Overcoming Self Reliance: From Isolation to Community

I’m an extravert, and no one who I’ve known over the years of Twelve-Step life would ever have called me isolated. I talk about myself a lot, but it wasn’t until I got into S-Anon after hitting a traumatic bottom that I ever talked really honestly about my relationship with the sexaholic. My attitude before recovery was that no one was going to tell me how to run that relationship. I had found the love of my life and I would not let anyone get too close, for fear of losing my hold on my primary relationship no matter how unhealthy the relationship was becoming or, in some ways, may always have been.

So God did for me what I could not do for myself and I found S-Anon, or S-Anon found me (that’s closer to the truth). In the past four years I have truly come out of isolation—a.k.a. out of self-reliance—and into the community of S-Anon. Now I DO let people give me feedback about how I‘m operating in my relationships. My best thinking didn’t get me very far. HP knew all about me but I hung on tightly to doing it my way until the pain got too great. I let the healthy people get close to me. The fortress came tumbling down and it needed to.

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Going to Meetings

Meetings are a vital part of the S-Anon program, providing us with the opportunity to identify and confirm common problems and to hear the experience, strength, and hope of others. Meetings give us a place where we can be ourselves and be unconditionally accepted. For those of us who have access to them, regular attendance at meetings is an important tool in working the program and staying “sober” in S-Anon. Some of us began S-Anon without any S-Anon meetings in our area. We found that attending “meetings” through the electronic media and open Al-Anon meetings were helpful in breaking our isolation and strengthening our spirits, although these meetings cannot take the place of face- to-face meetings with other S-Anons. In addition to local meetings, many of us have attended SA/S-Anon International Conventions, SA/S-Anon Regional Conventions, Marathon Meetings, and/or local gatherings. We heard experience, strength, and hope shared by a broad base of S-Anon members and found these events to be a helpful boost to our recovery.

 

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 3.

Finding Peace in My Fellowship

Before I had a name for it, I felt the presence of sexaholism creeping into our homes: less laughter, more criticism, lies, excuses, hostility, no eye contact and, perhaps most painful, the emotional distance in our sexual relations. I felt like I was being used rather than loved. My powerlessness over sexaholism led me to the point of despair, and it was clear I had to take some sort of action to get relief. I decided to read some Conference-Approved Literature one night because I had heard it suggested at an S-Anon meeting as a method of coping with those difficult highs and lows we experience, and I was at my lowest. I picked up Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”) and began to read it for hope and comfort. I came upon the directions for taking Step Three on page 63. Feeling like I had hit bottom and couldn’t do it on my own anymore, I made a decision to let God into my life – without conditions. I prayed the Third Step prayer with a sincere attitude as it suggested. I was comforted to see that the section on the Third Step concluded with these words: “This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.”

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Praying Individually

Recently I found myself in several relationship struggles: needing to make an apology at work, having to be uncomfortably honest with a friend about her having hurt my feelings, and desperately trying to stay out of a conflict between my sister and my mother. On top of all that, I had to talk with two sponsees who were not working their program to our mutually agreed upon expectations. It felt like a snowball rolling downhill about to become an avalanche.

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