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TOPIC: My Step 1

My Step 1 2 years 4 weeks ago #2

  • byGrace
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I wanted to share my first step here as I begin working in earnest on my second step.

To summarize my powerlessness over my addiction, I can say that there have been numerous times that I have tried to stop my addictive behaviors and was unable to do so over the last 25 years and more. This has included making vows to God or to my soul which I then found difficult to follow, as well as fasting, praying for long periods, shedding tears in asking God to help me repent, going to numerous 12 Step and therapy groups, marriage counselors, therapists and online recovery groups and websites. And I have had numerous times of embarrassment, conviction that what I was doing was wrong, physical destruction of expensive things like my car and have had numerous headaches so severe following my addictive behavior that I was nauseous. I have still been unable to stop the behavior following any of these things, even though I desperately have tried. I have written notes to myself and have made verbal recordings of myself so that I could read them or play them back during times I was tempted and I pleaded in these journals and recordings to not do this and to try to remember how truly painful the consequences were in hopes that I would read these things or listen to them before I gave in to temptation. These sometimes work for a while, but I have continually found myself going back to old addictive behaviors. I have been powerless in this.

Also, this has created numerous problems in my marriage and other relationships. While wanting to have a good marriage, my marriage has been less than satisfying for many, many years. Even though in my sickened mind, there has sometimes been difficulty in correlating my addictive behaviors to problems in my marriage relationship (part of my denial process, no doubt), when I look at the big picture over many years I can more easily see that the times that I was staying away from porn were the times that I had a better relationship with my wife and others. The times that I was falling to porn were the times that I was experiencing difficulties with my wife and others. Yes, there is a very strong correlation there even though it is often difficult for me to see.

As for the unmanageability in my life, my belief is that there is some relativity in this definition, based on how I choose to define 'manageability'. In fact, I am still struggling with what a good definition for manageability is in my life. At one time, to me manageability meant an ability to do well in college so that I got good grades. At another point it meant that I did not get a divorce from my wife. Now by manageability I mean to have a good ongoing balance in my life and keep from my addictive behaviors over time. By that definition, my life is still unmanageable, although some things have become more manageable over time.

So in summary I can say that over the last 25+ years at numerous times and in numerous ways it has been proven that I am powerless over my addiction to pornography and sexual impurity. It has left my life unmanageable, often times void of the will, desire or ability to manage my life with any sense of true fulfillment or satisfaction and often times bringing despair, frustration, losses of money, time, and relationships and physical and emotional pain and the inability to fulfill my true, God-given potential. I could say that it could have been worse and no doubt it could have been worse. I could be dying or dead from AIDS or something similar. And I am thankful to God that I was protected from that. However, it is still very true in my life that I have lost much due to my involvement with porn and sexual impurity and that, even knowing that what I was doing was destructive to my health, finances, relationships and sense of well-being, that I continued in the behavior in spite of that. I have become powerless over this and I need help.
Last Edit: 2 years 4 weeks ago by byGrace.
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My Story 2 years 4 weeks ago #3

  • maggie
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Dear BYGrace,

I am new to this 'site', Step programs and not really very sure which forum I am in, but your posting touched me. I could feel your frustration and pain yet I also felt a sense of hopefulness.

I am an adult child of an alcoholic- having suffered many abuses as a result. I am currently in a co-dependant relationship with my spouse who has also gone through many abusive events in his life. I myself am struggling with being a sugar-a-holic and overeating as a means of emotional fulfillment and have co-dependent behaviors that include a tendency to be a workaholic, perfectionist and an approval-a-holic. I used to blame my spouse as being the bad guy al the time so that I could whine that I was just a victim. Over the last two years I have discovered otherwise- that I do have some responsibility in our relationship and in my addictive behaviors.

I noticed on your profile that you said that you are a Chirstian, so I hope I am not out of line here as I try to unravel and understand the struggle as Christians with addictions- the added guilt and shame for our weaknessess. I personally struggled to, like a 'good little' co-dependent, try to fix myself. Sure I would tell God I was sorry- occasionally I would ask for help- though I think it was without really feeling worthy enough to accept His help.

One day I was reminded of the woman in the Bible story who sufffered 12 years of bleeding(LK 8:40-48)- it had taken over her life and was destroying her. In desperation, all other avenues having been tried and failed; she reached out and touched the hem of Christ's robe. She did not address him directly, perhaps because she felt unworthy (her gender and affliction would have made her 'unclean' and 'untouchable by jewish law in those days- I related to her as I saw myself -> as an 'innocent' victim). At that ever so slight touch Jesus turned and looked for her in the crowd. I was touched that even though Jesus was in a hurry, he stopped and took the time to listen to her story. He didn't question, analyze her past or condemn her. He healed her.

As a Christian, I said, 'Okay- heal me! Stop me from bingeing, etc.... When the healing was not instantaneous I became guilty- was I still not good enough. So I volunteered in numerous church related activities in order to 'earn' a pardon- or so I thought. Instead my workaholic tendencies got me in trouble and I got sacked- they said I worked too hard they would have had to start paying me they saw no other way except to sack me...I saw it as another case of victimization... I did a superb job after all- their loss... There were days when I felt like I was drowning as things got ugly at home as well (though it never got better- I just withdrew into my work) I remember imagining the currents of addictions and co-dependency tearing at me dragging me under- I reached from the depths trying to grasp even the frindge from His robe. It was as the blackness was about to engulf me that I caught hold and was pulled above the waves. I was above, but still in the angry pounding surf. I reflected briefly then decided to move on, yet I still wondered what God thought of me... would he still want to take the time to hear my story and eventually heal me?

Again I turned to the Bible and was struck by the passage about the blind man who asks Jesus to heal him- '...if you want to...' and Jesus replied '...I want to...' (Matt 8:1-4). I cried a long time because I saw that God wants me to be healed, that it is me who is making it difficult...Christian guilt again... yet it was a turning point for in each case I realized that Jesus commented for many of the individuals who healed that their faith had healed them- I began to question what that meant- and if I figured it out would I then be instantaneously healed?

Then I realized that I was missing an element of trust I am sure you can relate- I couldn't trust those who kept hurting me to stop hurting me nor could I trust myself after all. I thought about it some more and decided that I have faith that God can help me over come my addictive behaviors- I just don't TRUST that he will for someone as bumbling, weak and stupid as I can be.... but then I remembered His response to the blind beggar....'I want to'

That is where I have to gather my trust.

But why cannot the healing be instantaneous??

If I looked at nature- which I remember that Jesus used in many of his parable images, I saw that a bush is never suddenly a bush- it becomes a bush through the natural process of growth. Even Jesus came as a babe and followed the natural human process of growth and maturation- he grew into a man before he started his ministry. So, I have come to realize that my healing may not be an instantaneous miricle- but I should continue to TRUST in the process/journey of healing that God has chosen for me.

I see now that the journey can also be enjoyed as I am meeting many wonderful people along the way and together, even through our sometimes painful experiences, we are forging relationships of Love which would most likely have been missed if I was miracoulouly healed....

I am still on the journey- actually I feel as if I am just embarking. Thank you for allowing me to 'talk' it helps sometimes.

I am glad to have heard your story ByGrace, thank you for sharing it and allowing me to share mine. I pray that you will find peace along your journey. IN the meantime, I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you are not alone you have given me that gift. God Bless- Where is Grace
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My Story 2 years 4 weeks ago #4

  • byGrace
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Hi Maggie -

Thanks for your thoughtful and sensitive comments, for sharing your story. I can relate to your steps of growth and trying to please God and feel right with God. I am able to look back now with some more time in recovery. By the grace of God, I am now on step 8 and have hopefully given up my addictive behaviors and am now starting to think about amends. It is still all about God, as far as I can see, too. I need His strength and power more than ever now and also need to grow in faith and trust. As you commented, it is so easy to "want it now", but God's ways do seem to be that He wants me to grow in trust and faith in a simple daily walk, continuing to grow a little each day and learn a little more about Who He is and my relationship with Him each day and to learn to trust and lean on Him more and more each day. I shared once in a meeting that it was boring to try to be good all of the time. But now I am trying to fill that boredom with expectation and hope and work in a way that is disciplined by that hope and faith. It defintely is a day at a time.

Thanks again for sharing. Hopefully over time you will share more...
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My Story 2 years 4 weeks ago #5

  • frank_r
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I want to thank you both for your honesty. I, too, am a Christian and realize that I must constantly rely on God's grace in my recovery. I am currently working my first step...trying to write down and and document all the stories I have...examples of times when my addiction lto pornography eft me powerless. I am encouraged with hearing the ByGrace is now on his 8th step..and pray for serenity for him.

Part of my recovery requires me to do recovery-related reading daily...this forum has provided an interesting resource for me.
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My Story 2 years 4 weeks ago #6

  • jonesg
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"I am still struggling with what a good definition for manageability is in my life"

For me, unmanageability is what I get when I try running my own life. God manages me so much better than I.

Step 3 wasn't a temporary arrangement til I felt better, its a lifetime deal and I'm happy with that.
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My Story 2 years 4 weeks ago #7

  • jonesg
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ebonylowe wrote:

Though I am still looking for a sponsor, I am exploring Step 1. I am somewhat confused about the whole powerlessness thing because I have therapists and psychiatrists wanting me to take control of my life. But the 12 steps wants me to surrender. I really don't know who to believe or what to do. Any suggestions would help.

Ebony

Hi Ebony,

If you could control it you wouldn't be addicted, thats what the word means, loss of control. Theres a world of ignorance out there when dealing with people who have never been addicted, they don't know what we deal with. If you aren't powerless go ahead drink and do drugs, then just stop when you want. If you can't do that you are powerless.

I had a GREAt doctor, I loved the guy but he said I must always realize I will be recovering for the rest of my life. I told him, no I have recovered, I am restored to sanity. I worked the steps and got the results promised. Funny thing is he sent me to AA and recommended I really try doing what they prescribed (work the steps) and there he was trying to water down the results. I pointed it out to him in the Big Book "We have recovered". I left him my copy of the Book and haven't seen him since.

They don't know, how could they.?

They aren't the experts because they lack any experience. They can help sort out your emotions but thats their limit, they will not allow God in the room. Realize their human limitations, human power isn't sufficient.

Its important that you take control of your recovery, make your own decisions, that includes whether you will surrender or not. No human, regardless of their medical qualifications, has the right to make that decision for you.

Why don't you just try and work the steps, what could it hurt?
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