A person struggling against sex addiction is divorced from their own heart (their self), others, and God. They are unable to connect with any of those three. The spiritual awakening that Step Twelve speaks of is where the spirit (one’s true self) is made alive to itself, others, and God. The connection has come back online. This is true second order change. If you have experienced that kind of healing, you’re going to want to tell others about it.
Being an addict (or a non-addict who struggles with hang ups of their own) does not mean that you don’t believe in God. It does not mean that you don’t love God. It does not mean that you don’t have a relationship with God. Being an addict does not mean that you don’t pray to God. Being an addict can mean that you are not unified with God.
Step Ten is, at its core, being humble enough to admit when you’re wrong. This Step does two things. First, it serves to prevent conflicts and hurts from becoming so big that amends (Step Eight and Nine type of amends) are needed. How? Because by being humble and admitting you’re wrong, you open the door in the moment for relational restoration. That’s the second thing. Not speaking your feelings + time = resentment. And the bigger resentment grows, and more space it creates between people. Step Ten, when worked daily, can short circuit that process and keep relationships in tact!
In Step Nine, you make direct amends to those you’ve hurt. If making those amends would hurt the person further, or if making amends is no longer possible due to death or geography, an indirect amends is made.
For so many addicts, the hurt that they have caused others and that they have been unwilling to face acts as fuel for the addiction. They feel great shame and guilt about what they’ve done, so they reach for sex or lust to numb those feelings. For the non-addict, running from past hurts you’ve caused others can be the same. You don’t want to face the shame and guilt, so you cut off or isolate. Step Eight is all about beginning the process of freeing yourself from past mistakes.
In addition to taking these Steps with the help of your sponsor and your community, you also take Step Seven over and over again. Anytime you encounter conflict or heightened feelings, no matter what the other person did, if you are disturbed, there’s always a part you’ve played. “What’s my part in this” is a question that every addict and non-addict would do well to ask about any conflict.
Step Six is all about surrendering the right to hang on to our defects. If you’re reading this in the USA, you know that, addict or non-addict, we are a people that proclaims and holds on to our independence fiercely. What is our is ours and you won’t take it and we won’t give it up! In the previous steps, you can see that surrender is happening at each level. Here, it continues to the point that you become ready to surrender aspects of your own personality that may have become a core part of who you are.
At each Step, you surrender something. At the Fifth, you surrender the right to the wrong and hurtful attitudes and actions and the isolation that it brought you.
Addiction is, at its nature, and intimacy disorder. That means, that the addict is unable to form healthy emotional bonds with others. It also means that the addict is out of touch with their own emotions. The addict (in truth, most of us) is afraid to engage their emotions. So, they look to numb them. Thus, they reach for the drug. The Fourth Step is all about ceasing to run from what’s inside, facing it, and taking stock of it.
Let’s be honest here; dependance on the self (whether it was taught or forced upon for survival) is what landed the addict where they are. It’s the thinking that says, “If my needs are to be met, I’m the only one I can trust to meet them.” It’s very isolating. The best antidote for isolation is community. It’s communing with others and communing with God.