Getting Started: The First Steps on This Journey

Maybe you just don’t identify as gay. Maybe it just doesn’t feel like who you really are. Or who God is calling you to be. Maybe it just doesn’t feel like the life you want to lead or the man you want to be.

So you’ve decided to explore whether it could be true that your same-sex attractions can shrink, or become less eroticized — or at least be managed in a way that brings you greater peace.

Where do you start?

We’ve described this “journey” (as we often call it) in the seven principles summarized on our home page and in the “7 Principles” pull-down tab across the top of this website. But here is a summary or overview, as so many of us have personally experienced it:

You Decide: It’s Your Life, Your Choice.

First, congratulations! It takes courage to walk this “road less traveled” in today’s culture where there can be so much pressure to claim a gay identity and be sexually active, even sexually adventurous. But it’s your life, your choice. You get to decide for yourself how to live your life and what will really make you happy.

Will you embrace a gay life and identity — or pursue a different path of inner exploration and personal growth? Will you suppress your SSA with white-knuckled resistance (at one extreme) or celebrate and indulge it (at the other)? Or will you instead take the often more challenging road of allowing yourself to learn and grow from your SSA, letting it teach you about yourself and your unmet needs and opportunities for growth and inner healing? Only you can decide what’s best for you, and where your greatest happiness lies.

Make sure you’re self-motivated to explore this path in order to be true to yourself and to your own life goals, identity, faith, morals, values and beliefs. Never pursue change out of shame or just to try to make other people happy. It won’t work and it certainly won’t last.

Read more at:

Love and Accept Yourself Unconditionally.

Make a conscious decision to learn to love and accept yourself just as you are, right where you are today. A core teaching at our Journey Into Manhood weekend experience is this: “You are good and valuable just as you are, today, unchanged, and even if you never change.” Another is: “You have brothers who see your ‘shadows’ and accept you just as you are.”

You’re not broken or bad. There is nothing wrong with you. We don’t pursue change, emotional healing, personal growth or other self-improvement to become worthy. We already are, and so are you. We pursue change or growth because we deserve the best that life has to offer. It’s built into our human nature to strive to be better, to become more, to grow.

Read more at

Learn About the Road Ahead.

Others have walked this path ahead of you, and a great many of us can testify that:

  • We are much happier because of it.
  • We like ourselves more.
  • We have more and deeper male friendships.
  • We belong to a community of like-minded brothers.
  • Our relationships with women are healthier and more rewarding.
  • We are more at peace with God, and within ourselves.

And yes, many of us have found that, as a result of doing this work, our attractions to men have become less sexualized. And oftentimes, attractions to women have emerged or increased.

But no, there are no guaranteed outcomes. And no, not everyone experiences meaningful change in the degree or intensity of their homosexual attractions.

So an important early step is to learn about the road ahead. What have others experienced? What can you realistically expect? There is no “magic pill.” No quick-fix weekend event. You can’t just “pray away the gay” (a pejorative phrase made up by opponents of this kind of work). This journey takes work, and risk, as well as prayer, faith and spirituality.

Read more at:

Get Support.

You are not alone. Many others have walked this path ahead of you. Brothers on a Road Less Traveled is an international community of men who love, support and encourage each other on this journey of self-discovery, emotional healing and personal growth. You’ll find other supportive people and groups in your hometown and across the globe, if you’re willing to take the risk of reaching out.

Building authentic, supportive male communities for ourselves was a critical element in our own journeys to self-acceptance and platonic brotherly love that we were really looking for all along.

It almost certainly will be yours, as well.

For most of us, professional counseling, life coaching or groups (ministries, Twelve Step and support groups) were essential in our journeys as well.

A simple place to start is to join one of our online support and discussion groups, coaching groups or webinars.

Read more at:

Go To Work.

Now it’s time to put into practice the things you’ve been learning about yourself and your same-sex attractions. If you’ll allow it, your SSA may teach you a lot about you — often revealing some unhealed emotional wounds from the past or some long-ignored or unmet needs. It may teach you about the nature of your relationships — both present and past, both healthy and less healthy.

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 above links, but in essence, M.A.N.S. Work means:

  • Masculinity

    • 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.

  • Authenticity

    • 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.

  • Needs Fulfillment

    • 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.

  • Surrender

    • 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.)

One the most powerful ways to make some major breakthoughs in this kind of deep, personal-growth work can be through experiential weekend intensives, such as:

  • Journey Into Manhood (designed primarily for men addressing SSA but welcoming of men from all walks of life and from all faiths)
  • Noble Man (designed to help men from all walks of life address unresolved issues with women and the feminine)
  • Edge Venture (for Christian men, primarily heterosexual but welcoming of SSA men as well)
  • New Adam (for Christian men, primarily heterosexual but welcoming of SSA men as well)

among others.

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.

So If your sexual behaviors are out of control, compulsive or addictive, look into a sexual addiction recovery program, such as:

In Doing This Work, Always Remember:

  • Take charge of your own destiny. Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are, or what you should feel, or what path is appropriate for you.

  • Know that you are good and valuable just as you are—right now, today, unchanged, and even if you never change. Never allow shame to drive your life choices. Never allow shame to define you.

  • Remember that the ultimate goal isn’t heterosexuality—it is peace. Heterosexuality may emerge or increase almost as a byproduct of doing this work—but there are no guarantees. And besides, heterosexuality alone can never promise happiness.

  • Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect too much change too fast. Accept yourself where you are. As they say in the 12 Step programs: “Progress, not perfection.”

There is a reason we call this a journey.

 
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P.O. Box 412, Ruckersville, VA 22968  |  434-227-2699  |  lynn@brothersroad.org