Some years after coming through the worst pain and grief I could have imagined with the help of my group, my sponsor, and daily application of the tools of the program, I was certain that the pain was behind me and that I could face anything. I felt so much better. I could sleep, eat, think, and work. I could even play and laugh. I relaxed. And I relaxed my grip on my program.
My career was demanding, but I was succeeding in both my personal and work life. I studied the Steps and Traditions, prayed, went to meetings, and sponsored others. On some days, that is. On others, I forgot. I dove right in to handling my life, while paying attention to my program on the side.
It was fall of 2006. I had been attending S-Anon meetings for a few months, but had not yet begun to write out the steps. I was starting to absorb some ideas about what healthy and unhealthy behaviors in me looked like. For example, I heard at meetings that checking on the sexaholic was injurious to me and created turmoil in my daily living. (My home group refers to it as “pain-shopping.”) I also knew that focusing on my own behaviors, feelings, and motivations was helpful. Focusing/obsessing about the sexaholic in my life was not helpful and could be harmful (to me.) Trying to fix myself and change my own faulty thinking was helpful and trying to fix/change and control my husband and others was crazy-making.
Although I was on the right path, and hearing and reading about all kinds of good recovery ideas, there were some practical lessons to be learned along the way. My behaviors hadn’t begun to change yet. I thought that checking on the behavior of others, and knowing what they were doing would keep me safe. “Progress, not perfection.” (I do so love the slogans of this program–they are very affirming.) I believed in my heart that the program was going to help me, yet I hadn’t discovered that S-Anon and the ensuing Step-work was going to change my life in ways that I never dreamed possible.
I was angry with God, and felt that God had been punishing me. I would never have believed that a group of people could be part of my Higher Power. I would have thought that would be sacrilegious or something, but I see now how that works, and how God speaks through every one of us. I just could not have healed from the shame in my life without looking into other people’s eyes and seeing other faces and the nodding of their heads. When somebody in S-Anon says, “Yeah, I know how you feel,” they really do know! It’s as if they grew up in my house or were married to my husband. That has been very comforting and necessary for me as I have grown in the S-Anon program.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.