I have to begin by saying that I really never saw myself sitting in a Twelve Step Meeting. Even after I became aware of the existence of sexaholism in my life and the need to recover from its effects upon me, I was still a little resistant to the idea. When it became painfully obvious to me that I needed to do something in order to get spiritually healthy (let’s say that God gave me the gift of desperation), I became more open to trying something different. I still had my doubts, though. I thought to myself, “Why do they keep saying “hi” over and over?” I didn’t really like the hand-holding circle at the end either. However, I knew that I couldn’t go on any longer as I had been. I went to my first meeting and people kept saying “Keep coming back.” I did. I really had no choice; I had to do something. Then about a year into it I joined a Step Study group. As I sit here today four years later, I have come to view the Twelve Steps as a God-given, fool-proof (It works when you work it) method for resolving internal conflict. They are a vehicle for me to work through the grief/pain from problems and situations that arise every day –a kind of spiritual road map for my soul that God drew for me.
I used to look to my husband to take care of all my needs, but through my working my program, I have seen that I need to grow up and take responsibility for myself. I have learned to lean on my Higher Power, surrender my sexaholic husband, and focus on improving myself. I know we both have a Higher Power with whom we can work and grow. Taking responsibility for me is critical for my health and welfare, because my husband is still active in his sexaholism. I work to keep the focus on myself by applying the principle of self-support from Tradition Seven.
I am working on taking better care of my responsibilities, such as earning the money I need, paying my own bills, managing my time, dealing with my own frustrations and stress, making recovery connections, and taking care of my physical needs. I am gentle with myself, and I connect with friends in recovery and others who help to nurture me. As a result of being more self-supporting, I spend less time being resentful toward my husband for
not meeting my needs. As I have worked Tradition Seven in my life, I have found that I have lightened up, have reconnected with my creativity, and am having more fun. These are some of the gifts I’ve received by becoming self-supporting.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 237.
This week, during a meeting on Step One and Tradition One, I became filled with gratitude for S-Anon and the courageous souls who share. A newcomer was in the meeting, sharing how she had tried to “go it alone,” but knew that the meetings were necessary for her. It felt as if Step One was coming to life right in front of me. I shared that in the beginning, I had fought with myself over the word “powerless”. If I were to be “powerless,” who was going to care for our young child? Clean the house? Pay the bills? Organize our lives? I could not bring myself to say that I was powerless! My life had just blown up and what I thought I knew, at the time, was just turned upside down. I shared my beginning because when a newcomer comes in, I retell some of my story, and it reminds me of where I started.
Another wave of gratitude filled me: I know what works – the S-Anon program works. The stories being told felt like part of ‘my story.’ I’m an S-Anon. I speak about and from the point of view of an S-Anon. I remember the hurt, shock and sadness that enveloped me, not only in my first meeting, but everywhere I went. Even though this pain persisted, my meeting became my lifeline, which held me from week to week. I heard the truth. My whole being experienced what the truth sounded like, and I began to heal. I continue to be healed by the meetings. At the recent LA convention, I heard other S-Anon’s share in meetings. A feeling of deep and abiding gratitude filled me for all those who walked before me, continue to walk with me, and who have the courage to show up each week.
Reprinted from the Spring 2011 issue of S-Anews©.
The Third Tradition assures S-Anon’s singleness of purpose. Anyone whose life has been affected by a sexaholic relative or friend “qualifies” to join S-Anon. Some local areas have a hotline phone number so that individuals have an opportunity to speak to a program member before attending their first meeting, but this should not be thought of as a screening process. An individual qualifies for S-Anon as soon as they say they do. Tradition Three also prompts us to maintain a sense of belonging and equality for everyone. Therefore, we do not make references to specific religious denominations, professions and other affiliations during our meetings. Likewise, we do not affiliate an individual group with the church or hospital where the meeting is being held. For many of us, our S-Anon group is the first place we felt we really belonged. Tradition Three reminds us to strive to maintain an atmosphere in which everyone who needs the help of S-Anon feels welcome.
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 1st Edition, page 31.
I have shared this before and it hasn’t changed for me. It reminds me on a daily basis why I am “here!” I like to call it my spiritual maintenance.
Tradition Five: “Each S-Anon Family group has but one purpose: to help families of sexaholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of S-Anon, by encouraging and understanding our sexaholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of sexaholics.”
I have to remember that S-Anon has but one purpose (including the on-line group has but one purpose).
If I haven’t got it I can’t give it away. So I had to work very hard on my own “stuff.” I learned to apply the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to my life; I came to understand that the Spiritual basis of this Program is universal.