Sex Addicts Anonymous
— A Pathway to Recovery
As sex addicts who have found a solution, we offer a message of hope to all who suffer from sex addiction. This pamphlet is an invitation to recovery for anyone who believes that he or she may be experiencing the same problem that we have faced.
Sex addiction was progressive for most of us. Thus, its consequences usually became more severe over time. We experienced obsession, which is mental preoccupation with sexual behavior or fantasies. We experienced compulsion, which is an urge that is stronger than our will to resist. Both were destructive, because they led us to addictive sexual behavior. We refer to these behaviors as acting out. [Paraphrased from Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 3]
While living in addiction, our preoccupation with sex and sexual fantasy became more important than friends, family, and career. Sex-related obsessions filled our minds and distorted our thinking. Sex became our way to get relief from negative feelings and further avoid responsibility. We repeated sexual behaviors even though we were often aware of the potential risk to others and ourselves. Much of our time was spent acting out or trying to manage the resulting crises and problems. Many of us went against our own moral values, for sex became an overpowering force in our lives. We fabricated lies to hide our behavior. We found ourselves isolated and alone, often gripped with fear and despair. [Paraphrased from Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 4]
No matter how sincerely we desired to stop our preoccupation with sex and our destructive sexual behavior, we found that we were powerless to change. Others may have engaged in the same behaviors without ill effect, but we could not. Our will power repeatedly failed. We could not stop acting out sexually, even when we faced negative or disastrous consequences. We came to realize that we were powerless to change on our own.
QUESTIONS FOR SELF-ASSESSMENT
Do you keep secrets about your sexual behavior or romantic fantasies from those important to you? Do you lead a double life?
Have your desires driven you to have sex in places or with people you would not normally choose?
Do you need greater variety, increased frequency, or more extreme sexual activities to achieve the same level of excitement or relief?
Does your use of pornography occupy large amounts of time and/or jeopardize your significant relationships or employment?
Do your relationships become distorted with sexual preoccupation? Does each new relationship have the same destructive pattern which prompted you to leave the last one?
Do you frequently want to get away from a partner after having sex? Do you feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?
Have your sexual practices caused you legal problems? Could your sexual practices cause you legal problems?
Does your pursuit of sex or sexual fantasy conflict with your moral standards or interfere with your personal spiritual journey?
Do your sexual activities involve coercion, violence, or the threat of disease?
Has your sexual behavior or pursuit of sexual relationships ever left you feeling hopeless, alienated from others, or suicidal?
Does your preoccupation with sexual fantasies cause problems in any area of your life-even when you do not act out your fantasies?
Do you compulsively avoid sexual activity due to fear of sex or intimacy? Does your sexual avoidance consume you mentally?
If you are uncomfortable with your answer to any of these questions, we encourage you to consider the following options: Contact the International Service Organization (ISO) of SAA for more information, Visit the SAA website to find a contact person in your local area, Read additional materials about recovery from sex addiction, Attend an SAA meeting to learn more about the Twelve-Step Program and the Fellowship of SAA.
Recovery was possible for most of us only when we accepted the fact that we were powerless over our addictive sexual behavior and that we were incapable of changing through will power alone. Many of us came to this realization when we started attending SAA meetings. In that setting, we heard stories similar to ours and realized that recovery from our addiction was possible. We learned through the SAA Fellowship that we were not hopelessly defective.
Through applying the Twelve Steps conscientiously in our lives, we received the capacity to refrain from obsessive mental preoccupation with sex and from compulsive sexual behavior. As we exercised courage and grew in faith, we began to realize our daily problems were stepping stones to spiritual growth. As we continued working the Twelve Step Program, we experienced the return of personal integrity and found a new sense of purpose in our lives. We discovered the joy of freedom from addiction.
TWELVE STEPS OF SEX ADDICTS ANONYMOUS
- We admitted we were powerless over addictive sexual behavior - that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other sex addicts and to practice these principles in our lives.
- As a fellowship, our primary purpose is to carry the SAA message to the sex addict who still suffers.
- As individuals, our goal is to live free from addictive sexual behaviors and obsessions, which becomes possible by applying the principles of the SAA Twelve Step Program in every aspect of our lives.
- Membership is open to all who desire to stop addictive sexual behavior. There are no other requirements.
- Our groups and the fellowship are supported entirely by voluntary contributions from members.
- SAA is not associated with any other twelve-step fellowship, nor are we affiliated with any other institution or organization. We do not support, endorse, or oppose outside causes or issues.
- SAA is based on the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are grateful to AA for this legacy which makes recovery possible for us as sex addicts.
GETTING STARTED IN SAA
The principles expressed in the Twelve Steps are central to our recovery. Most of us learned to apply these through the Fellowship of SAA. Here are some suggestions for how to get started:
Attend an SAA meeting in your local area and follow these recommendations:
- Attend six consecutive meetings. Give yourself a chance to determine if you want what our Program offers.
- Seek a temporary or permanent sponsor as soon as possible to guide you in getting started,
- Read recovery literature. Pamphlets and books are available at most meeting sites, from the ISO of SAA, or from your local bookstore.
If an SAA meeting is not available in your immediate local area, there are other options:
- Look for meetings within commuting distance of your home. Some members travel a significant distance to attend meetings until they are able to start a meeting near where they live.
- Attend online or teleconference meetings. Information about these meetings can be found at: www.saa-recovery.org under the "Meetings" tab.
- Read SAA recovery literature.
- Find another sex addict in your local area and start an SAA group. Contact the ISO of SAA for a Group Guide, which gives information on how to get started.
- Attend open meetings of other twelve-step fellowships in your local area and begin working the Twelve Steps. Although SAA has no outside affiliations, the underlying principles are the same in most twelve-step fellowships.