The Structure of My Recovery

Sex addiction came into my life seemingly out of nowhere. It felt like a big, black train in the night. After some serious step-work leading to self-examination, I realized that the “train whistles” had been very loud, and obvious. I now believe that I wasn’t able to see or hear the “train” for many reasons, one of which was that it simply wasn’t God’s timing for me to see it. Another reason was because of my S-Anon Problem — beginning with denial and faulty thinking. It took a long time for me accept my part in this mess and how I resonated with a line from the S-Anon Problem: “We chose friends and partners who could not or would not love and support us in a healthy way.” Once I steadied myself a little, I spent a lot of time smacking myself on the back of the head wondering how I could have missed this glaring problem that existed in my home (and probably had for some time before.) I had always thought of myself as smart and sassy, so this shook my self-esteem to the core on many levels. During those crazy early days of “discovery,” also known, for me, as “shock and awe,” somehow I knew that within all the insanity I had to find some structure, something to stop my mind from wandering, or I would not survive this.

I remember making a little list for myself –almost a checklist of what I had to do each day. At the top of the page I wrote; “The Way to Serenity.” It went something like this: Pray, read, write, stay in contact with other S-Anon people, go to a meeting, take care of myself physically, meditate, and then pray some more. After a few weeks of daily practice, I did begin to feel better. I would set my alarm fifteen minutes earlier than usual, get up, and immediately say the Third, Seventh, and the Second Step prayers (found in CAL). I hadn’t even memorized them yet but I had a little card. Sometimes I would be on my knees, sometimes just sitting in a chair. I found that there was a lot of power in just saying the words. The prayers could sometimes replace the fear-based obsessive thinking that had become a fixture for me.

Next I would read some kind of conference approved literature. I love our literature, but I also gravitated to some meditation books from Al-Anon’s Conference Approved Literature list. I have a small stack of daily readers close at hand. For the first 15-20 minutes of my day I would read the meditations in my books for that date. I would then go about my day as best I could. Some days were better than others. As my spiritual journey to self-love, acceptance, and growth continues through S-Anon, I realize how much worth there was in my little checklist. I still try to do at least two to three recovery-oriented things per day. S-Anon has given me a structure (the Steps and Traditions) that has taught me how to take care of myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically. S-Anon is a spiritual program. All I have to do is show up, be willing to let HP guide my life, be open to what I am guided to, do my own work, and my “ability to act positively on behalf of myself ” amazed me. By accepting my “S-Anon Problem,” using the “Keys to Recovery,” and staying away from the “Obstacles to Recovery” the “Gifts of the Program” are happening for me everyday. I am very, very grateful.

Reprinted from the Winter 2010 issue of S-Anews©.