[From Essay, December 2020] Let’s start with some statistics. The word happy appears in the book Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) seven times, and in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 16 times. The word joyous is in the SA book eight times, and in the AA book 12 times. Freedom is used only four times in the AA book and 37 times in the SA book. That leads me to
believe that freedom is more important to sexaholics than to alcoholics. That does not mean freedom is not important to alcoholics, it simply means it is more important to us.

So, what is freedom to a sexaholic, and not just freedom, but happy, joyous freedom? I can’t tell you what it is for others. I can only tell you what it is for me. When I came to Sexaholics Anonymous I was a member of another ‘S’ Fellowship. I had defined my bottom-line behavior, and it coincides with the SA shared sobriety statement. So, I already had some sober time when I came to SA.

My road to recovery did not begin because I was powerless over lust, sex, alcohol, nicotine or anything else. It was because my life was unmanageable. My wife left me, took the kids, I lost my house, my car, my job and, most importantly, my dignity. It took me six months of ‘S’ meetings before I also joined AA and got a real start on
recovery. I am a real sexaholic as well as a real alcoholic, and I could not stop on my own. It is my belief that anyone who is in recovery from any addiction is crazy to drink alcohol. Alcohol lowered my inhibitions and made it easier to do things I would not do had I been sober.

I was trapped in a nightmare and couldn’t wake up. One day of not acting out sexually was barely possible for me, multiple days impossible. I went to both ‘S’ meetings and AA meetings, multiple times a day. I could go without drinking, but I couldn’t stop acting out sexually. After four and a half months of start and stop (mostly start) sobriety, I became suicidal and ended up in a treatment facility.

After about 30 days I was sent home with some tools to help me stay alive long enough for the fellowship to continue helping me stay alive. I started into recovery with a
renewed enthusiasm . Life got a little better, I found a job, went to meetings, gained several months of sobriety, felt some serenity in my life and eventually remarried. But I still didn’t feel any real happiness, joyousness or freedom. I did a great job of faking it. My stage character looked good to everyone except me. I have heard people say that their insides didn’t match other’s outsides. My inside didn’t match my own outside.

I lived that way for about four years. Then I had a major relapse. It was not a slip. It was a relapse, and I didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t tell anyone what was really going on in my life. Instead of buying pornography I was breaking into people’s apartments and
masturbating with their pornography. My life got progressively more unmanageable over the next nine to twelve months. I finally had a scare when someone came home and caught me in their apartment. I escaped and told an AA friend what had happened. He gave me the courage to set aside my pride and tell my wife and my ‘S’ group the
truth about what was going on in my life.

The problem was that I had talked about the Steps, read about the Steps, went to meetings about the Steps, but I had not actually taken them. Another friend gave me some tapes with instructions for the Steps as written in the AA Big Book. In earnest, and using the tapes and the AA Big Book, I went from Step One to Step Twelve. I had the spiritual awakening promised in Step Twelve and my life has not been the same since. Today I can do things I could not do before. I can feel things I could not feel before. And I believe things I could not believe before.

Years later, through the unseen hand of God, I found my way into SA. I feel at home with people who truly understand that lust has been my real problem all along. Contact with others is now more important than ever. Even in troubling times, like this Covid-19 pandemic, I still have the gifts of sobriety, serenity, sanity, and spirituality. I regularly attend meetings online (via Zoom) or by phone. I talk to other members of the fellowship daily. And, most importantly, I use the Steps to stay in conscious contact with God.

By the grace of God, the Twelve Steps, and the Fellowship, I have been sober since October 16, 1991. I have been granted progressive victory over lust, and today I have happy and joyous freedom from the need to act out sexually, from the bondage of self, and from the bondage of lust. And for all that I will never be sufficiently grateful. Today, I know that my recovery is the most important possession I have. Conscious contact with God answers all my problems today.

“Nonetheless, in spite of the questions, struggles, and confusion that we have gone through, we find that sexual sobriety is truly ‘the key to a happy and joyous freedom we could otherwise never know.’” Sexaholics Anonymous Pg. 2. I believe that if you thoroughly follow the path I followed; you, too, can live in happy and joyous freedom (even during a pandemic).

Bob F – Omaha, Nebraska