(from August, 2018 Essay)
Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose— to carry its message to the sexaholic who still suffers.
In the Traditions, we have one ultimate authority, one membership requirement, and now one primary purpose. All of these support the unity of SA. Tradition Five gives us our singleness of purpose–– recovery from our obsession with lust through working the SA program with others. While we come from many backgrounds, cultures, and spiritual traditions, this unity of purpose is a cornerstone of our society. Service at all levels of our fellowship is guided by this purpose. How will our action impact the newcomer? How can we be more available and more encouraging? How can we spread our message of hope? Carrying the message of our recovery unifies and strengthens our group and benefits the suffering sexaholic and the larger community.
We have in common a singular gift––a solution that offers freedom from the bondage of lust. Our handicap has become a blessing. What purpose could be higher for our group than to share the SA solution?
As my home group grew in sobriety, we began to carry the SA message to clients at a treatment center. It felt right to share the solution we had been given, and we recognized that we needed to pass our recovery on in order to keep it. But at some level we still thought we were doing them a favor. While it is likely that they benefited from the information we shared as well as from our experience, strength, and hope, we also benefited in unexpected ways.
Our experiences at the treatment center began to change our group. We traveled together. We shared together in a community of strangers. On the way home we shared and laughed together about our common experiences. The improved quality of recovery in our group improved. Creating unity had not been our original intention, but that has been the result of living our primary purpose.
I was relieved, as a newcomer, to hear that the old timers still had struggles. They didn’t dwell on their struggles, but they did mention them and what they saw as the solutions to them. Sometimes we all struggle, and in that light sharing the problem is appropriate in meetings as long as it is balanced with the solution. If I had never heard that my sponsor struggled I might have gained a false perspective of recovery. After all, the Twelve Steps have not eliminated the problems in my life, they have merely shown me ways to handle them without needing to resort to lust.