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June 5, 2014

Screwtape Letter About Lust

Disclaimer: I based this letter I wrote off of C.S. Lewis’s novel The Screwtape Letters. For those of you unfamiliar with this book, it is a series of letters from a devil to his nephew about tempting humans to do wrong. I do not own the copyright nor am I making money off of this letter.

My Dear Wormwood,

I was delighted to hear that your patient has developed an addiction to lust; this is a monumental step downward in bringing him to Our Father Below. There are many ways in which you may now play with your patient in order to keep him in this addiction; I will go over these presently for your instruction. Nevertheless, there is always an opportunity for the Enemy to inspire repentance in his miserable little soul so be on your guard.
First, always remember that when a human has developed an addiction he (or she) can no longer reason properly. An addicted human has lost all sense of proportion in their life and this will be true for your patient. He will forego any duty towards church or family or profession or even recreation and fun in order to satiate these lustful cravings. Much like trying to fill the Grand Canyon with a handful of sand that lust will never be satisfied, it is as a roaring lion going about devouring everything in its path (I hope that you will forgive that I used the words of the Enemy in describing the addiction but it is deliciously appropriate). Therefore, in order to use this lack of reason properly you must drench his mind with a thick fog. Keep his mind crowded with images of pornography, resentments against everything and everyone in his life, memories of past wrongs, and the ever-present lust. Direct his eyes towards every woman that he sees (whether in person or in pictures or, if none are conveniently nearby, in his memory) with the express intention of evaluating them as a sexual partner. The tease and the tantalization and the “possibilities” will be enough to have his mind filled with lust the vast majority of the day. Do not allow him out of that fog under any circumstances.
Secondly, keep your patient in isolation. Tell him, over and over again, that people will reject and revile him if this shameful addiction ever comes to life. One of my favorite meals was that of Adolf Hitler who said when he was alive and not in pieces, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” This lie of needing to remain in isolation needs to be repeated to your patient again and again. Plant in his mind the fear of losing family and friends if he does share his addictive secret. Shout in his ear that he will be hated by everybody that he knows if he ever tells the truth. If you can succeed in making your patient believe this lie you will have succeeded in making your patient join our side against his own soul!! Nothing makes Our Father Below happier than a human fighting for us. If he fights for us that means he is doubling the sin. He is committing adultery (whether physically or in his heart makes no difference) and then lying about it. This glorious cycle can be repeated multiple times until the human loses all hope. And once that despair sets in even the thought of suicide will no longer be repugnant to him. All of this stacked upon a human soul is unendurable. All of these thoughts swirling around in his head (with your help) will only make him miserable and the one thing that he can do to relieve misery is to indulge in lust again. Isolation, that is the key, so keep him in that state at all costs.
Third, you must prompt your man to minimize the addiction as much as possible. Go back to the start when your patient first started experimenting with pornography. It started out with magazine covers and underwear advertisements that your patient stole from the daily newspaper. It then escalated to pictures of women without clothes on to videos to hours online watching videos to acting out with another person. Whether with the spouse or a prostitute or mistress or in a massage parlor; to a man with an addiction to lust these are all the same in the sense that the other person is there only to fulfill sexual lust. To the addict, the other person does not matter in the slightest; the only thing that matters is that your man gets what he wants. Your patient, thanks to this addiction, is a fool; a fool who will never ever believe that an addiction can apply to him. The most useful phrase that you can use is “I just have a little problem”. The term little is significant because, to an addict, little implies something that he can control. Hence you must keep up the fa├žade of a “little problem” when in fact the man is walking into hell with blinders on. To an addict, minimizing the addiction is the only way to keep up the delusion that he still has control over his life. The more he minimizes, the longer the duration of addiction, and then the more likely result is that your patient will die in his sins and be delivered to us.
Forth, it is essential that in the mind of your patient the term “addiction” has a negative connotation. Keep in his mind the image of a broken alcoholic lying in the gutter or a druggie being dropped off in front of the hospital by his “friends” with a needle still stuck in his arm. Your patient will say, “THOSE people are the ones with an addiction, not me. It is them who need the help, not me.” Those images of wrecked humanity need to be kept in the forefront of his mind whenever the word addiction is brought up. He will never apply the term “addiction” to himself as long as those images are in his head. Only “real” addicts are brought that low and your patient will not accept that about himself. And, if the little worm keeps going on in the same manner he will never escape the web. Your patient will never be able to tell the truth. That particular lie, of not being a real addict, has been useful in keeping many patients trapped within this lustful addiction for decades and after death, when they are in Our Father’s House, they will still be addicted but completely unable to indulge. There are few things more amusing then seeing a desperate human endlessly searching for his drug yet completely unable to get it. One of the more entertaining stories from Greek Mythology is that of Tantalus who was given a burning thirst and then placed neck-deep in a pool of fresh, clean spring water. Every time he stooped to drink the water recoiled from him and there he stands for eternity, always lusting but never satisfied.
Lastly, even if your patient wants to stop lusting and indulging you can still twist this hope to bring about your own ends. If he wants to be free focus your attack on that desire by keeping his mind centered on avoiding lust at all costs. Your patient will be so focused on avoiding that lust that all he is doing will be thinking about himself. Even in his efforts to avoid lust your patient will still be selfish. He is ever-looking inward in this battle against lust and always remember that lust is far more powerful than your patient ever could be. Imagine that your patient is fighting a gigantic monster (lust) in a ferocious tug-of-war. Every time your patient pulls on the rope the monster will pull back ten times harder and it will crush your patient every time. Therefore, keep in his mind that this time he can win, this time he will slay the beast, and this time (as opposed to the 10,000 other times he fought and lost) will be different. Never let him think that, instead of pulling on the rope with all of his might, he can drop the rope and walk away. Never let him suspect that what the Enemy mysteriously calls “loving thy neighbor” is the answer to his lustful thinking. Never let him think that caring for others or watching a sunset or playing with a child or chatting with others about what they like can help him conquer the lust. Keep him in himself and do not let him out!
Your affectionate uncle,


Screwtape


May 9, 2014

Lust Based Decisions and Resentment Based Decisions

These are two important concepts to remember in addiction recovery:
  • Lust is Satan's imitation of love
  • Resentment is the opposite of love
These two things can cause a world of hurt for addicts if they are not kept in check



Avoidance VS Action

As I have thought on Avoiding our addiction I have come to these thoughts:



April 10, 2014

Unconditional Love and Support or Destructive Enabling?

I recently became a sponsor and it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It has been an amazing turbo-boost to my recovery and to my spiritual growth and I encourage each of you to work hard to get to the point where you can start sponsoring.

I had an epiphany recently as I was preparing to sleep. Earlier in the day, I had been going over the step work of one of my sponsees and was thinking about it when it hit me. I noticed that my sponsee's work had been filled with very sincere sounding desires and intentions to overcome his addiction and lots of praise and thanksgiving for his wife and kids. He talked about how his wife was so loving and supportive of him, and how grateful he was that she wanted to help him overcome his addiction.


January 28, 2014

Beware of the False Start!


So I enjoy football, especially college football. There is a concept called a false start. In football, the quarterback has to call for the ball before his team can move. If anyone of them move before the quarterback calls for the ball, there is a penalty called a false start. That penalty results in the offense losing five yards.


December 19, 2013

Addiction and The Power of Breaking Isolation

We as humans have many God-given instincts: the desire for power, sex, companionship, entertainment, nourishment, shelter, comfort etc. Each of these instincts if used in the proper way can bless our lives and the lives of others. However, when one or more of the instincts is pushed to the extreme, and abused beyond its natural limits it can become a seemingly uncontrollable force of destruction.



September 29, 2013

Step One: An Ego Busting Experience

Step one only works for people who don't want to fall any farther "Only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength" (12&12, p. 21). This was certainly the case for me. I only accepted step one after a life of losing. Someone who knows what he was talking about said, "you don't land here on the tail end of a winning streak". "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves" (AA, p. 58).


July 18, 2013

Is the Atonement Really for ME?

"I was listening to a talk today by Dr. Lund, an LDS speaker. Something he said struck me to be true.

He pointed out that there is not 1 priesthood ordinance that is performed for the "masses". All ordinances, blessing and so on are done individually. We do temple work for each individual 1 at a time.



July 6, 2013

Honesty, Confession, Daily Accounting

I have just been pondering my current relationship with God, and been led again to realize that although I have made tremendous progress since beginning this program, I am still leading a double-life! I am still seeking to cover my sins.


June 26, 2013

What is a Character Defect?


What is a character defect?  A character defect, is actually not a very complex concept.  As always it is us that is the one to makes it more complex. 

When I was taking step 7, I viewed it as the big brother of step 3, and thought, we'll I already took step 3, therefore, I've got it....  In my arrogance, I didn't see the heart or the core of it.  In a way step 7 is like a step 3.  In step 3 I made that decision to turn to the Lord, specifically as it relates to my addiction.


June 20, 2013

The Will of the Father in All Things

I recently came across this talk from Elder Holland entitled “The Will of the Father in all things” and thought I would share it along with some of the thoughts I had regarding step 3 when I read it.
First of all I love that he brings out the point that Christ is the perfect example of one that trusted in and submitted to the Father. Not just in Gethsemane but in every day of His life He was focused on doing His Father’s will. Understanding that Christ is the one that was able to take step three perfectly every day of His life helps me in two ways.


May 26, 2013

My 3 Bases of Recovery. Living the Twelve Steps as a Way of Life.

While reflecting on practical ways to live the twelve steps in my life, I started thinking about the most basic elements of recovery and what "living the program" looks like. Everyone I know who is living a happy sober life also happens to be abiding by the following three principles on a daily basis. They are striving daily to: Break Isolation, practice Honest Self Appraisal, and strive toward Spiritual Progress.