Step One Of The Twelve Steps

I admitted that my life had become unmanageable.

Step Two Step Three Step Four

This took me many years to admit. Though I was rarely thrilled with my life, it never occurred to me to 12-step because I thought that such programs were for the weak-willed and I was not weak willed. I did nothing that I could not control. I was the master of my destiny.

Early on in my life, I developed bottom-line behaviors that I would avoid. I did not call them “bottom line behaviors”. I’d never heard of such a term. But I knew there were things that were bad for me.

Many of my classmates at primary school at Avondale College in Australia were into buggering each other and animals. Though I was eager to explore sex, I decided early on that such activity was not for me.

I grew up a little. I decided I would not wait until marriage to have sex, but I would always behave ethically. No married women. No cheating. Nobody under-age. Nothing illegal. And I stuck to that.

Looking back, I see that I was just managing my addictions.

With the exception of my years 18-22, I’ve always felt a need for God. After falling into the morass of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at age 22, I knew that I would destroy myself if left to my own devices. I needed not just God but organized religion.

So I converted to Judaism. But my demons remained. They weren’t even tamed. I took my addictions into the synagogue and after hundreds of hours studying Torah, they were still untamed.

I had converted to Judaism so that I could chase shiksas.

Then the internet came along and all the things I had fantasized about, I could now find video of them online. I knew I needed to do something about this problem, so I decided to write about the industry, investigate it, and thereby innoculate myself from its charms. And I felt like that largely worked, even as it socially isolated me and left me unfit to marry any decent girl.

When I stopped writing on XXX in 2007, the demons returned stronger than ever.

In 2009, I had what I regarded as my best relationship ever, but like the rest of them, it didn’t last beyond a year and was filled with me idealizing somebody who wasn’t there, blaming her for failing to live up to my projections. I obsessed about her and became dependent on her and in the end I wasn’t man enough for her.

Since 2008 I’ve been in therapy (and intermittently during the years before that). Twelve step was an after-thought. I came to it by accident. My defenses were down. I stopped intellectualizing about it and decided to try it on pragmatic grounds. I didn’t worry about buying the program. I just wanted to try the program. And as soon as I did, I felt better.

As the 12-steppers say, going to meetings makes you feel better, but only working the steps helps you to get better.

So step one is just a clear declaration of something I’ve known since I was 22. I need not just God and organized religion, but a community of 12-steppers who grapple with similar problems to what ail me.

My addictions to romantic and sexual obsession were warping my practice of religion, my choice of profession, and the way I interacted with people.

My addiction keeps shifting. I notice that when I feel bereft, I often tune into Facebook to get a hit of connection. I make a provocative status update to get some attention.

Why have I always felt most alive when looking at porn?

I was stuck in two types of romantic relationships — with pathetic irresponsible girls and those high-achieving types who had contempt for me. Neither worked.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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