“Learn to be watchful, not willful”

It’s not the big things that trip me up.  It’s the little things.

Things like suddenly finding myself all alone.  In the past, this was an opportunity to act out sexually.  And when I suddenly find myself alone in the house – my wife has gone out with her friends – that the old tapes start to play in my head.

The addict wants to come out and play at every opportunity.  My addict likes it when I am alone.  And I suddenly am faced with a decision to stay sober or act out.

My old ways of coping with the temptation would have been to ignore the urge (as if that were possible).  But I would try to park it in the back of my mind and get on with something else.

This proved to be a recipe for failure.  I couldn’t just ignore it!  It wouldn’t let me.

As a result of doing the 12 Steps, I have learned to be more present in these moments.  I have learned to keep the addiction and all the sensations associated with it clearly in front of me.  Trying to ignore it is useless.

I don’t need to panic, or tense up when it flares; I just need to remain consciously aware of its illusive presence.

I have learned to acknowledge my addiction as part of my personality.  My Higher Power accepts me as I am – warts and all.  And if God is okay with all of my imperfections, so am I.

I know I am no match for the addiction; but my Higher Power is!  It is not my job to fight the addiction.  It is my job to remain watchful, vigilant, and mindful of God’s presence.

As my self-loathing slowly disappears, it gets easier to remain watchful, not willful.