We’ve come to understand that same-sex attraction is not our enemy. It’s not our “battle” to fight or our “cross to bear.” In many ways, we’ve found that SSA can become our teacher, if we are willing to listen to what it has to teach us about ourselves.
On a previous page, we described what didn’t work and corrected some common misperceptions about this work.
Here we share a brief overview of what does work and is working for us. Maybe it won’t work for everyone. Maybe this path isn’t even right for you. But it works for us. It’s right for us. And it brings us a lot more peace and even joy.
We call the core of this work “M.A.N.S. Work.” The acronym stands for Masculinity, Authenticity, Needs Fulfillment and Surrender — four broad, overlapping areas of inner healing and personal growth that can potentially bring any man closer to wholeness and peace. We explore these in detail in the links just mentioned, but in essence, M.A.N.S. Work means:
We developed our internal sense of masculinity — of knowing we were “man enough.”
We developed our interpersonal connections to the broader world of men. We came to know deeply that we belonged in the community of men.
We learned to experience authentic connection to our feelings.
We began to take the emotional risks to be vulnerable and authentic with ourselves and trusted others — learning to love and accept ourselves and others more deeply and authentically than ever before.
We began discovering our true needs underlying some of our homosexual longings and triggers.
We learned to take the risk to meet core needs in authentic, healing ways.
We lived the principle of surrender — yielding our will and our lives to the care of God — to become our best selves that God was calling us to be.
We found we could surrender all that was harmful, self-destructive or counter-productive about our same-sex attractions — while embracing all we found good about them. (For some of us, that included, for example, being more empathetic, sensitive, intuitive, artistic, creative, loving, relational, and spiritually inclined than the dominant male culture might teach us to be.)
Sexual Integrity is Integral
You may notice some similarity in the surrender principle to that taught in the Twelve Step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous and other Anonymous programs. That is intentional. Clearly, same-sex attraction is not the same as sex addiction. But we’ve found that one can sometimes lead to the other. Perhaps half or more of the men who come through our Journey Into Manhood program do struggle or have struggled with out-of-control sexual behaviors.
It is imperative that men who want to be successful on this “road less traveled” surrender any and all same-sex lust in order to find the peace and progress they are looking for.
Self-Acceptance Is Key
It seems ironic, but those of us who have walked this journey have found that, until we could begin to love and accept ourselves just as we were, right then, we could make little progress toward becoming the men we really wanted to be.
Acceptance of our goodness, our value and our true potential as men was a critical early step in our growth.
That’s why our Journey Into Manhood program teaches:
“If you gain nothing else from this weekend, we want you to know two truths:
“1. You are valuable and good just as you are — today, unchanged, and even if you never change.
“2. You have brothers who see your ‘shadows’ and accept you, just as you are.”