Sometimes what causes us to fail is simply having a wrong attitude and mindset about the whole process of overcoming crossdressing addiction or sexual addictions of any kind. I have found myself dropping into a false mindset often. At times, I focus too much on the long-term goal of winning the overall war. In other words, I focus on the far off goal of being absolutely free from addiction and free of any desire to crossdress. I focus on winning that war through reading Scripture, writing, removing triggers, confessing whenever I fail, giving myself consequences for failures, discussions with my accountability partners, and praying for God to take away the desires. Those things are all good, and I highly recommend them! Please do not overlook them. But those are all simply supportive measures to help in winning the war. They are NOT how we fight the war itself. The war is fought one battle at a time. We must fight the battles.
Let me put it clearly:
The overall war is about healing from crossdressing to the point that we are both free from addiction and we desire to crossdress less than we used to, or even not at all.
A battle is when we are tempted at a specific place and time. To win that battle means fighting using my mind and will (and God’s help) to overcome that temptation.
When I am in my false mindset, I have armies of troops in place to fight the battle, I have loads of supplies, I have the best weapons, and I have knowledge of where the enemy is and what the enemy’s tactics will be. I have everything I need. To all appearances, the enemy has no chance. Through having all of this weaponry and knowledge in place, my false mindset leads me to think that the enemy will run away, and we won’t have to fight at all. What am I, a pacifist? So when the enemy engages, and the battle is joined, what do I do? I run away, I lose, I am defeated. I give in to temptation. When I focus only on the war, and am not willing to fight the battles, the war is lost, completely and utterly.
In terms of crossdressing, sometimes my false mindset leads me to do everything I can do to overcome the addiction, countless activities and so much energy. But the one thing I don’t want to do is to actually fight when the desire shows up. I hope that no temptations will come because of all my preparation and work. But then if a temptation does come, I feel powerless and give in. If I focus only on the long-term goal of being free from any crossdressing desire, and don’t focus on actually showing up to fight the specific battles, then I will never overcome this addiction. I have to be willing to fight when a specific temptation comes, and to choose to say “no” to it. I need to exercise self-control and use the free-will that God has given me.
The reality is that temptations will always be there. See my post – Healing Doesn’t Mean No More Temptations. I shouldn’t be surprised when the desires flare up and when the temptations come. This is what overcoming addiction is all about. It is about winning one battle at a time. And a string of victories in small battles is what finally starts to change the outcome of the war. A string of small victories is what starts to change my level of self-control, it’s what starts to change my feelings about crossdressing. It’s what starts to recondition my body. It’s what starts to make a dent in the addiction. The war is fought through these battles. You cannot avoid them, but I see so many of my fellow brothers trying to do so. They want to be free of crossdressing, but they want to do it without the fighting. They want to read the Bible, say a few prayers, and then have all the desires to crossdress go away. That’s not how this works. The war is fought one battle at a time. Don’t run away from the fight.
If I focus too much on the entire war, hoping for complete and utter separation from any desire to crossdress, of course the future will look bleak, and I’ll lose any resolve as soon as a temptation comes. But if I change my mindset, and focus only on the one battle, it is a battle that is easily won.
When crossdressing desires come, don’t give into demonic lies. Don’t tell yourself, “well, obviously I can’t give up crossdressing, I strongly desire it so much right now. I’ll never get over this, so I’ll just give in.” No. Instead, acknowledge your desire and then choose not to give in. You can say to yourself, “Yes, crossdressing sounds really good right now. Putting on that dress is consuming all my mind and thought. But this is what overcoming addiction is all about. It’s one battle at a time. In this battle, I am going to say NO to giving in. I can’t fully remove the thoughts and desires that are in my mind, but I’m not going to give in today. One battle at a time. And I can win this battle.”
One cool thing about this focus is that it makes it far less likely that you will give in to small things that lead you to big failures. For example, you might say, “well, let me just read that one article about this transgender celebrity, I won’t look at anything else about crossdressing on the internet after reading that.” Of course, doing something like this can often end up with you looking at more crossdressing stories for hours of sexual pleasure. But if you focus on one battle at a time, you can say, “I want to look at that article, but the war is fought one battle at a time, and this battle is one I can win. I won’t look at the article.” Suddenly you have a great victory to celebrate, even though it was only a small battle. The whole war is won through small victories like this. It’s hard to win a war without hope and with nothing to celebrate. Fight the individual battles and celebrate and relish each victory.
Three uplifting Bible passages that encourage me that I can be victorious in any single battle are:
1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Titus 2:11-12 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Again I say: Winning each battle truly does change the outcome of the whole war. It is the ONLY way to win the war. All of the other supportive measures are good. But you have to show up to the fight and win the individual battles. If you keep winning daily battles, slowly but surely your desire for crossdressing will ebb away, especially as you cultivate your biological desires to your wife or other women. In fact, your body can get rewired in a sense so that you desire what you should more than desiring crossdressing.
The victory is won, one battle at a time. Next time you are tempted, tell yourself, “This is the war. This is what I signed up for. I can win this war, one battle at a time. I’m not going to run away from a fight.” I do believe that as men, God intends us to be strong and courageous. We should have hearts that long to do battle with the evils of this world, to protect the innocent, administer justice, and sacrifice for others. Part of our healing so that we become the men we are supposed to be, is about having the courage to do battle, in this case to battle temptation. Don’t run from the battles. Fight them, and in the end, you will see victory in the war.
1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
For more about doing battle, I encourage you to read and reflect on Ephesians 6. Comment below with your thoughts and reflections on this post.