Scared but relieved - my exact nature
When I first came to Sexaholics Anonymous meetings, I was both scared and relieved. I was scared of all of those other people and what they might think about me. I was scared that I might have to tell them all the exact nature of what I had done. But I was relieved to have a place where I could unload anything. So I kept up the practice of unloading my junk from the previous week at each weekly meeting. And then one day while I was "sharing," another member raised his hand because what I said had triggered lust in him. I felt terrible, and I was shocked and confused.
Fast forward to today, and I understand much more about the purpose of SA groups, including online groups. Tradition Five tells me that "Each group has but one primary purpose--to carry its message to the sexaholic who still suffers." And I believe that is done best by sharing my "experience, strength and hope." That experience will of course include my weaknesses, failures, and defects, but the focus even then will be on what God has done in my life as I work the Steps and positively develop my relationships with God and others.
One of the other reasons (besides not wishing to trigger others) that I avoid sharing details about my specific forms of acting out today is that in the past I would use that as a way to make myself unique--someone special and different than others. I've sometimes heard a member use “terminal uniqueness" as an excuse to avoid working the Steps, because, "The Steps won't work for me; I'm different." I was one of those, but I’ve learned that I'm not different. I'm the same as any other sexaholic, regardless of anyone else’s particular attractions or forms of acting out. The core for all of us Sexaholics is the same: lust driven by selfishness, self-centeredness, and other core defects that result in vast possible range of acting out and acting in behaviors.
Carrying the Message of Sexaholics Anonymous
Step Five of Sexaholics Anonymous follows Step Four (that is, “a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves”) for a reason. Step Five says, "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." When it came to the "exact nature of my wrongs," the place to unload that was after taking my Step Four inventory with my sponsor (after Steps One, Two, and Three). The Steps are in a sequence for a reason. And when I did my Fourth Step inventories as directed by my sponsor, that load of guilt dropped from my shoulders--whereas unloading my latest pile of junk in a meeting did not.
So today, I realize that I don't have to share "the exact nature of my wrongs" within a group. I can focus on what God has done and is doing for me. I can share my experience, strength, and hope. The Sexaholics Anonymous program works if you work it. And a sponsor can certainly help a newcomer learn the difference.