Our numerous and diverse attempts to control or deny sexaholism brought us to the point of despair. We saw that our lives were unmanageable, and we had exhausted our reserves. Only through this utter surrender did we find strength and a firm foundation on which to rebuild our lives. We acknowledged we could not control the sexaholic or his/her sexual behavior and our attempts to do so had made our own lives unmanageable. We learned that our human will alone could not break the bonds of compulsive behavior either in ourselves or others.
In S-Anon we came to realize that just as we did not cause the sexaholic’s “acting out,” we could not cure it either. It was not our responsibility to keep the sexaholic sexually sober. We learned that it was our job to manage our own lives, whether or not the sexaholic chooses recovery. For most of us it was difficult to make the transition from focusing on the sexaholic and his or her behavior to focusing on ourselves and our own behavior. When we admit powerlessness and unmanageability where sexaholism is concerned, we become able to open our minds to the suggestion that positive changes in our lives depend upon changing our own attitudes and behavior, and we become willing to consider accepting help from outside of ourselves in beginning to make those changes.
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 23.
I had been learning in S-Anon that I had been doing lots of things that were keeping me from serenity and peace of mind, and it seemed impossible that I would ever be able to stop doing all those things. Later on, I began to realize that I would have little chance of changing my behavior in any kind of lasting way if my attitude didn’t change as well. My controlling, angry, self-righteous, self-willed, fearful, obsessive thinking was at the root of my problems. Yet how could I stop being angry, for example? I was also learning that I was entitled to my feelings, and that I had to acknowledge my real feelings, and not deny them and pretend to be something I wasn’t. I realized that emotional sobriety might be many years away if I waited for my feelings and attitudes to change just because I wanted them to. I decided to ask my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings, and in the meantime to help me, in certain situations, to “act” sober, even if I wasn’t feeling particularly sober at the time. It works, one day and one behavior at a time!
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, page 57.
When I began my recovery, my children were all in elementary school. Our home had an atmosphere of tension and insecurity.I was bound and determined to be the perfect mother—loving, compassionate, understanding—but I really did not know how to manifest those qualities in a balanced way. I sometimes went to extremes in caring for my children. There was a constant feeling of impending disaster and if someone made a mistake (and there were plenty!), I reacted in extreme ways. I neglected the children emotionally, obsessing about my husband when he was acting out and worrying about the “next time” when he was not. I lived my life through my kids because I didn’t even realize at that time that I had my own separate life. If they passed a science test, I felt I was a success. If they got a low grade, I was a failure as a mom. Their grades were my grades and their emotions became my emotions.
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.
The tools of the S-Anon program are actions we take, principles we use, and attitudes we develop. The actions we take include going to meetings, sharing with others, finding and being a sponsor, reading S-Anon literature; writing down our thoughts and feelings, and being of service. The principles we use are found in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of S-Anon. They include ideas aimed at allowing us to develop spiritually, as we are guided by the Higher Power of our understanding. The basic attitudes that we aim toward developing are honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. These tools, when used with the Twelve Steps of S- Anon, help our lives to gradually become more serene and fulfilling. Examples of how the tools are used come directly from members themselves.
I asked a member to be my sponsor because I felt I needed to connect with someone regularly. I don’t talk to her every day, but she has heard my story more completely than anyone else, and when I call her in a particularly hard time, she understands.
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 1st Edition, page 10.
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.
S-Anon’s book, Working the S-Anon Program, is now available in eBook format. Working the S-Anon Program is a sharing of the collective experience of the S-Anon International Family Groups fellowship. This book covers specific topics such as abstinence, “slips” in S-Anon, sharing the program with others, and more! See how S-Anon members have put the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions into practice in a variety of situations.
Download your copy today through the SIFG Online Store!