and continuing my work on this blog to reach out to other pornography addicts.