People often ask, “How long will this take?,” as if this were an arduous process to “get over” rather than a new way of living life.
What they probably mean is, “How long until I see results?” or “When will I finally be at peace?” Even then, the answer is impossible to predict for any particular individual. How long does self-improvement take? Or marriage counseling? Or emotional healing? Or spiritual renewal?
Forgive a comparison here to working an addiction-recovery program. (Of course we know same-sex attraction is not the same as sex addiction, but many men in our programs experience both, and one can oftentimes lead to the other. So the comparison often makes sense).
Some people enter an addiction-recovery program deeply convicted and ready to do whatever it takes to turn their lives around. Others are more skeptical or more reluctant to do the necessary work. Some “get sober” right away. Others go through cycles of abstinence and “acting out” and for years. It’s impossible to predict.
But what’s true about both same-sex attraction and addiction recovery (in any form of addiction) is that it’s not a program you enter and leave, it’s a new way of living life. Some men who participate in our Journey Into Manhood program, for instance, experience a dramatic breakthrough and are never really the same again. Others experience less dramatic shifts over an extended period, with more ups and downs along the way.
The good news is that, although self-discovery, personal growth and related SSA work can indeed be challenging, there can also be great joy in the journey.
Listen to the experience of men who have been on this road for many months or years:
Our Personal Stories
”This is definitely an ongoing, life-long journey. But the brotherhood with other SSA-conflicted men, the awareness that I am not alone, and the chance to talk completely openly and feel understood in a community of like-minded men – these are really some of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.” — Horst, Germany
“OHHHHH, hell yeah, it is worth it. Journey Into Manhood and my JiM brothers have opened so many avenues that were not there when I had tried to do this on my own. If I am having SSA feelings and I need to talk, then I can call on my JiM brothers day or night, and I will have an ear.” — Michael, Texas, USA
“The longer I’m on this journey, the easier it gets. Having a strong support system is a must — as is, I believe, having a strong faith system. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that it will be years before I say goodbye to my SSA (if ever), but I see measurable progress as the weeks pass.
“This journey has suddenly become a lot more fun with friends, and I know that as long as I keep my focus on my goal and do my best, I will continue to live a fulfilling life that I know would make my family, my God (and myself!) proud.” — Ryan, Pennsylvania, USA
“I would never have wished for SSA, but I recognize that dealing with the things that contributed to my SSA to begin with has helped me in numerous ways. SSA has been my teacher, teaching me to understand myself and to take charge of my own manhood. I am definitely more connected to men and more at peace with myself today than I was when I started this journey.
“It is true that when I face stress, loneliness or other challenges, then that old familiar “story” that I am inadequate as a man can return. And inevitably, along with that feeling of inadequacy comes stronger feelings of SSA. But I am learning that these feelings are really signposts to me – an alert system that I have deep core issues (emotions) I need to deal with, or needs that are not being met. By recognizing the signposts, I have learned to look inside myself to find what needs to be addressed and to find healthier ways to deal with them.
“I don’t know if my SSA will ever completely disappear — and you know what? I don’t really want it to. I’m fine experiencing the need for and attraction to other men throughout my life — I just want to express it in healthy, non-sexual relationships.
“So my journey continues — and now I consider it an adventure. I want to be growing, changing and learning all my life.” — Alan, Ukraine
“It would be false advertising to suggest that SSA goes away completely for most participants and is replaced by an opposite-sex attraction that is as strong as the old SSA used to be. I find I may still have attractions to men, and sometimes these attractions have a sexual energy, but most of the time they are not sexualized. This is such a change, relief and freedom from years ago.
“I do have attractions to women now. Maybe that makes me bisexual, yet that term does not really fit for me either. I have made peace with my sexual impulses, both historical and present-day. Most importantly, I no longer buy into a myth that we must have an identity that strongly centers around sexual attractions. I don’t buy that. My identity is so much larger than that, and it was the JIM weekend I attended, and the personal growth work I have done since then, that has helped me greatly broaden my sense of self-identity.” — Fred, USA
“I started this journey at age 60. I waited decades for help. For so long, I did not want to live as I was living. I am so very thankful for the life I am now living. I am finally finding peace with myself.
“I never considered myself to be homosexual, even though my lifestyle was. I am happy for the first time in my life. I respect myself and don’t have the need to be physical with men. I am learning true connection with men. I don’t have the shame I had. It has been progressive improvement. There are still battles. But victory comes through battles. The victories give me the strength to continue moving forward.” — Steve, Louisiana, USA
“Twice-monthly meetings, quarterly reunions, private social media groups, phone calls, and fellowship are what keep me going. Do I still have SSA? Yes I still do — but it is greatly diminished, and I have an awesome fellowship of support to deal with it.” — Steve, Louisiana, USA
“I am so grateful for my journey. It is ever-unfolding. I am continually learning new truths about myself, other men, and how I relate to the world of men and of women. I feel much more grounded and at home within myself, aware of my own emotions, and willing to share them with others. I suppose I could say this is what JOY looks like!” — John, Washington, USA
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