Before S-Anon, I lived in past memories and sexaholic traumas. For example, I went into obsessive thinking when my partner wore the same clothes as he had the day before, believing that this meant he hadn’t spent the night at his own house. Other obsessive triggers included seeing women of certain ethnicities to whom I knew he was attracted, hearing about movies he had seen and I had not, and listening when he would describe women with whom he had had affairs as “friends.” I seldom experienced peace of mind – I was constantly reacting. I have steadily worked the S-Anon program for some time now, and I am rarely triggered into reacting anymore. I mind my own business and focus on the things I can change, rather than on the things I cannot control. I no longer participate in conversations with my partner which have to do with his sexual acting out. My sobriety and serenity depend upon my continuing to nurture a primary relationship with a Higher Power who brings me sanity.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 240.
I have noticed a huge spurt in my emotional growth since attending a recent S-Anon International Convention. I drove away from the Convention with an important awareness: I must focus on my behavior rather than anyone else’s. I have always known that focusing on ourselves is a key principle of the S-Anon program, but I didn’t have the in sight into my own behavior until the Convention. This awareness has helped me change my behavior toward my sexaholic family member. I no longer try to manipulate by making “helpful hints.” I do not make sarcastic remarks, putting down the sexaholic for his behavior. I see the insanity of my thinking and behavior. I thought if I acted mean and said hurtful things, it would cure or control the sexaholic from acting out in his disease. Instead, I am now asking myself, “What’s going on with me when I feel that ‘urge’ to put others down? How is my behavior helping or hindering my serenity? Can I feel compassion for myself and others?”
My behavior has changed with other family members also: I am no longer pushing myself on my adult children. If they don’t want my input on something, or if they have a change of plans and are unable to visit me, I use my program tools to work through how I am feeling. I can then make a plan to get on with my day. By changing the things I can, I have a better understanding of why we call this a “family disease” and of my part in it. This new awareness has done wonders for my serenity!
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 11.
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.
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.
In one of those amazing program coincidences, I attended an S-Anon meeting on sponsorship only a few hours after my sponsor asked me to do a mini-inventory of our sponsor/sponsee relationship. The meeting chairperson passed around a box containing questions about sponsor- ship on individual pieces of paper. She asked each of us to answer the question we drew from the box and to make our comments pertinent to what we hoped to gain from having a sponsor. My question was: “Why is sponsorship important?” Here is my answer.