White Book - Lust or Sex?

Why in Step One do we say we are powerless over lust instead of sex? Is not some form of sex what we are addicted to? Yes, we answer, but our problem is not simply sex, just as in compulsive overeating the problem is not simply food. Eating and sex are natural functions; the real problem in both of these addictions seems to be what we call lust-an attitude demanding that a natural instinct serve unnatural desires.

When we try to use food or sex to reduce isolation, loneliness, insecurity, fear, tension, or to cover our emotions, make us feel alive, help us escape, or satisfy our God hunger, we create an unnatural appetite that misuses and abuses the natural instinct. It is not only more intense than the natural but becomes something totally different. Eating and sex enter a different dimension; they possess an unnatural spiritual component. 

The addiction is thus to lust and not merely to the substance or physical act. Lust - the attitude itself-becomes the controlling factor in the addiction. 

This may be why people exhibit lust in more than one area. Often, those of us addicted to substances or forms of behavior discover we are also addicted to negative attitudes and emotions.

"I remember that when I came off lust, alcohol, and tranquilizers, resentment burst forth like a dammed-up volcano. I remember thinking that controlling lust must be like trying to control a piece of jello; you press in here and it bulges out there. Or like trying to rout a gopher; you plug up one tunnel only to have the beast go to work in another."

People may not be allergic to food and sex in the sense some people are allergic to pollen, strawberries, or cats, but we do become "allergic" to lust for food and sex. Misusing the natural instinct of sex for an unnatural end over and over again increasingly sensitizes us to the triggers of that association, until a simple thought or look elicits the compulsion.

For the sexaholic (sex/porn addict), lust is toxic. This is why in recovery, the real problem is spiritual and not merely physical. This is why change of attitude is so crucial.


Lust-The Force Behind the Addiction - White Book, Page 40, 41