Letting Go of My Need to Control

S-Anon is helping me to see that just as lust is a serious problem for the sexaholic, my need to control is also a serious problem for me. When that character defect of being controlling is active in my life, I want things done my way at any cost. I want my husband to be just the way I want him to be.

Today, when I sense myself becoming anxious and controlling, I ask my Higher Power to help me see the other person (usually my husband) as a capable adult person, not wanting or needing my control. That person the dignity of making his or her own choices.

I am also grateful that through the gifts of my husband’s recovery, he now is able to alert me gently when I have over-stepped his boundaries. Little by little, our Higher Power is removing character defects from both of us.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 10.

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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Someone Who Understands

Once I learned that S-Anon existed, I knew I would attend, but my motives were mixed. Mostly I felt that I “should” go, to be the loving wife that could never be accused of not supporting her husband, an addict. But part of me knew that I needed to talk in an environment that allowed open discussion of a painful, even embarrassing, disease. The complexities of being married to a sexaholic – a respected leader in the community – were such that I was desperate to talk to someone who would understand. Going to the first meeting was hard. Only one other member was there, and at first I was disappointed and felt some pressure that my first meeting was to be a one-on-one conversation. But I was able to tell her my story, and to hear hers, before a few other people arrived quite late. Before the meeting, I expected to meet horrible people who were married to perverts. During that meeting, and those that have followed in the time I’ve been working this program, I’ve met some wonderfully honest and compassionate people. I went at first because of my husband’s addiction. Now I go because of my own difficulties and struggles.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

It Really Does Work

I was real familiar with going into a group and blending into the woodwork. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, hurting somebody’s feelings, or making a fool of myself. I always worried about how other people saw me, so I thought the best approach for me at my first meeting was not to speak, and I wondered if I would ever be able to share with the group. After I had been coming to meetings for a while someone told me, “If you want to get better, you have to raise your hand. You have to share what’s going on with you.” And when I felt ready, I did. And it really does work.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

A Weight Was Lifted

It was like coming home! Several years before I found S-Anon I was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. At that time I said to my therapist, “I wish there was a group like Al-Anon for me because I feel completely alone.” But the S-Anon people at that first meeting knew my pain and my despair. The topic of the discussion was “enabling,” and it nearly broke my heart to find out that all my frantic efforts to “help” had actually “helped” my husband stay in addiction. At the same time, a two-ton weight was lifted from my shoulders when I was told this behavior was not my responsibility. Finally I was given the chance to work on myself and it hurts so good!

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

Out of Despair and Denial

I remember sitting there and having no idea what was happening. I didn’t understand what they meant by “powerlessness” and I didn’t understand how my life was unmanageable. I could hear it in other people’s stories, but I thought I was there to support my husband – he was the one with the problem, not me! The topic of the meeting that night was “Anger” and I remember being appalled and thinking to myself, “This is the angriest bunch of people I ever met in my life!” I didn’t know then that “If you spot it, you got it.” I didn’t know at that point how angry I was inside. I slowly came to realize that I was powerless over a lot of things…finally after about five meetings I was able to start listening. I had to come to the point of despair in order to come out of denial, but it was wonderful that my S-Anon group was there to support me.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

A Humbling Experience

I hoped I would find some answers on how I could fix my husband. Even though I was suicidal, I really didn’t think that I had that much of a problem. Talk about minimizing! It was a humbling experience for me to realize that my addiction to my husband was just as devastating as my husband’s addiction to lust. I realized that my recovery was really and truly a matter of life and death for me, and that there was no in-between. I never did figure out how to fix my husband, but the longer I keep coming back to S-Anon just for myself, the more joy and serenity I feel.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

People Who Understood my Pain

I went to my first meeting immediately after learning that my husband’s string of affairs was an addiction to lust. I was in so much pain from the discovery of the betrayal I was desperate enough to try anything. I also wanted answers about living with a sexaholic, like “What is the percentage of sexaholics who relapse?” and “How would I know if relapse had occurred?” I never did get the percentages I wanted, but I got to know a group of people who understood my pain as no one else could, having been there themselves. I was one of those who could disregard what therapists told me, saying to myself, “They haven’t been betrayed as I have!” But I couldn’t dismiss what I heard in these meetings. In the beginning I cried, meeting after meeting, but I always felt reassured when they told me they had been where I was and understood. It seemed that by sharing the pain with them, it was lessened. I came to learn that I was dependent upon another person for my happiness and for life itself, and that was part of my problem. S-Anon has helped me to gradually gain an independence, self-confidence, and serenity I never thought possible.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

Gratitude

S-Anon has blessed me with precious gifts over the years. The ones I am most grateful for are: the ability to make better choices for myself; recognizing and responding (not reacting) to unhealthy situations; and knowing and loving myself.

When I listen to others share their experience, strength, and hope I receive insights regarding where I came from and where I am going. It humbles me. I am a work in progress. Years ago that wouldn’t have been good enough: I expected to be perfect and I expected others to be perfect, too.

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