[from Essay May 2020]

The moment we knew the jig was up

First Light

Whenever I get into negative or obsessive thinking, I try to remember the great promise of recovery from sex and lust addiction as I first experienced it. We all remember where we were and what we were doing when first we learned of something that would forever change our lives, especially something that promised us freedom from a hopeless state of mind and body. We know where we were when we realized we were not alone with this burden. 

With this thought in mind, recently I picked up SA Member Stories 2007 and looked for the part in each story where the author, now sober, came to a turning point, members who, when they first heard there was a solution, realized their lives would never be the same, and acted on that realization:

“‘I’m a sexaholic.’” I can still remember the first time I said that at an SA meeting.” (P 1)

“Finally, reading a bulletin board in a Church one day, I learned about SA. I knew when I heard my first share that I was home.” (P 6)

“While waiting to go to trial, I was fired from my civil service job of almost 32 years. I voluntarily put myself into a treatment program. As part of the treatment, we attended SA meetings. I got a temporary sponsor, and I got sober.” (P 12)

“[My wife] told me to get into SA or get out. I called the number she gave me. The man said, ‘It’s lust, it’s what’s in your head that is killing you.’” (P 19 – 20)

“Through another miracle of God, I learned about SA the following year, when I was thirty-two years old. That was in 1985. I stopped masturbating, one day at a time, a week before my first meeting.” (P 23)

“[I] confided in a new man at Church. As Providence would have it, he was in SA and invited me to a meeting. When I went there, I entered a room of mostly men [ … ] I got a sponsor and did what she told me.” (P 28)

“It was on that day, after leaving the porno shop in utter hopelessness, that I met the person who had previously informed me about SA. He invited me to my first SA meeting. I was ready. It was just the two of us at that first meeting.” (P 32).

“My therapist said it was SA or impatient treatment for me. That’s when I started going to SA meetings for myself.” (P 37 – 38)

“At the age of forty-seven I finally sought help and was sent to a treatment center for sex addiction. I was so grateful for my introduction to Sexaholics Anonymous there.” (P 42)

“Finally, I found SA. When I went to my first meeting, I heard a piece of myself in the other people who shared.” (P 45)

“ … I talked to a graduate student in the school of psychology about my acting out. She suggested that I go to Sexaholics Anonymous. Six months later, I went to my first SA meeting, to check it out … I bought a copy of Sexaholics Anonymous and started reading it.” (P 50)

“After I had served nine years in prison, I was lucky enough to get help starting the first SA group in any state prison system.” (P 54)

“I went to a city where I knew there were Twelve-Step groups and other resources for sexual recovery. Someone told me there was a fellow trying to start an SA group. I called the number given me.” (P 63).

“Then [my second husband] walked into SA. I saw a sparkle in his eyes I had never seen before, so I walked in myself to check it out.” (P 69)

“When my female roommate moved out, a male friend of hers moved in for a short stay. He was a recovering member of Sexaholics Anonymous.” (P 74)

“The first person to tell me this problem might be an addiction was the woman who is today my wife. I told her about my experiences, and she said it reminded her of my drinking.” (P 77)

“I am a woman who was Twelfth-Stepped by a ‘Dear Abby’ column about sex addiction. When I read the word ‘sexaholic,’ I knew it described me.” (P 80)

“One evening at an open AA meeting a man beside me introduced himself as a sexaholic. [ … ] The ‘convincer’ came to me from an SA member who told me that the key to the thing was lust.” (P 85 – 86)

“Sobriety came one day in 1985 like an unexpected gift. Three weeks earlier I had learned that there were people who called themselves sex addicts and who held Twelve Step meetings.” (P 88).

“At age 54, just a few weeks after a brush with mortality, I opened a phone book and found a telephone number for Sexaholics Anonymous. From my very first meeting, I knew I was home.” (P 94)

“I was forty-two years old when I first heard the phrase ‘sex addiction.’ [ …] I had just been comprehensively Twelfth-Stepped by a couple who were visiting from London.” (P 96)

“After another year of depressed alcohol and drug sobriety, I received the SA brochure from an anonymous counselor. My first reading of ‘The Problem,’ ‘The Solution,’ and ‘Test Yourself,’ (the Twenty Questions), turned on the light.” (P 105)

“ .. I was suicidal. During this same week, information on sex addiction was presented both on television and in the newspaper. I immediately sent for more information and read it. They were talking about me!” (P 115)

“Then I heard about Sexaholics Anonymous. Right away I knew that I needed this program, but I was afraid of what I would have to surrender.” (P 122)

“With [a counselor’s] help, I found a Friday night open meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous. I had to act out before I went to the meeting. The next meeting was Saturday morning, 115 miles away, but I went – and sober.” (P 126)

“I remember the day in 1992 when I contacted SA. It is still my sexual sobriety date.” (P 134)

“I came to SA out of desperation. After that last [lust] episode, I had an emotional breakdown … I had to admit and accept, at least for twenty-four hours, that my habit had conquered me.” (P 138).

“I heard about Sexaholics Anonymous at an AA meeting, so I contacted SA and started going to meetings.” (P 144)

“There were men in prison secretly reading SA material, so I obtained an address from that literature. I wrote and received a free SA manual and brochure from SA Central Office.” (P 148)

“Eventually my wife confronted me over my sexaholism, and I started to attend SA meetings on a regular basis.” (P 153)

“It was self-preservation that finally brought me to SA. I was forty-four. I went to an SA information meeting. I was the only woman there, yet as the men told their stories, I could identify with them.” (P 162)

“As God ordered things, two days before my first injection [of a drug to suppress sexual urge] someone with whom I had acted out in a porno shop and who shared my problem became my connection to SA. I read that wonderful SA brochure and cried again, this time with tears of hope.” (P 169)

Sexaholics around the world are having similar experiences daily thanks to SA. They are having these experiences now. They will continue to have these experiences for as long as SA exists. The Responsibility Statement – When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of SA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible – thus becomes a Promise. For the good that’s being done in the world, I am responsible. What a gift!

Anonymous. Virginia USA