A Message for the Newcomer
Brothers and sisters,
Welcome from the Central Pennsylvania Intergroup of Sexaholics Anonymous! For those new to recovery and to the 12 Steps, we want to summarize some of the experience, strength, and hope that we've heard from sober members of our fellowship, as well as others who have gone before us in this journey.
Capital “SA” stands for Sexaholics Anonymous, one of several 12-Step fellowships which focus on recovery from sexual addiction. Some folks use “sa” to stand for “sex addiction” and that could cause confusion. SA is different from the other S–fellowships in that it has a specific sobriety definition, no sex with self or outside of marriage, and progressive victory over lust. More info can be found at www.sa.org.
What is addiction?
The most helpful information for us was found in the AA Big Book (The Doctor's Opinion, Bill's Story, More About Alcoholism) and the SA White Book (A Personal Story, Sexaholism—The Addiction, Lust—The Force Behind the Addiction, The Spiritual Basis of Addiction). (We saw that our problem was threefold: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Healing had to come about in all three. “The Solution” SA White Book) Our experience and observation is that other “answers” that focus solely on medical/chemical treatments or emotional therapies or religion-alone rarely work as well as the 12-Steps.
How to get started:
- Get to a meeting. Nothing can take the place of face-to-face meetings. Breaking through denial and self delusion and isolation, as well as learning to strive for absolute honesty are all fostered in a group of addicts who you must look in the eye when you speak, and who know all the lies and bullsh** that come naturally to many of us. The “magic” of these meetings is that when you share your struggles and experience in working the Steps, God shows me my answer in your story.
- Get your hands on the AA Big Book, the AA Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, and the SA White Book. Read them and then read them again. Many believe that Bill W. and Roy K. were inspired by a higher power when they wrote these books. These books are available online or at the Harrisburg meetings.
- Make sobriety your priority. Sobriety must come first. Even in front of family, work, church, whatever. Without sobriety, I have no hope of maintaining a marriage or family or job. And if I'm still lusting and acting out, then I'm fooling myself if I think my relationship with God is right. (SLIP = Sobriety Lost Its Priority)
- Find a sponsor. If I think I can do this on my own, I am deluding myself. I must surrender the idea that I'm smarter than everyone else, and take direction from somebody who has what I want.
- Work the Steps. They are the path to a spiritual awakening which includes a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery. (The essence of the 12-Steps is “Find God, Clean House, and Work with Other Drunks.” Simple, but not easy!)
- Remember that knowledge is NOT power. This is a lie that many of us have fallen for. If I can just learn enough about the cause of my addiction, or if I can just learn more about the Steps, or if I can read more about spirituality, I'll be able to stay sober. (I can't think my way into right acting—I have to act my way into right thinking!) I don't have to understand the Steps. I don't have to feel good about the Steps. I just have to DO the Steps. Afterwards, my thinking and feelings come along. This is not just a fancy slogan. It is the experience of many many of us!
If questions arise about the Steps or recovery, ask your sponsor or members of your group, or here online.
This was all suggested to us when we came into the Program. As our fellowship has grown and many SAs have been blessed with years of sobriety, we can say that the Program has worked for us—one day at a time. Maybe it won't work for some folks. But we think it might!