Chastity Office 1
The Seven Steps of Celibacy
1) I accept that there is power within me
2) I sing, discipline my body, pray and meditate…everyday
3) I feel all my feelings...and share them where it is wise to
4) I am open to feedback from trustworthy people
5) I confront and set boundaries with others
6) I accept my limits
7) I laugh
Chastity Office 2
“There is no time like the present.”
Joan of Arc
"For some of us, however, there is no passage to life, only from one stage of dying to another. Too few lessons have been learned, too little wisdom has been gained for the wound to heal. There is nothing natural or guaranteed about a springtime of the spirit."
"Behind every marvelous tale of death – left– behind is a common theme of peak moments. These peak moments may occur as long as we live. Or they may not. Perhaps we'd better make a decision someday sooner than tomorrow."
"Healthy living demands enough of a central focus that something gets finished once it gets started. Lacking this we often return to fight the same battle once again."
Chastity Office 3
We have only one slogan…”Celibacy, Service and Laughter”
Chastity Office 4
"To achieve chastity, be prepared to lose everything. Chastity is a ravaging force to which nothing seems sacred or inviolate. It rips to shreds the structures and foundations I built in weakness and ignorance." The Courage to Heal
"Talk doesn't cook rice." DOH,DOJ
“There are those who choose to live like eunuchs to know the kingdom of heaven. If you can accept it, accept it”. Matthew 19:11
“Do not give your strength to women, your vigor to those who ruin kings."
“Keep a path far from her, lest you give your best strength to others”. Solomon
“When should you have sex with a woman? When you want to lose the strength you have”. Pythagorus
“Life without celibacy appears to me to be insipid and animal like”.
“A man dissipates his physical strength through ordinary sexuality”.
"Control of the palate is the first essential in the observation of the vow." Gandhi
Chastity Office 5
The Celibate Promises:
1)) We will be more available to our children
2) We will be more present and productive at work.
3) We will become stronger and more supple.
4) Our financial situations will clear up.
5) Our artistic and “spiritual” aspirations will be realized.
6) Self-draining sexual/romantic relationships will suddenly wither and die
7) We will have more clarity, intuition and personal power.
8) We will have more fun.
9) We will finally...relax
The Promises of Chastity
Efficient perceptions of reality…We have the ability to judge situations correctly and honestly. We are very sensitive to the dishonest. Rather than being fearful of things that are different or unknown, we are able to view things logically and rationally.
Comfortable acceptance of self and others...We accept ourselves and others as they are. We tend to lack inhibition, are able to enjoy ourselves, and live our lives guilt free. We accept, with humor and tolerance, our own human nature with all its flaws, the shortcomings of others, and the contradictions of the human condition. Other people are treated the same regardless of their background, race, culture, or socio-economic status.
Spontaneity…We extend our creativity into our everyday activities. We tend to be unusually alive, engaged and spontaneous. We follow generally accepted social expectations, but do not feel confined by these norms and are spontaneous in our internal thoughts and our external behaviors. We are open and unconventional.
Task centering…We are motivated by a strong sense of personal ethics and responsibility, applying our problem-solving skills to real-world situations and helping other people improve their own lives. Each of us has a mission, outside of ourselves, to pursue and fulfill in life.
Autonomy...We are free from reliance on external authorities or other people. We tend to be resourceful and independent. We do not conform to other people's ideas of happiness or contentment.
Continued freshness of appreciation…We constantly renew our appreciation of life's basic goodness. A sunset will be experienced as intensely, with the same wonder and awe, every time, as it was the first time. We live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of each experience.
Fellowship with humanity…We will feel a deep identification with others and the human situation in general and yet, we feel we are an important part of humanity.
Profound interpersonal relationships…Our interpersonal relationships are marked by deep loving bonds and we grieve appropriately with their closure.
Comfort with solitude…Despite our satisfying relationships with others, we value solitude and are comfortable being alone. It is essential for us to have time to focus on personal discovery and for cultivating our individual potential.
Non-hostile sense of humor…We have the wonderful capacity to laugh at ourselves and situations but do not shame others with this capacity.
Peak experiences…We have frequent occurrences of peak experiences. These experiences are marked by feelings of ecstasy, harmony, and deep meaning. We will feel at one with the universe, filled with its beauty and goodness, feeling simultaneously more powerful yet more helpless, feeling stronger yet more calm than ever before. Afterwards, we have the conviction that something extremely important and valuable has happened to us, so that we are transformed and strengthened in our daily lives by each such experience.
We have the gifts of...clarity, intuition, personal power in relationships, resilience and visions…
Chastity Office 7 "Chastity is King"
Psalm 21 Excerpt:
1 O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
2 You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips. "Selah"
3 You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him--length of days, for ever and ever.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Chastity Office 8
When I choose chastity, just for today, I have attained my highest goal of self-love.
I am as close to myself as I can be.
I have a gift I can give God that brings me closer to Him, personally.
I am fully realized, self-actualized, enlightened and mighty.
My whole life, up to this point, makes sense.
Then...I can wear my recovery "Like a loose garment".
Chastity Office 9
December 6, 2021
Day #33 in chastity.
I am loving this chastity period:
The obsession with food has been lifted.
…up at 4:00am instead of noon. Going to bed at 10:00pm instead of 1:00am
Practicing 3.75 hours a day
Writing, arranging, studying, rehearsing, performing, producing and teaching music for hours and hours, each day.
Raised my teaching and producing rates 20%.
I asked my wife how she would feel about, when we decide to end this chastity period, that we have a three day plan to re-enter active sexuality.
I don’t want to frivolously end this period in a teenage fit of passion. It has already been too painful, too costly, emotionally, to just casually toss it away. That’s what I used to do…have sex without giving it a second thought.
My wife is one in a million…no a billion.
Chastity is King…
Chastity Office 10
Ellen Bass, in the Courage to Heal, says that the whole book is about "Improving self-esteem".
If it is true that chosen chastity improves self-esteem more than any other activity, then chosen chastity would help survivors improve their self-esteem more than any other activity.
That is my experience.
It is also my experience that the part of me that esteems myself is also the same part that intrigues, objectifies and fantasizes. And I can't do both things with that same part.
Therefore, lust (through intrigue, objectification, and fantasy) destroys my high self-esteem.
Chastity Office 11
The first time I saw porn I was 12 years old and was digging around the loft of our rented barn to lift a bale of hay where one of the neighborhood boys had stashed a copy of Playboy.
I had never seen anything like that. The pictures were so glossy, the women were so naked and the poses on various automobiles were confusingly ludicrous.
The next day I looked again and it was gone.
Strangely, I would not see porn again for ten years until I was a messenger at a surgical hospital.
It transfixed me, and I wouldn’t see it again for yet another 10 years, when my first wife would give me a VHS video cassette copy of three porn films that she had had copied, by her sister’s husband, as a Christmas present.
I used it for maybe a year and a half...By that time I could overlook the stupidity of the content of porn as an actual film.
All this was before the internet...Then I got into sex addiction recovery.
The truth is that I did not need images to stimulate me. I had a lurid, vivid, creative imagination.
But, I was stone-cold addicted to masturbation.
I did it every day, not long, ten minutes or so.
But it felt violent, vicious, ripping and tearing through my boundaries, extinguishing my self-esteem, self-drop-kicking myself into two days of depression...every single time.
Nothing beat me so bad in my life like masturbation...except drinking.
Chastity Office 12
When in conflict, a really good prayer is “In chastity lies the protection of the body, the mind and the soul”.
I feel protected when I hear that prayer, like when I hear “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”, or, “Your rod and your staff they comfort me”.
Of course, I have to practice chastity for the prayer to mean anything to me.
While in conflict, my need for safety, my need for love-and-belonging and my need for esteem-of-others is not met by the other person, because they are too busy protecting themselves.
To make up for that deficit of love from the other person, I can love myself...by choosing finite chastity.
Seems like a small price to pay...for emotional safety.
Chastity Office 13
What would I do differently if I accepted a vow of chastity, just for today, starting today?
Practice breath prayer
Discipline my mind to choose a positive attitude
Do more exercise
Make sure my food was as clean as I could make it
Create amateur art as a creative "outer circle"
Transmute all the energy of intrigue, objectification and fantasy...to prayer.
And go to PrayerCall a lot
Chastity Office 14
Finding my soul in chastity
Lord, help me to feel my soul...
Socrates and Plato both believed that the soul was housed about the solar plexus.
If that is true, I will breathe in deeply and repeatedly, and try to locate my soul within me.
Lord, help me to feel my soul..
When I want to eat something I'm not supposed to eat...help me feel my soul within me.
When I want to drink something I'm not supposed to drink...help me feel my soul within me.
When I start to reach for 'sex, love, romance, or relationship', unhealthily...help me feel my soul within me.
"The kingdom of God is within" says the gospel of Luke
If my soul is not the kingdom of God…Then what is?
Chastity Office 15
Chastity is my personal highest spiritual goal today.
I have an attitude of gratitude around chastity.
I am humbly grateful to have received this gift.
I am grateful to have the wisdom to be alone.
I am grateful I no longer feel lonely or needy around being alone.
I am grateful to have developed the skills of being with myself.
I believe I am the very best I can be when I choose chastity.
When I empty my mind and body of lust, I become open to being filled with love...
Chastity Office 16
I surrender sex, love, romance and relationship, just for today.
I will use my sexual energy to serve others and take care of myself in an "enlightened self-interest" sort of way.
I will be grateful for the things I have.
I will pray often throughout the day.
I will practice mercy and forgiveness, with myself and others.
I will meditate and try to ascertain God's will for me.
I will not take myself too seriously.
I will be gentle with myself.
When I objectify I will pray "Sister, may no harm come to you from me".
If I want to fantasize I will pray "Sister, may no harm come to you from me" to the object of my fantasy.
When I want to intrigue I will pray "Sister, may no harm come to you from me".
I will call others on the phone and check in how I am feeling.
I will relax.
I will be grateful that my sexual energy is so strong and that I can channel it in positive, creative and useful ways.
I will have a positive attitude.
I will work on my cardio, strength, endurance and flexibility today. As Gandhi says "As with the body, so with the Universe".
I will practice being content with my soul.
Chastity Office 17
Help me to be unselfish, just for today.
Help me not to see women as objects of my sexual desire, just for today.
Help me not to see women as possibilities to meet my own neediness for emotional safety, love and belonging or esteem (validation), just for today.
Help me not see women as occasions for romantic or relational intrigue, just for today.
Help me not see women as people who might meet my desire for affection or for company, just for today.
Help me not see women as objects of love that may complete an emptiness within me, just for today.
Help me see women, as I see men, as people to serve, just for today.
Chastity Office 18
As Lao Tze would say, “Help me on this journey of mightiness (health).”
Help me conquer myself, just for today.
Help me have a "springtime of the spirit"
Help me first, to be satisfied in conquering myself and secondly, to know peace, through experiencing my soul.
Help me to surrender my thoughts, to breathe in deeply and to experience my soul as often as I can today.
Now that I am free, help me build a new life, doing what you want me to do.
Help me to surrender anything that would distract me from my soul.
Help me to remember that as I change myself, I change the world.
Help me to remember when Al-anon quotes Blaise Pascal "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Today I will look for love within myself….gentle, positive, accepting.
Give me courage to act and wisdom to know when to act.
Help me to be positive, gentle and accepting of myself all day long today.
Chastity Office 19
The mind cannot do this. The body cannot do this. Not even the heart can do this. They are the wrong portals
It is only through the soul that I can know peace, although peace may shine forth in the other three.
How to access this portal?
Through the breath, the root of all spirituality, with the mind focusing (if Socrates is correct) on the solar plexus.
Concentrate, breathe and repeat...
Chastity Office 20
HP, help me to:
Revel in my new life
Embrace my freedom from illness
Enjoy my freedom from relational, health, legal, or moral problems
Do something fun today
Sing a song of joy
Clap my hands
Chastity Office 21
As one of my highest order needs, the need for contentment comes from being what I want to be.
Help me to want something I can achieve, so that I will feel content.
Help what I want to be sane and attainable, so that I may feel content.
While service makes me feel happy, joyous and free, feeling content is different.
Help what I want to have, do, or be, be reasonable, just and sane, so that having attained it, I am content with myself.
Help what I want to be modest, so that it is attainable, so that I may obtain contentment .
Chastity Office 22
HP,Help me as I surrender all women to you, just for today.
Help me as I fast and feel hungry for parts of this day.
Help me as I pray assiduously to you throughout the day.
Help me to forgive myself for my sins.
Help me to give love instead of trying to get love.
Help me to laugh as much as possible.
Help me to eat healthy foods today.
Help me to exercise some today.
Help me to set boundaries, announce limits, feel my feelings, and meet my needs.
Help me have a positive and grateful attitude.
Help me to accept my life as it is by being positive.
Chastity Office 23
I will have mercy on myself.
I have mercy on the child I was as a boy.
I mercifully wash away the guilt I feel for what I did as a youth.
I am cleansed of my sin as God's tenderness flows through my merciful heart.
I am new.
I will protect the new me, as I am tender.
Guide me Lord in my new life, Amen.
Chastity Office 24
There are not a lot of great stories in the New Testament, like there are in the Old Testament, but, there are lot of beautiful, memorable, poetic phrases that pretty much describe the beauty of chastity:
I have found the "Pearl of great price"
I have found the "Kingdom of God"
I have found the "Kingdom of heaven"
I have found "Eternal life"
I am no longer a "House divided"
I am no longer a "Kingdom divided"
I am no longer "Serving two masters"
and this non-Biblical chestnut: "Free at last, free at last…Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"
Chastity Office 25
I have come for me
Help me to unbaffle and uncunn myself
Help me to walk like a King
Forgive my sins
Renew my youth like an eagle
Help me to breathe deeply today
Help me to exercise hard for my heart
Remove my character defect of lust, please
Help me to feel my soul so that I feel that I have enough.
Chastity Office 26
Fight for my chastity, when necessary
Strive for absolute honesty
Strive for absolute purity
Strive for absolute love
Strive for absolute unselfishness
Be merciful and forgiving when I fall short of absolute perfection.
Chastity Office 27
Help me be gentle with myself when I fail.
Help me to be as merciful to myself as a great father would be to his child.
Help me to encourage myself.
Help me to have faith in myself.
Help me to be proud of my courage.
Help me to love myself today by taking the actions of love, having an attitude of gratitude and contentment, believing beliefs that are positive, gentle and accepting, thinking hopefully and feeling everything I feel.
Chastity Office 28
Slogans to help you stay chaste one more day:
Don't be like the horse or the mule..
I surrender my right to be sexual
A vow of chastity...just for today
No sex except to create children
Chastity Office 29
Control of the palate is the first essential in the observation of the vow.
There are those who choose to live like eunuchs to know the kingdom of heaven. If you can accept it, accept it.
Acceptance is being positive.
Do not give your strength to women, your vigor to those who ruin kings.
Keep a path far from her, lest you give your best strength to others.
When should you have sex with a woman? When you want to lose the strength you have.
A man dissipates his physical strength through ordinary incontinence.
Life without celibacy appears to me to be insipid and animal like.
Have mercy on me Lord, a sinner.
Sister may no harm come to you from me.
Cling to the Lord and cry out for mercy.
Celibacy, service and laughter.
Chastity is happiness.
Knowing your soul...brings peace.
Chastity Office 30
The Highest Jesus every thought was the Sermon on the Mount.
The Highest Gandhi ever thought was non-violence.
The Highest I have ever thought is Celibacy, Service and Laughter.
Being in touch with my soul…is higher than anything I have ever thought.
Chastity Office 31
Help me to take care of myself in chastity.
I will feel more.
Hurt is one of the feelings I will feel more.
When I feel hurt help me to remember that I need my anger more to protect me from feeling victimized, which is the number one addictive trigger to cause failure at chastity.
I am going to feel angry more…or I am not going to make it.
I commit to feel my anger…
Chastity Office 32
Chastity-Suffering and Character building:
“But whenever we had to choose between character and comfort, the character-building was lost in the dust of our chase after what we thought was happiness.”
“Seldom did we look at character-building as something desirable in itself, something we would like to strive for whether our instinctual needs were met or not.”
“We never wanted to deal with the fact of suffering.”
“Character-building through suffering might be all right for saints, but it certainly didn't appeal to us.”
As a child, the suffering I experienced was at my parents hands, so I revolt at the injustice of that suffering. But I am a man now.
I can choose to suffer (which simply means that I feel the meta-feeling of hurt, needy, sad and lonely).
When I surrender what I want (which is to be sexual right now) I can build my character…I can “Man up”…one day at a time.
Chastity Office 33
While there are many, many things to do to become enlightened, to walk through that door, for me, with my mindset… I can only enter through chastity.
Chastity Office 34
HP, I am challenged in my life today.
Help me to remember that when I am challenged I have a tool which clarifies my mind, incites intuition, gives me personal power in relationships, and most preciously, resilience in relationship and that ultimate gift of self-love is...chastity.
Gandhi said “Suffice it to say that with the gradual disappearance of the carnal appetite my domestic life became and is becoming more and more peaceful, sweet and happy”.
Chastity is also the key to my soul and in knowing my soul…I do not need anything else to fulfill me.
Chastity Office 35
My path, for me, is as a chaste, living foodist.
After that...I accept life
Chastity Office 36
HP, help me to be grateful that I am free from:
- Artistic and Mystical Preoccupations
- Love Addiction
- Romance Addiction
- Relationship Addiction
- Media Addiction
Chastity Office 37
“In brahmacharya lies the protection of the body the mind and the soul”.
It is true. I feel:
More resilient socially
Have a purer, more serene mind
Am more attentive to business
More intuitively in touch with my Higher Power
More fun loving
Chastity Office 38
Gandhi says food affects sexuality.
Healthy Food Benefits:
Sexual shame from negative body image disappears
Feel muscular curvature in abdomen
Mind is more relaxed, harmonious
Thoughts more integrated and quicker
Breath more deeply, easily and smoothly
Headaches, pinpointed and full cranial, vanish
Skin clears up
Joints stop aching
Chastity Office 39
“A man dissipates his physical strength through ordinary incontinence”.
Incontinence in this sense means “Failure to restrain sexual appetite”.
Is that really true? Does sex make you weak? Do you really lose your strength?
Pythagorus, Plato, Gandhi and that great philosopher Rocky Balboa thought so.
Now, honestly, I never noticed any energy loss when I had major alcohol, pills, caffeine or tobacco rollin’ through my system. I was just too dumb-numbed to notice much except orgasm.
There are two kinds of loss.
The first accompanies doing something I know full well is wrong, like cheating on my wife or masturbating. I then feel “Pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization”. That is the stuff sex addiction programs deal with.
But that is not what Gandhi is talking about.
He is saying that there is some energy inside a man’s body, kind of like two cylinders of an eight cylinder engine, that when I employ my body for sexual activity that that energy is not available for other activities.
It’s just physics...nothing personal.
Chastity Office 40
Jesus only mentions sex three times: Once warning about divorce, once warning about objectifying and then this curious, very little utilized, passage: "There are those who choose to live like eunuchs to know the kingdom of heaven. If you can accept it, accept it”.
Eunuchs are people who don’t have sex and there are, according to him, three kinds:
- People born that way
- People who are made that way: Members of the ancient Chinese Emperor’s staff, Italian Castrato (young boys who sang very high parts in operas during the mid 16th century) and various felons who were being punished, typically for sexual crimes
- And then...people who want to know the Kingdom of heaven
Now wait a minute...You mean to say first of all that there really is a kingdom of heaven... and then you say that to know it I must give up sex!
Yeah, that’s pretty much Jesus’ observation.
Are you crazy? I don’t want to give up sex...
But, on the other hand, if this is true, I don’t miss the boat on the kingdom of heaven, either.
What can I do?
There is a way to have both...“Finite periods of chastity”. A minimum of 60 days is what my sponsor taught me.
60 days abstinence ain’t bad...to get the kingdom of God
Chastity Office 41
‘’Life without celibacy appears to me to be insipid and animal like”.
This may be the harshest thing I’ve ever heard Gandhi say.
Although the last part is rather obviously true, for me, if I am honest.
When I feel sexual desire coursing through me, I feel my body move into a “hunter” mode...even though I am acting very, very refined, delicate, boundaried, appropriate and safe.
So that’s fair...
How about insipid?
That word means “Lacking flavor”.
In truth, when I am chaste every one of my senses are heightened.
Also, when I am chaste, I feel more deeply, my life is more finely tuned and my judgement is more accurate.
So, what is the opposite of “Heightened senses”, “ Feeling life more deeply” and “Perceiving life more finely”?
Yeah, so he’s probably right...
So, how do I process and integrate this truth into my marriage?
I balance an active, passionate, physical, tender, playful sex life with: “Finite chastity periods” (typically a 60 day minimum).
Chastity Office 42
“Chastity is happiness”.
If chosen, finite, chastity raises self-esteem in a sex addict more efficaciously than any other action, and it does...then chastity paves the way for the freedom of happiness.
Chastity Office 43
“Control of the palate is the first essential in the observation of the chastity vow”.
Why does that work?
Because when I am super hungry...A pretty girl is not near as interesting as a broiled steak.
Chastity Office 44
“Keep a path far from her, lest you give your best strength to others”.
When I am doing a 60 day celibacy period, it may be a good idea to keep some distance from my beloved...if I am feeling vulnerable.
As Gandhi would say, “Renunciation without aversion is not lasting”.
AA would say, “If you keep hanging around a barbershop...you are going to end up getting a haircut”.
Chastity Office 45
“Do not give your strength to women, your vigor to those who ruin kings”.
Well, I am no king, but I certainly don’t want to be “Ruined”.
During this “Finite period of chastity” with my wife I have enjoyed: a strong energy boost, more productivity, better sense of humor, better health, more exercise and more social resilience.
I don’t want to give that up today.
Chastity Office 46
“When should you have sex with a woman?...When you want to lose the strength you have”.
I want to be strong in relationships, to take care of myself, to keep my boundaries, so as not to feel victimized.
I want to be strong physically: cardiovascular, flexibility, strength, endurance and conformation.
I want to be strong financially so I can take care of myself, my wife and my son.
I want to be strong spiritually and that means being honest and loving, with myself, God and others.
Chastity Office 47
“Celibacy, Service and Laughter”
What actions bring you closest to God?
Living “One day at a time”?
“Letting go and letting God”?
Practicing “Be grateful” or “Easy does it”?
For me, there are three things that I can do to increase the probability that I will feel God in my life:
1. Practice celibacy: This means no genital contact with myself or others. “Hard celibacy”, or more commonly called, “Chastity”, also includes no objectification, no fantasy and no intrigue.
2. Service: This has to be addiction-specific to work. That is, if I’m a sex addict I have to help sex addicts get sober. If I am an alcoholic I have to help alcoholics not to drink. It can’t be that I help an old lady across the street or that I find a stray puppy and take him home. That’s nice…But it won’t stop addiction, because there’s no humility involved with that.
3. Laughter: There is an expression in 12 step, “If you haven’t got joy…you haven’t got anything I want”.
Laughter is the perfect expression of joy. It shows that you can be joyous even when you’re not perfect.
In that sense, laughter is the perfect expression of God’s presence for people who grew up with an attitude of merciless self-demandingness...as all addicts do.
“Celibacy, Service and Laughter” is a prayer that I use as a silent chant throughout the day, if I feel rattled.
The initials “C.S.L.” are emblazoned, in abalone pearl, on the 20th fret of my Martin guitar, so that every time I look down while I’m playing I can be reminded of how I can best get to God...I need a lot of reminders because I forget God a lot.
Chastity Office 48
“Sister may no harm come to you from me”.
This prayer is my first line of defense against objectifying if I see a beautiful woman in person, in a magazine, a movie, online or on a billboard.
It’s also my first defense against fantasy. If an image of a former partner pops up from my subconscious I can defeat it with this prayer.
Thirdly, if I want to intrigue-sexualize conversations with women-I can stop myself with this prayer.
But, this prayer is good for other things besides defending my middle circle (or boundaries).
When someone does something wrong to me, particularly if not provoked, I feel hurt and have a hard time not “re-senting” the injury.
Resentment comes from the French verb “Sentire” which means to feel.
So, I feel the hurt over and over, and it is hard for me to let it go.
But, if I pray this prayer for the person who has hurt me...I am able to let go of the hurt.
Of course the prayer works as well in the masculine gender, “Brother may no harm come to you from me”, but it also works in the first person as well as the third person.
If I am doing self-destructive things, instead of, as Gandhi suggests self-restrained things, I can pray this prayer to myself, for myself: “Steve, may no harm come to you from me”.
Chastity Office 49
“Chastity is contentment”.
“I see problems that I didn’t see before”.
When I came in to recovery 40 years ago this June (2020) all I could see was that I was hung over all the time from drinking too much.
It didn’t occur to me for eight years that pills and pot might be causing me problems, too.
Once I got clean and sober I wanted to lose some weight because I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now. I started by giving up sugar.
I couldn’t have heard that about needing to give up sugar eight years before. I would’ve thought you were crazy if you had suggested that to me , or at least a know-it-all, controlling, busy body.
But, I lost that weight 32 years ago and I’m glad that I’ve lived my life as a thin man.
I was smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, coughing so hard I would wake myself up at night.
So, eight years into recovery, the cigarettes and the food were problems I just couldn’t see before that time.
That process of ridiculously slow discovery of problems that needing work would go on for four decades and include things like masturbation, affairs, debting, overworking and many others, but....
There is something completely unique about surrendering all sex.
You cross a line when you do that.
That line crosses into the realm, not of health (which is what all 12 Step programs address)...but of holiness and you get to try out something that some interesting people tried like:
Mohammed Ali (for six weeks before a title fight)
Joan of Arc
Leonardo da Vinci
Pythia...The Oracle of Delphi
Now the air is too thin for me to stay in that exalted spiritual state long, but I love to climb that mountain from time to time (and I am very, very happily married).
“Chastity is peace”.
There is an attitude of self-demandingness, below the level of self-pity, which drives me mercilessly, madly on, like those armies who’ve decided to attack Mother Russia in the winter snow.
As Bill W. would say in the Big Book p.4: “The old fierce determination to win came back”.
This attitude comes from a conversation with my father when I was 12.
He took me to a pretty creek and was going to give me the “Birds and Bees” talk. He started by saying, “Is there anything you want to know about?”
I, naively, said “Yes. I’d like to know about that brown liquid you are drinking”.
He tried to recover his composure, but was clearly stung deeply with a sense of shame.
In trying to explain his current behavior he said that “No matter what we do, we can always do better.”
As Bill Wilson would say, from that moment “The drive for success was on”.
Big Book p.2
That would be the seed, for me, that would grow into a life long pursuit of absolute perfection. That’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news...“Chastity is peace”.
Looking back, my father’s shame was not motivated by drinking...but by his sexual behavior.
And the best way to eradicate sexual shame, at least initially, is through chastity.
“Chastity is peace”.
Chastity Office 51
“Control of the palate is very closely connected with the observance of celibacy.
I have found from experience that the observance of celibacy becomes comparatively easy if one acquires mastery over the palate.
This does not figure among the observances of time-honored recognition.
Could it be because even the great sages found it difficult to achieve?”
Gandhi is saying that even for the most spiritually gifted sages of all time controlling what, and how much, food, goes in your belly is hard to do.
It was absolutely pivotal for my recovery.
I was just stuck in third gear for a long, long time.
Conquering the food kicked my recovery into overdrive.
And now I am free...
Chastity Office 52
Today completes my 17th, 60 day (or more) chastity period in the last 31.5 years.
It was not the longest. That was 4 years.
Or even second longest. That was 19 months.
It was not the cleanest, as the many ones when I was alone and when I was considering doing the Gandhi thing by staying chaste, jumping out of planes, day trading and being a living foodist the rest of my life.
It was not the stupidist one. That was the one in 94 when I was having non-orgasmic sex five times a day, thought I might have impregnated my partner, and as she was driving away to the clinic to see if we were having a baby I realized I was going to have a hard time explaining to the boys in SLAA how I was being chaste and got my new girlfriend pregnant.
It was not the hardest 60 days to get. That was the first one in 1990. It took me 23 months of really, really trying to get those 60 days. That one was the most transformative. It was the one that really convinced me of the power of chastity.
It wasn’t the most revealing one. That was my third one when I gladly went into chastity (leaving my first partner in sexual sobriety after 2 1/2 years) expecting to be as close to God as I was in the first two...and God took a cab on me...and made me grow up and learn to love myself.
It wasn’t the most salvaging one. That was my 7th one that helped me leave my beloved borderline-personality-disordered-sexually-addicted-red-headed-psychic who was ruining my life with her ultra-craziness.
It wasn’t even my wife and I’s first one. We did our first one while touring Southeast Asia two years ago.
But it was the first one where I believed I was recovered, not recovering, which felt as strange and lonely as I imagine that the first fish that reached the shore to become the first amphibian felt.
It was the one that launched the new Strength Offices. The Mercy Offices being designed, initially, to help develop chastity. The Strength Office aimed at what life is like recovered...and laughing more.
Each chastity period is radically unique, in my experience.
I will never stop practicing “finite chastity periods” as long as I live. I love the power...
I want to thank my wife for participating in an activity which must seem uselessly difficult for apparently no good reason whatsoever. Thanks, really thanks.
Chastity Office 53
Grieving is appropriate for the end of a chastity period.
While there is great physical joy and emotional love (hopefully) with a loving, passionate and playful wife, there are also the feelings of grief that accompany loss of clarity, power and strength that Gandhi, Pythagorus, The Book of Proverbs and Plato so eloquently speak.
As with all things, it’s a matter of attitude. A positive attitude is part of mental health.
I am grateful to have written over 100 Strength Offices, to have kept immune system strong during this world health challenge, to have maintained my “recovered-ness”, to have learned new musical techniques, to have read many books and picked up a new hobby with my wife...hiking during this chastity period.