Frequently Asked Questions about lust addiction recovery

When we came to Sexaholics Anonymous, we had all kinds of questions. Our first suggestion is that you read the articles under Sex / Porn Addict?. The Q&A below cover many different topics including service in SA. If you don't find what you are looking for, please write to us here: Contact Sexaholics Anonymous EME Region. We will try to get a response posted here as soon as possible.

What is a Sexaholic and What is Sexual Sobriety?

We can only speak for ourselves. The specialized nature of Sexaholics Anonymous can best be understood in terms of what we call the sexaholic. The sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop. LustDon't understand what we mean by lust? Neither did we when we first arrived - what is Lust? has become an addiction. Our situation is like that of the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and must stop drinking altogether but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with the sexaholic, or sex drunk, who can no longer tolerate lust but cannot stop.

Thus, for the sexaholic, any form of sex with one’s self or with partners other than the spouseIn SA’s sobriety definition, the term “spouse” refers to one’s partner in a marriage between a man and a woman. is progressively addictive and destructive. We also see that lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out, and true sobriety includes progressive victory over lust. These conclusions were forced upon us in the crucible of our experiences and recovery; we have no other options. But we have found that acceptance of these facts is the key to a happy and joyous freedom we could otherwise never know.

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.

© 1989, 2001 SA Literature. Reprinted with permission of SA Literature.

Is there a solution?

New to Sexaholics Anonymous? - Newcomer Questions

What's in Sexaholics Anonymous for me?   A proven, reliable solution for lust addiction and sexual compulsivity. If you really want to stop contact us today.

Do I have to pay?   No. There are no dues or fees for SA membership. We "pass the hat" at meetings to pay for our running costs and to help Sexaholics Anonymous to carry the message to lust addicts who still suffer.

Is Sexaholics Anonymous a religion?   Certainly not. We do have a spiritual tool kit to offer you but do not require that you believe anything.

Do I have to believe in God?   No. Most of us come to believe in a power greater than ourselves but even this is not a requirement for membership.

What happens at meetings?   We drink tea and chat with each other before the meeting starts. We begin with a short preamble and some readings from SA literature. Then we share our experience, strength and hope with each other for about an hour. Finally, we close with a short prayer. Afterwards, many of us go somewhere for refreshments and to enjoy some fellowship.

Can I listen to an SA talk?   Sure. There are some good ones here.

What should I do next?   Just contact us. We'll do the rest.

What is EMER?   EMER stands for Europe and Middle-East Region, we are a service body which assists the growth and organization of Sexaholics Anonymous in this region. Our sole purpose is to help carry the message to sexaholics who still suffer. We maintain a list of all the Sexaholics Anonymous meetings in our region.

Q&A on Service

The following answers to questions posed by international members, are the opinions of the writers - experienced, sober members of SA. They are certainly not the final word on any subject but may help local SA communities in forming their own group consciences. Everybody and every service body in SA has the right to be wrong, so please take what you like and leave the rest.

Allocation of sharing time at meetings

Q.  You have suggested that we reserve the bulk of the air time at our meetings for those who have more than 30 days of sobriety.  Two members of our group consider this to be divisive and therefore against the spirit of the 1st Tradition.  Please comment.

A. Those who say that this policy is divisive may have a case but not a strong one. Our primary purpose is to carry the message to the sexaholic who still suffers (Tradition 5). The message is that there is a solution to lust addiction, that we have had a spiritual awakening as a result of working the 12 Steps and that we are no longer relapsing into acting out. This message cannot be given by newcomers or relapsers but is given strongly by the longer-sober members. A meeting which delivers a strong message of recovery, is united around sobriety (as opposed to acting out) and contributes to the unity of SA as a whole, on which our individual and collective futures depend. A meeting which gives equal air time to sober and non-sober participants is operating like a therapy group, which the SA meeting format specifically says we are not. The message of a meeting which says "some of us have sobriety and some of us have not" is intrinsically disunited and thus contrary to Traditions 2 & 5. In arguing for this change in your group, you will be directly confronting the disease within your newcomers and relapsers. It will be a hard fight but in many ways, the harder the better. If your long-sober members stick to their guns and see it through, I believe you will all benefit and, after any rebels have left, will end up with a very strong, united and effective group, Unity is in the service of truth (sobriety). Insobriety is the great divider. Unity can never be attained by giving substantial airtime to the unsober.

Reading materials in meetings

Q. I was going to suggest at our meeting that we read a book called "Addictive Thinking" by Dr J Twersky. A member said that he thought that the only materials allowed to be read were SA or AA approved materials. I was led to understand that each meeting is autonomous and is allowed to read anything they like provided the focus is on sobriety.

A. "Any two or three sexaholics gathered together for [SA] sobriety may call themselves an SA group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation" (Tradition 12 long form). "With respect to its own affairs, each SA group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience" (Tradition 4 long form). This means that your group can study the Beano during meetings, if that's what the group conscience decides. However, if having finished reading the Beano, some members wish to study the New Testament, the potential for disunity becomes yet more obvious. The experience of the fellowship suggests that sticking to conference approved SA literature is the best way to ensure group unity (Tradition 1).

Maximum individual contributions

Q. AA's Twelve Traditions Illustrated says :"We put a limit $2000 on the amount members may leave to AA in their wills or contribute annually (...)". Do we have a similar rule in SA?

A. Yes; the maximum contribution a member may make to the fellowship in one year may not exceed 4.5% of SA's prior year's gross revenues. Remember that we cannot accept a contribution from someone who is not a member.

Counting votes

Q. How should we count the votes during Intergroup or group conscience voting? What do you do with abstain votes (where somebody is neither "for" nor "against" a motion). If there was 10 voters, 3 voted "yes", 1 voted "no" and 6 abstained, is that a 75% "for" vote (3/(3+1)*100%) or only a 30% "for" vote?

A. Abstentions are disregarded in counting the vote and, if you wish, in working out the percentage. Here is what Roberts Rules have to say about the matter: "When a quorum [64] is present, a majority vote, that is a majority of the votes cast, ignoring blanks, is sufficient for the adoption of any motion that is in order, except those mentioned in 48, which require a two-thirds vote". The Bye Laws of SA, which deal with voting at the General Delegate Assembly say: "The presence of a majority of the members of the Assembly shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The vote of a majority of the Delegates present at a meeting at which a quorum shall be present shall be the act of the Assembly, unless the vote of a greater number shall be required by the charter, these Bylaws, or the laws of the State of Tennessee".

Expenses for intergroup officers

Q. What about travel expenses for Intergroup officers (e.g Secretary, Treasurer) who are not group delegates (GSRs) and therefore cannot ask their group for costs refunding. Should they travel by their own cost or maybe they can ask Intergroup for refunding of costs?

A. The Intergroup Officers are entitled to reclaim their expenses from Intergroup funds. They should be encouraged to do so, as your Intergroup needs to be "fully self-supporting". If IG Officers do not reclaim their expenses, then the IG may be living in unreality.

Sobriety requirements for service work

Q. A member who helps our public information committee had lost his sobriety. He's not an official committee member but attends most of our meetings and helps us a lot. Do you think we should continue working with him or wait until he gets more sobriety time?

A. He probably needs to concentrate on Step One right now but maybe you could hold a group conscience to decide.

Q. What's your opinion about setting a 'xx time in SA' criterion for service duties (e.g. 1 year in SA and 6 months sobriety for being a group's secretary)?

A. I have not heard of "time in SA"  being set as a criterion for service. Sobriety time is however a normal requirement, at all levels of service. At group level, a few positions have no sobriety requirement, the rest do. At Intergroup and beyond, all official positions have sobriety requirements.

Voting

Q. What do you suggest we should do when there's a tie in a group's conscience vote?

A. I would say that a tie means that the matter being discussed not yet ready for resolution. A useful saying is, "If in doubt, leave it out".  i.e. Don't change anything - it's a no. This may be a good reason for the group's chairman never to vote except when making a casting vote, to resolve such a tie.

Q. What is a casting vote?

A. It is the vote used by the chairman of a meeting to resolve a tie one way or the other. Some chairmen only ever vote in order to break a tie. Some might vote normally but then be allowed an extra "casting" vote whenever there is a tie. I have only ever seen the first of these options in use.

Reference for a prisoner

Q. One of our members has been imprisoned and is asking for a character reference so that his case can be reviewed. Is there an SA stance on this? I am quite OK about writing the letter, as he has been very dedicated to his program and a pillar in keeping our meeting open at times when there were only two of us, but am slightly concerned about my anonymity.

A. SA is unlikely to have a stance on an outside issue like this but I will enquire. Your anonymity is your own personal possession and no one can instruct you to give it away. However, I very much doubt that any harm would come to you from providing this reference. In fact, I would anticipate the opposite. HP has not rescued us from the storm in mid-ocean, in order to kick us to death on the beach. I expect that, if you were the one "inside", you would hope that some kind soul might do such a work of mercy for you.

Intergroup Treasurer's Report

Q. As Intergroup Treasurer, I am supposed to make a financial report for the last quarter. What should it look like? Should I present all transactions or just say how much money we currently have? Should I make a document with all transactions and give it to every GSR who wants to see it?

A. Here is what the SA Service Manual says about your role:

"A treasurer collects donations from the groups and pays any bills the Intergroup may have. Bills may include web site and phone bills as well as printing costs for directories and various flyers. The treasurer maintains a record of all transactions and accounts for all monies on a monthly basis. The treasurer presents this report to the Intergroup for its approval at each meeting."

The Intergroup Officers and GSRs need enough information for them to be able to clearly understand the financial situation of the Intergroup and make sensible decisions about spending money and retaining reserves. In my time as Intergroup Treasurer, I used various presentations including a detailed account of all revenue and expenditure and a balance sheet showing all assets and liabilities. Perhaps, on reflection, one of the most useful presentations would be a source and application of funds statement. Where have our revenues come from and where are they going to? The IG needs to be clear about what it can afford to pass on to Region/SAICO and what it needs to retain in order to meet its liabilities and any possible contingencies. GSRs do need to see their own group contributions being recorded in the IG accounts but the exact format is up to you. Handing a copy to each GSR gives them something which they can take back to show to their group.

Definition of marriage

Q. We have difficulties with the term "marriage" in Poland.

1. In Polish the word "marriage" (małżeństwo) has two basic meanings:

i.  Legal marriage (in Polish: małżeństwo cywilne)

ii.  Ecclesiastical wedlock being result of Sacrament of Matrimony (in Polish: małżeństwo kościelne).

Both meanings are alive in Poland and it would be hard to find someone claiming that ecclesiastical wedlock isn't a marriage. In fact obligatory legal marriage has only existed in Poland since 1946. Even today, some Poles ignore the legal marriage requirement and simply live in ecclesiastical wedlock. Some Polish people call the legal marriage only "registration" (a little scornfully). I suppose that majority of Polish people consider ecclesiastical wedlock the only true marriage.

2. The White Book says: "Marriage is a sanctifying force both in our lives and the children's as well." (page 154-155). A similar statement is found in "Recovery Continues". But a legal marriage isn't any sanctifying force. I know that these statements are only the personal opinion of an SA member (Roy K) but it isn't an accident that such personal statements are in our literature.

3. As far as I know, Roy's Letter to Homosexuals, giving the meaning of marriage as "legal, traditional and heterosexual", isn't SA approved literature and so isn't binding for us.

We Catholics are 95% majority in Polish SA. One of us claims that making sexual sobriety in ecclesiastical wedlock conditional on a requirement of legal marriage doesn't comply with canon law. Please comment on this and indicate any references in SA literature.

A. You will probably never find a full and satisfactory answer to this question in any SA approved literature. However, SA has no opinion on outside issues and would therefore be unlikely to take a stand on the differences between małżeństwo kościelne and małżeństwo cywilne. My suggestion would be to accept that either małżeństwo kościelne or małżeństwo cywilne qualify as valid marriages for the purposes of SA's sobriety definition.

Technical sobriety

Q. I hear people around me talking about changing the sobriety definition. Until now it was quite obvious that an addict lost his sobriety only by acting out to orgasm. I think it is going to confuse many people, including me, if we are going to reset the sobriety by watching pornography for example. I find it difficult to agree with that. The question is what do you say?

A. The SA sobriety definition won't change. The tricky question is what constitutes "sex with self"? For me, any deliberate stimulation of myself sexually, by thought, word, deed or omission, would be sex with self. I am probably unable to look at pornography without becoming aroused. So for me to create a state of arousal by looking at pornography would be indulging my lust - the exact opposite of progressive victory over lust. I am clear that I could not deliberately look at pornography and call myself sober. I would have zero sobriety to share with others if I had just spent minutes or hours looking at porn. The longer we are in the programme the more progress we make towards victory over lust but I would never want a sexaholic to think that some kind of technical sobriety was going to solve his/her lust problem. I prefer to set the bar high from the outset and then add further bottom lines, as and when they become necessary. I have not yet met an SA oldtimer who believes that he/she is sober as long as they don't "go all the way".

Another member adds: How visual looking should determine a slip can be debated, but certainly sustaining it would at least be crossing a boundary and in discussion with one's sponsor, one's sobriety date might or might not be re-set.

Sharing at meetings

Q. I am writing to ask for your opinion on withholding from a not sober (zero days abstinence) member of a meeting, his right to give testimony. I suggested this at the end of yesterday’s meeting and we have a week  to mull it over before voting.If you think that my suggestion was right please share with me your reasons. From where I stand it is an important tradition of the other 12 step fellowships, such as AA & NA, that a member who is not sober has nothing to share except his presence and ability to listen.

A. The focus of our meetings should always be on recovery. Someone who has no recovery has little useful to contribute. The St Theresa's meeting in Chicago makes the closing minutes of each meeting open for anyone to share. The London Saturday meeting recommends that those who "have acted out today are best served by listening". The Bournemouth Sunday meeting requests that the first two people to share have 30 days sobriety or more. So, in all cases, restrictions are placed on non-sober members sharing. I favour setting the bar high, as this helps to develop the culture of sobriety which is so essential for the health of groups and individuals.

Treasurer's duties

Q. SA in [Country] is not a formal organization or foundation (so far), so we can't have any special bank account for it. I'm going to have all money on my own account. What should I do when the treasurer from some SA group gives me cash? Should I give him some kind of receipt? (So far I only note on a page date and amount of money I was given). What should I do when when I give cash someone within SA? Should he give a signature when receiving the money? In above situations, should some other SA member be present to write down how much money has been transferred?

A.  In the UK, we opened what's called a Treasurer's Bank Account. We could do this without having to register as a Charity or becoming a Corporation. If there is anything similar in [Country] you should use this, rather than mixing up your private and SA affairs. Do you have Post Office savings accounts?

At the very least you should use a personal bank account which is dedicated for SA purposes only. This will allow you to show the bank statement to the IG officers when making your quarterly reports.

It is best practice to give receipts whenever you receive cash and obtain receipts whenever pay out cash. Of course all transactions should be recorded in you account book. I have often seen two people counting up the money at 12 Step gatherings. I have done the job of Treasurer for many years and must admit that I have broken every rule above, at some time or other, except the one about writing every transaction in the account book. We do the best we can and I'm sure you will too.

Media relations

Q. We've been approached by a Singapore newspaper wishing to "interview a member of SA about the difficulties of overcoming the addiction as well as what makes a sex addict as opposed to someone who is just promiscuous". What advice do you have?

A. In SA there seems to be a general bias in favour of not granting interviews to the press. Their interests (selling newspapers) and ours (staying sober by carrying the message) are not easily reconciled. In the UK, we have had a policy of politely and promptly replying, "With regret, we never give interviews to the press. However we are keen that those who are suffering from sexual addiction hear about SA's solution to this problem and contact us via our web site at www.sauk.org". Whenever this policy was departed from, things seemed to go wrong. I would certainly suggest that you bring the reporter's e-mail to your group and consult the group conscience. If there is a decision in favour of granting an interview (which I am not recommending), then I suggest you use the media interview anonymity contract linked here. None of us speak for SA and we have no opinion on outside issues (like "what makes a sex addict as opposed to someone who is just promiscuous."). All I know is that I am a lust addict and I have found a solution to my lust addiction. If others want to know about that solution, I am very willing to tell them.

Audios

Q. Our group in Brussels has a whole bunch of SA-CD's brought from 2 conventions to lend to its members - and it is has proven to be a terrific tool for many of us. Do you think we could copy them to supply our Leuven group also with this collection to support its members?

A. Honesty is indispensable for recovery. We need to employ good means to good ends, so we observe the law. We are also self-supporting through our own contributions. These are the principles - now call a group conscience!

Prayers

Q.  Some fellows in [Country] strongly favour saying the "Our Father" prayer in our meetings. Others oppose the idea, claiming this is not a twelve step prayer. What is the SA experience? Should it be left to group conscience?

A. If you go to an SA International Convention, you will notice that the meetings often close with the 3rd Step prayer. The basic meeting format in the White Book uses the Our Father prayer. In my home group we invite someone "to close the meeting with the Lord's prayer or a programme prayer of your choice". The Our Father prayer is chosen about 60% of the time. I'm aware that many members carry massive resentments about their religious upbringings, which need to be worked through. It is not my business to enable resenters to stay sick. Trust the group conscience. Ask the longer sober members what they want to see happen but pay careful attention to minority opinion too.

Conventions

Q. SA in [Country] are planning to hold a convention in March. Are we free to announce it with leaflets of our own make or should we follow certain rules adopted by SA in such situations?

A. Just go ahead and announce it in your own way. I will send you a flier advertising a similar national convention, just to give you some ideas but just keep it simple. Please check with SAICO about the use of the SA logo. I don't think they are at all possessive about it but there may be a few courtesies to observe.

Newsletters

Q. Are groups free to publish and circulate (within SA) their own newspapers (i.e. papers individually published by each SA group)?

A. Yes, this has always happened in SA. It is always good to state that such material is "the personal ES&H of individual members and not SA Conference approved literature".

Q. What do the letters ES&H stand for?

A. Experience, strength and hope. What we share, when we share.

Q. Can SA in [Country] decide to make their own country-wide bulletin or newspaper like the Essay? If so what conditions (apart from the obvious ones like supporting the sobriety definition and the 12-step path rather than anything else) must be met for such a newspaper to fall in line with SA standards?

A: I see no reason why you can't do this. We had something similar in the UK at one point. You might however consider just translating Essay into Polish and circulating that. This is what happens in Peru, where they translate Essay into Spanish.

Step workshops

Q. Some of our fellows plan to organise a step workshop. What conditions must be met for the workshop to be an SA workshop. Should it be conducted in the way similar to what you did in [Country] some months ago? What is the fellowship's experience with such activities?

A. There is nothing to stop you or your group or your Intergroup from running a step workshop. "We are autonomous except in matters affecting SA as a whole". There is no standard model, as far as I am aware, but if you want it to be related to SA then I would suggest that you start and end it in with some of the usual SA prayers and readings. My own experience suggests that it is best to invite sober SA members who fully support SA's sobriety definition, before considering anyone else. Depending on what steps are to be worked, you may want to stipulate that attendees have already worked the previous steps with their sponsor. It’s best if members to get their sponsors agreement to their attendance. You are welcome to use the format that I used with you in [Country], although this remains undocumented at present. The workshop is very scalable - I have since used it with groups of up to 90 in other countries. Simultaneous translation into one or two other languages, also works well.

Roy K's Grave

Q. Where is Roy's grave?

A. The address is Oakwood Memorial Park, 22601 Lassen Street, Chatsworth, California, CA 91311, USA. Opening hours: 08:30 - 17.00. Directions: Go through the front gate of the Park and follow the path straight until you see the historic church on the right.  Walk directly up to the top of the hill from the church steps. His grave is in the Willows section, lot 139.  The grave is just to the right of the brick wall.

Please Note: The family respectfully asks that visitors not attempt to contact Iris or request to see Roy's workplace. She is not able to receive visitors, and his workplace is being archived.

Domain registration

Q. The Polish SA fellowship would like to register domain anonimowiseksoholicy.pl (which is The Polish name for sexaholics anonymous). I have a question - maybe you know, how it was solved in other countries, to register local domain? We are thinking about registering it on a false id, but this could be against rules from 12 steps and 12 traditions. Also this solution can lead to problem with the ownership of domain.  Registering it ,using one of our member's name is impossible due to anonymity. Could you give us some advice, or maybe you someone in SAICO, who have some knowledge about it. We are thinking also about a possibility to register it on SAICO name.

A. Some domain registrars now have an option to make your WHOIS information private. The registrar knows your real name and address, but it's not available to the general public. This typically costs more, but may be worth it. Here in Denver, the WHOIS data is the name of the current webmaster but with the mailing address of the Intergroup (we have a post office box for Intergroup-related business). If you decide to register it with the SAICO name and mailing address, then I recommend you first contact the SA Central Office and discuss it with Kay. I'm assuming that your WHOIS contact email address will -not- be saico@sa.org but instead be something that goes directly to one of your members (e.g., a gmail or Yahoo account). Alternatively, we can give you an sa.org email address and just have it forward to the appropriate person.

Translating & publishing SA literature

Q. We are translating an SA leaflet in [Country]. How does it work, when the translation is finished?

A. When the translation is finished, send a .PDF copy to SAICO saico@sa.org, who will pass it on to the Chair of the Translations Committee (TC). The TC will have a native [Language] speaker review it. Once the TC’s reviewer okays it, the translation is approved and can be printed and distributed.

Q. Does SAICO also provide a printing service, so we can order the leaflets directly from SAICO?

A. SAICO does not print it. You should have it printed locally (which is also much cheaper).

Q. We have now a dutch translation of the WB which is being used in our groups. The translations is a "work in progress" and was made by someone who is no longer in the fellowship. Does SAICO know about this translation? Is it authorized?

A. It is not authorized. To be authorized, it needs to be sent to us for a review and approval.

Q. For the new translation that we are working on at the moment, what are the procedures or demands for this translation? Is there a tool or instruction text for this, besides the things you have already explained to me?

A. Please use this translation request form. One copy for SAICO publication and one for SA Literature. After you have translated it, you need to send it to us for review and approval. The purpose of the approval is to make sure that the translation is faithful to the text and, for the White Book, faithful to the sobriety definition.

Q. If we sent it to SAICO for authorization, how long can this take?

A. From a week to three weeks.

Q. Are there costs that SAICO will charge? Do we have to pay for the rights if we publish it in [Country]?

A. My understanding is that if you publish it in [Country], there is no charge. Germany currently publishes the White Book in German and does not pay (as far as I know). I am not certain about this, but I will check with SAICO and SA Literature and let you know.

Q. Does SAICO also print for us? (I think it is more practical if we find a publisher in [Country]).

A. Publish it in [Country]. It is more practical and should be cheaper.

Q. What does SAICO say about reading unauthorized texts in SA meetings?

A. Unauthorized texts should not be used, but using your translation in progress would be OK. It is a good way to get member review and comment on the translation.

You may well have a much better answer to one or more of these questions.

If so, please contact us.

Questions to Consider

  1. How ready am I to stop my current lustful or sexual behaviors?
  2. Do I find that thoughts about sex, romance, or relationships interfere with my daily life?
  3. How often do I sexually act out?
  4. Do I find that I prefer my fantasies to real life?
  5. Do I get lost in my head?
  6. Do I sexualize the behavior of others?
  7. Do I fantasize, masturbate, or otherwise act out to cover up other feelings?
  8. Do I keep violating boundaries that I have set for myself?
  9. Do I find myself using the computer for sexual or romantic excitement? Do I prefer my computer activities to the company of real people?
  10. Have I lost or damaged relationships because of my behavior?
  11. Have I caused myself physical pain or risked my health?
  12. Have I experienced remorse, guilt, shame, or depression because of my fantasies or behavior?
  13. Do I continue the same sexual behavior despite personal, financial, or legal consequences?
  14. Have I been or could I have been in trouble with the law because of my behavior?

Step into Action One, Two, Three  Copyright 2004 by Sexaholics Anonymous, Inc

How to begin in Sexaholics Anonymous?

Quitting Sexaholics Anonymous?

There are no gates, no obligations to stay in recovery with Sexaholics Anonymous. Everyone is completely free.

However we always encourage people considering leaving to read what an experienced Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor shared:

"Some years ago, in a fit of frustration, I sent the following questions to a sponsee who'd just told me that he was leaving the program to work on his marriageReplace this with whatever reason comes to mind: my job or career, my education, my physical, mental or emotional health, my religion or spiritual beliefs, my resentments towards other Sexaholics Anonymous members, my character defects in general, with my psychologist or psychiatrist, take care of my parents or in-laws, spend more time with my children, people in my area aren’t working the program properly etc.. He had worked the Steps and had recently celebrated one year of sobriety. I don’t remember what his reaction was, but thought the questions might be salutary for somebody else".

Twelve Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Quit the Program

  1. Our First Step says, “We admitted that we were powerless over lust.”  If yesterday you were powerless over lust, what’s different today?
  2. If God brought you to the program as a way to get sober, what makes you think he’s changed his mind? And if God’s the one who brought you here, what should we call the Power that’s driving you out?
  3. By going to meetings and working the Steps, you have reached a year of sobriety. Why take chances with the sobriety you worked hard to achieve? Why tamper with a sure thing?
  4. You’re assuming that if you got sober once, you can get sober again if you have a slip. Are you sure about that? What happens if you’re wrong? Will you come back then?
  5. You say your wifeYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc. wants you to quit going to those meetings and stay home with herYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc.. Okay—but can she keep you sober?
  6. You say, “I have to restore herYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc. trust.” Do you really have the power to do that? Isn’t “herYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc. trust” something she has to work out herself?
  7. You say you have to stay home to work on your marriageReplace this with whatever reason comes to mind: my job or career, my education, my physical, mental or emotional health, my religion or spiritual beliefs, my resentments towards other Sexaholics Anonymous members, my character defects in general, with my psychologist or psychiatrist, take care of my parents or in-laws, spend more time with my children, people in my area aren’t working the program properly etc.. Does that mean you’re putting the marriageReplace this with whatever reason comes to mind: my job or career, my education, my physical, mental or emotional health, my religion or spiritual beliefs, my resentments towards other Sexaholics Anonymous members, my character defects in general, with my psychologist or psychiatrist, take care of my parents or in-laws, spend more time with my children, people in my area aren’t working the program properly etc. before sobriety? When you have a slip and your wifeYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc.  leaves you, where’s the marriage then?
  8. You say you need to do this for her. What about being true to yourself? What do you need to do for you?
  9. You say, “When I feel lust taking hold, I will attend a meeting.” What if sheYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc. doesn’t want you to go? What will you do then?
  10. Our White Book says, “Healing in the family begins by staying sober, going to meetings, and working the Steps. It continues by staying sober, going to meetings, and working the Steps. It can end by not staying sober, not going to meetings, and not working the steps” (154).  What makes you think that healing your marriage*** is incompatible with going to meetings and working the steps?
  11. If your wifeYou can substitute this for anyone: my wife, I, me, he, him, she, her, it, its, they, them, we, us, our, you, your, my dog, my cat, my hamster or chinchilla, my priest or rabbi, the doctors, the lawyer, other Sexaholics Anonymous members etc. is fearful when you attend meetings, what can you do about that? Does that mean you shouldn’t go?
  12. You say, “I think of the meetings and how everyone has helped me.” What about giving back? What about your responsibility to the next suffering sexaholic? What about the man who just asked you to be his sponsor?

​​Our Responsibility Statement says, “When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of SA always to be there. And for that, I am responsible.”

Letters to Courts

SA member C, facing trial for an offense related to his lust addiction, asked his SA home group if they would write a letter, which he could give to the court, stating that he had attended SA meetings for a number of months with a proper motivation. He believed that such a letter would help him at his trial.

A number of SA old-timers were asked whether they had any experience of helping a member in this way and whether, according to SA’s 12 Traditions, there were any objections.

  1. In my experience and understanding, this sort of thing is outside of SA's primary purpose. If we begin offering services outside our scope, people will come to SA seeking things other than sobriety. This kind of well-meaning violation of the Traditions has caused serious problems in AA in the past. I recommend contacting SA’s non-sexaholic Trustee, who has 30 years of experience in all levels of service in AA, and nearly 4 years as a Trustee for SA. Page 106 of AA Comes of Age contains some of Bill W’s remarks on singleness of purpose.
  2. To my mind, there is nothing in our Traditions which forbids an SA group from helping one of its members in this way.
  3. In [a US city] we do sign an attendance form each time [certain members] come to a meeting. I personally could not write about proper motivation since there is no way I can truly know. I have gone to court to be with the person to show my support. If I did write something, it would merely be based on his attendance and whether they had a sponsor or not.
  4. I believe it would be okay for a local SA group to write a letter to the court. I suggest that they be careful to be accurate and say only what they know to be true.  For example, they could report how faithfully he attended meetings, whether he had a sponsor, and whether he was working the Steps (this last, the sponsor should know). It's hard to know whether a member has the "proper motivation," but the group can report on whether he fulfilled specific parts of the program.
  5. Sure - groups, sponsors and friends often vouch for other members. A few of us just testified for a fellow member during a court hearing last week.
  6. First, each group is autonomous except in matters that affect other groups or SA as a whole - this should be the guiding principle if the group does decide to write the letter. Second, our primary purpose is to carry the message. A third guiding factor is that no one speaks for SA. Putting these together makes clear to me that any individual can act to support C outside of SA but that would be a personal act and not an SA approved action. If a collective of SA members wanted to support C and write about his attendance, his work and his motivation then anonymity becomes a factor to consider. Whilst C may choose to forgo his anonymity with respect to his participation in the fellowship, those writing the letter may choose not to. Who we see here and what we say here let it stay here. In summary, I believe that anyone from the program, together or alone can and should support C in his proceedings and if they are so inclined provide a character witness as to his work towards self improvement but they should be cautious whether in writing or in speaking to not violate the principles, steps and traditions. That unfortunately was the easy side of the question, what shouldn't we do. It is much harder to say what should we do. The prospect of writing or testifying without speaking for SA, without affecting another group (which could be your own group if you speak as an individual and bring consequences to your own group) in the spirit of carrying the message and without breaking anonymity is very difficult. It may go something like this as an example: We the undersigned attest to the fact that we attend a twelve step recovery group for sexual addiction with C. He regularly attends the meetings, has a sponsor and reports on his progress in his step work. His progress in his recovery is evident from his willingness to take risks sharing his struggles and his triumphs and how he uses the twelve steps and the other tools of the program to better himself and the situations he faces daily.  I believe that with such a letter (take what you like and leave the rest), a sincere and honest statement can be made and submitted. Those who take this action need to be aware that they could be called to testify and the same principles should guide them if this were to occur. I will pray for C and those in his home group who are supporting him.
  7. I would recommend against this letter from the group. Once it is submitted to the court it becomes a matter of public record. Neither the group nor any individual would have any control of how it might be used. Another part of this is giving testimony as to his motivation for attending. How could anyone know for sure his true motivation? In AA we sign slips that a person has attended but do not attest to their motivation. In The Precautions page 181 of the White Book and in Discovering The Principles there are many warnings about submitting something that can become public property. There is also the possibility that if this person has an unadjudicated crime on their record those who sign could be called to court to testify or be charged for not reporting it. I have gone to court with AA sponsees of mine but just for support, not to testify. The legal ramifications that could stem from this could be bad. I believe that is why the literature recommends that we do not do interviews with the media or cause media exposure. Once it becomes public property, like a court document, you have no control over it. In the state of New York a person in an AA meeting admitted to a crime during discussion. One member from the group went to the police with it and the whole group was subpoenaed to testify and those unwilling to were charged with contempt of court. It was pointed out that anonymity does not exempt one from testifying. It does not give one privilege like being a lawyer. There are many of us who would love to help those in court but to involve SA could be very detrimental to the fellowship and breaks Traditions 10, 11 and 12.
  8. I am not an oldtimer but want to add some comments on the discussion: (a) The legal system and habits are different in different countries. (b) During an interrogation, a member can declare himself that he attends SA-meetings, we cannot ask members to not speak the truth. Those interrogations are confidential, as is the whole file; but the lawyer from another legal party (victim,...) can read it and bring it into the public forum during the court session. (c) I know that in my country it is quite common that offenders declare they (have the intention to) join AA-meetings, as they also declare they are following another therapy. (d) The question is whether members of an SA-group should bring out a written declaration to confirm the accused person is attending SA-meetings. I think that the maximum possible could be that a member can state in his own name that so and so attends meetings (only with the permission of the accused member; and while the co-fellow is willing to break his anonymity). I do doubt however how much weight this private declaration of a member will have in court. It is clear that the poor weight of this declaration might not justify the breaking of one’s anonymity and the loose interpretation of the 11th tradition. (e)  I know of a case in my country and juridical system where the accused member explained he was working on his problem and when asked, he gave the name of SA. At that the judge said, attending such an Anonymous Program might be good, but attendance can not be controlled by the authorities. So, it wouldn't have been worth the effort to get a declaration from any SA-member.

 

But what if Sexaholics Anonymous is not for me?

Sexaholics Anonymous is one of several "S" fellowships, and is often seen as "hardlined" or "the end of the line". Many people take the journey of going to other "S" fellowships before eventually ending up in SA. Why? Many members share separate reasons, we hope to post some of those in the future. One reason is that they needed a fixed sobriety definition that all of their fellow recovering addicts also committed to. The unity in purpose gives us strength. 

That being said, we are not possessive over anyone, and freely provide information on the other 12 Step fellowships that may be of help. They are:

Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous

Sex Addicts Anonymous

Sexual Recovery Anonymous

The above links are provided for the convenience of browsers only. SA is not affiliated with any other 12 Step fellowship. 

We hope that you will soon find the right fellowship for you. Please remember that we are here, should you ever need us.

Journalist questions about Sexaholics Anonymous

The following questions were posed by a Belgian journalist in Feb 2010. The answers, written by one sober member, and then reviewed by others, show how such questions might be dealt with. However, they are not a recommendation to grant interviews to the press.

You may have better ideas about how such questions might be dealt with. If so, please let us know here.

Q. Why can you only have sex with a married hetero-partner, according to the principles of Sexaholics Anonymous? Why not with an unmarried committed partner? and why not with a committed (or married) homo-partner? That means that homo's can never have sex? Isn't that absurd? Isn't this discriminating to homo's and people who consciously do not want to marry?

A. Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) has discovered a solution to a progressive, fatal illness called sexaholism. We don’t claim this solution for everybody, but for us, it works. If anyone identifies with us and thinks they may share our problem, then we want to share our solution with them. In defining sobriety, we do not speak for those outside SA. We can only speak for ourselves. Thus, for the married sexaholic, sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self or with persons other than the spouse. In SA’s sobriety definition, the term “spouse” refers to one’s partner in a marriage between a man and a woman. For the unmarried sexaholic, sexual sobriety means freedom from sex of any kind. And for all of us in SA, single and married alike, sexual sobriety also includes progressive victory over lust.

Q. Why can't you masturbate? Masturbating does not always have to lead to derailed behaviour?

A. I have found it impossible to gain victory over lust while continuing to take the actions of lust. For me, these included everything from masturbation and voyeurism to adultery and sexual intrigue. Masturbation, like sucking my thumb, was something I used to do in order to comfort myself. Today, I don't want to do it, and thanks to SA recovery, I don't need to do it.

Q. Why is Sexaholics Anonymous so harsh/severe in its definition of sobriety?

A. I would prefer to use the word clear. If it is also tough, that is because I have a tough disease.

Q. Does the comparison with alcoholism fit?

A. To a certain extent but a better comparison is with compulsivity around food. The research is incomplete, but it seems that very similar brain chemistry is involved in compulsions towards sex and food. As someone who suffers from both compulsions, I am sure that this will prove to be the case.

Q. Isn't sex an essential (unmissable) part of life? Could it be healthy to have no sex any more for a long time (or never any more)? This I find a very important question: could you please be very extensive in your answer here?

A. There is no evidence that abstaining from lust is harmful. I know of many men and women who abstain from sexual activity of all kinds. They seem to me to be perfectly balanced and well adjusted. I'm not sure there is anything further that I can add.

Q. Therapists try to give patients with sex addiction problems a more balanced outlook and attitude on sexuality, in other words to give sex a healthy place, by means of therapy, medication, etc. and not by complete abstinence. Isn't that more healthy, efficient, natural?

A. I am no "ordinary therapy patient in need of a better attitude to sexuality". I am a low-bottomed lust addict who will die of this disease, if I do not have a spiritual awakening and then go on to maintain a fit spiritual condition. The best delivery mechanism for this essential spiritual solution is the 12 Steps.

Q. Isn't that also not what Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) try to achieve: trying by 'recovery plans' to lead a balanced life again?

A. As a former member of another "S" fellowship, I have nothing but gratitude for the work that they do. I stayed as long as I could but my disease progressed and eventually I had to move to "the last house on the block", which is Sexaholics Anonymous. Our recovery plan is to work the 12 Steps.

Q. How 'scientific' (efficient, well-founded, responsible) is the approach of Sexaholics Anonymous? Isn't it more of a 'normative' (ideological, moral, religious) approach?

A. Sexaholics Anonymous is a spiritual fellowship where ill people are getting well. It is not a religion were bad people are getting good. Modern scientific research upholds the biopsychosocial model of addiction and has validated the effectiveness of the spiritual solution. The 12 Steps are simply the best delivery mechanism for that spiritual solution.

Q. Why is the help of a Higher Power (e.g. God) necessary to recover? Can it not be done without God?

A. The Sexaholics Anonymous programme does not require me to believe in God. I know that I am powerless over lust and must find a power capable of overcoming it, if I am to live. That's a power greater than me. I can call that power whatever I like. I happen to call it God. Recovery is impossible without a power greater than me.

Q. The presence of God undoubtedly scares a lot of (non-believing) people; they associate it with sects; is that not a danger?

A. Yes, but they get over it eventually, or they die of the disease.

Q. What do sex addicts have to do who want to withdraw but are atheist, or anti-believing?

A. The same as the ones who do believe; go to meetings; get a sponsor; work the Steps.

Q. Explain in short the 12 steps and why recovery has to follow such a (complicated) road?

A. The path is not complicated, it is just hard. It is the disease that is complex. The solution is very simple: abstain from lust; work the 12 Steps; have a spiritual awakening; become the sort of person who no longer needs to lust; maintain a fit spiritual condition. In essence the steps require me to:

  1. Admit my powerlessness
  2. Seek a higher power
  3. Surrender my will and life
  4. Examine my defects
  5. Confess
  6. Become ready to change
  7. Let go of my defects
  8. List those I've harmed
  9. Make amends
  10. Own up to daily wrongs
  11. Pray and meditate
  12. Tell others about this solution

Q. What's the difference between Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA)? Who is better helped with SA or SCA? Is SA for the 'heavy' cases?

A. Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) is unlike other "S" fellowships in that it has a fixed sobriety definition and appeals directly to those who want to stop lusting. Those who wish to stop certain acting out behaviours only and those who feel more comfortable setting their own sobriety standard will probably look for a solution elsewhere. SA is for heavy cases and for light, but most of all, it is for those who are really serious about becoming lust-free.

Q. Which people come to look for help in Sexaholics Anonymous? Professions, ages, which problems do they have (examples of compulsive behaviour)?

A. Our membership is about 90% men and 10% women, 53% are married, 30% have acted out with same sex. The average length of sobriety of those who attend Sexaholics Anonymous conventions is 3 years. There is no research data on ages or professions. One survey found that members had: used pornography 68%; lusted after others 78%; indulged in romantic/sexual fantasy 76%; lusted after self 28%; intentionally provoked lust in others 36%.

Q. Doesn't it scare a lot of people that they have to be/become quasi-sex abstainers according to the principles of Sexaholics Anonymous?

A. When I got to Sexaholics Anonymous (SA), I was shackled to a madman and willing to do anything to get unshackled. Abstinence from sex has been a very acceptable price to pay for the gift of sobriety. I can reassure the timid that my sex-free years in SA recovery have been the richest of my life.

Q. What do the members of Sexaholics Anonymous do during their meetings? In which sense does this stimulate their recovery?

A. Members share their experience, their strength and their hope, as they discuss the Sexaholics Anonymous solution. In this way we gain experience, strength and hope from each other. Thus we encourage each other to get well and stay well by embracing this spiritual solution.

 

If you are a member of the press and would like to learn more about Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) please contact us.

Does Sexaholics Anonymous have any Recovery Slogans?

 

We certainly do have some recovery slogans that we find helpful to keep in mind:

  • But for the grace of God
  • Let go and let God
  • Expect miracles
  • If it works…don’t fix it
  • To thine own self be true
  • Live in the NOW
  • If God seems far away … who moved?
  • AA = Altered Attitudes
  • SA = Sober Attitudes
  • There are no coincidences in SA
  • Sponsors:
    • Have one
    • Use one
    • Be one
  • I can't handle it God … you take over
  • Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens
  • We’re all here because we’re not all there
  • Have a good day, unless you’ve made other plans
  • Where you go … there you are
  • Make use of telephone therapy
  • Stay sober for yourself
  • When all else fails … follow directions
  • It’s the first drink that gets you drunk
  • The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice
  • Around SA or in SA?
  • One lust drink is too many and a thousand is not enough
  • Anger is but one letter away from danger
  • Easy does it … but do it
  • Bring the body and the mind will follow
  • Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed
  • SA is not something you join; it’s a way of life
  • Faith is spelled: A-C-T-I-O-N
  • Sorrow is looking back, worry is looking around
  • Sexaholism is a disease that tells you you’re alright
  • If you turn it over and don’t let go of it, you’ll be upside down
  • We all have another lust drink left in us, but we don’t know if we have another recovery in us
  • When we surrender to our Higher Power, the journey begins
  • When a person tries to control their lusting, they have already lost control
  • Seven days without an SA meeting makes one weak
  • Remember … nothing is going to happen today that you and God can't handle
  • The time to attend a meeting is when you least feel like going
  • The first step is the only step a person can work perfectly
  • The only thing we take from this world when we leave is what we gave away
  • Sobriety delivers everything lust promised
  • We had to quit playing God
  • Don’t compare – identify
  • SA has a wrench to fit every nut that walks through a meeting room door
  • How does one become an ‘old timer’? Don’t drink and don’t die!
  • SA spoils your sex life
  • If we don’t grow, we gotta go
  • Religion is for those who fear God; Spirituality is for those who have been to hell and back
  • Why recovery never ends: the disease is sexaholISm not sexaholWASim
  • Your exactly where God wants you to be
  • God will never give you more then you can handle
  • Slippers in SA use the RDP: Revolving Door Policy
  • Faith is a lighted doorway, but trust is a dark hall
  • There is a God and I am not it
  • Be nice to newcomers … one day they may be your sponsor
  • Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving
  • Courage is faith that has said its prayers
  • What other people think of me is none of my business
  • The SA paradoxes
    • From weakness (adversity) comes strength
    • We forgive to be forgiven
    • We give it way to keep it
    • We suffer to get well
    • We surrender to win
    • We die to live
    • From darkness comes light
  • First things first
  • Live and let live
  • Easy does it

SA White Book PDF

Can I download or keep an electronic copy of the White Book?

The sort answer is No. Please destroy any copies you may have.

The following letter explains the situation very clearly. Though written in 2012, the situation has not changed.

Electronic copies of the White Book are still illegal and violate the copyright.

 

Feb 9, 2012

Dear General Delegate Assembly Members,

We have received requests to check different websites that offer free pdf downloads of the SA White Book and sell SA literature other than SA online and SA Publications. One has requested to keep it on their website after we requested they take if off. These websites have been asked to cease and desist in violating the copyright of materials.

We appreciate you and thank those of you who have brought many of these sites to our attention.

Sexaholics Anonymous does not have the copyright for any of the material from SA Publications. The SA Permission Committee has been authorized by the copyright holder to pursue such action as may be necessary in order to protect the copyright of the book Sexaholics Anonymous and all SA Publications. Placing the text of this book online in .pdf, .html, or any other format for others to download at will has not been authorized by the copyright holder. It has been discovered that the copyright has been, and is being, violated.

ALL links offering Sexaholics Anonymous White Book is in violation of the copyright and direct all that downloaded Sexaholics Anonymous to delete it and to refrain from further copying or distributing it.

We need your help in requesting all members of Sexaholics Anonymous cease and desist in offering or using all of SA Publications and SAICO literature in pdf or any electronic forms. This includes what members of the fellowship already have. We suggest that all SA members cease and desist further downloads and use of all SA Publications and SA online store

Thank you again for your service to lust recovery.

We request that you carry this message to your regions and the leaders in stopping these violations.

Thank you for your service and may God continue to bless you and the SA fellowship.

Sincerely,

Sexaholics Anonymous Permission Committee

Chair, SA Delegate Assembly

Chair, SA Board of Trustees

Chair, SA Literature Committee

 

As the above text says, this counts for ALL SA literature. Any electronic SA literature online or downloaded in the past which one possesses is illegal.

The first two legal e-books are Members Stories and Practical Recovery Tools. Both can be bought via SA's World Website www.sa.org.

 

Is the Group Conscience Always Right?

No. Like individuals, Group Consciences can be right or wrong. They can be guided by a Higher Power or by a lower power. So it is helpful to employ a wonderful tool called The Test for God's Will. Before, during and after the Group Conscience decision, one can apply the Test and clarify what action one needs to take or not take. Sometimes it is just "masterful inactivity" because bad group conscience decisions have a way of reversing themselves and sometimes quite quickly.