…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Not an Addiction

By Rex Goode



8. Are these meetings open to those who deal with same sex attraction?

A. Yes.


The article has reference to meetings of the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP). I have mixed emotions about this statement. First, I easily recognize that there is much of what life in the gay community offers that is highly addictive and that many gay people become enmeshed in these things. 12-Step fellowships related to sexual addiction have homosexual members who are struggling to recovery from deeply compuslive and risky behavior. That the Church’s version of a 12-step fellowship invites members who deal with same-sex attraction  is commendable.

However, I have been noticing lately that as with many other statements that are poorly interpreted when it comes to same-sex attraction, this one is being interpreted to mean that ARP should be the program of choice for leaders or agencies operating groups for same-sex attracted Latter-day Saints. This is not to denigrate the ARP program in the least. The 12 steps as originally crafted by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have a stellar track record for addicts in recovery.

I also hasten to note that the 12 steps are not necessarily for everyone. There are other methodologies that seem to work for some people. I’m glad that there are many different approaches, because people are all so different.

The 12-step methodology has become associated with what is called The Disease Model. For example, AA members think of alcoholism as a disease, an incurable one. They hope for recovery, not for cure. Recovery means that one has surrendered to one’s higher power because of their own inadequacy to deal with addiction themselves.

Applying a 12-step approach to my same-sex attraction seems like a useless approach for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m not dealing with any unwanted or compulsive sexual behaviors. I did at one point in my life, but I applied an individualized 12 step-like approach to that and it worked. I continue to rely on the Lord to fight that battle for me. He remains my conquering hero in that war.
  2. I resent the implication that my same-sex attraction is a disease. If anything, I think of it as a gift. It and everything that has come with it have been a source of blessing, confidence, and spiritual motivation in my life.

When I no longer suffered from compulsive sexual behavior, the same-sex orientation remained. In fact, I think it became more clarified as a result of becoming, by the grace of God, more in control of my sexual behavior. In the depths of my sexual addiction, I could get aroused by anything or anyone willing. As an addict, the drive to get my sexual fix knew no sex or gender. It was true that I was far more easily aroused by males than by females, but the whole point of addiction is the loss of control and the willingness to do anything and forego any other need for the sake of that one all-important perceived need of sexual release.

I remember a relationship with one of my “cover girl” girlfriends. In high school, I always had a girlfriend to deflect any suspicion about my same-sex feelings and encounters. Their main complaint about me was my lack of affection. Holding hands was extremely uncomfortable between me and a female. I only did it under pressure from her or peers.

One day, this particularly girlfriend had had enough. She gave me the ultimatum that I’d better start kissing her and kissing her well or we’d be done. My fear was that the fallout of this would result in my being outed. In those days, a girlfriend who said that her boyfriend wouldn’t kiss her was a sure sign that he was gay. This girl would have had no problem announcing it to the entire school.

So, I kissed her. I kissed her well. We ended up on the floor. If her brother hadn’t knocked on the door, it would have gone farther. My addiction had kicked in and I no longer cared about boundaries, norms, consequences, or even whether I was basically attracted to or loved the other person. It was like giving a true alcoholic a little sip. That was the end of control.

Funny thing was, after all of her demands and cajoling, she told everyone how dirty I made her feel by my reaction to kissing. The only good thing that came out of that, if you can call it good, was that my reputation as a het was firmly established.

My compulsive behaviors continued into my marriage, although they went from compulsive sexual behaviors to compulsive emotional relationships with males. Emotional dependency ruled my life and relationships. I was in constant emotional pain over the absence or presence of one male friend or another. As you can imagine, it was particularly trying for my wife who had the insight to ask me if I was gay. I, of course, denied it.

I worked my spiritual program to deal with these relationships and to become a healthier, more emotionally independent person. Part of me wondered if it would lead me to a heterosexual identity, once I got all of the unhealthy versions of my homosexuality out of my life. I was surprised to find that once I found my recovery from compulsive sexual behavior through my relationship with the Savior, that what I was left with was a decidely same-sex internal view of things, albeit a more deliberate and less out-of-control view.

At this point of my life, without addictive behaviors looming large, I know I am free to choose how I live. I happen to choose to live in keeping with the standards and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding sexual expression and marriage. I do it fully aware of the sacrifices I make, potential consequences, and objections of others who think I should follow conventional wisdom.

What I do and intend to continue doing is not easy by any means, but I find it easier to do with support, in the company and fellowship of others making the same choices or at least respecting and supporting me in my choices. Going to a 12-step program would not be that for me.

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3 Responses to “Not an Addiction”

  1. Ross said:

    I’ve given some thought to the “Disease” model approach of 12 steps. When I am in recovery, what is the difference between recovery and cured? At my present stage, the distinction is blurry and unimportant at most. What are healthy non addicts like when it comes to pornography? I don’t really know. I don’t trust men who say it holds no attraction for them, I don’t believe them.

    Maybe it is like alcohol for me. I’ve never had alcohol, so I am not interested in it. How can I crave something I’ve never had? In this society, how can anyone have gone without being exposed to pornography in it’s most attractive forms? A trip to the grocery store is all it would take. But I digress.

    I suppose cured could mean one of two things. Either I will never be tempted by it again, or I become like someone who has never been addicted to it. I seriously doubt I would never be tempted by it again. The second definition though… what is that like. Is it possible?

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Ross, first let me thank you profusely for commenting on this.

    I don’t know how it is possible to go back and be as I was before I got addicted. In my case, that would go back a long way. I was acting out sexually at seven. I like your breakdown of what cured might mean.

    For those with same-sex attraction, many look forward to a day when they have no same-sex feelings and are completely and exclusively attracted to women. As impossible as that seems to me, some believe it is possible and I’ve even known some who say it has happened for them. If you translate that to something like addiction to pornography, I suppose it would mean that you would be completely and exclusively dealing in a 3-dimensional world with no desire to look at pornography.

    I’m pretty much there. I can’t claim to have never seen pornography, but when it’s been shown to me, I turn away. It doesn’t interest me. I don’t go looking for it. A client sent a piece of male pornography to my phone. I didn’t know what was in it until I opened it up. Nothing there for me. Didn’t even feel slightly tempted to keep it and look at it later.

    So, according to your comment, you can’t trust me. 🙂 Maybe you don’t believe me.

    My version of pornography is the flesh and blood man walking down the street. Now that is a real struggle for me. I haven’t ever really analyzed why this is so, but I have a few ideas I might put down in a blog entry some day.

    Again, thanks for commenting.

  3. harveyfo said:

    Are these meetings open to those who deal with same sex attraction

    The basic answer is yes. The ARP meetings are for ALL issues, weaknesses, addictions. The church’s reasoning is that the Atonement is the answer no matter what. 25 percent of all ARP meetings is for sexual addictions ONLY, they call it a PASG group. We have some who come, with same sex attraction ,and they find it a lot more comfortable in a group where everyone there has sexual issues. The PASG groups are a weakness specific group, the sharing is much more open and honest than in a normal arp group. The secrecy and shame involved in sexual things makes the PASG groups much more successful, for recovery, and for success in remaining clean. Where I live (So Nevada) we are trying so hard to get a group just for those with same sex attraction. The red tape is long, and the head of lds family services has to approve the request and the meetings have to be under heavy scrutiny, because it hasn’t been done before, at least not in our area. I love the church’s 12 step program, it’s under priesthood direction, the meetings are so spiritual. There is something in the program for everybody. If I can ever get smart enough to post a blog I would love to post one on the arp program. The premise of the ARP program is a system of repentance from sins, but it is also a means of controlling the God given weaknesses we have been born with. In the Church Pamphlet “God Loveth His Children” it says that we will not know the reason that God gave us certain challenges until after this life is over. I am like Rex, having a weakness, for me it is starting to turn into a blessing, my porn addiction keeps me humble and in need of my Savior, I am constantly reminded of my need almost every day, that is a good thing for me. Also after 30+ years of addiction I have the privilege of helping others, by sharing what I have learned in the ARP program. The Arp program is not just for sex addicts who like me have sinned, the group is for those with same gender attraction which is NOT a sin of any kind, but it is a thorn in the side and must be kept under control at all times, my porn addiction is sinful and the other is only sinful if indulged in. The secret of a continued resolve to remain valiant, is to learn how to Trust our Savior, and turn our life over to HIM. I do not consider the Church’s version of the 12 steps as a disease model. My interpretation is that all fall short of the glory of HIM, ALL are in need of his sacrifice and this program teaches me how to live my life in harmony with his will. Step one you cannot do it on your own. WE are not supposed to, life throws grief, depression , fear, divorce, illness, and so many other things we cannot be in control of. Step 2 god can save us. Step three we learn how to turn our life over to God because he can do a better job with our lives than we can. Steps 4-9 we learn to reconcile ourselves to Father and our brothers and sisters, step 10,11,12 I learn how to review my life daily and repent, I try to ask myself what would Jesus do? And I learn to serve my fellow man. The ARP program is a way to take my rotten addictive soul to be transformed into something great. The 12 steps probably have lots of flaws, but the church did something really good, they took the 12 steps and adapted them to the gospel and set up a program. they threw down a rope to me and many others. The program is saving me all the time because the program IS the Atonement. The ARP program is not the same in all areas, the program is fairly new, and not uniform, but that is changing, I hope
    I think anyone can benefit from the ARP program, but only if the program is ran right which unfortunately is not always the case.

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