Chris X
English (United Kingdom)
abstinence tools

This recovery tool was submitted by a member as part of a set of tools which may or may not be helpful for everyone.

In one of my first SAA meetings when I saw Abstinence mentioned in a list of some Tools of the Programme I thought, you have got to be kidding - I came here to achieve abstinence so if it is a requirement I will never get off first base!

I have since learned that recovery gives me far more than abstinence from my old harmful behaviours, but I would never have achieved a spiritual awakening into my new life without that abstinence.

Indeed there are tools that will help me achieve abstinence, but I have also learned that abstinence itself is cumulative. In my early days in the programme I relapsed into potentially harmful behaviour despite my determination not to. At first I felt a failure - and indeed I was not only taking unnecessary risks but also letting myself in for another period of withdrawal. But I also learnt that I was not completely back at day one. Each period of abstinence had taught me at a deep level that I could abstain from that behaviour, that such abstinence was not only possible, but was beginning to feel good. My periods of abstinence grew longer, each building on the last.

At one stage another kind of abstinence helped me too. For certain periods - in one case for a whole year - I abstained completely from any sexual behaviour. This may not be relevant for everyone, and I do not myself pursue it as a permanent aim. But at the time it seemed to help me learn that sex is optional. I can survive without it, and when I do engage in it, it can be voluntary.

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