How to Kill a Fly

I found it difficult to concentrate on the member shares at a recent meeting.  Most at my end of the table were distracted as well.  There was a fly buzzing nosily around and each of us took our turn trying to put it out of our misery.  But you never can catch or kill a fly with your bare hand.  They are just too quick and wily.  The best you can hope for is that they’ll fly out the window, or maybe make their way to the other end of the room and bother someone else.

But then the guy in the chair next to me did it.  He killed it.  The rest of us had been flailing about pitifully trying to swat the thing, then without much effort, he calmly nabbed the thing in one quick, efficient swoop.  I was impressed!  Because it can’t be done, right?  Now there was a new distraction.  I sat through the rest of the meeting marveling at my friend’s cat-like reflexes and speed.  He must have some amazing eye-hand coordination.

Afterwards, I expressed my admiration.  Being the humble 12-stepper he is, he confessed that it wasn’t really to be marveled at.  He didn’t have super-human abilities.  He just knew the trick. The overall flight plan of the fly is quite erratic and unpredictable.  But the take-off isn’t.   It’s very predictable.  He explained that a fly always goes straight up when it takes off.  Knowing this (step 1), starting with his hand just behind the resting fly (step 2), he startles it with his swooping motion (step 3) and the fly obediently flies right up into his cupped hand (step 4).  Squish (step 5).

I was reflecting on that again tonight.  The fly problem and solution feel very familiar.  It very neatly describes my life as an addict.  I spent 4 decades of my life trying to kill the maddening fly that was buzzing around my head.  I tried everything I could think of to stop the obsession.  It feels like I was just flailing about, hoping that one of my blind swats would knock the addiction senseless.  But no luck.  You can’t do it.  That crazy-making fly is never going to leave.  My insane lust/sex obsession just would not die.  I lost hope.  I was never going to be free from the buzzing buzzing buzzing.  I suspected some had gotten free, but they were probably more moral than I was.  Or loved God more, or their family more.  Or had more will-power.  If there was a fly-killer out there, he had skills that I would never have.  I had come to the point of despair.  I expected that instead of killing the lust fly, it was going to outlive me.  I’d be dead one way or another, and that demonic fly would still be buzzing around my dead lifeless head.

But then, someone showed me the trick!  In the 12-steps of Sexaholics Anonymous, I have finally found the “trick” that has enabled me to kill the lust-fly.  It’s simple!  Not simple in the sense that it doesn’t take a lot of effort, but here’s how the AA Big Book puts it.  After sketching out the insane, hopeless pattern of the drunk, it says:

Strange as this may seem to those who do not understand—once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules. (AA p. XVIII)

Later it relates the story of a destroyed man whose doctor told him that his only hope for survival was to be under lock and key for the remainder of his life.

But this man still lives, and is a free man. He does not need a bodyguard nor is he confined. He can go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go without disaster, provided he remains willing to maintain a certain simple attitude. (AA pp. 26-27)

What with my friend seemed an incredible feat was in reality only a simple trick consisting of 5 steps.  I’m grateful that I have discovered the Sexaholics Anonymous 12-step “trick” to solve my sex  problem, and I’m thankful for all my friends in the fellowship who have shared that trick with me and are helping me to learn it better and better.  Once the buzzing was constant, and now it’s not.  Now, as I continue to live out the simple principles of our 12-step program, the buzzing is rare, and for those times of distraction, the solution is close at hand.  Squish.

-Anonymous

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