What about practicing these principles in all our affairs? Can we bring the same love and tolerance we are developing in the S-Anon group to our families, personal relationships, and work relationships? Yes, we can begin. This is how further spiritual development occurs. We have seen the importance of “walking the walk,” not just “talking the talk.” We found that our old habit of following our impulses needed revision, because some of our impulses led us into rage, fear and irrational thinking. We learned that giving in to those impulses was not always the best choice for our emotional serenity. As we placed our spiritual growth first, we discovered a better way of living for ourselves and those around us. We surely have come a long way since the time when our desperate need for emotional security drove us into unworkable relationships. We had either dominated others or been overly dependent upon them. We had played games, putting ourselves in the position of the victim, the rescuer or the persecutor. At times we interchanged all of those roles. (more…)
The other day, while getting ready for work, I saw my copy of AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions lying on my bedroom floor amidst the clothes and shoes. As I picked up the “Twelve and Twelve,” I remembered that I had purchased it soon after coming to S-Anon. I remembered how much pain I was in at that time. Aware of how far I have come since then, I felt a flood of gratitude come over me for having found this way of life. Like many who have gone before me, pain and desperation helped me to find a home in S-Anon. In S-Anon I have found a healthy way to think about myself and an approach to life that brings me serenity. I feel I am growing and gaining awareness in many areas of my life, including spirituality, for which I am grateful. It has been a slow process of coming to trust the Steps, my sponsor, my Higher Power, and the program. Today, I am grateful that the principles of the program are becoming a part of me, sort of like my “Twelve and Twelve” book has become a part of the stuff on my floor.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 68.
I have to begin by saying that I really never saw myself sitting in a Twelve Step Meeting. Even after I became aware of the existence of sexaholism in my life and the need to recover from its effects upon me, I was still a little resistant to the idea. When it became painfully obvious to me that I needed to do something in order to get spiritually healthy (let’s say that God gave me the gift of desperation), I became more open to trying something different. I still had my doubts, though. I thought to myself, “Why do they keep saying “hi” over and over?” I didn’t really like the hand-holding circle at the end either. However, I knew that I couldn’t go on any longer as I had been. I went to my first meeting and people kept saying “Keep coming back.” I did. I really had no choice; I had to do something. Then about a year into it I joined a Step Study group. As I sit here today four years later, I have come to view the Twelve Steps as a God-given, fool-proof (It works when you work it) method for resolving internal conflict. They are a vehicle for me to work through the grief/pain from problems and situations that arise every day –a kind of spiritual road map for my soul that God drew for me.
As we start to practice the principles of the S-Anon Program, positive changes occur in our perspectives and actions. At times our progress seems slow, but we learn to appreciate progress and not demand perfection. Sometimes it takes a while to understand the various principles. We find that we can revisit certain Steps or apply them to additional aspects of our lives. We learn to trust the guidance and timing of our Higher Power to help us become aware of attitudes and behaviors that stand in the way of our recovery. Our sponsor or another S-Anon member can often help us, too. We begin to experience our Higher Power’s gift of serenity, and our confusion, fear, and depression lessen. In this way we carry the message of our recovery to S-Anon members, and to others, as well.
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 98.
“I’ve been doing this for a year now and nothing is better,” I muttered to myself as I trudged from my car to the S-Anon meeting room. I was angry. I wanted the pain to be over and the stress to be gone. I wanted to find some peace in my marriage and in myself.
The topic of the meeting that night was acceptance. As I listened to the sharing, I found my anger dissipating and my clarity growing. It occurred to me that I had been trying to move ahead with my marriage, rather than facing my pain and the lessons it had for me. I had not fully accepted the reality that the trust in the marriage had been broken and needed to be rebuilt with honesty.
When it was my turn to speak that evening, I shared some of these thoughts. I also shared that the hardest part of acceptance was admitting I was not in control, and that the anger that continued to plague me was really anger at God because I was not in control.
Since my awareness at that meeting, I have tried to slow myself down and make sure I come to acceptance before I take action on any issue. Regarding my marriage, I pray for “the serenity to accept what I cannot change, courage to change what I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” I trust that the correct course of action will be clear when the time is right. The S-Anon fellowship reminds me that I can have serenity now if I am willing to trust the process.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 305.
A popular discussion topic of many meetings I go to in S-Anon is “spiritual awakening.” Over the years of my recovery, I have come to think of a spiritual awakening as “becoming aware of the obvious.” My awakenings have always been so simple and right in front of me, but early on I would usually miss them because I was lost in my “how my relationship should be if only…” fantasy. Diligently working the Steps gradually removed the fantasy and revealed the obvious insights that were just waiting for me. I am astounded by God’s ability to free so many of us by His message of truth, as He weaves our healing with that of those around us when we follow His lead and carry the message.