Working the Steps In PrayerCall...

Step 1 - I admit I am powerless over my sex addiction-that my life has become unmanageable.


1. How many times and in how many ways have I tried to stop or control my sex addiction?

2. How have I been dishonest with others and myself and how have I tried to hide these behaviors?

3. How have I tried to justify, rationalize or explain my behaviors to others and myself?


How has my addiction affected the following aspects of my life?

1)  My feelings?

2)  My physical/mental health?

. 3)  My spirituality?

. 4)  My relationship with myself (integrity, self-respect and self-esteem)?

. 5)  My relationships with family and friends?

. 6)  My finances/career/education?

Hitting Bottom - What specific event in my life has convinced me that I’ve hit bottom and that I cannot continue to live as I have been living?


Step 2 - Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

If God is really who God claims to be, and can do what God claims God can do, then what I want to do is imagine what it would be like if I were actually restored to sanity.

How would my life look? I’m very specific.
I give God the benefit of the doubt, and let myself be creative with my hope.

What do I hope my life would look like if I were restored to sanity around?

1)  My feelings?

. 2)  My physical health/mental health?

. 3)  My spirituality?

. 4)  My relationship with myself (integrity, self-respect and self-esteem?

. 5)  My relationships with family and friends?

. 6)  My finances/career/education?


Step 3 - Made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God, as I understood God.

Having become honest with my powerlessness and hopeful about my sanity, in steps One and Two, I then need to look at what is my part in being restored to sanity?   

So, I look back at my Second Step listings of what I hope for in my life and make a list of three things to I’m willing to stop doing, and make a list of three things I am willing start doing, that will help me realize the hopes I have for my life.

Examples of stopping: I am willing to stop drinking coffee, stop eating meat and dairy and stop being sexual for a "finite period".

Examples of starting: I am willing to start doing cardio every day, reading books daily and practicing my guitar only for the fun of its creativity. 


Step 3 1/2- I do God’s will.

After I’ve surrendered my life and will over to the care of God I then decide to do God’s will which is most clearly stated in the Slogans.

Here are few examples:

One Day At A Time

Be Gentle With Yourself

Live and Let Live

Be grateful

Keep It Simple

Easy Does It

Keep coming back

H.A.L.T (Don't get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)

Take care of yourself 

Let Go and Let God  

Act with Courage

Be content

Just Breathe

Lighten Up

Three hours at a time


Step 4: Made a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves

There are two main spiritual resources to use when doing a Fourth Step: the Big Book and and the AA 12x12.

The Big Book says very simply make two lists.

First, make a list of the people that you have resentments towards and, secondly, make a list of all the things you fear.

Resentment comes from the French verb "Sentire" which means to feel.

So to "Re-sentire" means to "re-feel".

Anyone in your life that, when you think about them, you feel hurt or angry about, including and especially yourself goes on this list.

A Fears list can be anything from not having enough money, not passing an exam, not getting a job, a child's health and welfare or just simply fear of dying old and alone. It can be gruesome...but that's why we have the Fifth Step, for relief.

Simply making these two lists, if they are fearless and thorough, will let you know 1) who and what you hate and 2) where you are possibly, not acting courageously.


To take the Fourth Step using the 12x12 is more complicated. Bill Wilson, the founder of 12 step, says to ask yourself:

“What has been right and what has been wrong, with respect to my primary instincts for sex, security and society?” (p. 50 AA 12X12).

A Fourth Step does not have to be perfect. As you mature in recovery you will see things that you did not see earlier and you can approach the Fourth Step again, so just pick the questions below that seem meaningful to you now:

Did “my individual desire for prestige become uncontrollable?” (p.44 ).

Did my desire to be successful cause me to lie, manipulate or use people?

Did I cheat at school or lie on my taxes so that I could appear to achieve or have more in order to appear more than I really am?

Did I exaggerate my accomplishments, brag about who I knew, or lie about what I had achieved?

Did I go along with people, knowing I was doing something wrong just so people would accept me?

Have I “leaned too heavily on people and they have failed me because they could not possibly meet my incessant demands”? (p.53 AA 12x12).

Did I lean on my parents too much as a child and not emotionally separate from them in a healthy, boundaried, adult way?

Was I lazy and let my siblings do all the work as a child, or did I overcompensate and manage someone else's life?

Did I idolize people because I needed a parental figure so badly?

Have I almost always sought to be at the "top of the heap" in my desire to get my need for self-esteem met? (p. 53)

Have I always tried to be the best or not cared if I was the worst when I was with people?

Has this “blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us?” (p.53).

Has my ambition thwarted my capacity for successful relationship?

Did I have sex, because I needed the love and belonging that accompanied it?

As the Big Book says when “The drive for success was on”, was it really just the need for acceptance and approval from my father and/or mother?

Have I “made demands upon other people for too much attention and love?” (p.44 AA 12x12).

Have I “depended completely on a stronger person” and thereby “never grown up?” (p 43).

Did I unhealthily depend on my girl/boyfriend or spouse? My mother or father? My friends or sponsors?

Did I get my emotional needs met from my children, thereby "covertly incesting" them?

Did I ask God to do for me what I could do for myself?

Did I not nurture myself in a healthy way so that I became unhealthily dependent on someone else?

Who did I lean on too much, so that I could feel safe, loved or esteemed?

Did I hold onto a relationship that I knew was wrong because I didn’t want to be alone, to avoid feeling the neediness, hurt, sadness and loneliness of grieving his/her loss?

Have I lived in fear and acted in ways that were not courageous because I believed that there wasn’t enough money for me to take care of myself in a humane way, that I could not take care of myself, or that God would not help me, even if I did my part?

Did I “gripe that others failed to recognize my truly exceptional abilities". (p.51 AA 12x12)

Did I “overvalue myself and play the big shot?” (p.51) .

Have I stolen, gotten myself in debt, underearned, gambled or not saved my money?

Step Five - Admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

I ask a safe person to listen to me while I share the things I have done wrong in my life.

It takes time to do this step, usually two or three hours, but the relief of the guilt and/or the shame is enormous and well worth the time.

Step Six - Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character

To take Step Six I make two lists on a single document.

On the left side, I write a character asset that has helped me.

On the right side, I write a character defect that has hurt me.

Here are mine:

Assets:                            Defects:

Courage                          Pridefulness

Honesty                          Dishonesty

Willingness                    Selfishness

Strength                         Obsessiveness

Humor                            Extremity

It is as simple as that...

To determine what kind of character assets and defects I have, I start by remembering my most important life’s events:

Example: I am lying on a floor, the day after Christmas. I realize that in my drunkenness I have missed my wife's family's party. I decide to do something about it. Character asset: Unselfishness

Example: I call a woman to go out on a date. She says "No". I feel hurt. If my primary way of getting my need for love and belonging is met through dating then I am psychologically dependent on women and that will lead to hurt, self-pity and rage. This is an an example of my not being able to get my need for love and belonging met. Character defect: Incompetence at self-loving skills.

Example: I see my three year old daughter running on the beach. I realize how much I love her. Though the courts stipulate children are to be given to the mother automatically in custodial cases in that state, I decide to fight. Need to give love and belonging met. Character asset: Courage

Example: I tell my boss I'll work overtime. I feel hurt and angry. I don't know how to announce limits or express my feelings so later I express my anger through cheating on my wife (clearly an angry act). Character defect: people pleasing, dishonesty, selfishness, unfaithfulness.

Example: My parents have been sexually abusive to me. I remember and ask them about it. Their only response is "How are you going to prove it?" I set a permanent boundary  to protect my own daughter. Need for emotional and physical safety met. Character asset: Courage

Example: My wife cheats on me. Instead of setting boundaries and saying "You can't do that and have me in your life" I feel rageful, used, bitter and just start eating voraciously. Dishonest around feelings, poor boundaries: Character defect: Gluttony.

Example: I can't stop masturbating, and though I don't do it much, I feel shame about not being able to stop. I try to stop on my own and honestly can't. I ask someone to show me how to abstain. Need for self-esteem met. Character asset: Humility

Example: A car hits my car. Instead of setting boundaries, I play 'nice guy' saying "It's okay". Later I feel resentful about my not taking care of myself and go to the computer to bury my feelings of hurt and self-hatred with the use of internet porn. Dishonest around feelings, poor boundaries. Character defects: People pleasing, lust.

Example: I can't stop binging on sugar free desserts. Although I've been told I can get all my needs met in one program, I go to an additional program which specializes in food. Need for self-esteem met. Character asset: Willingness

Example: I'm negotiating my divorce with my soon to be ex-wife. She's hiding her pension. Instead of meeting my need for financial security to acquire money to raise my child, who I will soon have custody of, I just let it go. I feel rageful at myself, turn it inward as depression...and go hook up with someone online. Dishonest around feelings, incompetent self-care of financial needs: Character defect: Lust.

Example: I can't stop manipulating women I'm not committed to into being sexual with me. I rationalize that I am giving them pleasure and that they are consenting adults. I ask someone with experience if I am hurting women. They assure me that I am. Need for esteem of others met. Character asset: Honesty

Example: I'm in a meeting where certain feelings are forbidden and considered unspiritual. I always feel beat up by the passive aggressive group unconsciousness. Not having the courage to announce my limits I stay, delusionally hoping things will change. Dishonest around feelings, poor limits: Character defect: Cowardice

Example: I have 5 years in AA. I drink over a woman. I pick up a white chip and am able to laugh at myself. Character asset: Humor

Example: My heart is hurting vaguely, my skin in pasty, I'm overweight and my lower back hurts. I have a need for exercise, but I lack the gift in my character to work out as an act of self-love. Incompetent self-care around physical needs. Character defect: Sloth.

Example: I can't breathe well in the very polluted city I'm living in. Though my friends say I'm crazy, I move somewhere that is beautiful and clean. Character asset: Resilience

Example: My daughter speaks in way that is unacceptable. Instead of being honestly in touch with my hurt and anger I rev my car engine and roar past a slow moving cabbie. Dishonest around feelings: Character defect: Passive aggression

These are just examples. Find your own...

Step Seven - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

After I determine what my character defects are I humbly pray for God to remove these defects...continually.

I simply pray " HP, I am entirely ready for you remove this defect of character of ______ and I humble ask you to remove this shortcoming"

This step usually takes two or three months of very persistent prayer to really see any lasting results.

Step Eight and Nine- Made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all ; Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Let’s look at three areas of harm: Sexual harms to others, non-sexual harms to others, harms to myself. 

A) Sexual harms I’ve done others:

First, if sharing feelings honestly is the basis of any healthy relationship, was I in a relationship where I did not do that?

Secondly, if it is true that “True intimacy, we found, cannot exist independent of commitment” (SLAA primary text), did I not commit to the people I was sexual with?

If I did not do these two things, then I harmed these people, whether they're healthy enough to know it or not.

So, I make a list of the people I was sexual with where emotional intimacy was not primary and where there was no commitment. 

For clarity’s sake: Sex with others is defined as “Genital contact”. 

There are other possible sexual harms I may have done: 

Cheating on my partner

Masturbating so that I don’t have sexual energy to share with my partner

Watching pornography and demanding or expecting my partner to live up to those fantasies

Intriguing, objectifying or fanaticizing about people other than my partner

Being emotionally shut down with people because I am acting out sexually with others

Pretending that I might be interested in a relationship when I am just looking for sex

Using prostitutes (who are almost invariably women/men who were sexually abused as children). Same with massage/lingerie parlour performers, strippers and pornography stars.

These are very concrete examples, but there are others. A couple of useful ways for me to determine if I’ve harmed others sexually are:

  1. Do I feel guilty about how I behaved around that person?
  2. If that person did that to me, would I feel injured?

I make a list of anyone this might apply to: partners, family members, co-workers, friends, employers.

This is a pretty comprehensive list, but sex addiction harms people in non-sexual ways as well.

B) To everyone I have hurt in non-sexual ways I want to look at my words, actions and attitudes that, as a sex addict have hurt other people through my: arrogance, coldness, rigidity, unkindness, impatience, unforgiveness, unmercifulness, irresponsibility, slackness, negativity, control, shaming, blaming, negative judgementalism, dishonesty, selfishness, impurity, unlovingness, unwillingness

Any of this stuff would make me a difficult guy to be around....

C) Harms I've done myself: 

While this eighth step list of people I have harmed may be daunting in itself, the person I have hurt the most, by myself.

Every time I hurt someone else I am hurting me…because I damage my soul each time I do that kind of thing.

I simply make a thoughtful, thorough and merciful list of the ways I have harmed myself by one of these four self-destructive things:

Ignoring my feelings

Violating my boundaries

Exceeding my limits

Denying my needs


Step Nine

To make direct amends to another person, I call the person I’ve harmed (after I’ve gotten clearance from my sponsor) and request to meet in person, and say, “I was doing the wrong thing when I was being sexual with you, I admit it, and I am sorry, and I make direct amends to you.”

Often, if it feels appropriate, I ask the person if they will look me in the eye and forgive me. Then...I don't have sex with them anymore. It's pretty simple, really.

Also with love addiction amends, after I make direct amends, I make indirect amends by simply leaving them alone to live their own life

How do I make direct amends for harming people financially? Simple…pay ‘em back!

More ways to make indirect amends to others :

I can stop having sex without commitment and I can not intrigue, objectify or fantasize about people. 

I can pray for the people I have harmed, as a gift.

I can make my new relationships be about sharing feelings as an amends to others I have harmed previously.

I can learn what shame, blame and controlling is...and not do that to other people.

I can let someone know they matter, that they’re valuable, that they count, by listening to them.

I can be positive in my responses to people about themselves.

How can I make amends to myself for the harm I've done to me?

To make direct amends to myself, I take simple antidotal actions of loving myself.

The antidotes can range from staying away from relationships for a while while learning to nurture myself, committing to work the Steps, calling more people on the phone, having a positive attitude, working out, praying more, having fun, being hopeful, dressing well, reading spiritual literature, relaxing, trusting, getting enough rest, eating healthily, lightening up, seeking professional help if necessary, encouraging myself, giving myself full credit, forgiving myself, having an attitude of gratitude, or buying myself new clothes.

I am creative, loving, expansive, detailed. and accurate as I approach this amends for the harm I’ve done myself.

Step Ten, Eleven and Twelve…The Maintenance Steps

Step Ten- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

I have defects in my character like arrogance, dishonesty, selfishness, extremity and obsessiveness, cowardice (acting on fear) and hate (acting on resentment) which in turn lead me to harming myself and other innocent people.

So, every night I take a two or three sentence sexual inventory about my behavior that day.

I can also do this anytime during the day when I feel off balance. 


Step Eleven- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.

In 12 step we say that “Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God”.

Three examples of 12 Step prayers that are worthy of memorizing:

3rd Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me, and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!

7th Step Prayer

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, healthy and unhealthy. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character, which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.

11th Step Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Very related to prayer, the best suggestions on meditation is from the AA 12x12:
“We remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation....Just saying it over and over”

Some very useful 12 Step phrases to meditate on are:

Let Go and Let God

Easy Does it

One Day at A Time

(See Full B Office for complete list)

In the digital age, a simple way to practice Step 11 is to go to daily meetings at and simply listen to the readings.

The ultimate goal of meditation is to feel/know my soul, because as Gandhi says “The soul is immortal”, and when I realize that there is a part of me that is actually completely revolutionizes how I look at my physical life.

The best way to do this is by counting my breaths and focus on my solar plexus. Socrates says that’s where your soul is, and who knows...he’s probably right.

Step #12- Having had a spiritual awakening, as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other sex addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Step Twelve has three parts:

A)    Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps

This just means I can " do, feel or believe that which I  couldn't " before I started recovery

B)    I try to carry this message to other sex addicts

Carrying the message of recovery to other sex addicts is the most satisfying act that I have experienced in my life. This is the point in recovery when I begin to feel "Happy, joyous and free".

C)   I practice these principles in all my affairs:

These are the specific principles behind each of the 12 steps

1. Honesty

2. Hope

3. Faith

4. Courage

5. Integrity

6. Willingness

7. Humility

8. Brotherly Love

9. Discipline

10. Perseverance

11. Awareness of God

12. Service

Note that in the Big Book, Third edition p. 410, there is a line that rings out through 12-step literature:

“Enlightened self-interest”.

This is extremely different from selfishness, because taking care of myself is an act service, too…an act of service to myself.

Simply, it’s getting my needs met for:

food, clothing and shelter

safety (physical, emotional and financial) 

love and belonging

esteem from others, and for myself...

These are the most basic forms of loving myself.

HP also wants me to meet my needs for:



and highest and lastly... to find peace of mind through knowing my soul


The following link is Steve D.'s application of the above Twelve steps on Caffeine/Food.

Step Work by Steve D.