Select stories from recovering sex addicts

Welcome to the Members Share section of our website.

Here members of Sexaholics Anonymous share their experience, strength and hope. There are stories for everyone, from all walks of life. We hope that you can find inspiration from these shares.

Please always remember that the Member Shares are not official literature of Sexaholics Anonymous, they remain the personal opinions of their respective authors.

Spiritual Basis

Living Sexually Sober, Joyous, and Free Through Sexaholics Anonymous

A few weeks back I was meeting with a Sexaholics Anonymous sponsee, and we were reviewing the section in the SA “White Book,” entitled "The Spiritual Basis of Addiction" (SA, p. 45-58). I personally find this section quite helpful, because it reminds me that I got myself into this mess, so I can't blame anyone else for it. (But I've also learned along the way that just because I got myself into a mess, that does not necessarily mean that I can get myself out of it.)

I really like how the last paragraph on page 58 reads:

You don't have to understand any of this to recover. If it has parted the veil of obscurity and misinformation cloaking our condition for only a brief glimpse inside, it will have served its purpose. It should also help those of us in recovery to understand the radical nature of the change of heart and character that must continue if we are to live sober, joyous, and free.

I love that! "You don't have to understand any of this to recover." After I just read this long explanation of the whole spiritual basis of my addiction--the "why" of it, if you will--then they tell me I don't need to understand any of it to recover! That puts a big grin on my face.

I Don't Have To Understand The Spiritual Basis Of My Addiction!

What I did need to do was to simply stop trying to do the whole recovery thing myself. I needed to fully accept that I was a sexaholic, and regardless of what insight and knowledge I could acquire as the the reason for my sex addiction, I will remain a sexaholic for the rest of my life (Step One). I needed to know that  a Power greater than myself (and way smarter too) could restore me to sanity (Step Two). I also needed to make a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God (Step Three), and in doing so, to make a commitment to work the rest of the Steps as well, under the direction of my Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor who was showing me how to work the SA program of recovery.

To this day, I don't know the "why" of recovery. It doesn't matter. I didn't need to know the "why" to recover. I needed the "what" (the Power) and the "how" (working the Twelve Steps as my sponsor told me do them). And that has allowed me to live "sober, joyous and free."

Happy, joyous and free

 

Daily Step Work

Learning to Make Amends for My Sexual Harms Through Sexaholics Anonymous

The other day I was thinking about how I should make my Step Nine amends to those I have harmed. Step Nine says: "We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others" (followed by Step Ten, which says: "We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it"). The wisdom of the Sexaholics Anonymous Twelve Step fellowship says that I should "keep it simple." Sometimes I try to explain away all of my guilt, instead of simply saying, "I was wrong and I am sorry." I need to accept my part of the guilt without shifting the blame to everyone else or pointing out their faults.  And I also need to give others time to accept my amends. They may need time to think about about what I have said, or they might want to pray about it.

Tenth Step

Then this morning I was reading the chapter on Step Ten in the Alcoholics  Anonymous Twelve and Twelve: “Continued to take a personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” Often I have looked at this suggestion in a negative way, looking mainly at my failures and feeling discouraged. But through SA I have learned that I can look at the positive side also. I can ask: “What are my assets and what am I grateful for today?” Another Sexaholics Anonymous member reminded me that I can also ask where my Higher Power is calling me to growth.  The chapter on Step Ten concludes: "Having so considered our day, not omitting to take due note of things well done, and having searched our hearts with neither fear nor favor, we can truly thank God for the blessings we have received and sleep in good conscience (12&12, p 95

Making indirect amends to anonymous partners

HALT

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired Brings Me To A Halt

Today I experienced HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). I came face-to-face with some of my long-time character defects: laziness, procrastination, perfectionism, and pride. So I shared my struggles with some of my Sexaholics Anonymous friends, and I surrendered my defects (at least in one moment) to God. Today I don't have to be perfect. And thanks be to God that I can be at an SA meeting, where I can share my struggles with my fellows.

Working the SA program has been hard for me, but life is much better now than it used to be. In the past, I would isolate myself from the world when I struggled. Then the isolation would drive me to sexual acting out, and then I would isolate further, and so on. But because of my fellows in SA, I no longer need to isolate. Seeking fellowship from my SA friends is much better than isolating

Today I was tempted to fantasize about "the old life." That is not okay for me today, because that life was no life at all. It looked dazzling at the time, yet in reality, my past was filled with absolute destruction. Life is much better for me when I stay connected, one day at a time, with my fellows in Sexaholics Anonymous. It’s better for me to go to meetings, work the Steps, serve others, connect with God and others, and practice good self-care than to isolate. Because days like today--the days when I feel a bit overwhelmed by my temptations or defects--will come and go, but tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities.

My Life is Much Better Because of Working the Sexaholics Anonymous Program

In my  old life, a day like today would turn into not just one difficult day but several days, and who knows where it would end. In the past my behaviors got progressively addictive and destructive for me, but because of the fellowship of SA my life is so much better now.

298 Hungry Angry Lonely Traffic

 

Understand This

I Didn't Have To Understand In Order To Recover

A few weeks back I was meeting with a sponsee and reviewing the section in the Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book” entitled "The Spiritual Basis of Addiction" (SA, p. 45-58). I personally find this section quite helpful to remind me that I got myself into my addictive mess, so I cannot blame anyone else for it. But I've also come to understand that just because I got myself into something, that does not necessarily mean that I can get myself out of it.

I really like how the last paragraph in that section on page 58 reads:

You don't have to understand any of this to recover. If it has parted the veil of obscurity and misinformation cloaking our condition for only a brief glimpse inside, it will have served its purpose. It should also help those of us in recovery to understand the radical nature of the change of heart and character that must continue if we are to live sober, joyous, and free.

I love that! "You don't have to understand any of this to recover." After I just read this long explanation of the whole spiritual basis of my addiction (the "why" of it), then they tell me I don't need to understand any of it to recover! That puts a big grin on my face!

Sexaholics Anonymous Enables Me To Live Sober, Happy and Free

What I did need was to simply stop trying to do the whole recovery thing myself. I needed to fully accept that I am a sexaholic, and regardless of what insight and knowledge I might acquire as the the reason for my sex addiction, I will remain a sexaholic for the rest of my life (Step One). What I needed was a Power greater than myself (and smarter too!), Who could restore me to sanity (Step Two). I also needed to make a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God (Step Three), and in doing so, make a commitment to work the rest of the Steps as well, under the direction of a sponsor who was showing me how to work the SA program of recovery.

To this day, I don't know the "why" of how it all works. It doesn't matter. I didn't need to know the "why" of recovery. I needed to know the "what" (the Power) and the "how" (the Sexaholics Anonymous Twelve Steps, as my sponsor told me do them). And that has allowed me to live "sober, joyous, and free" one day at a time.

Praying for knowledge of God’s will       How do I know if I'm a sexaholic?       I know only a little

 

Life

Sexaholics Anonymous Has Given Me A New Life

Before coming to Sexaholics Anonymous, my life was completely out of control. It was more out of control within me than outside of me (though that was pretty disorderly as well). I was a functional sexaholic, able to hold down a job and keep up appearances--for the most part. Sometimes my disease would rear its ugly head, but for the most part, things probably looked to the unsuspecting eye as if things were quite normal. But that was not so. There was no limit to the lengths I was willing to go for my disease. There were times that I didn't care whether I lived or not, and my behaviors sometimes were so risky that they reflected that.

But apart from my outward my behaviors, I was always lost inside of myself, as the Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book”  mentions.

I was always out of control within myself, a slave to my emotional mood swings (which happened at the drop of a hat), and the self-condemnation, guilt, and shame were destroying me. Thanks be to the God of my understanding and others who have loved me that I made it to SA recovery. I don't know where I would be today if God as I understand Him and others did not reach out to me. I am amazed about how different life is today with my fellows in Sexaholics Anonymous--participating in the Solution of the Steps, the meetings, and the fellowship.

SA has given me a totally new, different, and better way to live.

SA has given me a life without shame or guilt, and a life of healthy relationships. Through the SA fellowship, I have found emotional control, healthy boundaries, positive relations with others, a positive relation with my Higher Power, joy, and freedom. Because of SA, I now get to experience things I never knew about, one day at a time--so long as I am willing to humbly receive the gift of sobriety.

I am so grateful to be a member of Sexaholics Anonymous. I get to not only live life, I get to enjoy it. I want to keep living this life for as long as my Higher Power allows me to live on this earth, one day at a time.

Wishing all a serene and peaceful sober day.

Serenity    Daily Sobriety Renewal    Bringing My Sexaholic Behavior to the Light

 

Fighting Lust

The More I Experience the Sexaholics Anonymous Program, the Better My Life Gets!

I knew that sex addiction recovery was beginning to work for me when I was finally able to relax a bit.  As long as I was fighting lust to stay sexually sober, I was still in danger.  Throughout my life, I had fought my disease, and I always eventually lost.  If all that Sexaholics Anonymous offered to me was to keep fighting lust (perhaps with a chorus of other struggling sexaholics around me), then that was not much different than what I had done before.  But then I saw sober SA members who weren’t struggling or fighting lust that way.  Their stories, like mine, included some horrible stuff, but they would sit in meetings relaxed and smiling.  When they shared, their wisdom cut to the heart of my issues.  I wanted to be like them. But it took me a couple of years to get there. First:

  • I had to do Step Four: I had to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.  With my sponsor’s guidance, I wrote down all of my resentments, fears, and harms to others.  More important, I examined my resentments, fears, and harms to see what it was that I had done in relation to each of those categories.  After all, it was my inventory, not theirs.
  • I had to do Step Five: I had to share my Fourth Step with my sponsor.  He shared with me, too.  He helped me to examine things even further, to find the recurring “wrongs” in me that seemed to drive my life errors over and over (including arrogance, pride, contempt, cynicism, and self-centeredness).

Ready to stop fighting lust

And then, in Step Six, I became ready to let go of those wrongs to God (as I understood Him).  That was another Step of huge surrender--like Step Three, but deeper.  But this surrender also involved relaxation--being ready to stop fighting and let a Higher Power take over.

When I truly believe in that Higher Power--a Power greater than myself--then I can let go of my arrogance, pride, contempt, cynicism, self-centeredness, low self-esteem, procrastination, and all the other character defects that had caused me to harm and resent others.  Today I can trust that God (as I understand Him) has everything all under control, so I no longer need to be in control.  I can choose to take only the actions that I believe God would have me do in this moment. That is the attitude that keeps me from acting out sexually today.  

Because of Sexaholics Anonymous, I can  live my life at peace, in the “emotional sobriety” mentioned in Sexaholics Anonymous (the “White Book”):

And best of all, just as the admission of powerlessness over lust is the key to our sexual acting out,

so the admission of powerlessness over our defects is the key to our emotional sobriety (SA, 88)

I’m not perfect.  I have  fallen away a few times, and my sobriety dates show it.  But the more I stick with the SA program and stop fighting lust, the better my life gets.

 A perfect person trying to stay humble       Perfection-ISM      Not Perfect

 

Resentment is Toxic

Resentment - the number one offender

Someone mentioned that a "long-term sober" member of Sexaholics Anonymous had acted out due to resentment toward a spouse. I can relate to that, because my sexual sobriety date is the day after I last acted out due to resentment toward my spouse.

The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous has plenty to say about resentment, especially: “Resentment is the number one offender. It destroy more [sexaholics] than anything else” (BB page 64). I believe that is true from my own experience with resentment. Resentment is toxic for me, and it will usually take me back to acting out sexually if I do not surrender it to God.

Sexaholics Anonymous Helps Me to Overcome Sexual Acting Out

Fortunately, working the Twelve Steps of the Sexaholics Anonymous program has allowed me to directly confront my resentments. Working my Step Four inventories on my resentments forced me to look at them honestly, instead of lying to myself about how I deserved to be resentful. Admitting those resentments (Step Five), becoming willing to be rid of them (Step Six), and then humbly asking God to remove my resentments (Step Seven) were all part of the my recovery process. Then, listing the people that I needed to make amends to for my resentment (Step Eight), and then making those amends (Step Nine) all helped me to clear away the wreckage of my past and unload the weight of all my wrongs.

The SA Twelve Steps work if I work them. The Steps keep me connected rightly with God and others. And when that happens, resentments simply don't have the opportunity to grow and fester into a negative force that will drive me back to acting out. Instead, I can be set free from the bondage of resentments, just as I can be free--one day at a time--of lusting and sexualy acting out.

"A Great Burden for Sexaholics"

 

 

Wanted to Stop

I wanted to stop my self-destructive thinking and behaviour

And until I wanted to stop, nothing happened.

Many Sexaholics Anonymous groups read "What Is A Sexaholic And What Is Sexual Sobriety" at the beginning of each meeting (Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book,” pg 202). This is what we read almost every week, as follows:

This will and should discourage many inquirers who admit to sexual obsession or compulsion but who simply want to control and enjoy it, much as the alcoholic would like to control and enjoy drinking. Until we had been driven to the point of despair, until we really wanted to stop but could not, we did not give ourselves to this program of recovery. Sexaholics Anonymous is for those who know they have no other option but to stop, and their own enlightened self-interest must tell them this.

This reading has been a huge help to me. That one paragraph is so packed full of truth about me as a sexholic! Having these basic concepts drilled into my head has been quite helpful to me:

Until I had been driven to the point of despair.....  

I became motivated to become sexually sober because I had despaired of being in bondage to lust and sexual acting out.

Until I really wanted to stop but could not .....  

That despair led me to a desire to stop lusting, because lusting always led to acting out, and acting out  would always lead to yet more despair. The circle had become complete. I was in a prison of my own making.  I was motivated to stop, but just like the paragraph says, I found that even when I wanted to stop, I was unable to do so. More despair!

I Found Sexual Sobriety by Working The Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous

Then, finally, I gave myself to the SA program of recovery. Having finally been sufficiently motivated by my powerlessness and despair, my enlightened self-interest kicked in, and I was finally willing to actually get a Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor and to work the Twelve Steps of the SA program with him.

Here's the thing that keeps on amazing me. Just like I was, there are many people who show up at meetings but don’t actually follow the program of recovery that SA offers as the only solution to our common problem of sexaholism. (There really must be some sort of common insanity in us sexaholics!) What finally worked for me was to give up my own ideas of how to get sober and instead simply ask for an SA sponsor to tell me how to work the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous the way he had done it. And when I surrendered to doing that, I stopped acting out and started to stay sober instead--as God did for me what I could not do for myself.

Celebrating Ten Years of Sexual Sobriety in Sexaholics Anonymous

Lust

Sexaholics Anonymous Teaches Me to Surrender My Sexual Lust

I cannot fight lust - I can only surrender it.

Surrender--that is one of those hundred thousand dollar words that I have learned through Sexaholics Anonymous recovery.  For me, surrender is a result of doing Step work; it is not something that I can do on my own.  Following are some of my thoughts and experiences related to serenity today:

1.  It is more important that I stop managing things than that I stop fighting lust.  I never was any good   at fighting, but I was one heck of a great manager (or so I thought anyway).  As the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” says “is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?” (pg 61).  In order to get what I thought I wanted, I had to surrender all the ways I tried exploiting myself and managing others.

2. I had to surrender the delusion that I know what I need.  I've learned that being grateful for what I have is much healthier that trying to get what I think I need.   

3.  I surrender my "right" to anything.  I surrender the delusion that I have any rights in the first place.  I don't have the "right” to Iust.  Who would ever give me that right?  I have a delusion that I can Iust like other people; that is, without life-threatening consequences.  I think that lust is a "right!"  There is no such things as surrender in the abstract.   I must share and surrender the Iust I experience in a very specific manner, to God, to myself, and to another human being.  

However, I try not to let the fact that I still experience lust take me by surprise or fill me with shame.  Shame is useless.  If I identify today as a sexaholic, then by definition I will at times experience lust. Otherwise I could not have progressive victory over lust. When I am tempted to lust is when I need to surrender. I don't fight, I don't manage--I simply surrender.  

Surrender is one of those spiritual terms that I can go on and on about.  Most of all for me today I offer myself to God. My sponsor says, I don't surrender, I “volunteer.”  When I wake up in the mornings my prayer is, "Hi God, I can't wait to see what You have in store for me today. What can I do to be of service to you and others,  especially those who are suffering? "

How I surrender to recovery today             Desperate enough to surrender     I can choose who to surrender to..

 

Purpose

Sexaholics Anonymous Offers a Solution For Overcoming Sex Addiction

Each week in our local face-to-face Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, we read "The SA Purpose," right as we start the meeting:

Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober. There are no dues or fees for SA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. SA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and help others to achieve sexual sobriety. (Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book,” “The Promise,” page 201)

I appreciate these regular reminders to our members of what the SA fellowship is all about, and what our common purpose actually is.  I was thinking about the contrast of sharing my "experience, strength, and hope,"  with sharing my  "opinion, weakness, and despair."  I must admit that I have been to plenty of meetings where the majority of the sharing was "opinion, weakness, and despair”--not focused on the solution at all.  And yes, I have personally contributed to that problem in meetings as well; especially early on in the SA program when I was still trying to solve my problem my own way. All I had to share then was opinion, weakness, and despair. Anyone listening to what I was sharing might have naturally concluded that SA meetings were a place to find sympathy for a life of despair, instead of a place where "they may solve their common problem and help others to recover."

Our purpose is clear

Giving up trying to do things my own way--by surrendering my will--meant working the Twelve Steps of the Sexholics Anonymous program under the direction of a sponsor. And as that journey began, I began to have some experience in the solution (and not just opinions) to share in meetings. I began to experience God's strength in me, not just my own weakness. I began to have hope because the SA solution was working, instead of my previous constant despair of bondage to sexual lusting and acting out.

We have a solution. We don't claim that it's for everybody, but for us, it works. If you identify with us and think you may share our problem, we'd like to share our solution with you.  (SAWB p. 2)

And that's my experience, strength and hope, because that is what has happened in my life by the grace of God. There is a solution, but it will only work if I work it.

Surrender to My Higher Power

 

Surrender

Learning to Surrender My Sex Addiction to God

Learning to surrender my life to God has been one of the the most amazing things that the program of Sexaholics Anonymous has given me--even though it seems that surrender doesn't seem to come naturally to me. Surrender goes against almost everything I had ever believed about facing life’s problems. It certainly goes against my upbringing and culture. I've heard enough people question serenity to know that I was not alone in my lack of understanding of surrender, prior to working the SA Twelve Steps. And I certainly don't claim any type of "spiritual perfection" in surrendering today. It is progress, not perfection--but progress does happen.

I like the way one dictionary defines surrender, because it fits my experience so well:

Surrender: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed; to give the control or use of (something) to someone else.  

That is probably as accurate as it can be defined for this sexaholic!

First, I had to agree with God to "stop fighting, hiding, and resisting" because I finally knew in the core of my being that I could not win or succeed if I was still fighting God (Step One)

  • So I stopped fighting lust. I stopped fighting being a sexaaholic. I stopped fighting God.
  • I stopped hiding the truth about what I was (a sexaholic) and what I had done (my wrongs) from myself. I stopped trying to hide them from God. I stopped hiding from my fellow sexaholics--and particularly from my sponsor--the true nature of what I was and what I had done.
  • I stopped resisting lust. I stopped resisting temptations and triggers. I stopped resisting God and His will for my actions and life.

Then I gave control of myself to God (Steps Two and Three).

  • I gave control over my lusting to God.
  • I gave control over my sexual acting out to God.
  • I gave the control of my will and life to God for His use.  

And because I am a sexaholic, that meant that I agreed to work the Twelve Steps of the Sexaholics Anonymous program, as my sponsor directed me to do so. I gave up my supposed "freedom" so that I could become truly free from the bondage of lust and sexual acting out.

Fighting is not surtrender

A while back, I did a study of the word "fight" in the Sexahlolics Anonymous “White Book,”  and found that there is never a suggestion that we fight. Fighting does not lead to sobriety or recovery.  Instead it is an indication that I have not yet surrendered to God. Fighting is the antithesis of surrendering. I cannot be surrendered if I am fighting.

I'm glad to know that my experience with surrender is not unique, but is the experience of many other sexaholics who are living life "sober, joyous, and free."

The SAWB tells me that surrender is the "great beginning" of the SA program. But as the book also says,

...no amount of knowledge about surrender can make it a fact until we simply give up, let go, and let God.

Fighting Lust?       Giving up fighting        Fighting my addict?

God

Sexual Sobriety is All About Connecting With God

The whole point of the Sexaholics Anonymous program is to bring me into a right relationship with God.

I recently heard another Sexaholics Anonymous member share about feeling a heaviness. That got me to thinking about how heaviness contrasts with serenity--and I definitely prefer serenity! I had experienced years (decades really) of heaviness. My wife--who has observed me in as basic a state of being as I've been--tells me that she has seen a difference in me as a result of my years of SA sobriety and recovery. I can’t always see this change myself, because it has been happening to me slowly, as I have practiced the principles of SA--which I have learned by working the Twelve Steps with my SA sponsor's guidance.

But serenity is definitely one of the things that has changed. I have actually been able to experience serenity.

The Serenity Prayer begins with "God, grant me the serenity...."  Serenity is not something I can conjure up myself; it is a gift of God, through the SA program of recovery. I haven’t experienced serenity because all of my circumstances have magically changed. I can have serenity while I’m still in the midst of those circumstances. God grants me the serenity. The full Serenity Prayer talks about "accepting hardship as the pathway to peace"--so circumstances at times may be very difficult, but serenity is still possible even then.

As I said before, the whole point of the SA program is to bring me into a right relationship with God. Sobriety, recovery, and serenity are all natural outcomes of a right relationship with God. There really is only this one thing to focus on, and then everything else falls into place--and that includes accepting the things I can not change, having the courage to change the things I can, and gaining the wisdom to know the difference. The Sexaholics Anonymous program tells me that the Steps are the path to serenity, and that a sponsor can guide me. That's how it works.

One of my sponsees reminded me of this last weekend, from the “Big Book” of  Alcoholics Anonymous:

When we became [sexaholics], crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn’t. What was our choice to be? (AABB p.53)

Sexual sobriety is all about connecting with God.

Fighting or Surrendering

 

Serenity

Experiencing Serenity Through Sexaholics Anonymous

We recite the Serenity Prayer at almost every Sexaholics Anonymous meeting that I attend.  Most of the time we use it at the beginning of a meeting, when everyone is quieting down. It goes like this: “God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Those are beautiful words, but I get them all mixed up in in my daily life.  I want the courage to change the things that I cannot accept.  I want other people to leave me alone.  I want to force my will on my relationships and be lusted after by others of my choosing.  My mind speeds along and I rarely stop to consider my next action--much less act wisely.  That is how I lived as an unrecovered sexaholic.

I cannot change other people

But thank God that He is changing my life through the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous.  I am learning that I cannot change other people, and I can't be like other people.  I have my own life to live and experience, just as it is--and this a gift from God.  I take one breath after the other and one step after another.  Breathing and stepping--these are the spiritual actions that keep me focused on the now.  In fact right now I have everything I need and I am not disturbed. That is serenity for me, one day at a time.

I know when my serenity is disturbed.  It is usually when I am judging myself or someone else; when I expect me or them to be different.  Like when my wife says, "Why did you leave your shoes out?"  In my judgment she said the wrong thing and my serenity loses its value.  I'd rather be offended that serene.  Wow--what a sad trade off!

But through the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous, today serenity is something that I value.  In fact I think I value serenity much more that I consciously know.  

Celebrating Ten Years of Sexual Sobriety in Sexaholics Anonymous

 

Sexual Sobriety Celebration

Celebrating One Year of Sexual Sobriety

Today I am celebrating one year of sexual sobriety--365 days, one day at a time--and I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on what has been working for me, and to recognize the good things that have come into my life this year because of the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous..
My first recovery meeting was in late 2013. But I moved several times and thus made excuses for not getting a sponsor or working Steps (although I did attend meetings). But then about a year ago, I realized that the people around me who were working the Steps were getting recovery and I was not.  So I decided to get a sponsor and commit to working the Steps. Then I was told to be humble and open-minded, and to follow directions. Some directions included:

  • Attending three meetings per week
  • Making three calls each day
  • Getting up an hour earlier than usual, to prepare for the day, study, and meditate
  • Doing Step work daily
  • Serving others

I cannot think of any big thing that I did, but God was doing for me what I could not do for myself. One of the biggest miracles I have experienced is consistency. Before I came to Sexaholics Anonymous, the only thing that I was consistent about was my sexual acting out. Now I am finding the strength to continue daily habits of positive actions. I owe this victory to my Higher Power and to my fellows in my SA group, who have allowed me to stay in the middle of the pack. I love that my Higher Power is able to provide EXACTLY what I need 24 hours at a time. May I submit to His will daily.

Learning to Love, Forgive and Be Grateful

I am also learning to see those around me as people to be loved rather than problems to be solved. I don't have to waste so much energy trying to control everyone and everything around me. I am striving to be useful to God and my fellows by surrendering my defects as they get in the way.  I am learning to forgive and love myself and others.  But mostly I am learning that I have a lot to be grateful for--and mostly I'm grateful today to be a part of this wonderful program of Sexaholics Anonymous, which is truly saving my life!

Gratitude for a new life

Bewilderment

The Four Hideous Horsemen

Page 30 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes my "stopping" experience in Sexaholics Anonymous...especially the phrase "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization."  That was how it felt for me to hit bottom.  But when hearing a "weekly topic" share of another SA member, I was reminded of page 151 in the AA Big Book.  On that page there is a reference to the hideous “Four Horsemen" [of alcoholism]--Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.  In my SA recovery, I took inventory of those four words:

Terror started when I was a child.  Physical abuse and emotional humiliation.  Fear of man and God dominated my life. Trauma snuck up on me with no warning.

Frustration started when I was a teenager.  I became rebellious and antisocial. Life was not going my way and whoever was making the rules was my enemy.  

Despair set in later. I was 40 or 50 years old when I began to give up on life.  I had no sense of purpose except to drink, act out sexually, and play video games.  I now believe that shame, guilt, and loneliness are the stepping stones to despair.

Bewilderment - the final blow

Bewilderment however was the final blow.  Towards the end of my active sex addiction, I was doing things for which there was no logical or illogical explanation.  I was acting in ways that I could not explain nor even rationalize.  I was acting against my own "bad" judgment--but I could not stop. This was bewildering, but it was the unexplainable sense of confusion that finally brought me to my knees (literally).  It was as if another person had taken over my mind and my body.  I was totally bewildered, and that was when I found my motivation for stopping my sexual acting out.  

Today, in Sexaholics Anonymous recovery, I am rediscovering safety, contentment, purpose, and integrity.  God is doing for me what I could not do for myself, and God is restoring what my disease was robbing from me.  The Four Horsemen still circle on occasions but most times they are far away in the distance and I am content in recovery.  

Sexaholics Anonymous Has Given Me Purpose and Integrity

Despairing of my own power

 

Wisdom

Staying Connected to My Sexaholics Anonymous Fellows is Wisdom

I have often heard members in Sexaholics Anonymous meetings share that our Higher Power can do for us things that we cannot do for ourselves. This is wisdom, and it is important for me to hear, because it is impossible for me to control or predict outcomes as I wish I could do. It is common for me to stay stuck in the problem instead of moving to the solution. I can go on and on talking and thinking about my problems, and I get nowhere. So praying, studying, going to meetings, and listening to other SA members are important, because maybe then I will hear some new ideas.

Sometimes I don't even realize how much I am stuck in a rut.  Last night at a meeting, we had a group visiting from a nearby town. Their joy in the SA program and fellowship was delightful. Maybe it would be good for me to get out of my comfort zone and  visit other groups.

This morning I was reflecting on my tendency to worry excessively about things. That tendency seems to run in my family. Sometimes I talk about it with my brothers and sisters. We all grew up together, so they understand.  The writer Mark Twain once said, "I have known a great many troubles in my life, but most of them never happened." That is how I am. I worry about possibilities and get angry or upset in advance. But often what happens is different from what I had imagined.

Praying for Wisdom

I need to learn to face situations honestly and not run from them. The Serenity Prayer gives me a model for looking at things in a sane and productive way:.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I need to stay connected to my Sexaholics Anonymous fellows, pray for wisdom and guidance, do what I can, and leave the rest in the care of my Higher Power.

Finding Serenity through Sexaholics Anonymous

 

A Sexaholics Motivation

Finding Sufficient Motivation to Stop Sexual Lusting

When I first came to Sexaholics Anonymous, it was the greatest relief for me to finally come to a full acceptance of my powerlessness over lust, so that I could finally stop fighting lust.  Insanity had kept me thinking that I could fight something over which I have no power. But as sanity returned (through the process of working the Steps with my Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor, giving up the fight, and surrendering myself to God), powerlessness finally made sense to me. God became my only hope for freedom, and that remains true for me today. I’m still powerless over lust and I still desperately need a Power greater than myself.

We read in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone--even [lust]. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in [lust]. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. (Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book,” p.84-85).

In a recent Sexaholics Anonymous meeting,  the topic was "Sufficient Motivation to Stop."

As we read in the SA “White Book” (pages 39-40):

We find it confusing and difficult, if not impossible, to see the physical manifestations of our addiction as cause enough for surrender. Knowing we must stop, we go to great lengths to find reasons for quitting:

 "I might get a sexually transmitted disease, or the wife will leave me."

"I'll have a heart attack if I keep on eating like this."

"I just know this weed will give me cancer sooner or later."

"I'll wind up with hypertension if I keep on working like this."

"I'll get cirrhosis of the liver and brain damage if I don't stop drinking."

"If I don't unglue myself from this tube I'm going to turn into a vegetable."

Such reasons are seldom enough to make the true addict stop, because they deal only with externals. The clue here is that we must differentiate between the physical action and the spiritual action (attitude) taking place at the same time in the same individual. Because he lives inside his attitudes, the individual doesn't see them; he sees only the physical activity and thinks he's feeling guilty for that. It is truly puzzling to him. Hence the confusion on the proper motivation for wanting to stop any given addiction. When we look only at the activity itself, most of us find no sufficient motive to stop, but if we can see its spiritual consequences, this can help us despair of it sooner and surrender. Thus, we must look behind the physical to see what's really at work in our sexaholism. But first, let's take a look at lust, for it is this concept that serves as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual aspects of our sexaholism.

 

I really believe that it was God's grace that allowed me to perceive the connection between my attitudes that led to my wrong actions, and to recognize the spiritual consequences of my separation from God and others. It may well be that God was revealing that to me through my "showing up" at Sexaholics Anonymous meetings as well as through my personal faith practice. But I cannot take any credit for that;

I give the credit to my Higher Power Who led me to Sexaholics Anonymous

For me, experiencing that separation was crucial, because I had not experienced any of the more obvious external consequences. Those "externals" remained only potential consequences that might have happened if I had continued.

So the thing that caused me a sense of complete defeat--as well as causing me "sufficient motivation to stop"--was the separation I felt both from God and from others, because I was living a lie. I hated who I had become. I had no integrity when it came to lust and my sexual acting out. I felt terribly alone, because if I was not real, then all of those relationships must not be real either. My life had been built on a foundation that was an illusion.

Seeing the spiritual consequences of my disease helped me "to despair of it sooner and surrender" to God and work the Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous. And that has made all the difference in my life and my sexual sobriety.

 

 

 

Open AA

Open AA Meetings can provide opportunities....

Yesterday, in an English-speaking open AA meeting in my city, the reading was on Honesty and Recovery, and everyone shared on that topic. And then suddenly all of the alcoholics were sharing about their issues with sex! I was really nervous and did not know what to say. Usually I just pass at this meeting, but I felt like this was an exceptionally good opportunity to share something about myself. So when it was my turn, I introduced myself (I always just say "Hi my name is J...", without the "and I'm an alcoholic"), and I explained that I don't know yet if I'm an alcoholic, but that I have had some drinking problems, and I’m currently figuring that out. I also shared that the main reason I had come to this open AA meeting was that I had a problem with sex, and that I'm in another Twelve Step program for that (I did not mention Sexaholics Anonymous). I said that my sponsor told me to attend open AA meetings, because they'd be helpful for me in my recovery--since the AA program is the original Twelve Step program. I told them that I could relate to almost everything they share at meetings, because I think it doesn't matter what we use addictively--it's just about the fact that we're using something to fill up what is lacking in ourselves. I ended by talking about how I’ve had problems with pornography all my life, and that this escalated when I cheated on my girlfriend with a prostitute.

For Carrying the Message of Sexaholics Anonymous

After the meeting, a few members came up to me to talk with me, and one guy confided to me that he is a porn addict and that he'd been to SA and another “S”  program.  He said he's in big denial about it, but that if he ever needs to talk to someone about it, he now knows who to call! So that was a really cool experience. I'm grateful that I got the opportunity to share Sexaholics Anonymous with my AA friends, and potentially plant a seed that just might bring more people to SA.

At first I was worried about sharing about SA, because I was quite embarrassed and extremely nervous, but now I'm grateful that my Higher Power gave me the strength to do it. In the future, I will still mostly pass on sharing at open AA meetings or limit the conversation solely to problems I've had with alcohol, but I am glad that I had the opportunity to share the message of Sexaholics Anonymous in this meeting, because now the people in my AA group know me better. I also feel more at home there because I don't feel like the "outcast" anymore. Thanks to my Higher Power who led me to share and gave me the courage to do it.

AA literature approved for use in SA

 

Work It

It Works When I Work It

In the past few days I've been waking up early, praying, making a call, reading a few pages of Alcoholics Anonymous literature, making a gratitude list, and then getting to work. At work, I pray and surrender frequently. I don't talk much anymore because I don't need impress people. Neither do I have to talk to every woman in my office. If a woman looks at me, it does not mean that she wants to act out with me.

I attend a meeting every day. Wherever I am, I go to the nearest meeting--Sexaholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous. Today I sat alone at an SA meeting and just read some AA literature. I read that love is like the sunlight: The sun doesn't decide to shine it's light on only the good people and leave the bad people in darkness. The sun loves everyone equally. So there is love in nature and there is love all around me.

When I get back home, I do a end-of-day inventory, check in to my WhatsApp groups, and get to sleep as soon as possible.  I surrender temptations quickly, and my temptations are lower than when I was actively lusting.

Sexaholics Anonymous Gives Me Hope

Probably the main reason I'm in Sexaholics Anonymous is my constant extreme depression, anxiety, fear, self-loathing, and worry.  I could be given the simplest task to do at work, and it would scare the heck out of me, but I have learned that these go away in a few hours if I pray and attend a meeting.  By the end of the day, I feel hope and not despair

The work what I've been doing at my office has been very easy in the past few days, and today I got an offer to handle much larger work and have my own team. I was scared and worried at the thought. I also heard that the manager on that work made people work very late at night, and the team is filled with girls that I lust after. But I prayed and focused on my work, and by the end of the day, my thoughts literally changed to: "It won't be that bad," "I'll be guided through everything,” "It's a learning opportunity," "I might have fun!” “Wow, my own team!” What made my thoughts change from despair to hope? God did! And I’ve learned all of these things through Sexaholics Anonymous.

Medication and depression free at last

Allergy Relief

Important Information Pertaining to the Use of Sexaholics Anonymous

-- Sexaholics Anonymous is an allergy relief program that is commonly used to treat and inhibit the use of lust and the common defects caused by sexaholism.

-- SA is designed to reduce the symptoms commonly associated with sexaholism.

-- When used as directed, SA has been known to substantially reduce the negative effects of sexaholism, such as misery, depression, despair, remorse, guilt, shame, physical and mental maladies, spiritual maladies, obsessions, and a physical allergy commonly known as sexaholism.

-- The Sexaholics Anonymous program works best for those who are capable of being honest with themselves, and who are completely willing to give themselves to this simple program of recovery. SA is for those who have a sincere desire to stop lusting.

--Side effects associated with SA include: honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, brotherly love, justice, perseverance, spirituality, and service. A spiritual awakening and/or psychic change have been reported in most cases.

--To reduce your risk of chronic relapse, a lifestyle change may be recommended. Practical experience shows that nothing will so much ensure immunity from lusting as intensive work with other sexahalolics.

--SA should be taken with plenty of open-mindedness and willingness. Do not try to work the SA program alone. Independent  studies have shown that SA is most effective when working with others.

--Always remember that is important that you use SA only as prescribed:

1. Trust in God

2. Clean House

3. Help others

Long Term Allergy Relief

--SA is recommended for long term daily use. Prodigious results have been found in those who continue long-term use of SA. As with all allergy relief medications, some results may vary, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly.

--For more information and to learn more about the Sexaholics Anonymous Twelve Step program of recovery, we suggest you contact your local SA community directly, get a sponsor, and read the “White Book" of Sexaholics Anonymous.

 

Spiritual Awakening

Having had a Spiritual Awakening

In the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous, I have something to share with my fellow members that even some doctors can't give. I can share my own personal experience, strength, and hope. I can allow others to see in me a spiritual awakening.

I have learned that we sexaholics understand each other because of our shared experiences. We can share what worked for us in order to get sexually sober, as well as what did not help. We can share hope and identification. We can see ourselves in the sharing of others. We can understand some of the pain and difficulties others are having. We grow through the hearing the advice and encouragement of my fellow members.

This morning I was reading about the spiritual awakening that I am promised in recovery. Through SA, I have discovered that I am no longer the center of the universe. But I have also discovered that I am no longer alone and unloved. My Higher Power loves me and cares for me. Before I found SA, I felt hopeless and helpless, but now I have found both hope and help. In my sex addiction, my life seemed meaningless and I was headed for disaster. Now that I am sexually sober, I am discovering new meaning and purpose in my life. This is a spititual awakening.

Through the Fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous I Have Purpose In Life

Today I was remembering that I don't have to act on my feelings. For example, when my alarm clock sounded this morning, I still felt sleepy. But I got up and made coffee and went to church. I knew I would be blessed by the message, and I was. Similarly, if I am angry or worried or depressed, I don't have to let those feelings dictate what I will do or feel that day.

This program gives me freedom. My Higher Power gives me wisdom. The fellowship gives me support.

Thank you, Higher Power, for allowing me to awaken spiritually through Sexaholics Anonymous

Maintaining a fit spiritual condition

 

Step Four

Diligently Working Step Four

In a recent Sexaholics Anonymous meeting that I was leading, I chose the topic of Step Four: ”Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” I wanted to encourage others in my SA group to work this Step diligently.

Step Four was a lot of work for me when I first started working it, using the instructions in the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” instructions for Step Four. Working Step Four, I was to complete a series of lists and observations about myself, and the lists were quite hard to face.  But I needed to face myself and ask myself questions such as: “Who have I resented, feared, or harmed?  How did that affect me?  What did I do to them?” This important for me to complete, because these things were the core of why I acted out sexually.  The observations and prayers in Step Four are important, because in really looking at myself and praying, I was able to do the the hard work that helped me face most of my past.

Finding Emotional Sobriety Through Working the Steps in Sexaholics Anonymous

It took me about a year to complete Step Four the first time, and I don’t recommend that to anyone. I would do some work on Step Four, and then set it aside for a few weeks before I could face it again.  I avoided the work because I didn’t want to face my lifelong conflicts with my father, my brothers, friends, bosses, and more.  I had spent decades not looking at those conflicts, and I really did not want to to start looking at them. But my Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor and other fellow SA members told me that Step Four would change me, and that it would heal these conflicts.

That was a huge promise, but it was that promise that moved me forward.  I knew that avoiding my problems for decades had only created holes in my soul that were not healing, and those holes led me to feeling inadequate, unworthy, alone, and afraid.  I know that my first brush through the Steps on my own had helped a bit, but at the time I was still eaten up inside by these things.  I wanted to be better.  I wanted the “emotional sobriety” that is mentioned in the SA “White Book” (p. 88) and that I saw in the eyes of oldtimers.  And so that was enough to get me working on my Step Four again. And the result was indeed everything they had promised.

Sober since 2014  

Working the Twelve Steps in Sexaholics Anonymous

 

Step by Step

Yet Another Step In SA Recovery

At a recent Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, we were studying Step Nine on making amends. Afterwards a friend and former sponsor gave me the idea to reflect on an interesting question: "How do I make amends to myself?"  The short answer is by working the next three Steps: Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. Step Ten helps me to keep the slate clean and keeps me headed in a positive direction. Step Eleven supercharges my life by improving my contact with my Higher Power--and when I am in touch with my Higher Power, my peace, strength, and emotional balance grow and blossom. Step Twelve gives me a whole new purpose and vision for my life. I can become a miracle worker by sharing the miracle of recovery with others.

The Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” reminds me that my problem is one of "self-will run riot." Often I tend to do things on my own, instead of asking my Higher Power or others for guidance or help.  Step Three involves turning my will and my life over to the care of God as we understand Him. Step Eleven reminds me to pray only for knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry that out.  These are such simple ideas, yet I so often overlook or forget them. So often I think about what I need to do today. I need to ask, "God, what do you want you and me to do together today?"

The Spiritual Awakening of Sexaholics Anonymous

This morning I was thinking about the signs of a spiritual awakening. We read about a spiritual awakening in Step Twelve.  When I physically wake up, I see things much differently than when I am asleep and dreaming. A spiritual awakening lets my spirit see things differently. The world becomes more positive instead of negative. In the light of the spirit, I can see myself and others with compassion and understanding. In the darkness of despair, I see only shadows and sense dangers. But in the light of the spirit I see hope and possibilities. The serenity, courage, and, wisdom mentioned in the Serenity Prayer can be signs of spiritual awakening. And the peace in my heart and moments of joy with my friends, my family, and my Sexaholics Anonymous fellows are also signs of a gradual spiritual awakening.

12 Stepper's Inventory

 

Depravity Dumping

Why Sharing My Depravity Did Not Work

When I first came to Sexaholics Anonymous,  I felt that what I needed to do most in a meeting was to have a place to dump my shame and fear.  I felt that I needed to talk explicitly about my depravity, what I had done, in order to purge myself of the guilt and shame.  I needed others to accept me for who I was (in all of my distress and dirtiness) so that I could accept myself.  I wanted to share in meetings about the detailed depths of the wrongs that I had done, so I could unburden myself. However, I was told by my fellows at the time that that is not the purpose of SA meetings.  I did not understand it then, but I have come to understand it now.

Helping Others Recover From Sex Addiction

I have learned that the purpose of any Sexaholics Anonymous meeting is to share our experience, strength, and hope with others, in order to help others recover.  The depth of my depravity is part of my experience, but knowing about my depravity does not help others to recover.  As a newcomer, I learned that I could focus on my own positives--those tiny little steps of progress that showed I really was getting better.  Even with only one week of sexual sobriety, I could find positive things to share about that might help someone else who might be struggling with problems similar to mine.  And very surprisingly to me, sharing about those small positive things seemed to strengthen them in me also, and so sharing those things helped others as well as me. So even in those early days, I learned that my purpose in sharing in any Sexaholics Anonymous meeting is NOT to unload myself.  My purpose in sharing is to help others recover, as I share my experience, strength, and hope with my fellows.

Sober since 2014

Meditation - Guilt Free Relief

 

Medicate With Lust

Or Medicate with anything

I have noticed that over the past few days it is not only lust that I use to medicate, but there also many other things that I use to medicate. These include fairly obvious things such as eating, drinking (which I actually don't do), or watching TV shows--but there are also things that I would not have thought would be a problem in the past. The biggest thing I use to medicate lately has actually been a soccer match. In the next five days, my favorite team will be playing two games, which will determine the outcome of their entire season. While I don't think there is anything wrong with me watching those matches, I always find myself obsessing over them. For example, just yesterday I obsessively read a bunch of news about the teams, trying find out everything there is to know about the games: the starting 11, the pre-match commentary, and any other news that I can find.  

Learning To Stop Self-Medicating In Sexaholics Anonymous

Reflecting on that, I realize that this does not bring me any peace. In all of these activities, I am looking for some sort of high. I want to be a part of the atmosphere and the excitement of the games, but in reality I have been using this as another, much subtler form of a drug. I am also putting my own happiness and peace into the hands of others--and something that I have no control over: the outcome of the game. What if they lose? Will I be so upset that I will want to medicate with lust? I can't afford that. So what I'm learning, I think--through the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous--is that I cannot afford any of these emotional roller coasters, whether they be in relationships with other people, through anger and resentment, or in obsessing over the outcome of a football game.

Lust Kills My Spirit

 

Emotions

Progressive Recovery From Sex Addiction

I recently heard a fellow Sexaholics Anonymous member mention the difficulty he has had in naming the difference between his emotions. I suspect that this has been true for many of us--at least it was true for me anyway.  I have often had trouble identifying and sorting out my emotions.

Step One reminds me that my life has been unmanageable. Step Two says that I need a Power greater than myself to restore me to sanity.  In the Serenity Prayer, I ask God for wisdom to know the difference between things. This is important because I have often had trouble telling the difference between various feelings and emotions. Naming my emotions has been a  gradual process of growth for me. But by practicing Step Eleven--daily prayer and meditation--I can grow in peace and in emotional balance. By reading the Sexaholics Anonymous  literature and listening to others, I can begin to recognise better patterns in my own life and behavior. Being able to share with my sponsor and other SA friends has also been quite important to my recovery

Recovery and Naming of Emotions

Lots of important things are ongoing in my life today--things like breathing and my heart beating. I have a progressive disease, but I can also have progressive recovery. I will never have spiritual perfection, but I can have spiritual progress. If I keep coming back to SA, I can continue to grow in recovery, enjoy the company of others, and learn from them.

In the SA White Book  we read in "A Vision For You" (SA, page 210) that, "God will constantly disclose more to you and to us."    The process of my growth has required time and patience, and I have trouble with patience. But the Sexaholics Anonymous program of recovery works when I reach out, make the effort, and take the time to work the program as others have taught me. Thank you God for SA!

No Quick Fix For Feelings in Sexaholics Anonymous

Exact Nature

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.

Withdrawl brings lasting relief

Self-Will Run Riot

My Sneaky Desire To Be Lusted After

When I realized that women were attracted to men who don't stare at them (ha ha), I became aware of just how sneaky my desire to be lusted after could be. Playing the "hero" role is one of the ways that I pursued lust. I personally did not sense any separation between extreme self-will run riot (Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book,” page 62) and Iust.  They go hand-in-hand for me.  The Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book” tells me that Iust is an attitude that demands that a natural instinct (sex) serves unnatural purposes (White Book, page 40).  That's my definition of Iust and self-will. Lust is never satisfied. Lust always wants everything to be more, better, and different.  But as soon as it gets what it wants, lust is not satisfied. That's just what self-will was like for me.  

I was never satisfied. I always wanted more. I took life to a sick extreme--I was expecting to be satisfied but I never really got there.  I was like the wealthy business man sitting on his giant yacht feeling suicidal, wishing he had that "other" boat, and never reaching the point of real happiness.   

Lust Addicted As A Child

When I was 10 years old I discovered masturbation, and I knew right then that it was going to be something very important to me.  I experienced the phenomenon of craving and the ease and comfort of a few drinks (Alcoholics Anonymous page xxv, “The Doctor's Opinion”) almost immediately.  The only problem was that my behavior conflicted with my moral code of conduct.  When I was ten years old, I had a spiritual dilemma.  I had two options: I could go on to the bitter end in the way I was living, or I could accept spiritual help.  I decided to go on to the bitter end.  Little did I know it would take four decades for me to reach that bitter end.  

Selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-delusion became my best friends.  They were the (negative) spiritual tools that I used to justify my choices.  I started talking to God about my acting out very early.  I would ask God to "look away" when I acted out.  I believed that if God knew what I was doing, it would be counted against me on the big cosmic scoreboard in the sky. I began negotiating exceptions to God's will for myself.  That's what selfishness and self-will run riot did for me.      

The AA Big Book says that some of us pursue the disease to the gates of insanity and death. That's just what I did, all the way, and I spent years hanging out there.  I was crazy, and I justified it all by my ever improving "ability" to negotiate exceptions with God.  I never really stopped believing in God; I just figured that He needed a little help from me along the way to decide what was best for me.  

Lust And Self-Will Run Riot

By this time my addiction--accompanied by my self-will run riot--were working in complete unison to get what they wanted.  The SA White Book says that “the sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong” (page 202), and that was me.  In my sick mind, right was whatever got me my next lust hit, and wrong was whatever got in the way.  That was my own immoral code and I felt totally justified.  Wow, that's scary, just writing it.    

I didn't stop acting out  sexually until I came to the end of my self.  I did not "get caught.”  I did not decide. Lust just became a bad idea.  I ran out of reasons to lie, to others and to myself.  At that moment, self-will lost its grip on me.  It could not hold up to the weight of my absolute failure at living.  I was at the point of self destruction as well as the destruction of those who I loved the most. So I found Sexaholics Anonymous.

At that point I had only one option, and that was total surrender of myself.  I became willing to die to myself.  I was willing to feel what it was like to be miserable on the inside.  I became willing to ask for help.  It even got so bad that I became willing to pray--to really pray with no agenda of my own.

The Gift of Sexual Sobriety

Who knew that the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous would be the beginning of a whole new way of life for me?  I reached out for a flimsy reed and caught the loving hand of God.  I died to a life of self will run riot, and since then I have been been able to live a life of purpose and usefulness.  I thank God for that gift--the gift of sexual sobriety, which I received as a result of working the Twelve Steps in the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous.

 

Overcoming Selfishness in SA Recovery

A Female Sexaholic Makes The True Connection

I never set out to become a female sexaholic. When I was a child, I loved my mother. I thought she was the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world. I wanted to be like her; she was my Goddess. But while she was looking for my father around the bars, she left us three kids with a neighbour who abused us. One day I gathered the strength to tell my mother what was happening, but she did not believe me (or maybe she did not want to believe me), so she left us once again at the neighbour’s house. That was the day that I started to believe that my mother did not love me.

In my child mind, I thought that if my mother could not love me, it was my fault. If she did not love me, I must be a horrible person. I thought that even a murderer would have a mother who loves him or her. But that day when she left us with the neighbor once again, I started resenting my mother, and I began acting out in my addiction. So I began, not with words, but with my behaviour, to show the world that I did not deserve love from anyone.

If a kind man showed me that he liked me, I immediately thought that he was stupid--so stupid that he did not notice that I was not worth anything. But if I were badly treated by a man, I would think, "This man is clever, he knows that I am not worth anything.” And no matter what bad things men did to me, I could never leave them. I was completely powerless until a man replaced me with another woman. Only twice could I leave a man, and that was with psychiatric medication.

What brought me to SA?

Eventually I could no longer stand the violence. I was desperate. But even then I could not leave my current partner. I was not able to run away. My story repeated again and again. I did not know that I was an addict.

Then one day I came across Sexaholics Anonymous on my computer, and I wrote to them asking for help for that man. I wanted help for him because I could not leave him.  I was convinced that he was ill and that everything was his fault. At the end of my email, I said that I thought he had some little behaviours like masturbation, which I thought was normal.

Soon after I sent the email, a sober female sexaholic in SA phoned me. This woman did not know me, and she was from another city, but she listened to me for more than an hour, and she did not ask for anything back in return. I was quite surprised that she was willing to spend so much time with me.

At the time I thought I might be pregnant because I had so many pains in my body. I was always tired and hungry. I thought I might have psychiatric problems--perhaps I was bipolar or something--because of my emotional ups and downs of energy. I saw a public psychologist who specialized in gender issues, because I really did not know if I were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or even transexual. I was confused, and I did not want to be a victim any longer. I wanted to have control and power, even above women.

At that time I was convinced I was atheist. I did not believe that God could exist if I were suffering so much. But the sober female sexaholic who called me became my sponsor, and things began to change. At the very beginning, she told me that the most important thing in the world was my sobriety, and that I was not to masturbate (until that day I thought it was normal), and I could not see that man again.

My sobriety has had two phases. In the first three months, I withdrew from sex, dependency relationships, obsession, several drugs (I don’t remember which ones), and powerlessness over money (I am also a debtor, and I began that programme a year and a half ago). I was hungry all the time, and I wanted to sleep most of the time. Thanks to God I was able to return to my mother’s home, and I was able to receive care from her. I worked at home in my own business as soon as I was able to do so, and with a lot of effort, most of the time I was able to crawl to my local SA meeting. At first, I had trouble relating to the men, but thanks to God there was another woman in my meetings, and she was my support early on.     

After three months of avoiding the last man in my life, my mind slowly began to recover from lust addiction. The pains slowly disappeared, the ups and down began to disappear, and bit-by-bit, my memory began to come back. Then I could go to the police and report what happened to me the last day, when I had bottomed out with that man. Thanks to God, the man stopped looking for me, and I have been a sober female sexaholic since that day. But I cannot go back to that man, ever.  

After awhile I began to feel as if I had woken up after a scary nightmare. I realized how my life had changed. And that memory gives me the strength every day to continue to be sober, and not to go back to my past behaviors

The things I do to maintain my sobriety today as a sober female sexaholic

1. I attend meetings in four different programmes: two addiction programs (SA and Debtors Anonymous) and two codependency programs (S-Anon and CODA).  I work all of these programmes at the same time; this is important for my sobriety.  I work them on different days during the week, but all in the same week, so that I can be sober in all of the programs, and not fall into one addiction while I am sober in another.

2. I attend to three face-to-face meetings every week (two SA meetings and one in another fellowship), as well as a Skype meeting in another fellowship. I need the face-to-face meetings so that I can feel the energy of the recovery, and I am encouraged when I hear the suffering and the effort of other fellows, especially other female sexaholics.

3. I do service. Doing service (any kind of service) helps me feel useful to others, and that is a gift!

4. I have an SA sponsor who has listened to me talk about my entire life, and she has guided me through the Steps. She is a gift; I am very grateful her. In less than two years, she has helped me more than all of the psychologists during my entire life before SA. Also, having sponsees helps me to see how that was me at the beginning. I can see how my pain can be useful to others. That is really a gift!!!

5. I attend every SA convention. Conventions recharge my batteries, and from one convention to another, I get to see people who I do not usually see, and I learn a lot and am able to share in a healthy manner with others.

What it’s like now

When I first came back home to live with my mother, I slept on the sofa every night for one year and nine months, with my two cats. It was difficult to sleep on the couch, but that was what I needed to do to avoid masturbation. I also was able to forgive my mother (I had previously felt that she was the cause of my addiction). Forgiving my mother helps me to not run to the first man I find each time I feel that my mother hurts me. Forgiving others has helped me to stopping acting out in my addictions.  I have learned that my mother is not bad, she is sick--just like I am. She did what she could, the best she knew how. I have also forgiven abusive men. I forgiven those who have hurt me, because SA is a programme of forgiveness.

How I love myself and take care of myself today

I cannot stay up until late at night.

I cannot drink alcohol or any drink that I cannot monitor.

I need a lot of rest; a minimum of 9 ór 10 hours every day.

I cannot eat too much or be too hungry. Sugar or heavy meals do not fit me well, so I try to eat as healthy as possible.

I have learned to recognize myself as a dignified person of love and care, who has much to offer others and who loves others. Today I am very sensitive to any sign of  disrespect from others.

I recognize that my mother loves me in her own way

I feel worthy that, because of SA, I have been able to change my behaviour and clothing and really every part of my life.

I became employed by others so I that could continue paying all my debts.

I quit working giving massages to men and even women. During all this time in recovery, I cannot bear any contact with men, not even shake hands.

I left ALL of my past friends. All of them. Of course I left the men, but the women friends in my life were also so abusive that they were also toxic to me.

I began the S-Anon programme so I that could meet other women who suffer from sexaholic men--and those are wonderful meetings.

My Higher Power Today

I used to be a member of the Catholic church, but today I recognize so much more that a Higher Power exists, because of all of the “coincidences” I experienced. My High Power takes care of me, and sometimes He gives me messages through others.

The first day I experienced the energy of a Higher Power was after reading my Step One at a  meeting in Madrid. After the meeting--for the first time in my life--I was ready to do an act of love for my mother, and accompany her to visit the Basilica. Life Passion was playing by actors among the streets and inside the Basilica. The experience of being inside the Basilica that day--completely full of people connecting with God--made me cry. I felt the energy of God. Since then, I have continued visiting the Basilica during the chorus and music at mass every Sunday.

Gratitude for SA

Today I believe that all of my suffering was needed to get me to Sexaholics Anonymous and to my friends in recovery-- so that I could experience sex addiction recovery. I also have learned that members of SA have the true connection. They helped me to start believing in a Higher Power greater than myself, Who has loved and cared for me throughout all of my life, and so that I could be used by God by helping another female sexaholic with my experience.

Sex Addicted Woman Finds Recovery

Fighting Lust?

Fighting Lust is a losing battle

One of the most important experiences I had as I started working the Steps with my Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor was when I realized that fighting lust was impossible for me. I could not fight lust on my own--ever!  Fighting lust thoughts in my head only gave the thought, temptation, or negative emotion even more power to hold on to me. Lust is an 18 foot giant. In a battle with an 18 foot giant, I'm always going to lose. Instead for fighting lust, I had to learn how to surrender it.

Surrendering My Lust to God

Truly surrendering lust (as well as my will and my life) over to God means that I don't have to hold onto lust  or  fight lust anymore. When I'm holding onto lust, it is impossible for me to be free from it. Fighting and surrendering are worlds apart today. In order to have freedom, I had to give up fighting and surrender my will to God to find freedom. As our Sexaholics Anonymous “White Book” says:

In summary, for us surrender is the change in attitude of the inner person that makes life possible. It is the great beginning, the insignia and watchword of our program. And no amount of knowledge about surrender  can make it a fact until we simply give up, let go, and let God. When we surrender our 'freedom,' we become truly free". (SA "White Book,” page 81)

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