Who We Are
We are sex addicts who have recovered. This means that our obsession has been removed. It means we do not have to be shielded from temptation. We do not manage triggers. We do not control our travels so that we won't be tempted. We do not have to be careful about how much money we have in our pockets. We do not have to snap rubber bands on our wrists. We do not worry if illness, being out of town or other circumstances cause us to miss a meeting. We do not have to keep fresh in our mind the past consequences of our last debacle or imagine the potential consequences in order to keep ourselves sober. We are free. When temptation does arise, we found we have been given the ability to react like we are about to hurt ourselves. We have access to this gift as long as we practice specific principles in every aspect of our lives.
Our recovery was not accomplished by methods that are commonly used in S.A.A. today, though many of us first tried those methods unsuccessfully. We found freedom by the methods espoused by the pioneers of the 12 Step program. These precise methods can only be found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. As far as we are concerned, it is what worked for us. Humility demands that we are only equipped to pass along that with which we were successful.
This process was not easy, soft or gentle for any of us. It is a difficult program because it demands that we take actions that we really didn't want to do. We worked these Steps only because going back to our addiction was our only other choice. Going back to addictive sexual behavior was too painful for us. We recommend this program only to those who are without other options, who are without hope of recovery by any other method. After all, if we were to be successful, we had to completely give ourselves to this simple program. This meant the elimination of all other options by actually testing them.
As time has passed our numbers have grown. Persistence in our way of living, faith in the Power which keeps our obsession at bay and keeping our focus on the fundamentals has paid off. We continue to live free of the obsession and now our lives have taken on a real purpose. This is the greatest gift we have received.
What is sex addiction and how can I tell if I have it?
There are many different definitions of addiction. The treatment and therapy industries probably have their own definition. The state/government may have a different definition. But, the addiction model, for which the Twelve Step Program can be effective, is specific. It is discussed in the Doctor's Opinion of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
We believe and so suggested a few years ago that the action of alcohol on the chronic alcoholics is the manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker. Alcoholics Anonymous Pg xxviii 4th Ed.
As a fellowship Sex Addicts Anonymous cannot express any opinion on therapy, good or bad. It is considered to be an outside issue (reference Traditions 8 & 10). Individual members of our fellowship may have had good experiences with therapy or not, but when expressing an opinion one way or the other, they do so as individuals but not as members of S.A.A. Since therapy/treatment is an outside issue and/or an outside enterprise, we are clearly stating that these things are not the same as a Twelve Step Program. Their methods and goals are different than that of the Twelve Step Program. We merely wish to point out that therapy, treatment and professional counseling should not be confused with working the Twelve Steps.
Dr. Bob, one of the co-founders of the Twelve Step movement, in his final address to Alcoholics Anonymous said,
Let's keep this thing simple. Let's not louse this thing up with a lot of Freudian complexes and things which are very interesting to the scientific mind, but have very little to do with our actual A.A. work. Our Twelve Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words “Love” and “Service.”
The American Psychology Association uses this working definition of therapy (psychotherapy):
Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable. (Norcross, 1990, p. 218-220 )
The aim of our program is to have a spiritual awakening. We see spirituality as an active relationship with that which each individual sees as most high in existence. Some refer to that as “God.” We will use this term often. We do so only as a matter of convenience and not as an endorsement of any belief system. We understand a spiritual awakening as simply bringing to consciousness our individual relationships with that which each of us sees as most high in existence. We do this by a simple system called “The Twelve Steps.” They are a collection of specific actions that is summarized on page 164 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous:
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find....
The methods, approaches and goals of therapy and treatment are varied and numerous. They are beyond the scope of our understanding and this web page. Nonetheless, their practitioners are human beings relying on human power and human understanding to achieve these. We are in no position to argue with those who have found happy freedom from their sexual obsession by therapy, counseling or treatment. In fact, we would like to congratulate such individuals. But we were unable to do so by the same method. The Big Book is very clear, though, about the “real alcoholic” (or in our case the “real sex addict”).
Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not. Alcoholics Anonymous Pg 34
This makes the converse also true. We have lost the power to choose whether we will begin our addictive sexual behaviors or not. The only solution we found was something greater than human power.
We do not wish to refute anyone's ability to stop their addiction by human means. We found we needed something more than human power. We merely wish to keep the focus of our fellowship on our program. If you have recovered by therapy, perhaps a therapy based fellowship would be more suited to support you. If you recovered by attending meetings and re-socialization, then perhaps a re-socialization fellowship would be a better place for you to recover. If you find that these fellowships don't exist, we encourage you to start one. We may refer people to you if you do. However, our meetings and our fellowship are meant only to support the program called the Twelve Steps. We are qualified to do nothing else.
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program,.... Alcoholics Anonymous pg 58
If you have tried everything you know to be free of your sexual obsessions including the afore mentioned, then we would like to offer you this thread of hope: we have found something that works for us. It might also work for you if you are at the end of your rope. Our experiences show that it did not work if we divided ourselves between programs. We encourage all who think there are other ways to recover to try those other routes before exploring this one. We each had to know there was no other escape before we could completely give ourselves to this program.