Step One…The Beginning

Ahhhh, the First Step. The journey begins. I remember my first step and how long I took to go through it. I was told it would get done in God’s time, not mine. By God’s watch
it took a year to get through. The crown of roses was, it was well done. So by all means God’s time is what I go by now. In the S.A.A. big book it describes the first step this way, “We admitted we were powerless over addictive sexual behavior – that our lives had become unmanageable.” I didn’t have any problems, so I thought. Then the principle of the First Step comes shinning through. Okay, honestly I had a slight problem with just a few things. Truthfully, I had a lot of issues with a lot of things of a sexual nature.
There, I said it. The truth and the basis for the whole First Step – getting honest. And not just about a few things either. The whole package…everything in my life got honest. The best was the weight on my shoulders dropped off with a resounding thud. The First Step is the first step in changing our lives forever.

28 thoughts on “Step One…The Beginning

  1. Thanks for posting about the first step. It is always a great reminder for me. After all, it was the unmanagability that led me to these rooms. I tried for years to manage my addiction by stopping and promising I would never do it again only to find myself in 24 or 48 hours, right at it again.

    My sponsor had me go through and write down every acting out experience I could remember. This process was very triggering. Then when I was done, we went through my old bank statements to add up expenses associated with my addiciton. ATM withdrawals at the same place over and over again. Credit card charges at my favorite acting out place. In total, about $7000 in money spent acting out in about 4 years. That just helped to show how unmanagable this disease really was.

    I think it is important to mention the second and third steps in conjunction with the first. After doing my first step, I felt so hopeless until my sponsor and I did my second and third steps. After doing these steps, I could let go of these things. I can turn the obsession over to a higher power.

    By repeating these three steps over and over, I can regain my sanity and stay grounded in sobriety.

  2. First step…. October 29, 2007 I found my homegroup. While I feel my powerlessness and I see the unmanagablity I think I can still lasso and manage my addict. I have not completely surrendered. I know it is God’s time, but I know that in my head the 12 inches to my heart might as well be a million miles right now. Cause I still think I can have, “just a little”.

  3. I have to take Step One everyday or I will not continue to move forward in my program. Actually, if I don’t take Step One everyday I will move backward. For me, I am either moving toward or away from my recovery. If I am not honest, I am not moving toward my recovery. This morning I took Step One again and was honest and told my sponsor what I needed to say and took a step for my recovery that I needed to take that I did not want to take. But I know that I am powerless over this disease and as time goes by I realize how insidious my disease is and how completely powerless I am over my inner circle. I also know that taking care of myself is a huge part of my program and if I don’t take care of myself I allow room for my disease to get me. So I need to get honest and take that Step One and kick that disease to the curb so that I can move toward my recovery and not away from it. Out Out you damn disease – away with you

  4. It took almost a year for the first three steps to really sink in and when it did, it allowed me to string together a period of complete sobriety of six weeks now.

    Although after first joining SLAA I was able to prevent myself from acting out in my more destructive ways (probably the fear of losing my marriage did that), I kept struggling with my “isolating” behaviors. Finally I understood that the reason I need God is that I have to have something, other than my defective willpower, to turn things over to in order to gain acceptance of my reality.

    I have learned just today, however, that these three steps do not give ME power over my addiction. I acted out not once, but twice last night in my DREAMS. No one can dispute that we have no control over our dreams, and that proves to me how subliminally my addction can affect me.

    So of course that, plus dissatisfaction in my personal relationships has made me feel triggered all day long. Reading these posts, however, reminds me that it is not ME that will take control over these feelings and I am powerless…I have to give it over to GOD to do that. I know that IF I do that, I will be picking up my two month chip in a couple weeks (Dreams don’t count – right?).

  5. Step 1 is realizing how powerless I am. It’s so easy to lie to my wife and keep my addiction going. I keep getting asked to play tennis by women who are married. Where I live, there is a regular mixed doubles league. I use to play in this league until I realized I had a sex addiction 6 months ago. Even though I have not acted out with anyone in this league for 6 six years, I know this league puts me on the edge of wanting to act out in other ways. 6 months away from even small temptations has been cathartic.

  6. I’ve worked Step One three times in two different programs. Like everyone else I got caught up in making sure I was thorough and “perfect”. What I realize now is that I don’t have to work a perfect first step, I just have to work it until I get it. Until I get the powerlessness, and that I will always be powerless over sexual fantasy and my acting out behaviors. Until I get the unmanageability. I began to get the unmanageablility when I could look through the eyes of my wife and others in my life at my behavior.

  7. It took 5 and a half months to get through my first step. I say get through because Step One is about taking the first step towards healing. Admitting honestly that we were powerless and that our lives had become unmanageable.
    For me it was also about facing myself and what my life had become honestly and admitting that I had betrayed everything I believed in and everything I stood for, not least of which was the betrayal to my wife and kids. This was very painful, the guilt, shame and remorse I still battle with, but in working Step One I finally found a way to forgive myself.
    My sponsor always says “I did then what I knew then, but now that I know better, I do better”. He supported, guided and encouraged me throughout the process, I thank him for being a friend and brother.
    The First Step is the beginning of the journey, I look forward to what G-d has in store for me next.

  8. Thought I would double-dip since I recently shared my First Step with my SAA Group.
    I must say that it took a few days to absorb the full impact of the share. The experience was very humbling. Sharing my life’s deepest, darkest secrets conjures up all sorts of fears and anxieties; judgement, ridicule, shame… to name a few.
    And yet, the words of kindness from my fellow brothers and sisters in SAA were more than supportive, comforting and reassuring; they touched my soul.
    I thank them and my Higher Power for providing a safe environment for all members to recover from this disease.
    G-d bless you all.

    • For me it is important to work on a formal first step and share it with a group because it reminds me of my A, B, and Cs as a sex addict.

      “Our description of the addict, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

      (a)That we were addicts and could not manage our own lives (STEP 1)”

      (b)That probably no human power could have relieved our addiction (First part of Step 2)

      (c)That God could and would if He were sought (Second part of Step 2)
      Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him.”

      And in my experience, when I take my will back (take back step 3), I become insane (take back step 2), and I become powerful (take back step 1) – I go back to acting out. I have to remember my A, B, and Cs. And doing a formal first step is a great way to REMEMBER these pertinent ideas that my mind likes to forget.

  9. I had been through the first 5 steps. I thought that I could manage now that I was almost half way through the steps. Bullshit. I fooled myself right into a tremendous relapse.

    Honesty. All the way through the steps, I missed the point of the 1st step. Without a proper start here, without truly in my heart of hearts admitting I was powerless, my addict swooped in and carried me, lying all the way, through steps 2-5.

    So here I am. In the last 20 days I have been to a meeting every day. I have spoken to my sponsor everyday and others in my group too. I have been reading, journaling and just now after the twenty days the first step is calling out to me. I have taken action this time. My actions which are true and honest and uncomfortable included shedding my most deep and darkest secrets. I have agreed with God that I am powerless. I have shared with him my consequences of unmanageabilty. As a part of admitting through action that I am powerless I am going to take six months minimum in a half way house. This is an uncomfortable way for me to take the “action” of admitting I am powerless and that I can’t manage on my own. Whenever I have tried on my own to solve this, God has proven to me that my life in addiction is unmanageable. This time I am letting God, especially through the advice and instruction of those around me, guide me to a place where I may retrieve my sanity and move toward a truly managable life.

    To admit and really understand that I was powerless, I had to be able to think clearly about my life. Looking back, I spent more than twice my annual income on my addiction, Two years of hard earned money all because I believed I could handle this by running my own program.

    The first step now really means something to me. As the american indians say “Reality is measured by depth of the bear’s claw” In other words the more pain, the more real.

    The relief I feel now by admitting things I have done, in turn, positioned me to make this true admission, I am powerless against my addiction and my life had in truth become unmanageable.

    Now to the first step with real meaning.

  10. The journey of a walk to the store or a trip to the moon, begins with the first step. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that I am an addict and that I am powerless over my addiction and that my life has become unmanageable. When you see someone that turns on your urge to act out, or look forward to going onto the Internet wasting time in a wasteland of images, and reading that add to the urges and desires and find say “Oh s–t, look at the time, and find that it is not from a book you have read but it is you, and you don’t stop…
    It is that reality that I had to live through when I am acting out in my addiction. Ten minutes becomes thirty, becomes sixty, becomes one hundred twenty. The money I have lost pales in comparison to the time I have lost. Money can be replaced and remade. Time once lost is gone forever. So for today I am back back on the road to recovery. My first step begins when I step onto the floor out of bed, one day at a time.

    Thanks for reading,

    God love you.

  11. Step One seems like a long time ago. Maybe that is because it was. Even though I am still working the steps, I started them a little over 2 years ago. I know there is no race, but it has been a while. Nevertheless, I remember what is in my Step One like it was yesterday. And for me the most important part of Step One is to keep it fresh in my mind. Because I need to remember how powerless I am and I how unmanageable my life can become because I know that I am just one slip away from being in the same place I was 2 ½ years ago and I am just one hit away from being in the same place I was 4 years ago. So Step One reminds me of all the ways that I am powerless over my addictions and it reminds me of all the ways that my life can be unmanageable. I lived in an addiction based lifestyle for over 20 years so there was a lot of powerlessness and unmanageability to overcome. The only way for me to do that was to surrender to the program and to the people that knew better than I did. Because I finally figured out that I did not know what to do and that my way was not working. At 41 years old it was good to finally figure that out. Then I could start to recover. Because I could be open to suggestions by others who went before me and who had a solution that I could see worked for them. And so far that solution has been working for me one day at a time. So, for me, I will continue to do what was shown to me by those who did come before me and I will continue to show those who come after me that same solution because I know that as long as I keep the spirit of Step One alive I have a better chance of staying sober one more day.

  12. It is always good for me to remember my Step One. I completed Step One over a year ago if not more. However I need to always keep it fresh in my heart and mind. I need to always remember how powerless I am over my addictions and how my life becomes unmanageable. From time to time I have heard people in the program talk about controlling their addiction or conquering their addiction as a means of recovery. I do not believe that control is the solution. The solution for me was realizing that I was powerless and that my life was unmanageable. As a result, I knew that I had no control. Whenever I exerted control I ended up right back where I started which was miserable. So, based on the experience, strength and hope of those that came before me I realized that I need to turn everything over and not “control” my addiction, but rather “surrender to” my addiction. Surrendering to my addiction is admitting that I am not in charge, that I am completely powerless. If I can be honest about my powerlessness and surrender, I can then do what I need to do to keep myself safe in my recovery on a daily basis so that I stay sober. As a result today I have 7 months – Woohoo! But what I really have is one day: one day contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition as stated in the big book of AA from which we got our start. And I will take that one day, one day at a time. Because I know that one day at a time, I have been able to stay sober. And I pray that one day at a time, I will continue to stay sober. As long as I keep the spirit of Step One in my heart and continue to surrender to the program, to the addiction and to my Higher Power I should move forward in my recovery.

  13. In AA there is a piece of literature that states, There comes a time where the alcoholic can not imagine life with or without alcohol. He will be at the jumping off point. He will wish for the end.

    Substitute Sex addict for alcoholic and you will see where I came to when I accepted the first step. At this point I realized I was powerless over this addiction. I did not believe I could attain sobriety. After 12 months I again have less than 30 days. Do I believe I can attain sobriety? I am not sure. Do I believe I am powerless over this addiction? Completely. So completely that I don’t know if I can obtain long term sobriety.

    I believe that when you accept the first step you are in a state of despair. You have reached a point where you know completely that you are powerless but have not yet come to the realization that there is a solution. It is that desperation, born of the many attempts to control my behavior to no avail, that brought me to SAA. It was the repeated relapses that led me to believe that despite my best efforts, I could not remain sober.It was the continually worsening consequences that made me realize that in spite of my ability to control some things, my life was out of control. It was with this realization that I came to SAA. I had no choice. It was by ultimatum and not by choice. Remember, I had no choice at this point. I was absolutely powerless.

    While I had seen others attain sobriety, and I had, in another 12 step program, I did not believe I could in SAA. Today, despite my best efforts, I’m still not sure that I can.

    Thankfully, having come to this conclusion, I move on to the second step. While the word “could” is used there, the second step gives me hope that the could will become “would”.

  14. Although I have not completed my first step yet, I am looking forward to doing so. I have been in the program for a year now, and I am finally taking the time and effort necessary to do my steps.

    First and foremost, I have admitted to myself that I am an addict. More precisely a sex addict. not only have I admitted it to myself and others, but I finally believe it. I don’t just say it as rote because everyone else in the group does. I feel the truth of the statement down to my bones.

    I tell myself this every day, because if I don’t arm myself with this thought, the addict will sneak up on me, and I will be caught up in my addictive behavior before I even realize it.

    My latest relapse was an eyeopener for me. I was living in my addiction, lying to myself and everyone around me. Upon being discovered and dealing with the devastating consequences that come from that moment, suddenly it all became clear in my mind and I could not believe that I had sunk to that level again.

    I was truly incapable of stopping my behavior on my own, and my life was absolutely unmanageable. At that moment I realized that I was lying to myself, and that was startling.

    Lying to others is one thing, as horrible as that may be, but lying to yourself and believing the lie is just plain sick, and the work of a deluded mind. This is a disease of the mind, and the first step is the beginning of the path to the cure.

    So once again: I am powerless over my addictive sexual behavior, and my life is unmanageable. If you think about it, that is an empowering statement, because now I know the truth, and I can feel free to reach out for the help I need instead of hiding in my addiction.

  15. My awareness started at 1/2 of step one. I realized during my first disclosure that I had an addiction to sex, and that I had it for the entire period of my adult life.

    But becoming aware of being a sex addict is not Step 1. Step 1 is admitting that my life is out of control, and that I am powerless against my addiction. Even at that first awareness, I felt I could control it in the future. Then on the 2d disclosure, since the first was incomplete, I realized the bigger truth – that sex addiction was part of a much bigger problem – a problem that resulted from beliefs about my worthlessness and by a flawed strategy for dealing with it. Then I discovered the role of LYING in the addiction. That I lied continuously, over major and minor things, and that this was not only because of guilt and shame about the behaviors, but also that I was hiding who I thought my real self was from the rest of the world – and myself!

    When this proof of insanity hit me, like a ton of bricks, I knew my life, my mind, my behavior and my sense of reality was all out of control.

    I admitted my powerlessness to others, that my life was out of control, that my mind was out of control, and that now I could admit (at least partially by my impaired thinking) my own insanity. The only thing left to do was accept my helplessness and turn the rest over to my higher power.

    That first step is a giant one! And the 2d and 3d steps are the only way to move forward. Thanks to all who helped me get this far.

  16. Step One – The beginning – I can be at step one anytime I want to be or need to be. All I need to do is realize that I am powerless over this addiction and that my life is unmanageable as a result of this addiction. And if I do not work my program I get a very clear reminder of just how powerless I am and how unmanageable it gets. So I like to get little reminders about step one as much as I can. I do this by listening to first step meetings, by listening to others on the phone, by sharing what it would be like if I were to start acting out, by playing the tapes in my head of what my life would be like if were to return to my old behaviors day in and day out. I don’t want to go back to that life so I use step one to keep me where I want to be and moving in the right direction. For me it is always a good thing to be reminded of this first step.

  17. Step 1 – How did I get back to looking at this again? Simple – I was not working a strong program. As a result, I allowed myself to go down a very quick slippery slope. Like I needed a reminder of my addiction and how quickly I can be obsessed with sexual thoughts and have that obsession turn to a compulsion. But I got the reminder anyway. Luckily it was just a week and luckily I was able to pull myself out of it. Of course I say pull myself out of it, but I needed the help of my sponsor and my Higher Power. It was not until I got honest and told my sponsor everything that was going on that I was able to stop.

    All of this is the result of not staying connected and not doing what I know I need to do on a daily basis. I recently met someone. After a very quick connection it was soon clear that he did not want to be with me as much as I did with him. That brought up for me all the rejection issues from my past that I had not dealt with. Maybe this is good that it happened and that it happened so soon and so fast. Because it told me a little more about myself. I am still upset that it had to happen at all but I believe that everything happens for a reason.

    This last slip is forcing me to be humble, honest and it is taking a lot of courage to talk about what happened because I want everyone to think I am perfect and that I work a perfect program. But I wasn’t and this is what happened.

    In one week I got a taste of my entire addiction, how quickly I get consumed and can go down that rabbit hole. I did not want to feel my feelings. I am almost 5 years in recovery and this is what happens. I have heard the stories and thought I was immune. But I was not. I know that what matters is what I do today so I am working to learn from this, do the next right thing and move on.

    So now I am working on being more accountable and safe. I have a lot of work to do but at least I am back on track.

  18. I gave my first step tonight to the group that I discovered exactly one year and one day ago. That was the most desperate time of my life. In the past year, I have faced so much that I never shared with anybody for years and years. Some of it I never even thought about, couldn’t even think about. But I did, and got past it.

    My lessons from the first step is that I was insane. I can’t say that I’ll never do anything, because I know that I have done things that I was so sure I would never ever do. That’s a terrifying thought. I am frightened by some of the things I’ve done, and I know that it can get much much worse. I couldn’t see that before.

    I also know that it was a process. I didn’t become an addict overnight. I got that way for various and complicated reasons that worked themselves out over time. Healing will take time and ultimately, recovery is a lifelong commitment.

    Lastly, I know now that the addiction was the mask, the excuse. The addiction is the manifestation of the problem, not the problem itself. The problem lies in me. All the things i could never face or express are the demons I must conquer. The extent to which I do that is the extent to which my addiction loses power over me. To do that, only God can help me.

    I just needed to post tonight. The hard work of the first step was finished when I finally acknowledged, first on paper, then with my therapist and sponsor, the things I’ve gone through in life. I feel a little nuts for sharing it with so many people tonight, but I need to share myself. I need to put my trust in the group and hope I can be of some service in return.

    The hard part is yet to come, but I know that God’s grace will see my through. Onward to step two!

  19. “Step One”…Yep this part really starts an inner digging process. My first step took me to a place of realization that I never knew. Acknowledging that I was helpless wasn’t just a statement it was a full exposure of my weaknesses. My first step brought me to a very harsh place with my sponsor fighting back & forth. In my first step I saw myself making excuses, something I never thought I would find myself in. These excuses were leading me right into death row! It was only God that provided a change cause I was truly killing myself. The 1st step is very hard because it begins to introduce ALL that causes us to be powerless.

  20. Doing a a first step forced me to go back in time and dig up my child hood, my family of origin, dark secrets, and a log of acting out behaviour. I was forced to look at my disease and the insanity of it all. After completing the narrative, I remember knowing that I was done and ready to give it away. My first step was the point at which I gained traction and momentum in the program. It was truly when I felt that I was moving forward. A friend in recovery describes it as a “PoP”. Today, I try to stay close to the meetings and the phone calls. It helps me stay connected and disclose my struggles, frustrations, thoughts, and it gets me out of my head. If I don’t stay connected, I could go back to my secrets where my disease is waiting for me with open arms. As it was shared in the previous posts, I have to do a first step every day. I am only as sick as my secrets.

  21. I have been working on my first step for the last few months, but more often not working on it. I had recently slipped back into my old avoidance behaviors and made excuses to not do the work. I needed a good kick from my sponsor the other day to begin the work again. I really do think it will be therapeutic once i complete it. My addiction goes back a long time, so i am finding it a little difficult to put everything together. I believe i just have to get everything down and then i can figure it out. I do know that if i don’t get it done soon, it will be a big impediment to my recovery.

  22. I give my first step publicly in 6 days. While writing it, I had a lot of angst about telling it to my group. But now that it is written, most of the angst is gone. It will be the first time I have shared with anyone the acting out I have done over the last decade. Even when I’ve been caught, getting caught in the act was just a small freeze frame (picture) of a full length movie reel.

    I plan to stop back after I give my first step. so, I’ll be back…

    • an addendum, as promised:
      I gave my first step 4 days ago. The group meeting was packed, for our room and standards. ~40 people
      My sponsor was there, and I appreciate his support.
      After giving it, I felt a sense of purge. Like a small burden lifted. I am a private person, and so that was the first time I had told anyone all the things I have done over the past decade and half. I was told I did a good job, and some people said they related and got a lot out of it. That helped my spirit.
      I may still be a little numb from the first step process. But I would say it’s helping my recovery.

  23. So to,or row is my first step. I have it completed and I am ready. I know that for today I never want to go down into that pit of despair and self hate. I cannot and will not let that happen. God has become such a part of my life since I started on my recovery. Every time I have prayed and asked for his help and guidance he has been there and answered and taken care of me and my wife. I am reminded of psalm 23 yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me. I don’t know why that just came to me but it did. I feel gods presence with me at all times. I talk to him daily many times a day in fact and he is always there. This is why I am not afraid this is why I am so committed to my recovery. I know that God is beside me through every step I take. I feel no fear for to,or row admitting my powerlessness over my addiction admitting that my life was out of control. I am not afraid. I will speak freely of my addiction because with gods love I am safe. All the years I sought love and warmth and comfort through sex yet now without sex living free and in recovery I feel gods love warmth and comfort every minute of every day. Thank you father for helping me make this first step. Tomorrow at 7 pm I compete step 1 and at 8:01pm I begin step 2

  24. I did my first step needing a lot of guidance as i have never took on such a task in my life . i did not know how to chronical a lifetime of some repressed memories and some purposely forgotten ones . I leaned on my sponsor to re-assure me what i was writing was want i needed to say . As i recreated my past i learned a lot about me .I came to realize this disease did not happen over weeks or months ,it was a lifetime and progressed to becoming more deadly .It is this progression that truly defines it as a disease .i was nervous to to deliver an honest history of my sex addiction in front of many familiar faces , as i spoke i tried to reach everyone one in the room at once to connect with them and let them know I belong here , and I need your help and I pledged to help them as well

  25. the first step

    Now that I am seriously in my recovery I feel less anger and resentment. Many times I would think I am doing the recovery leave me alone and let me do it, But now I understand I have to be honest and reach for my feelings and get them out. No more secrets. Being honest makes me feel safe and happy that I am trying to work on this terrible addiction. Doing the right thing and being accountable gives me a feeling of satisfaction. I have a great sponsor
    who is trying to help me and I feel happy that I am working the 12 steps and I feel less anger in my life right now

  26. To me, taking the first step was a just admitting to myself that I had a problem AND then admitting that to my husband. Yes, it was a relief to have that off my chest but I wasn’t prepared for the fallout that ensued.

    I am working hard being honest (rigorously). It is just very difficult … still feel lost.

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