Guest Post – Sexaholics Anonymous / Sex Addicts Anonymous

By Alec

**Alec is a recovering crossdresser who attends Sexaholics Anonymous meetings in person, over the phone, face to face, and through an email discussion group.**

 

There are different groups for sex addicts.   There is also Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, etc.    Sexaholics Anonymous came about first though.  The excerpts I copied are from the “White Book” a 200 page booklet that was written by the group’s founder back in the 1970’s.  The author’s name is not listed.   Because this book was written four decades ago, it spends most of its time talking about strip clubs, sex partners and looking at pornography.  It was before crossdressing became a fad, before the LGBT movements, or other newer methods that are being used for lust and acting out, including crossdressing.

Most of the men in my meetings have a similar problem; they are alone, widowed, divorced, incapacitated, most are over the age of 50 and retired.  Most afflictions deal with pornography and strip clubs.  More than a few have been arrested for acting out in public.  Most are free to do as they please and temptation can make life difficult.  Well, you know the saying, “Idolatry is the Devil’s Workshop.”

 

I think it helps to have both the Christian and 12 Step viewpoints.  But you don’t want one without the other.  After much study and some prayer though, from the Sexaholics Anonymous perspective, crossdressing by and large of itself is not a sin but it is how one responds to it that gets one in trouble.  That is where the Bible comes in, with its scripture, telling us not to follow the ways of the world and to deny oneself.

 

As far as how Sexaholics Anonymous has helped me, it helped me control the acting out (the masturbating). I first got into the program in June 2015.  Things didn’t change for me overnight.  The natural thing was/is to rebel and lust and act out more.  I would say about 12 days into the program I stopped acting out, as I developed an understanding of lust. Also trying something new, something fresh-hearing new things for the first time made Sexaholics Anonymous interesting.  Each time I went to a meeting I was allowed to “share” about my addiction and my response to it, and we were brutally honest. (I heard men break down and cry several times).

 

It was the first time in my life I could share my embarrassment of being a crossdresser in front of a group of 20 men.  We shared for how long we have been sober. I found it best to say, “I’m sober today”, or “I am sober one day at a time.”   At the beginning of each meeting we give our names, say we are Sexaholics and state our length of sobriety, if we wish.  I would introduce myself as Alec, I am a sexaholic, I am addicted to being turned on by crossdressing and looking at transgender females.  If I am working any steps today, I will say I am working Step ______.

 

In the beginning I stayed sexually sober for a few days at a time, one time went for six weeks and my longest tenure was four and a half months.  Basically I didn’t touch myself for those lengths of times but I must have also controlled the lust, which is the thinking that leads to the acting out.

 

I grew more excited with it, meeting other men like myself and couldn’t wait for the next meeting.  In every share I had something new and fresh to say.

 

But something else happened.  As I began to share more and more, I began to analyze more and more and that lead to me over thinking.   I started to rationalize new reasons for my crossdressing.  I said to myself that addiction to crossdressing will go away if I surrender to it and just live the life because once I am out in public my fantasizing will become reality, I will have fulfilled an unmet desire and the sex addiction part of it will go away. I told myself I will sleep better at night too.

 

Shortly after that I quit going to meetings after I moved back in with my wife.  That immediately sobered me up and stopped me.  I moved to the country, away from the internet and went to church too.  From what I learned in the program I did not act out for almost 5 months.  Still though there was this burning desire to put this new hypotheses to the test, once I would be able to be alone again.

 

Last June it happened.  I was alone for almost two months. And upcoming was the local pride festival, including a separate day for Transgender people and a Trans march, with many activities at our local Transgender Resource Center, less than a mile from where I live.  All alone, close-by, all too convenient.   Over tempting.  The lust to get out of the closet was tearing me apart.

 

Even with all the Sexaholic Anonymous meetings going on, it was not enough to combat my stubbornness.  In the program we say, “It works when you work it because you’re worth it.”  Well, I wasn’t working it when I got out of the closet.  When I did, I found my hypotheses to be working – at least some.  As I got around real people and real situations I did quit masturbating.  That can be attributed to not wanting to do so and get myself arrested.  I did have, while being out in public, a tremendous hard on and when I get home I continued to have a “boner” for the rest of the day, and had continued insomnia.  Except for going out in public I had 14 anxiety attacks in a two and a half week period.

 

I paid the price too, my wife discovered photos I had taken from my time out in public which lead to horrible embarrassment and shame and I have not been out of the closet since and that was last September.  Following the online Sexaholics group has worked to control the lust.  Here I share below some text from the White Book for Sexaholics Anonymous. Pay particular attention to lust (bottom of this email) and how it applies to you:

 

I will begin by listing the 12 steps of Sexaholics Anonymous:
1. We admitted that we were powerless over lust that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Need a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continue to take personal inventory and where we were wrong we admitted it.
11. 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 that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sexaholics, and a practice these principles in all our affairs.
From page 202 in SA White Book:
What is a sexaholic and what is sexual sobriety?

 

We can only speak for ourselves. The specialized nature of Sexaholics Anonymous can best be understood in terms of what we call the sexaholic. The sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop. Lust has become an addiction. Our situation is like the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and stop drinking altogether but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with a sexaholic, or sex drunk, you can no longer tolerate and cannot stop.

 

     For the sexaholic, any form of sex with oneself or with Partners other than the spouse is progressively addictive and destructive. We also see that lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out, and sobriety includes Progressive victory over lust. These conclusions are forced upon us in the crucible of our experiences and recovery; we have no other options. But we have found that acceptance of these facts is the key to a happy life, enjoying freedom we could otherwise never know.

 

     This will and should discourage many inquirers who admit to sexual obsession or compulsion but who simply want to control and enjoy it, much as the alcoholic would like to control and enjoy drinking. Until we have been driven to the point of despair, until we really wanted to stop the good night, we did not give ourselves to this program of recovery. Sexaholics Anonymous is for those who know they have no other option but to stop, and their own enlightened self-interest must tell them this.

 

LUST, THE FORCE BEHIND THE ADDICTION
What is so wrong with sex?

 

We hear this question often, and it was one of our favorite expressions of denial that we had a problem. We could ask similar questions for other addictions, the workaholic, for example. What’s so wrong with honest labour?  Or with compulsive overeating: What’s wrong with it?  We have to eat to live! What was the use of alcohol and drugs: what’s wrong with a little help to relax and escape? And finally, with the sexaholic: What’s so wrong with sex? It’s God-given! People asked similar questions about the use of television, movies, music, exedra. Usually those of us trying to rationalize our addictions are the ones coming up with these responses. When the questions are asked in such a manner, it is easy to see how we can be misled and sex, perhaps, carries the most confusion. We find it confusing and difficult, if not impossible, to see the physical manifestations of addiction has caused enough for surrender. Knowing we must stop, we go to Great Lengths to find reasons for quitting:

 

“I might get VD or the wife will leave me.”
“I’ll have a heart attack if I keep on eating like this.”
“I just know this weed will give me cancer sooner or later.”
“I’ll wind up with hypertension if I keep on working like this.”
“I’ll get cirrhosis of the liver and brain damage if I don’t stop drinking.”
“If I don’t unglue myself from this tube I’m going to turn myself into a vegetable.”

 

Such reasons are seldom enough to make the true addict stop because they deal only with external. The clue here is that we must differentiate between the physical action and the spiritual action (attitude) taking place at the same time in the same individual. Because he lives inside his attitudes, the individual doesn’t see them; he sees only the physical activity and thinks he’s feeling guilty for that. It is truly puzzling to him. Hence the confusion on the proper motivation for wanting to stop any given addiction. When we look only at the activity itself, most of those final sufficient motives to stop, but if we can see its spiritual consequences, this can help us despair of it sooner and surrender. That’s why we must look behind the physical to see what’s really at work in our sexaholism. But first, let’s take a look at lust, for it is this concept that serves as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual aspects of our sexaholism.

 

LUST

 

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, the natural becomes something totally different. Eating and sex bring us into a different dimension; they possess an unnatural spiritual component. The addiction is just to lust and not merely to the substance or physical act. Lust-that 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 damn 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 having sex in the sense of some people are allergic to pollen, strawberries or cats, that we do become “allergic” to lust for food and sex. Misusing the natural instinct of sex for an unnatural use and over and over again increasingly sensitizes as to the association, until the simple thought it’s the compulsion. For the sexaholic, lust is toxic. This is why we need recovery, and not merely physical. This is so crucial.

 

WHAT IS LUST?  A personal point of view

 

It’s pretty tough to get a handle on it, but here’s what lust looks like in my life.  It’s a slave master that wants to control my sex for its own ends in its own way whenever it wants. And it’s like a mental-spiritual noise that distorts and perverts sex, much as a raucous radio interference distorts a lovely melody.

 

Lust is not sex, and it is not physical.  It seems to be a screen of self-indulgent fantasy separating me from reality – either the reality of my own person in sex with myself or the reality of my spouse.  It works the same way whether with a girlfriend, a prostitute, or my wife. It thus negates identity, either mine or the other person’s, and is anti-real, working against my own reality, working against me.

 

I can’t have true union with my wife while lust is active because she as a person doesn’t matter; she’s even in the way; she’s merely the sexual instrument.  And I can’t have true union within myself. That fantasy partner I’ve conjured up in my mind is really part of me!  With lust, the sex act is not the result of personal union; sex doesn’t flow from that union. Sex energized by lust makes true union impossible.

 

The nature of the lust-noise interference I superimpose over sex can be many things: memories, fantasies ranging from the erotic to revenge or even violence.  Or, it can be the mental image of a single fetish or of some other person. Seen in this light, lust can exist apart from sex.  Indeed, there are those who say they are obsessed with lust who can no longer have sex.  I see my lust as a force that apparently infuses and distorts my other instincts as well: eating, drinking, working, anger….I know I have a lust to resent; it seems as strong as sexual lust ever was.

 

In my experience, lust is not physical; it is not even strong sexual desire. It seems to be a spiritual force that distorts my instincts; and whenever let loose in one area, it seems to want to infect other areas as well. And being nonsexual, lust crosses all lines, including gender.  When energized by lust, my sexual fantasies or acting out can go in any direction, shaped by whatever I experience. Thus, the more I indulge in sexual lust, the less truly sexual I become.

 

Therefore, my basic problem as a recovering sexaholic is to live free from my lust. When I entertain it in any form, sooner or later it tries to express itself in every form.  And lust becomes the indicator of not only what I do, but what I am.  But there is great hope here. By surrendering lust and its acting out each time I’m tempted by it, and then experiencing God’s life-giving deliverance from its power, recovery and healing are taking place, and wholeness is being restored – true union within myself first, then with others and the Source of my life.

 

Lust is…
Not being able to say no
Constantly being in dangerous sexual situations
Turning my head as if sex-starved all the time
Attraction only to beautiful people
Erotic fantasies
Use of erotic media
Being addicted to the partner as I would be to a drug
Losing my identity in the partner
Obsession with the romantic-going for the “chemistry”
The desire to make the other person lust

 

Another Personal Perspective
Lust Kills –
Lust is the most important thing in my life; it takes priority over me.
Captive to lust, I cannot be myself.
Lust makes me its slave; it kills my freedom; it kills me.
Lust always wants more; lust creates more lust.
Lust is jealous; it wants to possess me.
Lust makes me self-obsessed; it drives me into myself.
Lust makes sex impossible without lust.
Lust destroys the ability to love; it kills love.
Lust destroys the ability to receive love; it kills me.
Lust creates guilt – unavoidably; and guilt has to be expiated.
Lust makes part of me want to die because I can’t bear what I’m doing to myself and my powerlessness over it.
Increasingly, I direct this guilt and self-hatred inward and outward.
Lust is destructive to me and those around me.
Lust kills the spirit; my spirit is me.  Lust kills me!

 

One more thing I will include from the Sexaholics Anonymous White Book is 20 questions from the introductory chapter.  Try replacing where you see the word sex, with “crossdressing” or “trans porn.”  You will see A LOT of relevance.
1.  Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking or behavior?
2.  That you’d be better off if you didn’t keep” giving in”?
3.  That sex or stimuli are controlling you?
4.  Have you ever tried to stop or limit doing what you felt was wrong in your sexual behavior?
5.  Do you resort to sex to escape, relieve anxiety, or because you can’t cope?
6.  Do you feel guilt, remorse, or depression afterward?
7.  Has your pursuit of sex become more compulsive?
8.  Does it interfere with relations with your spouse?
9.  Do you have to resort to images or memories during sex?
10.  Does an irresistible impulse arise when the other party makes the overtures or sex is offered?
11.  Do you keep going from one relationship or lover to another?
12.  Do you feel the right relationship would help you stop lusting, masturbating, or being so promiscuous?
13.  Do you have a destructive need -a desperate sexual or emotional need for someone?
14.  Does pursuit of sex make you careless for yourself or the welfare of your family or others?
15.  Has your effectiveness or concentration decreased as sex has become more compulsive?
16.  Do you lose time from work over it?
17.  Do you turn to a lower environment when pursuing sex?
18.  Do you want to get away from the sex partner as soon as possible after the act?
19.  Although your spouse is sexually compatible, do you still masturbate or have sex with others?
20.  Have you ever been arrested for a sexually related offense?

 

As you can see it talks a lot about sex partners, etc.  More than self-sex, crossdressing, which has to do with the time when this was written and back in the 1970s this would have been all that sex addiction would have been perceived to be about (a sex partner, watching XXX movies, porn, frequenting strip clubs, etc..). Hopefully a new edition of this book can be written someday soon.  But in the year and a half of being associated with Sexaholics Anonymous, I meet more and more crossdressers and trans people.

Resentment, Compromise, and Escalation = Failure. Yet I rejoice in Christ!

This is not a blog post I want to write.  It really sucks feeling like I am letting people down and making people lose hope by writing it.  And beyond that, this blog is so public, so making a confession here is not a simple thing.  It’s not like confessing to my accountability partner privately, or just praying a prayer of confession to God.  To think of so many people in this world knowing the most intimate details of my life fills me with embarrassment and shame.  But yet this blog post must be written, so as to speak the truth, and so as to help others who struggle by sharing the lessons that I’ve learned.  When I worry about guilt and shame, I keep looking to my Jesus who washes away my guilt and shame by his blood, and I remember his deep love for me.  In that I rejoice!

I just recently failed and actually crossdressed.  It’s been a long time since that has happened.  If I ever fail, it’s usually by thinking impure thoughts, or by looking at websites I should not look at.  I am extremely disappointed in myself.  I will tell you the story.  Beware, lest is happen to you as well.  I write this post so that when you deal with temptation or with the feelings I was feeling, you will go to God, you will go to a friend and get help, rather than falling into sin like I did.  Trust me, it’s not worth it!

 

It was during a time of being home alone, since my wife was away.  We are not together quite often because of the nature of her work.  So while being alone was not new, the temptations were quite potent this time compared to other times.  The days before the failure I already was feeling temptations and stupid thoughts were coming in my mind.  I had begun to pray about it, and asked God for help.  But foolishly I did not notify my accountability partners (though I did tell the prayer group connected to this site to pray for me).

Lesson #1 – Don’t neglect your accountability and prayer partners at the most crucial time.  I should have let the prayer group know I was struggling with temptation, so they could have stepped up their prayers for me and also give me some reality checks.  I should have let my real-life accountability partner know, so he could regularly call me and check up on me, as well as pray for me.

Galatians 6:1-5 – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

 

On the day of the failure I started thinking thoughts of resentment towards my wife.  This is not new, though I’ve been free of such thoughts for months.  We don’t have a perfect marriage, and especially struggle with sex, romance, and affection.  It can be very painful for us, because we both wish things were not as they were.  But otherwise, day to day, we have a very healthy and happy marriage and wonderful life together.  But the lack of sexual interest and romantic love can get to me.  I started to feel resentful and bitter that day.  Satan and his demons I’m sure tried to build on that resentment and twist it towards giving in to even more sin, besides the sin of resentment itself.  Soon I was thinking thoughts of resentment about the way my wife dresses, that she is not willing to dress femininely enough and attractive enough.  That led me down the road of making excuses for myself and gave me a rationalization for allowing myself CD thoughts.  Did I take this resentment to God?  Did I confess it to Him?  Did I ask for his comfort and strength to keep on going in my marriage even though it’s tough?  No, I did not.  That was foolish.

Lesson #2 – Put bitterness and resentment to death!  Take them to God.  If you don’t, they will eat away at you, and take you down a dark road that you will regret later.  Go to God for comfort and strength and love.

Ephesians 4:31 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Hebrews 12:15 – See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

So already in my mind I was dealing with the resentment and with very clear temptations, fantasies I was trying to force out of my mind.  But let me tell you of one thing I did well.  Before my wife even left, I had known the temptations would be coming.  It was very hard not to imagine exactly what I would to do to give in and sin as soon as she was gone.  It was like I was planning on sinning.  I knew this was bad and that there was no way I could resist when alone, unless I made a conscious choice to not give in at all, prior to her leaving.  So I spent a day struggling with my thoughts and praying, until God helped me to put him first.  In my heart and mind I made a clear decision that I would not fail with crossdressing.  I knew I would not give in.

Lesson #3 – If you “know” that you will fail, or plan on failing, you WILL fail.  You must make a choice prior to the time of temptation.  Don’t wait until the temptation and opportunity comes to make the decision.  You have to make the decision even days before that you will NOT give in.  Choose to serve the Lord now.  In my experience, this makes a crucial difference.

Joshua 24:15 – But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

 

So I was alone, and dealing with resentment and temptations, yet also knowing that there was no way I would give in to crossdressing, I decided I should play video games to distract me from the temptations.  This was a wise move actually.  The problem was that it soon became counter-productive.   Why?  Well, I compromised with sin.  I rationalized.  I decided it would be okay if I tried to make it look like my character was crossdressing in the game itself.  I knew that this was messed up and wrong too.  But I figured it was better to do this than to give in to the real temptations that were in my mind.  So I compromised and did so.  Foolishness.  Utter foolishness.  The sin escalated, and I kept giving in and giving in, until I turned the game off.  Then I rationalized another stupid activity that wasn’t crossdressing technically (not women’s clothing), but still resembled it.  But that compromise led to more escalation.  Finally, I fell into the sexual frenzy of sin, lost my head, and plunged headlong into debauchery.   After so long of resisting, after knowing I would not give in to actual crossdressing, I gave in to actual crossdressing.

Lesson #4 – Do not compromise with sin!  Sinful actions easily escalate.  Think of sin as a deadly beast.   It might start out looking very small and harmless.  Maybe you even want to pet it and say “ah, what a cute beast.”  But looks can be deceiving.  When you feed sin, it will grow bigger exponentially.  Soon it will no longer look cute, but it will devour you.  You cannot “tame” sin.  You cannot tolerate it.  If you give in, you will only want more and more.  If you give in a little, you will give in a little more, and give in a little more, until you are doing things you never wanted to be doing and never thought you’d be doing.  The only options are to feed sin and let it grow beyond your power to contain it, or instead, put it to death.

James 1:13-15 – 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Ephesians 4:17-19 – 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

 

So I gave in.  Did it satisfy?  To be honest, it seemed to be quite satisfying during the moment, especially after so long without having crossdressed.  I had fun feeling feminine in the moment, and felt the thrill of sexual pleasure.  But such pleasure is fleeting and leaves you feeling empty.  Rather than filling me with life, I feel like it sucked away everything good inside of me, leaving me feeling tired, wretched, and ugly.   After, I was immediately filled with regret and repentance.  It’s amazing how such a short event, a blip in the scheme of my life, can be so devastatingly awful.  Wow, not worth it.  I wish I had a time machine.  I wish I had more self-control.

Lesson #5 – Sin promises satisfaction but it can never satisfy.  It does not give, it only takes.  Its promises are empty.  There is no true joy or satisfaction to be found with sin, only empty fleeting pleasure.  Sin is a dead end.  True satisfaction is only found in God.  And in God we not only find satisfaction, but deep rich abundant life and joy.

Romans 6:20-21 – 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

Luke 9:25 – “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

John 6:35 – Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

Lamentations 3 –

22          Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

23          They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24          I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

25          The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.

 

 

The failure was a wake-up call for me.  As strong as I’ve been these last years, as much as I write and try to help others give up crossdressing, I’m still a very weak person.  I’m human, I struggle with sin.  I’m messed up.  I don’t have it all together.  I’m a sexually immoral pastor and unbelievably at the same time I struggle with pride.  Oh the evils of the human heart!  “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).  Jesus is so good to me.  And how I long for Jesus to come back and make me new, to bring to an end my struggles with sin.  I wait for that day with eagerness.  In the meantime, this was another reminder that I need to be on my guard and be more careful so this kind of thing happen again and take me unawares in the future.  I don’t say that I need to be on my guard out of fear of God’s judgment.  I want to be on my guard because I myself want to obey God and please him, and I myself really don’t like doing this stuff.  I want to live a joyful free life without CD as I was before.

Lesson #6 – Keep up your guard, be vigilant.  You never know when temptations will come.  Even if you’ve been abstinent from a certain sin for 5 years, or 10 years, you could suddenly be in danger of falling.  Continue in regular spiritual disciplines.  Read the Word daily, pray daily.  Keep in close communication with an accountability partner.  Always be ready.  Remember, you are at war.

1 Peter 2:11 – Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 – 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

I should have heeded the wisdom of this post that I wrote recently!

Persevere!  It’s going to be a long struggle

 

The end of the story is that I fell on my knees, literally, and confessed my sins to my God.  I repented, lamented, and yelled in frustration about my stupidity.  Yet in the end I have peace.  I am loved by God because of Christ.  I am forgiven. I don’t live in shame and guilt.  I am a Man of God.  I may be a weak one, but that is what I am.  I am God’s child, in his family, and this sin does not take that away from me.  When I first sinned, it felt like the weight of the world crushing down on me, I felt so bad, so full of guilt and regret.  Now, after going to God, I am back to my regular joyful self.  I love my God so much.  Only he can take away the weight on my heart, and make me again free to love and serve him each day.

Lesson #7 – Go to Jesus for forgiveness and grace.  There is nothing else you can do, and nothing better for you to do.  Rejoice in your salvation and your forgiveness, and go back to living for Christ and sharing in the joy of being his disciple.

1 John 1:8-10 – 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

I cling to this verse.  Firstly, I don’t want to be like those people in verses 8 and 10, who think or pretend they have no sin.  Above all else, I want to speak the truth.  If I were to hide this sin and pretend I’m all good, it might make people reading my blog more hopeful about their ability to give up crossdressing too.  But I would much rather minister out of reality, truth, and my experience of God’s grace, then to be a hypocrite.  At this point, I think you all know that you can trust the things that I say on this blog.

I also cling to the beautiful promise in verse 11.  I confess to my Lord, and even do so publicly, that I have sinned, and I am so thankful for his forgiveness and for him purifying my heart.  Because of Jesus taking my place, I stand in God’s sight as a righteous man.  I have nothing to fear.  I am full of joy.   I rejoice in Christ my savior!

So that is my confession.  I hope my lessons have helped you.  I now go back to living in victory, I go back to living a joyful life with my God, and I continue in this ministry.

Prodigal Ministries Blog

One of the good Christian organizations on my links page which cares for people with sexual addictions – Prodigal Ministries – I recently found out also has a good blog.  It is called – The Prodigal Ministries Blog.  By the way, I recommend this organization to those looking for some counseling help to deal with their crossdressing or other sexual problems.  They do not do reparative or conversion therapy, but are committed to helping you grow in your relationship with Jesus, and help you to heal from hurts, and overcome harmful behaviors.  There are a lot of good posts if you look back through the history of the blog.  But I want to highlight a few in particular in this post.

First, the author of the blog, Jerry Armelli, has given his testimony about his struggle with transgender feelings.  It’s in three parts:

My Excursion Through Transgenderism Part 1

My Excursion Through Transgenderism Part 2

My Excursion Through Transgenderism Part 3

What struck me is how much contempt he had for men.  Many of my brothers in this community who have shared with me about their struggles, also have repeatedly voiced how much they have been bothered by men.  Or they feel that women seem to be much better than men.  And that this is part of what drove them to want to be with women and be a woman.  My little thought right now is that we have to deal with our contempt of men by being the best men we can be.  Instead of retreating from masculinity because we see the problems in it, we must be the men that God created us to be, and help to redeem the notion of masculinity in our culture.  We must be strong courageous men who are also sensitive, gentle, and full of love.

Here is a great post on what compassion is all about: not affirming sin, but loving people enough to want to help them – True Compassion.

A good post on the power of Confession – Preventative Confession.

There are also many good posts about homosexuality and how the church should love those with same-sex attractions.  I won’t list all the posts here, but I recommend reading through the whole blog.

Starting the Year with Hopeful Testimonies

Happy new year!  May this be a year of freedom for you as you give up crossdressing and find wholeness and peace in accepting you really are, as God made you to be.  I figured the best way to start this new year would be to give you some testimonies to inspire you and give you hope, that change really can happen!

 

How I Found Freedom From Gender Confusion Part 1

How I Found Freedom From Gender Confusion Part 2

This quote really shows the dead-end of crossdressing, and of all harmful addictions.  It can never satisfy:

“Except… I just needed to do something about my leg hair—it was spoiling the effect of the stockings. And the armpit hair had to go. (Pro tip: don’t ever try to wax your own armpits.) And the chest hair too. So much hair to remove! And now I needed some makeup to cover my stubble. And a few more bras. And some fake boobs, to put in them. And some padded pants, to give a bit of shape to my backside. And how was I going to give myself a waist? And I never had enough dresses, and they never looked good enough on me, and somehow I was struggling more than ever. The holy grail of acceptance had simply led me deeper into a trap. I’d embraced my desire, but it remained as unfulfillable as ever, and its demands were getting bigger every day.”

Another good quote – “I learned that sin promises freedom and brings only slavery—which seemed oddly familiar… And on it went. I thought my identity was rooted in how I looked or felt or dressed, but I learned that my identity was in Christ. I thought that exile was having to dress as a woman behind closed curtains, but I learned that all Christians are exiles and strangers in this life. I had thought that God didn’t want me to struggle, but I learned about spiritual warfare, I learned about the point of suffering, I learned about the freedom that comes from denying ourselves and taking up our cross. I learned that being a Christian requires repentance and change.”

 

Decisions about Gender Dysphoria – The Power of Choice – This was a really interesting testimony with some very worthwhile ideas in it.  Unfortunately, this testimony is from the Mormon Church, which I happen to believe is a false church.  It’s still good to read, especially since so few crossdressers believe it is possible to give up crossdressing.  But I do have some serious issues with Mormon doctrine, and we have very different views about who Jesus is.  But I don’t want to take time to argue about that right now (and I do think there are those within the Mormon church that might truly know Jesus, despite the false teachings of that institution as a whole).  I think the easiest way to give up crossdressing is through having a true relationship with Jesus Christ.  But even religious people that I disagree with can still give it up such as Nick who wrote this testimony, and even those with no faith at all, are still able to give it up.

Part of this testimony makes me sad.  So much of it is about doing what God commands in order to be sure of eternal life.  Eternal life is a gift of grace through Jesus Christ, not something we earn through good works.  We do good works as a result of our free gift of salvation, we don’t do them out of fear trying to make sure we’ve been good enough.

Here are a couple helpful quotes though which can give all of us some good advice:

I also learned I do not have to think in gender binary. Treating all actions, desires, and hobbies as masculine or feminine is a great source of stress. I do not have to think of gender at all for these things. I choose to define myself as Nick. I have many interests and desire to learn a variety of new skills. I do not care if they are considered masculine or feminine. They are what I like and I would do them if I were male or female. The qualities that make up who I am, I own. I do not let narrow social gender constructs determine my pursuits.

I have also found that gratitude is a great balancer of dysphoric distress. Instead of focusing on the body and life I do not have I think on the things I have been given. I have a good, healthy body with which I can serve God and my fellow man. This may not be the body I want, but I treat it with respect and maintain it because I want to be attractive and show gratitude. I am grateful for the family, friends, and opportunities I have been given. I do not need to focus on the things I do not have.”

Guest Post – Paul’s Testimony

Thorin has recently written a blog about what a long journey it is to find healing from crossdressing. It is! Like all addictions, CD has a stronghold on us and it takes time to break free. As believers in Christ we don’t do this on our own. In fact we can’t. We need Christ to break the power of sin in us and to sanctify us. That doesn’t mean we do nothing. We make use of the means of grace, Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with other believers, the Lord’s Supper. As we make use of these means of grace so we know Christ’s grace in our lives.

For me it has been a long journey. My crossdressing started as a very young boy when I had to share a bedroom with my sister. I was probably eight or nine years old and would try on her dresses. During my teens CD became a big part of my life and I would look for every opportunity to try on my mum’s clothes. Getting married opened up more freedom to explore. It was during this time that more and more cords of CD tightened their grip on me.

About four years ago (2012) the desires to dress were so strong that I knew I needed to get help. Just dressing up had lost it’s fascination and in order to get a ‘buzz’ I was taking more and more risks. Those risks put me in a position where I had to tell my wife.

I didn’t tell her the extent of my CD and she still doesn’t know how far I went. She just knows that this has been a problem for me. That day I hurt her. That day I caused her to question her own femininity and whether she had been a good wife. If I could wind the clock back to when I was a young boy I wouldn’t ever have started so that I wouldn’t have needed to cause the woman I love the hurt I did.

As a result of that day I began searching for help online. I knew that was risky because whenever I had searched for help on this subject, I only ever found everything that is so unhelpful. But I asked the Lord to direct me and one of the first sites I came across was healingcd.wordpress.com. As I read the articles I began to see that there was hope to be free of, what I am convinced of, is a sin before a holy God.

The last four years have been a struggle but by God’s grace I have come to a much better place. The desires haven’t gone away and there have been times when I have still fallen into sin. Those times have left me feeling ashamed and perversely and sadly have often fueled the desire to do it again. But gradually things have started to change for me.

That was highlighted in a recent fall. I tried on one item of clothing. Four years ago that wouldn’t have had any effect on me. The only way I got turned on was by completely dressing up. I only ever felt shame when I had gone ‘all the way.’ However, in this recent failure, one item of clothing for a few minutes, I felt so ashamed, so empty, so wretched. As always the Lord came with the assurance of his redeeming grace and the knowledge that his righteousness is the only covering I need to stand before a holy God.

It was reflecting on this that I have realised that God is doing a work in me. Although I feel that there are still cords around me they are fewer and have less of a hold on me.

I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to keep on fighting this. Don’t give up. If we sow thoughts and deeds in the field of the flesh (CD in my case) then it is from that field we will reap corruption. Our lives will be rotten and we will stink. We won’t be the fragrance of Christ. But, if we sow thoughts and deeds in the field of the spirit (using the means of grace) we will from the field of the spirit reap eternal life. We will enjoy fellowship with Christ both now and forever.

Videos on the Serious Danger of Porn

As you watch these videos, remember that just as your brain chemistry changes as you become addicted to novelty and porn and masturbation, the same is true for sexual addiction to transgender porn, transgender fiction, lusting after images of crossdressers online, etc. For me, this was undoubtedly true in my sexual addiction to websites of a transgender or crossdressing nature, and I’m still in the long process of healing and recovering from that powerful addiction, though I’m very thankful for how I’ve changed and the freedom I experience today.

In addition, the same kind of sexual addiction with the novelty and binging element that the videos discuss, I also experienced with physical crossdressing. Why else do you think a crossdresser would constantly look in the mirror and constantly change outfits, and do so for hours at a time? Binging, novelty, addiction. Just as these videos describe.

This first video I’ve shared before, but in a slight different format. This one is a TED talk. The other videos I have only just seen for the first time.

In this video, I can definitely relate to what he is saying that addiction stems partly from wanting approval. Most of the times I have failed sexually were times of feeling depressed, rejected, or disliked. We need to get our approval from God, not from people. God’s love is unconditional.

This last video talks about some graphic content. As someone who was not addicted to porn, I did not realize how degrading and perverse most of internet porn really was until seeing this video.

Persevere! It’s going to be a long struggle

Most people who come to this blog wrongly jump to conclusions about me.  Some people think that one day I decided to give up crossdressing and everything has been easy sailing since.  And so they despair when they themselves are not able to give it up so easily and when they have a failure and fall into crossdressing, they decide to permanently give up trying to quit.  Others who come to this blog think that I am in denial and suppressing myself and my happiness, and that I must be miserable.  Others think I’m a liar and have not really given up crossdressing.  Others think that I have given up crossdressing only out of terror of the Almighty God and that it’s not what I really would want to do.  None of those assumptions are true.  None are nuanced enough to explain the reality, not only of my story, but of the dozens of other men I know who have given up crossdressing.  I am indeed experiencing great freedom and happiness because of having given up crossdressing, yet it has not been easy sailing, and I still have had periodic failures with crossdressing.  If you are going to give up this addiction, you need to look at it realistically.  And realistically, it is a long term struggle.

I’ve written about this before in several posts such as – “Healing doesn’t mean no more temptations” and “Progress Report 1-30-13 – How I successfully fought temptation but then failed” and “10 minute relapse.”  But it’s time to write about it again, very clearly.

The Christian life is one in which we are already saved through Christ.  We are justified by faith in Christ as our Savior.  We are saved by grace.  We don’t have to fear punishment as Jesus has already taken our punishment, and we are given the perfect righteousness of Christ so that God can look at us as righteous people deserving of eternal life rather than Hell.  But although we are saved from the consequences of our sin, the reality is that we are still living sinful lives.  We have been declared righteous in God’s sight through Christ, but our actual righteousness is still often quite pitiful in this life.  All of us Christians are in the process of sanctification, the process by which the Holy Spirit works in us and helps us to become more obedient, more loving, more Christ-like, and more holy.  It’s a long process that won’t be complete until Jesus returns and makes us perfect.  In the meantime, we struggle, but we keep fighting against sin, and keep slowly slowly growing in holiness.

Sanctification does not mean that we will be perfect right now.  No.  We still sin, we still struggle.  But it does mean that we don’t “walk” in sin or walk in darkness.  We fight sin.  We repent, we confess.  We keep trying to please God.  We obey Jesus because we love him.  The evidence of being born again is not perfection, but it is that we no longer walk in sin or in darkness.  We want to obey God.  We want to fight sin.  We don’t do so perfectly, but we keep trying.  If you want to be assured that you are truly saved and born again, your life should exhibit these traits.  You will not be living in sin.  Instead you will be fighting sin and trying to live for God, even if you don’t do so perfectly.

In the life of sanctification, some sins are really easy to root out.  It’s very easy, for example, at least for me, to never ever steal again for the rest of my life.  I’m certain I won’t.  It’s very easy for me to say I will never murder.  It’s very easy to say I will never give in to corruption.  Etc.  But other sins are more virulent.  They cling to us.  We each have our own sins that we each especially struggle with.  For me, one of them has been sexual addiction, primarily everything related to crossdressing, but lately I have been starting to struggle more with the temptations that normal men struggle with as well, of wanting to lust after pictures of women online and masturbate.  It seems that sexual addiction and temptations are going to be a plague in my life until Jesus makes me perfect.

Why should I see myself as any different from others who have addictions?  An alcoholic can successfully give up alcohol, but alcohol will remain a temptation and a negative influence on their life until they die, and they will have to continually be on their guard and watch out for it.  They will have times of calm, smooth sailing with no temptations, perhaps for years, and then all of a sudden be at a wedding or party and have severe temptation.  That is the life of an alcoholic.  That is also my life, the life of a former crossdressing/sex addict.  I will have times of smooth sailing, and times of severe temptation out of the blue.  Those temptations will never fully go away.

But do I despair?  No.  Do I give up?  No.  Having temptations all the time is frustrating to be sure, but it doesn’t make me give up.  I just have to keep resisting them.  That is the Christian life, it’s a constant fight and struggle against sin until the war is over and Jesus returns and makes me new.  I’m not going to give up and give in just because it’s hard.  And as a matter of fact, though the temptations are annoying, I’m living a very happy life, and the more temptations I resist, the more I live the life that God wants me to live, the more healthy and happy that I am.  I know that non-Christians probably won’t understand this.  But a periodic failure is not evidence to me that I should give up on my resistance to crossdressing.  If anything, it’s been the opposite.  Each time I have failed, it has only reminded me of how worthless crossdressing is, and how much happier I am without it, and how much better it is to obey God.  My temptations for crossdressing have overall lessened, but even if they remained strong every day, I would not give up.  I’m in this for the long haul, until my Lord comes for me.

To me, I think we can divide sins into two categories.  Stay with me for a second.

  1. There are those sins that you fight and resist, and as you resist, they seem to lose their power more and more.  Finally, God changes your heart enough that you don’t even desire them all anymore and you don’t even have to deal with the temptations.  For example, those who are habitual liars find out that the more they tell the truth, the easier it becomes and the happier they are to be living without lying.
  2. There are other sins, that it seems the more you fight, the stronger the temptations become!  It seems the pressure just builds and builds until you feel like it’s almost impossible not to give in.  This seems to be especially true of sins of a sexual nature.  Perhaps it’s partly due to the biological release of pleasure inducing hormones, and the natural ebb and flow of sexual desire.  And with sexual pleasure, you can experience something like a bodily build up of desire, where you just want the release.  With these sins, the more you resist, the harder it feels to keep resisting.  It’s like climbing a steep mountain.  It’s hard enough climbing the mountain the entire day, but when you reach the tip top, that is the hardest steepest point and you feel like you can hardly make it.

Crossdressing clearly falls into the 2nd category.  Resistance sometimes only builds the power of the temptations.  Of course, I can also say that in my life it fits partly into category 1, because indeed God has changed me.  I and others who have given up crossdressing can describe months and even years of not having much temptation because our desires have changed.  We see crossdressing for what it is, it has become foolish in our eyes, and no longer as pleasurable.  But even for those who have given up crossdressing and go for years without giving in, we see that crossdressing is really in category 2, because one day out of the blue we can get severe overpowering strong temptations to CD.  The pressure can build, even without our conscious knowledge.  Then the temptations come without warning, and when our guard is down, and we forget the nature of this addiction, we can feel like there is no way to resist.  And sometimes when those temptations come, people like us can fail, even after years of abstinence.  I’ve been there.

There is no reason to think failure is assured.  We have self-control and don’t have to give in.  But you should very much expect the temptations to come.  Don’t let your guard down.  Don’t think that this is going to be an easy quick struggle.  It’s a long time war against our enemy, crossdressing.  We can win, but you have to be in it for the long haul.  And when you fail, don’t let yourself binge out of control and restart your addiction, don’t allow yourself to despair, don’t allow yourself to wallow in guilt, and don’t allow yourself to hear the lies that it’s better to just give in and stop resisting.  Just recognize it for what it is, accept God’s grace and forgiveness, and begin the life of holiness once again.

When you resist temptations to crossdress, rejoice!  Celebrate!  Be happy about your victory.  But realize that when the next hard temptation comes, whether next week, or next year, it might be an even stronger temptation than the previous one.  Be ready.  This is a long struggle, but you can do it.  Don’t despair when things get tough.  That may mean you are nearing the top of the mountain and ready to deal a serious blow to the addiction so that you can walk easy for a few years before you get to the next mountain of temptation.  But don’t give up just as you nearing the top of the mountain!

And remember this.  God told us in his Word over and over and over to rejoice at the trials we go through.  Why?  Because it strengthens us.  As we experience temptation and resist it, we are learning self-control (one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit), we develop compassion for others who struggle, we are learning to choose the good over the bad, we are learning patience, we are experiencing dependence on God and closeness to him as we go to him for help to resist, we become more grateful for the salvation we have in Jesus and how he resisted temptation perfectly so that we could be saved, and we are developing a thirst for Heaven and Jesus’ return when he will end our temptations forever.

I hope you think carefully through this post.  My message to all of you who are trying to quit crossdressing, and even to those trying to resist the lies of transgenderism, is this – Don’t give up!  Persevere.  This is a long struggle but a very worthwhile one.  There is hope for your desires to change and for temptations to dramatically lessen.  I have experienced that.  But temptations come out of the blue because this is a life-long struggle.  I have experienced that.  You may fail unexpectedly.  I have experienced that.  Don’t give up.  Keep living a righteous and good life without crossdressing.  It is worth it.  Rejoice at the times of peace and calm where you go for years without desiring this sin.  And when the desires come, don’t despair, resist and conquer and keep on going.  May we all persevere until our Lord returns and makes us new and brings an end to our long struggle.