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.
My life can be very compartmentalized: motherhood, friends, program, spirituality, inner child/family of origin, work, home, marriage, etc. After our Step Study, and the next year a Traditions study, I realized the Steps/Traditions had begun to help me daily –kind of on auto-pilot. I find that I can apply them to any situation/feeling and get some kind of divinely inspired guidance. This is my interpretation:
Steps One, Two, Three — I am powerless over most things and people in my life. I can only change myself. That gives me a starting point for determining what action to take or not to take. In a nutshell, the first three steps represent to me that I can’t, God can, I will let Him. I need and will get spiritual guidance simply by seeking it through prayer and meditation. More simply put: I have learned to go to God first, use the tools of the program that I was led to, and surrender the illusion of power over other people and things.
Steps Four and Five — What is my part in the situation? Be open to self-exploration. I love our workbook, Exploring the Wonders of Recovery, and regard it and our other CAL literature as physically written by human hands but, spiritually, by Higher Power. After some fearless moral inventory I bounce the situation/problem and my actions/words in it off another spiritually-guided Twelve Step member and ask for his/her God-guided thoughts. I‘m seeking their view of things, not their advice.
Step Six — Look at what I need to rid myself of to live a more spiritual, healthy life without confusion and conflict. Pray to be shown what these things are.
Step Seven — Ask God to help me improve my life by taking away my part in the mess (my defects.)
Steps Eight and Nine – Make a list, and then make amends to people I have hurt, (including myself) so that I don’t suffer from the guilt of “my bad.”
Step Ten — Every night I identify and correct what I did that day so that I don’t have any internal pain or anxiety over it. If we make a mistake and hurt someone else or myself, the best I can do is try to correct it as soon as possible. This can be verbal, written, or behavioral.
Step Eleven — Stay in contact with God all day—by being open to guidance from all sources and to seek it in all areas of my life. I say the Second, Third, and Seventh Step prayers in my head if I don’t have time to actually meditate. I was amazed at the messages/conscious contact that began to come my way all the time. I actually started a “synchronicity” journal so that in times of fear and doubt, I can remind myself of all the times God “had my back” and had a better plan than I did.
Step Twelve — Help others with their emotional pain by telling my story. How I began to heal from the “effects upon me of another person’s sexual addiction.”
I believe that there is a lot of power in simply telling my story and in my listening to yours. After presenting my First Step at a meeting I felt a spiritual high for days after. To me, this celebrates the “Gifts of the Program”, and the spiritual awakenings that I have become grateful to have been given in S-Anon.
Reprinted from the Fall 2010 issue of S-Anews©.