I grew up in the 50s–a time when sex education had not yet been invented. Being human, we make mistakes and as the decades pass, I don’t see that talking a lot about sex has helped matters much. There is disagreement from all sides on this topic.
One school would allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t. What can we do about them?… We got this all down on paper and looked at it. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2012, p 69
It seems clear that we need to take a good look at our sexual conduct of the past as a part of our Step 4 housecleaning. Negative talk cycles through the mind over this topic. Put an end to this trash talk by doing something about it. There’s nothing to fear. This is very straight-forward and it’s probably the easiest inventory to remember! Start with the Not So Scary Worksheet of Harms in the sidebar.
Who Did I Hurt? (names of the sexual partners that we’ve hurt in any way and also the names of other people who got injured from our actions)
- Were there other people in my family or theirs that were hurt emotionally?
- Who suffered as a result of my actions? (spouses, children, parents, friends of the sexual partner?) We list them.
What Did I Do To Hurt Them? (intentionally or unintentionally)
- When I had sex with this partner, did I hurt them physically or insist on it without consideration of my partner’s wishes?
- Did I use sex (or refuse sex) as a bartering tool; as punishment or manipulation; or to get even with someone else?
- Did I have sex to meet my self-esteem needs and make myself feel better, seem more popular?
- Did I trade sex for the convenience of having my physical or financial needs met or to fulfill companionship needs?
What Feelings Did I Help Create in Others? (Jealousy, Suspicion , Fear, Shame, Bitterness..etc.)
- What feelings did other people have as the direct result of my misconduct?
- What might my partner or my family or my friends have felt when they realized that I was not behaving responsibly in the sexual arena? What kind of suffering did I cause?
Don’t give up. The mind will seek escape or denial– just trash talk! We fill in what our heart tells us to. While we’re at it, we probably realize that there are things we’ve done in this arena that we never want to repeat. Now is a good time to think about what kind of person we want to be in the future, as far as sex is concerned.
Identify Simple Character Defects: Selfish, Dishonest, Self-seeking and Fearful. These 4 are at the core of all character defects. If you would like a more comprehensive list, you can Google it. We alcoholics tend to over-think things so I limit myself to what is in the text.
Now go through the other harmful things that tend to crop up when you feel badly about yourself and list all those, as well. This inventory is going to uncover a lot of buried trash. What’s that one thing you decided you’d never tell anyone? Put it down in code, if you must, but get it on the list. Clean it out. Clean it all out.
We need eliminate the negative self talk (trash talk) from our past and absorb some of the sunlight of the Spirit so that we have the power necessary to change our lives from here forward.
We just need to be willing to do the work… set aside the fear and stop procrastinating. How can we put it off? What could be more important to ourselves, our sanity and our loved ones? Stop the internal trash talk. Write it down. Get it out.