03 2020
Personalizing the 12 Steps of Recovery

                  Personalizing the Steps 

As recovery from sex addiction progresses, it is sometimes easy to forget the power reflected in the 12 Step program. One solution to overcome this is to spend some time personalizing each Step, writing out what it means to you right now. This exercise does not attempt to exhaust the meaning of each Step, but rather seeks to articulate what that Step is saying to you right now and how you might approach living it out today.

The first three Steps are considered the foundational in that we can make no progress without taking them. Here is an example of personalizing the first three Steps.

Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over lust and that our lives had become unmanageable. What does this mean for me today? I can never again (if I ever had it) regain control over where , when and how much I lust once it starts. I cannot through willpower limit the kinds of of lusting I engage in or for how long or what or whom I lust after. I cannot control the damage done to my spouse, family and others due to my lusting. This defines my powerlessness and my need for God on a daily basis. It demonstrates the radical extent of my vulnerability as an ongoing fact of my life.

Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. I believe Jesus can restore my damaged thinking to sanity. For me,  true sanity means not just what I do but the ways I think, what I allow into my brain, my attitude toward my past and the compulsive thinking that accompanies lust. He can change this attitude from self-centered thinking into self-giving connection and service to others. Only He can satisfy the the inner drives that seek a lasting connection. Today I will allow Him to do this, seeking Him out, in and through the challenges of this day.

Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. I make again today the decision to turn over my will and life to Jesus to do as He wishes. This means I let go of all expected outcomes and demands to live a stress-free or pleasant life today.  I am not even sure that is what is best for me. Only He knows. I am willing to let Him dictate the course of my day as He wills, not as I will. I am willing to accept today that “pain is the pathway to peace.” If I face pain today, I will seek a higher purpose in it and ask Jesus to enter and bear it for me and with me.

I have found this exercise to be extremely helpful in embracing the recovery challenges I face today. Try it. You might like it.

In Jesus, the Lust-Bearer,