Homosexuals Anonymous

Offering Guidance, Fellowship, Care and Freedom

What Works? - In the Words of Our Members!

You would like to know what helps me against ssa: repeated praying makes me depressive (it is like mourning for me: like God can you help me). Sorry to tell this here but I should be honest. Reading the bible does not help me either. I have been knowing the Bible since I have been a very little child. I cannot relate the evangelium to my struggle. Maybe interpretations do help more for me but the rest is not logical to me why I should read Jesus resurrection or the marriage at Kanah which has nothing to do with my personal struggle.

Maybe you can explain that to me.

What helped me is changing my every-day life: changing many the tasks I am doing. Taking responsibility for my actions. Live a `grown-up`life. Understanding other mens´lives and motives and integrating those things in my life.

“We have a choice in our response to failure. We can condemn or we can learn. All of us fail, but this doesn't mean that we are failures. We need to understand that failing can be a step toward maturity, not a permanent blot on our self-esteem...We don't have to allow failure to prevent us from being used by God.”

― Robert S. McGee

Realizing God's love for me and staying faithful to Jesus

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

― William Arthur Ward

Healthy Male Bonding

You are worth something! Don't let anybody tell you you are a good-for-nothing! Your potential is way beyond what you might possibly imagine! God gave you passions and emotions for a reason. Find out what you are passionate about - and go for it! Don't be scared to accept challenges on the way - they only help you grow. Whatever your life experiences may have been - you are loved so much by God He sent His only Son to die for YOU! Let that love fill your heart, grow in you and bear rich fruit. Pass it on to others. God told Adam it was not good for him to be alone. Neither is it for us. Seek the company of others. Life is not about following somebody else's plans, but the one God has set out for you by the way He designed you! Learning and growing does not simply mean passing on traditions and learning things others experienced by heart (that is how our school system works), but helping light the fire in us that brought forth all cultural and technical development. You are never too old to study and grow, neither do you lack the talent for it. All it takes is for you to fell the love - His love - and accept this adventure called life!


"This is what has helped me with ssa. My identity was stolen from me at a young age. So, I had to develop a new identity. I became a man in Christ or becoming a man in Christ. I am now a man in Christ. This was the beginning of my transformation. Next I had to realize I do not need a man to full fill me sexually what I needed to do was become a man. I do not need to go look for a man. This works for me. I do know iron sharpens iron. So it is good to be with brothers in Christ. Tomorrow Good Lord willing we are going on a fishing trip. I hope we catch some and the fellowship will be good. Looking forward to it. Brothers can we pray for one another since we all have some major challenges we are up against."
Y. (used with permission)

Aim high in life. Aim for a great education and a great job. I've noticed that the brothers who aimed high had to develop social skills that helped them with their struggle. Also aiming high in life ment that the brother is used to doing tough tasks. Thisvalso helped in therapy too since sometimes it involves tough painful tasks.

Everything from a humble prophetic word saying I had a heart after God to deliverance ministry (the quiet version) to Living waters, accountability partners & sheer will power to stay close to God..

Oh.. and Gods great love & grace towards me of course.

Hypersensitivity has to be addresses. It is the primary reason for the walls built around the psyche that impede normal relating which is essential for human flourishing. Being absolutely ruthless with myself when it came to persevering in physical exercise seemed to be a key in getting this hypersensitivity under control. If I can survive that horrible pain then surviving the slings and arrows of what others might think or do becomes a non-event.

The reason I left the "gay life" is because I love Jesus, my wife and kids, more than

to have a trick.  I believe the truth that Jesus could set me free and bring healing

to my unhealthy thinking and  be obedient to Him.

Also, the benefit from walking away from same sex attraction is a sense of freedom,

peace, and love that is unconditional.

I came out to a few Pastors I had, telling them that I am struggling with homosexuality, mostly porn. It was a big relief, and it made me want to get rid of ssa thoughts and behaviors. While I still struggle at times with ssa, I have never ever had gay sex with any guy, and one of my former Pastors told me right away when I shared with him about my ssa struggles, that the main thing he wants to know was if I was sexually active with any guy then, and I told him no.  Hope this helps.

What has worked?


---FOR ME--



1. Love God Fully, accept His Love daily, and demonstrate my Love for Him—faithfully.


2. Then, as a result, Love others fully by actively demonstrating that love thru me to them—Daily.



I have given this MUCH thought because of my analytical nature to test, try, and prove. As a result, I have come to understand that I spent too much time thinking about WORKING and ACTING, and less about truly  BELIEVING and BEING.



I had to come to the place where I accepted my identity because of  Christ, NOT because of what I had been led to believe, or convinced myself to believe….or could even do to change it.



“For as long as I could remember, 


I felt different from everyone else—especially peers.”    



This drove so much of my strife, stress, and striving!  



The thing that WORKED——that actually changed my beliefs and therefore my behaviors—was realizing that I was created personally and uniquely with gifts, talents, and abilities by God—who created me for a personal and unique purpose—for Him.   



I learned….


Attractions are part of our created make-up…….I had those.


And Visual attractions are highly keen in males…..I had that.



BUT


I was WAY sensitive as compared to my male counterparts.



FOR ME——


My main divergent gifting/thinking was actually bring keenly sensitive.   



I sought the same sensitivity to no avail in males, but always found it readily, even prolifically available in females.   This began changing my belief system foundationally——and also my destructive self-talk.   That was the point it began to be solidified and confirmed by my male peers (and family members)—I changed.   Then, when I then experienced additional ridicule and isolation in church settings……I further began a Journey of resentment, anger, and justification.



What changed?


FOR ME



God impressed on me, personally--over time as I seriously sought to fully trust Him—that He wanted to use my long-identified bain of sensitivity to actually grow His Kingdom, bless others, and affirm my personal, unique place as an agent of His grace.



Because He demonstrated His love for me with the ultimate gift exchange——His death, for my life—-I could honestly and wholeheartedly embrace my unique gifting(s) to demonstrate His love for me to others.



The WORK that worked….FOR ME


……..was to truly align what I believed about myself in God with what I did.  Not unlike a familiar AA phrase “aligning my insides with my outsides.”



This Journey of clarification and discovering my true, called identity has released the gravitational pull and push of Grace in my life.  This also released —FOR ME—my self-imposed cycle of shame and guilt that so drove my spiral of acting out and using others.



Now the real question….



HOW HAS IT WORKED???



God has given me a new love, appreciation, and desire for my wife of 36 years.  


God has allowed me the freedom to honestly acknowledge my attractions, but now know I don't have to choose to feed the temptation with action. 



God has allowed me to meet some wonderful people that have been just as messed up as I was—and now understand—with me, how the masterpiece God created in me was influenced to become---or be treated---as a mess-up.



God is now allowing my sensitive nature to bridge the gap for many men in my life to better understand, appreciate, and love their wives.



It has also given me the courage to be honest with other brothers about my “hindrances” and they with me as we grow a community of encouragement, affirmation, support…..with full mutual rights to call out each other under Christ.   



The AMAZING thing is how it is STILL WORKING and growing in my life!!   I now get to see Him and experience Him daily.



This FOR ME is the continuing, successful WORKING......Authentically experiencing the Grace of God in flesh and blood that puts NO emphasis on manifesting behavior(s) of sin but on the unifying, freeing mutual realization that we are ALL BROKEN and act out of that brokenness—and GOD alone holds HEALING for BROKENESS!



Finally——FOR ME----because of my analytical nature to test, try, and prove,



I discovered that it was  less about me WORKING for fixing and acceptance in my own power, and more about daily BEING with God and then fully accepting and being accepted by others as a by-product of God's love and grace directing our lives.



Blessings and JOY in your personal and unique Journey, 


my world-wide brothers!


P. (TX)


To deal with and heal from guilt, shame and anxiety. With just these 3 things the people grow faster.

You are worth something! Don't let anybody tell you you are a good-for-nothing! Your potential is way beyond what you might possibly imagine! God gave you passions and emotions for a reason. Find out what you are passionate about - and go for it! Don't be scared to accept challenges on the way - they only help you grow. Whatever your life experiences may have been - you are loved so much by God He sent His only Son to die for YOU! Let that love fill your heart, grow in you and bear rich fruit. Pass it on to others. God told Adam it was not good for him to be alone. Neither is it for us. Seek the company of others. Life is not about following somebody else's plans, but the one God has set out for you by the way He designed you! Learning and growing does not simply mean passing on traditions and learning things others experienced by heart (that is how our school system works), but helping light the fire in us that brought forth all cultural and technical development. You are never too old to study and grow, neither do you lack the talent for it. All it takes is for you to fell the love - His love - and accept this adventure called life!

Thanks for asking I think that homosexuality has roots in disfunctional way of relating to others especially to individuals of same sex. Often the first man we related to in wrong way  is our same sex parent.


As I have a relationship with Father God through His Son's death and ressurection, I am loveable enough(from God) to convert all my wrong relationships with other human beings into healthy and ballanced ones. This is because God gives me completion and love, I am not afraid of being abandoned from others,friends or relatives or parents, I am not afraid that people may not like me or use me. I am related to God's love and this gives me freedom to choose my relationships, to optimize them , not to give myself to others with no terms. Faith eliminates fear, and freedom is the key for healthy,ballanced relationships. 

Homosexual feelings get reduced and I fill my heart with the joy of having friends, having loving parents, gaining respect from men, connecting my manliness to other heterosexual men, this is the way that I build my new heterosexual identity.


Y.

"No one ought to consider himself a true servant of God who is not tried by many temptations and trials."

- St. Francis of Assisi

Will You Still Love Me Now?


Some people look at same-sex attractions only from the sexual side. If you forget the emotional aspect of them, you might get nowhere very fast. You will most likely try “not to do” something and give up with much frustration instead of finding out about that huge desire in you that yearns for love so much it hurts. It might realize that it’s looking for it at the wrong places, but this is all there is for now.


When I enrolled in Homosexual Anonymous’ online-program, I did that with little conviction. I kind of “stumbled” over H.A. and had never heard of such a thing before. Neither did the thought ever cross my mind that the state I was in had something to do with the way I lived my life or that somebody would seek not to live that way. But, be it like it was, I messed up big time and when I found out about this program, I thought why, you did it your way for so long and look at where you ended at. You might just as well give that new thing a try. And so I did.


Go to a weekly church service they suggested. Have you any idea of how long I had not been there? What the heck. I am the kind of person that is very result-oriented, so when I decided to register I thought I will do everything I can from my side to give it a real shot.

Read the Bible on a daily basis they said. I had never read the Bible just like that ever before, so that was kind of weird to me. But what the heck. Let’s go for it. Where to start? Psalms sounded good. And John. Wasn’t that the one Jesus loved? Sounded good enough for me. And to this day I believe that was the best choice I could ever take. Once you’ve been there, the pain expressed in some psalms take on a different meaning for you. You realize this guy had been where I had been. Likewise with John. There are the Gospels – and then there is John. The one who sort of drops out from the rest. The one who talks about love, light, darkness. I craved for that.


Read some useful literature they said. So I read my way through all that ex-gay literature. Don’t get me wrong – that is very useful and important.


And yet I forgot one thing. You might already guess it. I covered my spiritual side and the scientific knowledge of what this is all about – the reason.


Sounded alright for me. I knew now what was the right thing to do and to believe in – and why.


Well, that kind of worked for a while. That was easy, I thought. You just give up the sex stuff and BOOM you’re done. What’s all that fuzz about then?


Then one of my best friends came over from the USA to pay me a visit like many times before. Years ago we had sex with one another, but after we dropped that we stayed (or became) best friends.


To cut it short: We spent awesome days together here in Munich, Germany. I found my soul mate. Somebody who struck a cord that nobody else struck. I dreaded the day he had to leave.


One evening, we were in my apartment (thankfully he stayed at a hotel). He took place at a chair and myself at the couch. I asked him to come over and tried to sound as innocent as I could. He looked me in the eyes and asked “Why?” – and stayed where he was. We both knew why. Had he done it, I’d have probably gone for it. Yet, even though he still embraced the gay life himself, he loved me enough to respect my decision and protect me from myself.


Then came the day he had to fly back to the USA. I took him early in the morning to the train who went to the airport and afterwards went to my job.


The same day I had a business meeting outdoors. It was a cold and rainy November day.

I left the office and went to join the customers.


Almost there, I walked through an empty street and felt the rain on me. What I also felt were there tears streaming down my face.


I went into the doorway of a house nearby and collapsed.


There I was – knowing the truth in my mind, but it somehow hadn’t reached my heart yet. So while I was sobbing like a baby I told the Lord that I cannot stand this any longer and that I needed Him badly. This was eating me up and I did not know what to do. I needed someone in my life that filled that huge void in me. Whoever the Lord sent me, I would accept him.


Nothing happened. I pretended I was alright and kept on going, expecting to crush down anytime soon.


Then one day I got home from work and the phone rang. “Hi, my name is John”. I stood petrified. Without any further explanation I knew this was the one God sent me. And as I later learned, it was the same for John. Sort of the lame helping the blind to walk. John later said sometimes the Lord scans the earth to find two that go together well.


And the Lord continued to bring wonderful people into my life. André, Bill, Christian, Mark R., John O., John J., Doug, Mark E., and more. Men that showed me what a true friendship is all about and that sex actually kills it.


God also helped me mend all those broken relationships during the time where I left nothing but burnt earth behind me.


He showed me that I need not be alone just because I did not have a gay lover.


Many times after I came back to Him I struggled as I knew that my past life was not what brought me to where I wanted to go and yet had no idea of where the present way would lead me. I had to give up everything. That might sound like not a big deal for some, but this was all I had and all the people I knew. That helped me cope with my pain and giving it all up meant jumping off a cliff not knowing if someone would catch me. I had to give up things, behaviors and attitudes that were my security blanket. Once I even felt deep love for a man in my heart. I did not “go for it” and tried my utmost to stay on the right path (which I did, just for the record). I knew I had to give up this “love”, even though it tore me apart. It hurt like nothing before and I was a 100% sure I would not survive that – neither physically nor mentally or emotionally. But I hold on with the little faith that was left in my heart to God. Over and over again I heard very clearly a voice in my heart saying “I know that hurts. Will you still love me now?” And each time I said “Yes, I will still love you. It will kill me I suppose, but I will still love you”.


And God has been faithful. He led me out of this situation to true freedom like He led me out of so many valleys.


How could I ever deny my God that has always been good to me?


I will love Him no matter what.


Rob

Great question, Rob!


My Journey to freedom from SSA has totally been attributed to my renewed and refined daily walk with Christ and then His providing me with wonderful Christian brothers, especially OSA brothers, who love me and accept me.....and then walking together with them in healthy honesty.


God is now using (intervening) so many wonderful resources such as this HA bulletin board group to keep connections strong and growing.


Really, finding and understanding my personal receptors for affection, attention, and affirmation have really given me a new outlook and acceptance of my Identity in Christ.  Information from many sources, HA, Living Hope, Setting Captives Free, and Biblical 12-Step have all combined to help me claim my original identity in Christ as a LOVED SON!    


The Journey continues.....but I no longer do it alone, and I am getting MUCH better embracing my full acceptance by Christ, rather than withdrawing or isolating.


The BIGGEST revelation to me is that my OSA brothers deal with so many of the same character faults as I do, they just choose different behavior manifestations to compensate or cover.     


The FUN part of my recent Journey is that as we are having rigorously honest conversations, we are finding that we are SO much more alike than we are different.....AND before the Cross.... WE ARE THE SAME!!!


Christ died to give me LIFE-----Living in Freedom Everyday.

I am sad at times that it took me so long to really claim it....but so THANKFUL!


Rob, that is the "WHAT" Question that is best answered by me with an "WHO" answer!     


Blessings and Grace....for this day, my brothers!

Apart from the basic of christianity I would say:

(In particular order)


*Acceptance from others

*Support network of HA Tft, people I can really trust.

*Man-ing up to situations

* Affirmation from men, particularly in the context of male activities, eg sports

*Walking in forgiveness towards male members of my family. 

*Getting on with the Fathers Business, ie., serving others and sharing gospel. 

*Honesty with self and knowing my limits.

*Applying 12 steps.

These are some of the things that have helped me:


On the Spiritual Side


Faith

Reading the Lord  Set Me Free by ha. 

Started attending a support group

Reading Scriptures

Fasting 

Having  faith 

Learning and sharing what I had learned

Attending a  Church 

Accepting Yeshuah as my personal savior and the  One who died  for me at Calvary. John 3:16

Applying the Holy Scriptures to my  life 

Learned/learning the difference between right and wrong 

Started learning to love myself, others and Our Heavenly Father 

Started learning to be honest with self and others

Learned/learning how to forgive myself and others

Developed a beautiful relationship with Yeshuah, the Holy of Holiest. 

Depend on Him more than humans 

Read books like The Search For Significance

Went to Spiritual retreats for men

Heard testimonies about other men who had gone or were going through transformation 

Listened to Gospel, Praise and Worship & inspirational music 

pray 







On The Human Side 


FAITH

Developing a positive attitude

Not giving up

Continued  working on my goal

FAITH

Learning about my self

Getting new friends

Having new  friends who are supportive  

FAITH

Got rid of porno 

Stopped doing drugs for the most part

Continued doing healthy activities like music, dancing, bike riding, gardening

Stopped going to the gay bars

FAITH

Learned to have healthy relationships

broke up with my same sex lover

cut down on drinking 

FAITH

learned self - control example no longer masturbate

learning to be conscious of my thoughts especially sexual thoughts 

learning to be non-judgmental towards self or others learning 

promoted  my new identity in Christ as a man 

identify myself as becoming a new man in Christ no longer gay identiD

FAITH

Developed healthy relationships with people, family, others

Started learning new ways to behave 

Changing my behavior 

Learned to make better decisions 

Learned to be independent as well as interdependent on self and others. 

Started being hopeful

Started  being grateful

Started being thankful 

Developed  friendship with men who are not in ssa  life style 

Four Principles of Growth

Presented by David A. Matheson, LPC


(This article is a reprint from a paper presented by David Matheson at the 2003 NARTH Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

INTRODUCTION

I am a therapist in private practice and am co-creator of Journey into Manhood (JiM), an experiential weekend for men seeking to change unwanted homosexuality. The JiM weekend is sponsored by People Can Change (PCC), a web based support organization that offers information, list-serves, and is beginning to coordinate face-to-face “JiM Groups” in a few major metropolitan areas. JiM and PCC are based to a large degree on the concepts I will be presenting.

Many men seeking to overcome homosexuality become frustrated and discouraged when they find that their feelings and attractions don't change as quickly or substantially as they had hoped. I believe that the reason these men become frustrated is because their efforts at change are not broad enough. By this I mean that their work, however intense and sincere, has not covered enough areas of life to bring about real change. For instance, a man might focus on overcoming sexual addiction but spend no time building healthy relationships with other men. Or, he may work on spiritual healing but give little attention to healing his emotional wounds.

Diminishing homosexual feelings and opening the way for heterosexuality to emerge seems to require efforts in four broad, overlapping areas. These are:


Masculinity (i.e., men changing have to feel manly and relate to other men)
Authenticity (e.g., getting out of the false self, facing real feelings in open relationships)
Need fulfillment (having those relationships, experiences, and opportunities that strengthen, nurture, and lead to joy and personal satisfaction)
Surrender (letting go of everything that prevents change from happening and letting in the things that restore growth processes)

These Four Principles are interdependent and synergistic. They are interdependent in that, in many instances, one principle cannot be lived without another being lived at the same time. They are synergistic in that they effect and are affected by each other and it is the interactivity of all the principles that causes substantial and lasting growth to occur.

Splitting these principles out is somewhat like putting a prism in white light, with white light representing the overall growth process. The prism shows us the different wavelengths that exist simultaneously in a whole beam of light.

My hope in splitting the change process out into these four “wavelengths” is to empower us to create whole growth processes, rather than to allow men to languish in incompletion.

THE PROBLEMS

To give context to the Four Principles, let me first characterize my view of the problems men with same-sex attraction (SSA) face. They have problems in four main areas:

1. Insufficient Masculinity. This refers to their feeling inadequate as men and having an insufficient connection with other men and to the masculine world. Men with SSA tend to be disconnected from the male world and from other men. And they are disconnected from their masculinity—from their own genderedness.
2. Inauthenticity. They are not just disconnected from their genderedness, but also from their most genuine feelings and impulses. As a brace against shame and deep fears of abandonment, they tend to interact with the world through a false self that has been carefully constructed so as to not arouse disapproval. They are not authentic.
3. Unmet Needs. With only limited access to their feelings, they tend to have difficulty perceiving their needs. They may also have beliefs about themselves and feelings of guilt that steer them directly away from meeting their needs. This means that their needs cannot be met, further weakening them emotionally and causing them to seek false means of self-nurture.
4. Emotional Rigidity. They tend to have difficulty making emotional shifts and being emotionally vulnerable. Their emotional and relational patterns tend to be rather rigid. Also, they often have deeply engrained thought and behavioral patterns.
I see all of these issues as reverberations and elaborations of painful childhood relationships where the boy was shamed and placed in double binds by his parents and peers. Most damagingly, he was placed in what I call a “gender double bind,” by the overall situation of his boyhood.

GENDER DOUBLE BIND

A double bind is a situation where there is no good way out—where there is pain or trouble no matter what you do. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. To quote the rock group The Cure: “If I go there will be trouble; If I stay it will be double.”

The men dealing with same-sex attraction that I and my colleagues have known over many years typically describe a particular family dynamic marked by double binds. This dynamic may be played out in a variety of ways, but the essence of it is that the boy is punished or hurt for being himself with his authentic personality, feelings, and needs.

The hurt and the punishment may be simply that his parents ignore his feelings and needs. Or it may be that he is disciplined or offended by a parent and then prevented from, or punished for, expressing his feelings about it. Or, more extremely, he may be abused and then beaten for crying. Parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and others can create double binds.

One of the worst double binds these boys experience involves their gender. They come to believe that it is bad to be a boy, or that they are unacceptable as a male. If they assert their masculinity, they are punished or shamed. On the other hand, they cannot abandon their maleness because it is integral to who they are. And to make matters worse, there is no one they can safely articulate their dilemma to. So they remain stuck in this Catch 22 for years, feeling despair and hopelessness. Gender Double Binds (GDBs) are created from a profound rejection—by parents or the environment—of a boy’s gendered self, whether by blunt force or by exquisite unconscious targeting.

It is important to note that the GDB experienced by any particular boy is created within the mind and emotions of the boy himself. Typically, there are real factors in the environment that contribute to his beliefs and feelings. And in some cases, these factors are more a matter of the boy’s perception than of external forces working on him.

When boys routinely experience double binds, they become afraid of self-expression and even afraid of their own feelings. They develop defenses against feeling and create an inauthentic “false self” that doesn’t arouse the disapproval of those around them. They become often passive and stuck in life. GDBs add to this a defensiveness against their own genderedness—against their own boyish masculinity.

ILLUSTRATION: Vic – “I think I knew from the womb: ‘You’d better not come out male.’” But his mother didn’t just expect him not to be male. He experienced a very strong expectation from her to be female—a fundamental violation of his body, mind, and spirit. To be male meant abandonment and death. To be female meant substantial loss of self.

ILLUSTRATION: Dave – Grew up feeling weak and inadequate—to try to be masculine would bring humiliation. Also, there seemed to be something bad, dirty, or even evil about masculinity. To be masculine meant shame and badness. To shun it brought more inadequacy, shame, taunting, and alienation from self and others.

RESTARTING GROWTH PROCESSES

The Gender Double Bind stops growth into mature masculinity and heterosexuality. The goal of gender affirming psychotherapy, the JiM experiential weekend, and JiM groups is to unblock the developmental processes arrested by problems in childhood so that normal growth can resume. But this growth needs optimal circumstances to proceed— especially when it has become blocked by powerful emotional and
behavioral defenses. This requires a multifaceted approach that addresses all four of the problem areas described above. The Four Principles of Change are a way of guiding that process.


MASCULINITY

The general concept of masculinity includes three more specific areas. These are internal, interpersonal, and societal concepts of masculinity. “Internal” refers essentially to gender identity—the sense of maleness and masculinity that a boy or man has of himself. “Interpersonal is about connections and affiliation with other men. And “societal” has to do with social concepts of masculinity, and with male roles.

What are the problems?

GDBs impact each of these three areas. Internally, the problem is that men with SSA typically feel a sense of inadequacy in their masculinity and may even doubt their maleness on less conscious levels. Despite a conscious knowledge of their given gender, they may feel feminine or weak in their maleness. One man described himself as having been “colonized” by his mother. Other men have mentioned that they can see
their mother reflected in their own bodily movements or hear her voice when they speak.These men tend to view “normal” (i.e., heterosexual) men as having some mysterious masculinizing quality that they lack. They also tend to disconnect from their bodies, which—being irrefutably male—are a key element of the GDB.

Interpersonally, the problem is that men with SSA have become defensively detached from other men. The sense of being fundamentally different from other males, which arises from GDBs, has put a profound wedge between the boy and his male peers, teachers, leaders, and relatives. The pain experienced in early relationships with these other males, which is typically described by men with SSA, deepens the defensiveness by adding an unconscious decision to never again attempt bonding. Defensive detachment leaves SSA men generally isolated from close, personal, non-gay relationships with other males.

Societally, men with SSA tend to feel alienated from, and resentful of, concepts of masculinity and male roles. This is essentially an extension of their internal and interpersonal detachment from masculinity and men. And the societal disconnection then interacts with the internal and interpersonal disconnection in a sort of “feedback loop,” reinforcing and exacerbating the overall sense of being out of step with the whole concept of maleness.

How is the principle of Masculinity lived?

The GDB must be broken in order for a sense of masculine sufficiency (having enough maleness inside you and around you in your life) to develop and grow. And, the GDB is broken by exposing the lies in it and by contradicting them experientially. Ways to expose some of the most common GDB lies are discussed below.

Lie: “If I behave in masculine ways (i.e., according to socially defined male roles) I will be humiliated, rejected, or shamed.” This lie is exposed and contradicted through little-by- little trying on typically masculine behaviors, including anything from sports to spitting. Some will stick and others will be dropped. Gradually, the newly adopted behaviors become integrated into the man’s overall personality and contribute to a deepening of his sense of masculinity. Having mature male role models is important in this process.

Lie: “If I expose my true self to “normal” (i.e., heterosexual) men, they will shame me and push me away.” Creating friendships with so-called “normal” men is the only way to contradict this lie. This must be done consciously, carefully, and with intention. Very often, the first step is to make deep and real friendships with other men in the process of change. The JiM weekend, JiM groups, and the many other SSA ministries and support groups offer opportunities for making such friendships in a safe and accountable environment. The New Warrior Training Adventure, New Warrior Integration Groups,church and synagogue groups and community clubs and associations offer opportunities for making the leap into close friendships with heterosexual men.

Lie: “If I pursue my authentic gender atypical interests (e.g., art, music, style, or nursing) I cannot be masculine and other men will not be able to relate to me.” The truth is that you don’t have to give up your passion in order to prove you’re a man. Rather, the challenge is to integrate that passion into an overall masculine personality and self-image.

Lie: “If I express masculine power, aggression, and anger I will be punished and abandoned.” This lie is core to the GDB and the contradiction of this lie often has a profoundly freeing and masculinizing effect. The root of this lie often goes all the way back to early childhood when the boy’s attempts at individuating and separating from mother went off track. Separation from mother, development of male identity, and
acquisition of personal power are very closely tied together. Failure to separate from mother typically has a cascading effect, derailing the other processes as well.

Contradicting this lie requires careful processes that lead the man into sometimes terrifying emotional places. There, he experiences feelings and conflicts he may have avoided for decades. The core of this work is typically anger, which is often conflicted by feelings of love and guilt. Working through these conflicts restarts the process of individuating and developing personal power, which deeply impacts in a positive way the sense of masculinity. It also provides increased energy and drive to do the other hard work of the change process to be described below.

AUTHENTICITY

To understand the principle of Authenticity, we must break it down into two related subprinciples. The first is Internal Authenticity, which in essence implies being whole within yourself and accepting yourself totally, rather than splitting off, repressing, or hiding parts of yourself. This requires an understanding of who you are on a level deeper than your job description, sexual feelings, or the labels given you by family and friends. It takes the capacity to feel and tolerate the full range of your own feelings, which can sometimes seem conflicting, confusing, and painful. And it depends on an ability to integrate these feelings, along with your beliefs about yourself, others, and the world into a self that can meet the challenges of life and relationships. Internal Authenticity might appropriately be termed “the technology of self.”

Interpersonal Authenticity is the second sub-principle within the overall concept of Authenticity. Simply put, Interpersonal Authenticity is the ability to be fully present and assertive in relationships to the degree appropriate and to respond out of your genuine self in those relationships. This starts with the assumption that each relationship is unique and calls for differing degrees of openness. Openness, or self-disclosure, is not synonymous with Interpersonal Authenticity. Not every relationship warrants disclosure of personal details and only a few relationships are conducive of true intimacy. Nevertheless, Interpersonal Authenticity suggests the ability to be genuine and true to yourself in a majority of relationships whether intimate or more superficial.

What are the problems?

As boys, these men experienced emotional conflicts (e.g., double binds) that outstripped their own internal resources and the resources of their families and peers. As a result, not only were these specific conflicts left unresolved, but the boy’s capacities to resolve internal crises did not develop. This left them unprepared to surmount conflicts over the span of their development. The pain and insecurity of unresolved conflicts caused them to shut down the feelings and split off the aspects of themselves that created the conflicts. They may have given up their anger or split off their assertiveness or needs for male friendship. They often disconnect from their bodies in order to avoid their feelings. They develop a “self” that doesn’t create conflict, but that is also false. They have lost who they truly are.

Lacking the ability to resolve emotional conflicts, existing with important parts of the self split off, and interacting with the world through a false self prevents these men from relating authentically with others. They may be friendly, personable, and “nice,” but they typically struggle with relational essentials including intimacy, attachment, self-assertion, empathy, honesty, and forgiveness.

How is the Principle of Authenticity Lived?

The principle of Authenticity starts with risking being whole. At first, wholeness must be explored in a very safe place (perhaps a therapist’s office) where the shut down feelings and split off aspects of self can be expressed and explored. Integration of contradictory feelings (like love and hate, anger and guilt) creates a greater sense of inner stability and clarifies relationships of the past and the present. Open exploration of split off aspects of self (e.g., assertiveness or sexual desires) reduces the shame that has accumulated around these and allows them also to be integrated into the self as well.

This entire process requires facing fear in a profound and new way. Men must let down their defenses in order to re-enter internal conflicts that they deemed intolerable years ago. And they must venture into their bodies where illogical, uncomfortable, and unpredictable emotions exist. The process also requires looking for self-created double binds (transferred from relationships of the past into relationships in the present).

As the therapeutic process proceeds, men naturally begin to carry their newfound assertiveness, clarity, and wholeness into the real world of relationships. They allow others to see their feelings in the here-and-now. They become able to reveal themselves to others and stay in relationship rather than defensively detaching. And they find themselves in fewer double binds.

It is important to understand that Authenticity is both the catalyst and the linchpin of change. Without it there is not going to be any real change. It must be the primary focus from the very beginning of the change process.


NEED FULFILLMENT

First, let me define the word “need.” I define “need” as that which is required in order to maintain joy. I consider joy to be the central purpose of human existence. By joy, I mean the experience of satisfaction, well being, and completion; the sense that life is good, that it has purpose and meaning. I am speaking of joy in its mature, bigger-than-self form— not mere excitement, stimulation, or even bliss, although each of these may be part of joy. But joy encompasses much more than those, including pain, disappointment, and grief.

A reverse description of “need” may add context: It is a need if not having it causes deterioration of the personality, for example depression, defenses, intense yearnings, loneliness, alienation, shutting down of feelings, or loss of interest or creativity. These are the opposite of joy and thus indicate unmet needs. Absent from this list of negative experiences indicating unmet needs are the core emotions of anger, sadness, and fear. Though many may view those feelings as running counter to joy and need fulfillment, experiencing them when warranted is actually a need in itself and part of the process of maintaining joy.

Need Fulfillment depends on two masculine drives: to preside and to provide. Presiding implies self- governance—creating order and balance in your life, which must be maintained if needs are to be adequately met. Providing implies the actual work done to meet a need, whether that is bringing home the paycheck or spending time bonding with a male friend.

What are the problems?

The problems described earlier that block men with SSA from experiencing Authenticity are the also the root problems that block Need Fulfillment. Meeting needs requires first knowing self. Of particular importance is the shutting down of feelings, splitting of self, and disconnection from the body caused by childhood double binds.

Men with SSA often do well at meeting some of their needs, but do poorly meeting others. Typically, shame or an emotional conflict surrounds the needs they do not meet. For example, meeting the need to feel at ease in the body—to feel confident and secure in your own skin—might require exercise and dieting. But intense body shame can make it very difficult to even acknowledge the body’s needs, much less care for the body or expose it by going to the gym for a workout. Or, meeting the need to individuate from mother might require creating boundaries in the relationship. But conflicting feelings of love, anger, and guilt can undermine the setting of boundaries with her.

Childhoods characterized by double binds can also diminish a man’s ability to meet his needs by engendering a passive personality. Essentially a learned helplessness, passivity results from life situations that left the boy with no power in his own life—he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. To make matters worse, he likely created a false self to interface with his hostile or unpredictable double-binding world. The purpose of the false self is to perceive the needs or wants of other people and to satisfy them. Awareness of self—along with the needs of the self—is lost.

The further in life these men go without knowledge of their needs, the further off track they can become. In some cases, a fundamental incompatibility develops between their lifestyle and the meeting of their authentic needs. Getting back on track can then require substantial effort and sacrifice.

Grief is what naturally happens when we are thwarted in meeting our needs. If grief is too painful or pervasive, grief might defended against through various inaccurate methods, including masturbation, pornography, and homosexual fantasies or behavior.

How is the principle of Need Fulfillment lived?

Authenticity opens the way for Need Fulfillment by increasing awareness of both cognitive and physiological aspects of emotion. This means that a man can feel his feelings and understand what they mean. He is thus capable of understanding his emotions when they tell him what his needs are and when they tell him that his needs are either met or unmet.

When men first begin the change process, they often don’t understand their needs. One way to help them find out what their unmet needs are is to follow their grieving emotions (i.e., anger and sadness) to their source. This process is used in therapy to resolve feelings from painful relationships. But it can also point out needs that were left unmet in those relationships as well as needs that are being left unmet in the present. This process also makes viscerally clear to the man the painful consequences of not meeting his needs.Feeling these consequences can be extremely motivating.

But psychotherapeutic work alone may not be sufficient to help a man understand and meet his needs. Some men benefit from personality profiles, interest inventories, and aptitude tests to broaden their self-awareness, which can shed light on their individual needs profile. Also, accessing their own memory to review interests and life experiences can help shed additional light on their needs.

It may be helpful for men to consider various categories and types of needs. This can help them become aware of areas they might not have considered previously. While each person’s specific needs are unique, most men working to change SSA seem to have needs in each of the following areas:


Relational: love, affiliation, community, affection, trust, understanding, and intimacy from people in general
Male friendship: attention, affection, and approval from men specifically
Physical: touch, pleasure, rest, work, exercise, nourishment, and grooming.
Spiritual: connection to God, the universe, or something bigger than self; inspiration,
Work/Vocation: to produce, feel effective and useful; to enjoy daily activities; to have variety.
Empowerment: safety, freedom, self-direction, autonomy, and opportunity
Rest: relaxation, sleep, diversion, and entertainment
Self-expression: the opportunity to articulate to myself and the world who I am.
As difficult as the foregoing processes of learning about needs may sound, the more difficult work of Need Fulfillment is the daily devotion of time, energy, and resources that is required in order to actually the needs. For some men, this can require substantial adjustments in their lifestyle as they begin committing their time and money to meeting their needs. This often requires a high level of commitment the people close to the man as well, especially if he is married and has a family.


SURRENDER

Put most simply, Surrender is letting change happen. Surrender is releasing from your life everything that inhibits growth and receiving into your life those things that foster it. As the previous sentence suggests, Surrender is bi-directional—it involves both letting go (releasing) and letting in (receiving).

Imagine a fortress that has been defending against an invading force for some time. The occupants of the fort are out of provisions and ammunition. They are beginning to starve and die. They are ready to surrender. Doing so requires that they first put down their weapons. This represents the “letting go” aspect of surrender. Once they have relinquished their arms, they must accept the new command of the opposing force. This represents the “letting in” aspect of surrender. When the surrendering occupant of the fortress is a man with SSA, he soon discovers that the “opposing force” is benevolent and brings replenishment and healing.

What are the problems?

Men with SSA tend to have a difficult time letting change happen. This is not a trait unique to them—many if not most people experience at least a little discomfort with change and many will avoid it if at all possible. Anyone who responds to change in this way foils his own growth and development—his own transcendence to something greater. Men with SSA tend to have problems with surrendering cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually. The problems in each of these areas results from unmet needs and unresolved painful feelings.

Cognitively, many men with SSA develop beliefs about themselves and the world, and about their places in the world, that are inaccurate and self-defeating. Most significantly, they have the belief that they are homosexual or “gay.” Their perspectives are often full of distortions (inaccurate negative beliefs) and illusions (inaccurate positive beliefs) that prevent them from seeing things as they truly are. Relationship interactions are often misinterpreted. Personal traits (of self and others) are often misperceived. And future possibilities are frequently misunderstood. Additionally, some men with SSA have obsessive or ruminative thought processes that they cannot let go of. Whether or not these are directly linked to homosexuality, they tend slow the change process down. And they often lead to compulsive behaviors, (to be discussed below) further slowing the process of growth.

Emotionally, men with SSA tend to be rigid and narrow in their emotional and relational patterns. They have difficulty shifting from one emotion to another. They may get stuck in anger and be unable to shift from anger into forgiveness or sadness. Or, they may get stuck in depression and be unable to descend below the depression into the anger or grief that lies beneath it. Or they may lock themselves into a defensive posture that prevents them from feeling certain or all feelings. Anxiety, numbing out, superficiality and the subterfuge of the false self are all common defenses.Behaviorally, SSA men tend toward addictions and compulsions. Most commonly, men with SSA are involved in sexual addictions, which may include fantasies, pornography, masturbation, and sex with another person whether live or by electronic means. These behaviors are repeated again and again for the pleasure or relief from pain that they bring. In homosexual relationships, engaging in very specific sexual patterns with specific types of men is often the rule.

Compulsions grow out of obsessive thought patterns and tend to be an attempt to “get it right.” Although only a percentage of SSA men also have full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder, many SSA men experience obsessions (discussed above) and show tendencies toward compulsive behavior. Repetition compulsions are common, and some would argue ubiquitous, among homosexual men. In a repetition compulsion, the man sets up a situation that repeats a painful dynamic from childhood in an attempt to “get it right.” But the situation merely creates more painful—though familiar—feelings and ends up working as more of a punishment and distraction from moving on with life. He never really allows himself to “get it right.”

Gender-atypical behavior, although seemingly less serious than addictions and compulsions, can nonetheless slow a man’s change process.This is particularly true when the behavior reinforces to the man, or to those around him, that he is unmasculine, effeminate, or gay. Another behavioral problem worthy of mention might be termed “distractive lifestyle.” This refers to a way of living that keeps a man so busy doing unimportant things that he has no time to fall into his underlying pain or grief, or to pursue healing and change. Frequent partying, overworking, and excessive television watching are signs of a “distractive lifestyle.”

Spiritually, the problems tend to involve difficulty trusting something bigger than self and fears about being controlled and being out of control. The man’s deep shame often results in a narcissistic reaction of putting his own ego at the center of his universe. He may be wary of organizations, religion, authority, and power in any form. He may also believe that God has let him down and develop deep resentment toward the Supreme Being. From this position, the man is not open to mentoring, guidance, or inspiration. And he cannot transcend himself for fear of losing control of himself.

How is the principle of Surrender lived?

Cognitively, new mental constructs about self and the world must be acquired; illusions (inaccurate positive beliefs) and distortions (inaccurate negative beliefs) have to be exposed and relinquished. Perhaps the most significant belief about self that must be given away is the man’s belief that he is homosexual or “gay.” I believe that homosexuality cannot be changed without a conscious choice to do so. Often, the most significant belief about others that must be released is the stereotyped perspective of heterosexual men. Deep relationships with other men can help greatly in these processes, especially once trust begins to develop. Trust itself is a surrender of defensiveness and it opens the man to seeing other views of life that will challenge and correct his own. Sometimes, cognitive therapeutic processes must be employed to stop or reduce the obsessive or ruminative thought processes. These generally include an aspect of releasing or relinquishing (letting go) the obsessive thought.

Emotionally, the principle of Surrender begins with letting go of defenses and fully receiving and feeling your emotions. Emotions bring physical sensations and impulses in the body (e.g., anger might bring a pounding heart and an impulse to hit) and understanding to the mind (e.g., anger might bring recognition of the extent of abuse). Men must learn to release the physical sensations and impulses (often called a “charge”) in ways that don’t hurt themselves or others. And they must integrate the new understanding, which creates growth and expansion of emotional capacities. Men in the change process must also surrender emotionally in relationships with trustworthy people by releasing information about themselves, exposing their feelings, and receiving love and affirmation.

Surrendering unhealthful behaviors depends on surrender in the other three areas since addictions and compulsions tend to be based on cognitive, emotional, and spiritual issues. For example, sexual addictions are often held in place by a deep sense of alienation or self-hatred while repetition compulsions are often based in unresolved traumatic parent-child interactions. Working through and surrendering these underlying issues can have a dramatic impact on the addiction or compulsion. Even so, additional behaviorally based or 12 Step work is often required to fully overcome the addiction or compulsion.

Similarly, gender-atypical behavior is essentially a reflection of underlying issues involving the man’s self-perception. Emotional and cognitive surrender (as described above) is the pathway to deep changes in self-perception. At the same time, consciously surrendering non-masculine behaviors and adopting gender-typical behaviors can be quite helpful in the overall process. Finally, surrendering a “distractive lifestyle” necessitates emotional surrender but also usually requires a purely behavioral intervention to help the man change his pattern.

Spiritual surrender may be done as one powerful act of faith—willingly letting go the control of your life, trusting that something bigger than you will benevolently step in. Some men can do this. Other men can only spiritually surrender a bit at a time as they gradually feel greater trust through successful experiences with powers greater than their own, whether that power is seen as the natural change process or as God. For many religious men, the love shared between them and God creates a willingness and desire to surrender. Whether done at once or through many small decisions, spiritual surrender requires a recognition that you are a smaller force in the universe and that there is some force greater than yourself that wants your wellbeing.

Spiritual surrender also involves seeking transcendence. By this I mean, seeking to rise above where you have been, looking within yourself for more mature responses, and going to sources higher than yourself for guidance and inspiration.

CONCLUSION

The Four Principles of Change are useful because they are easily understood and implemented by men in the change process. They also provide a paradigm for therapists that can be applied in very specific ways to a full range of issues facing all men in the process.

To me, “change” means that growth toward mature masculinity and heterosexuality is resumed and completed. Growth needs optimal circumstances to proceed. My hope in splitting out the whole growth process into the four Principles of Growth is to empower us to create whole growth processes and optimal circumstances for change.


Here is a great list of other choices from our SA friends. **Be aware that what works may shift/diminish and change over time and according to the intensity of emotions.  BUT....If it stops working, go to something else.
Phil (TX)

100 ways to stay sober


1 ) Don’t forget the past.
2 ) Don’t overdo any "medication"
3 ) Stay away from acting out places, people, websites
4 ) Acknowledge a total slip will follow the first look, phone call, or turn you shouldn't make.
5 ) Listen and try to help another sex addict today.
6 ) Attend S-Group, AA, or other 12 Step regularly and get involved.
7 ) Help someone today even in the smallest way, not expecting something in return.
8 ) Think about the word "insanity" and "restore" in step 2.
9 ) Maintain a conscious contact with God
10) Ask what you can do for your group.
11) Pause!!! when insanity comes.
12) Ask God to come into your heart and mind in that pause.
13) Get a sponsor immediately!
14) Call your sponsor daily
15) Offer to help your sponsor with some thing
16) Visit a recovery house, or do some volunteer work.
17) Visit a depressed friend
18) Listen to learn
19) In problems, examine your part, first
20) Remember, your disease is incurable, progressive and fatal.
21) Do first things first.
22) Don't become too tired.
23) Eat at regular hours.
24) Use the telephone to call someone in recovery, when upset.
25) Be active - don't just sit around. Idle time will kill you.
26) Say the Serenity Prayer daily.
27) Change old routines and patterns that are not positive.
28) Don't become too hungry.
29) Avoid loneliness.
30) Practice control of your anger.
31) Air your resentments.
32) Be willing to help whenever needed.
33) Be good to yourself, you deserve it.
34) Slow down. Easy does it.
35) Get out of the "IF ONLY" trap.
36) Remember HOW IT WAS. Your last slip, the feelings etc.
37) Beware of how you will react beforehand. Expect your emotions.
38) Help another in his/her recovery, extend your hand, listen.
39) Try to turn your life and your will over to your Higher Power.
40) Avoid all mood-altering drugs, read labels on all medicines.
41) Turn loose of old negative ideas.
42) If you must go to a situation where there will be temptation, take a sober 12 step buddy with you.

43) Replace old acting out buddies with new SA/SAA buddies.

44) Read the AA Big Book slowly.
45) Try not to be dependent on another.

46) Be grateful and when not make a GRATITUDE list.
47) Don't feel sorry for yourself.
48) Seek knowledgeable help when you are troubled.
49) Review step ONE. "We were" is past tense, if we use our new tools. 

50) Discuss a paragraph out of the Big Book with someone.

51) Turn your will over to God, knowing some action is needed by you. 

52) Say Thank you at the end of each day.
53) Plant the "recovery" seed and accept the rest.
54) Don't try to test your will power Once a pickle always a pickle.

55) Live TODAY, not YESTERDAY, not TOMORROW.
56) Remember that God alone sets the element of QUALTIY and Quantity of time. 

57) Remember your addiction is - cunning, baffling and powerful.
58) Give yourself credit for something good you accomplished today.
59) Love someone else first, then love yourself.
60) Share your experience, strength and hope.
61) Cherish your recovery.
62) Dump negative thinking.
63) Get plenty of "restful" sleep.
64) Stay sober for you - not someone else
65) Practice rigorous honesty with yourself and others.
66) Remember HALT, Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
67) Forget the old saying "don't do this for one year"

Only God can measure your quality and quantity of time and sobriety. 

68) Get a sponsor and use him/her to learn how to LIVE the 12 steps
69) Know that no matter what your problems, someone's had them before.

Don't be afraid to share, as a problem shared is one 1/2 solved.
70) Strive for progress not perfection.
71) When in doubt ask questions. The only stupid question is the one not asked.
72) Live step 11 with prayer and meditation.
73) Balance yourself.
74) Don't use other things obsessively as a maintenance program.
75) Learn to take spot check inventories.
76) Remember the fact that NOTHING will make you act out again.
77) Know that it’s okay to be human, to make mistakes.
78) Be kind to yourself. Don't be hard on yourself.
79) Take the disease seriously! It can kill you.
80) Know that whatever it is that's causing pain - it shall pass.
81) Smile at the worse problem and see what you can learn.
82) Don't give away more than you can afford too.
83) Don't stay inside too much. Get out, go somewhere!
84) Get a home group and attend it regularly.
85) Don't expect life to be all roses, even in sobriety. Without problems there would be no use for our existence. 86) Remember step one begins "WE" You are not alone.
87) Be willing to go to any lengths to stay and be sober.
88) Know that no matter how bleak and dark your past may be, it will get better!
89) Read the Promises in the Big Book page 83 and 84.
90) Don't be in a hurry.
91) Watch out for your EGO.
92) Protect your sobriety at all costs. Keep the light on you.
93) Learn to listen, not just hear. Be open-minded and nonjudgmental.
94) Don't use bad language and dishonor your Creator, Giver of Sobriety, God.
95) If the rest of the world looks bad, check yourself out first.
96) Show gratitude for your clean and sober time.
97) When times get tough.....go to tons of meetings and share!
98) Remember you can cut down any fear, into half or none, by discussing it with another individual.
99) Try to manage your money, budget yourself.
100) Look for those LIVING the 12 steps, not just talking them. 


“What a waste to attempt to change behavior without truly understanding the driving needs that cause such behavior!”

― Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes