Our Common Experience
The following reflects the experience of
recovering S-Anon members. If you come to
meetings you will hear these
issues discussed, and if you can't come to meetings, the information
may help to guide you in a direction that will be positive for you.
Read what some S-Anon
members remember about their first meetings.
- We did not have to wait for the sexaholic to
seek help before we took action to help ourselves. Anyone
who is close to a sexaholic who is acting out is under constant
emotional strain and pressure, and we need help just as much as
the sexaholic does, perhaps more.
- Nothing gave most of us greater relief than
the understanding and warm-hearted help we found in an S-Anon
Family Group. S-Anon is a fellowship of people who can be
compassionate because they have first-hand knowledge of the
problems of living with sexaholism. For some of us,
meetings were not comfortable at first. We felt
embarassed, ashamed, confused and angry, but we were reminded
that we were not the only ones with a sexaholic relative or
friend and that our situation was not
hopeless. The best thing we ever did for ourselves was
to "keep coming back".
- We learned more about addiction and its
impact on family members and friends. This helped us to
understand that sexaholism is a disease – an addiction similar
to alcoholism – and it helped us to develop a more realistic
attitude about it. We gained some understanding of why the
addict does what he or she does, and realized that we were not
responsible for their behavior.
- Talking to people who share the same
problems convinced us at the gut level that sexaholism is a
disease, not a moral issue, and that sexaholics are sick people,
not bad people. This knowledge led us away from self-pity,
over-reaction and critical condemnation – all
self-defeating attitudes. We
realized that we did not have to take it personally if the
sexaholic blamed us for the lusting. We stopped blaming
ourselves, and/or using drugs, alcohol or other compulsive
behavior to “escape” from feelings of guilt and self-hatred. We
were greatly comforted by the three Cs: we didn’t Cause it, we
can’t Control it, and we can’t Cure it.
- We could not force the sexaholic to stop
lusting. If he or she did not want to stop, it did no good to
search for clues, try to catch him or her acting out, hide or
throw out pornography, argue, plead or make threats we were not
prepared to carry out. We only made it easier for the sexaholic
to continue his or her behavior when we covered up problems
caused by the acting out or took on more than our share of
responsibility. Some of us found that positive changes in our
own attitudes and actions helped the sexaholic to want to stop,
but we learned that we cannot expect to change anyone except
ourselves. Paradoxically, the best thing we ever did for the
sexaholic was to take positive action on our own behalf.
- Not only is the sexaholic emotionally
involved with the disease; so are all members of the family. It
was important to find someone other than a relative to confide
in and to be as honest with that person as possible, both about
our situation and about our own feelings.
- Even if the sexaholic in our life was in
recovery, for most of us things did not get better overnight. We
had been living with the disease for many years, and no matter
how eager we were to make a fresh start, it took time to sort
through the problems created by past behavior and rebuild trust.
We sometimes say, “Recovery is a process, not an event” to
remind ourselves that being in recovery does not mean an
immediate end to longstanding problems.
- We realized we had gifts, talents and
abilities that were hidden and undeveloped as long as we
concentrated obsessively on the sexaholic and his or her
problems. We committed ourselves to the S-Anon program, hung on
to our faith in the Higher Power of our understanding, detached
ourselves emotionally from the problems of the sexaholic, and
started to use our talents in ways that interested us. We began
to be gentle with ourselves, and to take care of our own
physical, emotional and spiritual needs, trusting that recovery
is possible for each of us, no matter what other people do or
say. Read more about the gifts we
receive from working the S-Anon program.
This page was last
modified on 12/5/15.