Start Each Day with Step 1

Sex Is Not Equal To Love

During my freshman year of college, Grinnell was celebrating its sesquicentennial anniversary. 150 years for any institution of higher learning is definitely a reason to celebrate. In an effort to keep successful alumni engaged with the college, an interim session was held between the fall and spring semesters with a curriculum which was taught by alum.

In that the sessions were taught by alum, the teaching styles weren’t always in the lecture format. Often times, when information is presented in a non-traditional manner, it has a greater impact. In one of my sessions two physicians were the instructors and they informed us that the next class would be head early in the morning and we would need to meet them at a designated spot on campus with our running shoes on. Since I was athletic, I was immediately intrigued to see what these doctors had in store for the next class. When I got to the designated spot with the rest of the class, we were instructed to run around the campus. It was during this class that I learned one of the most valuable lessons in life: DO THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS OF YOUR DAY FIRST! One of the doctors told the class that our health should be one of the most important aspects of our lives and we should start the day by putting it first because once the day gets started things will start occurring which you hadn’t planned for.

He was right and I still today workout first thing in the morning after I Start Each Day withSTEP 1. My relationship with God is the most important part of my life. Therefore, I start my day with reading Our Daily Bread Devotionals and praying afterward. I chose Our Daily Bread because the devotionals not only relate to daily issues, trials and tribulations that everyone goes through; but they also have scripture reading that apply to the topics. I go back to the thought that if I can see myself in a given situation, I’m more likely to be able to relate and grasp the concept or message God is trying to convey to me.

It never fails when I’m going through a particular rough patch in my life, I’ll read the morning devotion and it will speak directly to the situation. While this works for me and I would suggest it to anyone looking for a way to start the day with STEP 1, I realize that everybody’s relationship with God is not going to look like mine. However, I do believe that there is something everyone can do to start the day with STEP 1; re/establishing a relationship with God. For some individuals it might mean meditating. For others it might be taking a walk along the beach or in a park. What matters is spending time focusing on connecting with God.

What if you don’t know what exactly works best for you? SEEK GOD’S GUIDANCE! He will tell you. As the Bible says: seek and ye shall find; knock and the door will be opened unto you. You have not because you ask not. Often my biggest stumbling block was not my inability to hear from God, but my lack of patience in hearing Him. Remember this is a relationship; it takes work on both parts. However, I’ve learned God is always willing to do His part. Am I willing to do my part is the real question?

I can’t stress enough how important STEP 1 is in breaking the addictive cycle. Taking the first step always seems difficult because we are creatures of habit. Breaking non-beneficial habits can be uncomfortable and frightening. Yet, God is waiting to comfort you and He’ll send people and messages along the journey to inspire you and keep you on the right path. For resources to help you along the path, look under the Helpful Tools section.

Helping others in the Journey,

A.D. Burks

It’s all in the Definition: How I Define a Sex Addict

Sex Is Not Equal To Love

I admittedly suffered for nearly 12 years with sex addiction. While I am grateful God’s grace was able to bring me out of my addiction; I realize that me being able to recognize I was an addict was crucial. In order for an addict to admit he or she has an addiction, that person must first be able to identify what the addiction is and how it is playing itself out in their lives.

Our current American Society idolizes and praises most men, and a few women, who are known for their sexual conquests. If a person is able to mimic the behavior of a “celebrity,” why would that person feel he/she has a problem; much less an addiction. Therefore, sex addicts are already at a disadvantage of diagnosing their addiction. When people realize that the images being portrayed in the media have substantial consequences which are typically overlooked, ignored and strategically hidden; they will be able to make the connection that their behavior might be a problem. Several don’t realize it until they have their fall from grace.

Tiger Woods, Patrick Dempsey, Kobe Bryant, George Michael, Ted Haggard, Eric Benet, and Jesse James. What do they all allegedly have in common? An addiction that almost ruined their lives and the lives of the people around them.

It seems lately that every time we turn around a new sex addict is being busted by the media. Professional athletes, actors, entertainers, even religious leaders—no one seems to be able to escape the scrutiny. Luckily, I haven’t had to truly endure the public humiliation these men have. Still, my story mirrors theirs. In fact, mine may be worse.


So how do I define a sex addict? Let me first start by saying, I am not a licensed professional counselor, nor do I hold any certification in the fields of psychology or psychiatry. However, as a former sex addict, who was diagnosed by a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), I believe my definition can be understood by most lay persons. My definition centers around one of the two main themes in my memoir Sex and Surrender; which is ADDICTION = PAIN.

Sex Addict: a person who uses sex (in whatever form) to handle, manage or escape pain

I placed “in whatever form” in parenthesis because, sex has multiple forms besides the act of sexual intercourse. Someone who just watches porn can be a sex addict. At the root of any addiction is pain. When pain reaches the point where an individual’s number one priority, consciously or unconsciously, becomes acting out sexually (in whatever form) with little or no regard to the consequences the thought or act(s) has on his/her or others’ lives; that person is a sex addict in my opinion.

To get a more technical or clinically accepted definition of sex addiction, I would suggest researching Dr. Patrick Carnes work. He is considered by most the leader on sex addiction recovery. His books Out of the Shadows and Facing the Shadow were helpful in my recovery.

The purpose of this blog posting is to help sex addicts, and/or anyone being affected by sex addiction, gain a clearer definition of a sex addict. For more insight on the habits, characteristics and traits associated with sex addiction please go to The Sex Test. In addition to The Sex Test, which was based on my personal experiences and observations of other sex addicts, the website lists several Helpful Tools.

Helping others in the Journey,

A.D. Burks

STEP 1: Re/Establish a Relationship with God

Sex Is Not Equal To Love

The prodigal son, I had become;
Deliberately and defiantly veering off course.
Yet patiently You called me
Then I finally sought the One.


The first step, STEP 1, is the only step that allowed me to get on the path to breaking the sex addiction cycle. ADDICTION = PAIN and I would have never been able to get to the root of my pain until I first reestablished my relationship with God. Notice I said my relationship with God; not going to church. There is a significant difference. While some people feel going to church equals having a relationship with God, I know that is not the case.

I grew up in the Baptist church. Every Sunday, rain or shine, my mom was going to be in the House of the Lord. Her father retired as a Baptist minister in Columbia, TN; the Bible Belt. Therefore, going to church was second nature to her and it became second nature to me. Nevertheless, going to church didn’t prevent me from becoming a sex addict. As a matter of fact, it actually contributed to me becoming one. WHAT, I know you might be asking. YES!

The primary root of my pain came from having to reconcile my spirituality with my sexuality. Being told men who have sex with men are going to hell, reading in the Bible that men having sex with men was an abomination and society spewing hate for people who loved and expressed their love in a different way created this internal battle that didn’t allow me to have peace. It was a constant struggle. Being attracted to men wasn’t something I wanted because I wanted to go to heaven. Yet it was something I couldn’t ignore or pray away.

So what did I do? I focused on my attraction to women and tried to block those “evil thoughts” of being attracted to men. But the reality is: ONE CAN NOT HIDE FROM ONESELF. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make the attraction, the man God created me to be, go away. Therefore, I suffered in silence and tried to pretend dating women, while I was longing to be with a man, would make my “evil desires” subside if I could just find the right woman; the woman God had for me.

I had created a list of characteristics and traits the woman I felt God had for me would possess; which were not superficial but biblical. In my mind, once I found her I’d fall in love with her, marry her, have children and never look back on my feelings for men. Regrettably, this is what I thought would play itself out with Megan in my book. Her name was changed to protect her privacy. From that relationship I learned:

God can and will give you exactly what you want and then show you it wasn’t what He had for you.

Megan had all the characteristics and traits on the list but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fall in love with her. Unlike other areas of my life where I could plan, strategize, and control, I couldn’t force myself to fall in love with her.

The fact that I put Megan through all the heartache of being in a relationship with me when I was unconsciously still struggling accepting myself is deplorable. She never asked to be hurt like that. I pray God blesses her with a man that will honor and love her the way she truly deserves to be treated. Yet so many women and men are being put in the same and similar situations because individuals haven’t accepted themselves. Why? I believe they haven’t truly accepted themselves they have not formed their own relationship with God.

To reconcile my sexuality with my spirituality, I had to go to the source, not man but God. Let me first start by saying this process didn’t happen overnight. If I were to really analyze the process, it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Not only did I have to go against the religious doctrine that was instilled and embedded in me since birth, but also against what family and friends who wanted the best for me said. Therefore, for an impatient person, this was also probably one of the longest journeys in my life.

Understanding the context of the passages in the Bible regarding homosexuality was the turning point. When I read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah for myself and took the time to deconstruct what was actually occurring, God revealed that instead of focusing primarily on the men wanting to have sex with the male angels, as most Baptist preachers interpret the text; this story has an underlying theme of rape. These men were not having consensual sex or expressing genuine love through intimacy. They were planning to take by force a mental, physical and emotion space God designed and reserved for two people who truly love each other. Sex wasn’t just created for procreation as some religious leaders like to lead their congregation to believe. If that was the case, why is the probability of a healthy heterosexual couple conceiving in a given month is between 15-25%. Instead the chemicals and endorphins released in the brain during sex create a “high” which also has bonding components to keep a couple connected. Read more about this effect in the book Hooked.

In addition to seeking understanding and clarity for myself, God also brought theologians into my life who were able to give me insight I never would have had since I didn’t go to seminary. When the word homosexual is used in the New Testament, the actual translated word is catamite. If most people knew what the word catamite meant, the discussion around homosexuality would definitely sound different and change. Thanks Bishop for that nugget of wisdom.

Basically, when I reestablished my own relationship with God, He started bringing clarity to all the noise I was hearing. If I could give only one piece of advice to a sex addict or anyone struggling with an addiction:


This is the one and only relationship that can and will ultimately start you on the path to breaking the addictive cycle.

I work STEP 1 daily. Like any relationship, one only gets out of it what he/she puts into it. If you already have a relationship with God and are still struggling with sex addiction, go to the 4-STEPS to see the other steps I used to break the sex addictive cycle.

Helping others in the Journey,

A.D. Burks