[From Essay, June 2013]

I am a low-bottom sex drunk who has been sober now for 29 years. Yet today I’m writing about a most glorious spiritual journey that I only recently made. The purpose of my journey was to bring the message of recovery and the miracle of my sobriety to fellow
sexaholics throughout Europe. It’s a message of what God, the Steps, and the fellowship can bring to our lives. It is a message of how this very ill sexaholic is no longer a slave to lust, resentment, or fear, and can now share this design for living to others around the world.

My journey began with an email request from the SA fellowship in Belgium, asking whether my wife and I could give a weekend workshop in Belgium. The group, with the help of other groups in Europe, said they would take care of our airfare. We agreed.
Then suddenly a voice came into in my mind: ”Harvey, as a Jewish man, you have lived with anger and resentment toward the Germans and Polish people concerning the Holocaust. You are now an old man. Are you willing to die with this resentment or are you ready to let God release it from you?”

I immediately knew the answer.

I was ready to have the resentment removed. It was the only answer.

It was the Twelve Step answer. I knew it could only be removed through action. And I knew at that moment that I needed to also bring the message of the joy of recovery to Germany and Poland. I realized that to really do this from deep within myself, the travel
to Germany and Poland had to be at my own expense. I needed to visit those countries for my own recovery.

Months went by as I tried to contact people in Germany and Poland. Bit-by-bit, the month- long journey took form. First we would go to Antwerp to speak, then on to a weekend workshop outside of Brussels. After that we would do a Step workshop in Amsterdam, and then a workshop in Munich, Germany. From there we would conduct workshops in both Krakow and Warsaw, in Poland.

Snow followed us everywhere we went, but so did the love we received. Wherever we went, we met caring and wonderful people. We never felt alone. The different groups would set up SA tour guides for us. We were invited to stay at many people’s homes. Here I was a low-bottom sex drunk in recovery, treated with respect and admiration. My wife was also given much love. I want to share just a few examples of the love and respect we experienced.

A man from Belgium—who also lives in Poland part of the year— flew from Belgium to Warsaw to pick us up on Easter weekend. He changed his very important Easter religious plans to make this trip.

He wanted to drive us—in the snow—from Warsaw to Krakow so that we could try to find the towns where my ancestors lived, before they emigrated to the United States 122 years ago. He spent the entire weekend with us finding my family’s three ancestral towns.

For our Passover Seder, we were in Munich and our gracious hosts (who were not of our religious background) let us have a Seder in their home. They invited six other members from SA and S­Anon (also not of our religion) to attend the Seder that evening.

The ten of us shared a recovery Seder with our family of choice that night. I will never forget it. It was possibly the best Passover I ever celebrated.

In Poland, I learned a new word to use in recovery. They call each other brothers there. They don’t say, “I went to a meeting with some fellowship members.” Instead they say, “I was with my brothers.” When they say it, you clearly hear the love they have for each other.

People were willing to incon­venience themselves to be able to put us up in their homes. One member in Warsaw and another in Krakow each spent days walking with us in the snow to show us their cities. One man was willing to spend his afternoon with me at a dentist in Krakow to translate for me when my tooth filling popped out.

There was a couple who drove us all around Warsaw to find a pharmacy to help my wife with a foot problem. The stories don’t end. These scenarios happened time and again whenever we met our SA and S-Anon brothers and sisters.

Yes, as we drove toward Munich, we did have an uneasy feeling when we saw a sign for Dachau, the infamous concentration camp. And yes, we did have a pensive day visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau, the two death camps in Poland. However, nothing was able to dampen the love and care we received from our SA and S­Anon families.

My life has been significantly changed as a result of this trip. In our journey—especially to Germany and Poland—God was able to remove from me any resentment I had toward a group of people who were not involved with any issues of the Holocaust. In fact, most of the people we met were not even born at that time. Did I get healing? You bet I did! Not only did I get healing from resentment, but from prejudice and from a judging spirit. I saw God again through the love we received from our recovery family. Most of
all, I saw God through the love I had for all these fellow sufferers of our disease. God greatly blessed me by allowing me to carry the message to so many people that this program does work.

—Harvey A., Nashville, TN