Using the Tools of the Program

 September 6, 2021

Many of us found that before we could begin to use the tools of S-Anon, we had to let go of, or at least loosen our grip, on the “old tools” that may have helped us survive but simply did not work well anymore. The old tools may have included denial, obsession with the sexaholic, covering up the problem, isolation, rage, and manipulation. In letting go of the old tools, we were able to try new, more effective ways to aid us in recovery. While letting go was at times frightening, we saw that it was the only way to achieve the serenity we longed to have.

    “We let go of the problem, the need to know what will happen and when, the obsession with other people’s choices, the thoughts and concerns that waste our time and energy because we cannot resolve them by ourselves. And we let God take care of them.” [How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 76]

Each member uses the tools that work best for him or her, and we have even found that some things that did not work for us in early recovery become mainstays of our program later on. We use what helps us today and leave the rest for later. We urge you to give serious consideration to how you can use some of these tools to help your recovery from the effects of sexaholism since these tools have been indispensable to our recovery.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, pages 1-2.

My Opinion Has Value

 August 23, 2021

One of the hallmarks of my unhealthy thinking and behavior is my tendency to not express my opinion. I often go along with another person’s opinion instead of considering what I believe. S-Anon helped me to see that having no opinion does not necessarily relieve me of the responsibility of making a decision. When I do not participate in the decision process, I leave myself open for resentment when things do not turn out my way. Working this program has allowed me to make progress in clearly speaking my opinion and letting Higher Power guide the outcome.

Tradition Two reminds me of the importance of taking the time to have a considered opinion and to express that opinion appropriately. When I practice this, I am actively participating in the group conscience – whether it is in an S-Anon meeting, at work, or with family. I believe that God gave me a unique personality and point of view. When I do not take part in the group conscience, I am not being true to myself and I am not helping the decision-making process. It is as if I cease to exist! S-Anon has shown me that I am a worthy person capable of making a contribution. When I do so, everyone benefits.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 260.

Acquiring Faith

 August 8, 2021

We used to think we could only trust ourselves, and most of us have plenty of good reasons to have developed that philosophy. But in our current attempts to live in healthy adult relationships, we are beginning to see that our old philosophies are no longer effective. They aren’t making us happy. We had been certain that our own intelligence, backed by strong will power, was the only way to control our lives. At one time it seemed like a wise policy, but it didn’t pay off. We tried to play God in our own lives, with disastrous results.

We were driven to S-Anon by that near-destruction at our own hands. Self-will ran riot in our lives. Now we admit defeat, and in S-Anon we begin to acquire the faith to recover. We learn we need not face our problems alone. Instead, we learn to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.

“…God as we understood Him” is an important part of Step Three. Many of us who have taken this Step certainly didn’t understand very much about God in the beginning. But as we were willing to make this leap of faith, we began to believe in a God who is loving, forgiving and encouraging to us. We felt free to shed old concepts of God that made us feel “apart from” or unworthy, and we began to understand new and hopeful spiritual concepts.

As we continue to see aspects of self-will emerge, we further realize the futility of our attempts to run our own lives. We see that the myth of self-sufficiency is full of pride and that it leaves us feeling isolated and lonely. When we surrender to God, we connect with a Higher Power and become whole persons.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 27-28.

I Am Not Alone In the Dark

 July 26, 2021

What it means to be “worth it”. For me it is about finding the sweet and special place of my recovery that teaches me self-love and acceptance. It means that I progressively overcome the bondage of self-assassination and unrelenting standards. It means I no longer talk to myself the way my mother did (abusively). It means that I no longer view myself as someone who is unlovable and unworthy. It means that I see myself as one of my Creator’s creatures — ever so divine in my design. It means that I allow myself the humility touched on in the Seventh Step — a humility that I’ve learned looks like not having to be perfect to be loved — especially because I am incapable of it by design. I have discovered internal acceptance. I have detached from my own critic.

This slogan, as simple and yet demanding as it sounded to me initially, has saved my inner life. I’m so grateful, today, for the hand holding at the end of the meeting. I’m grateful to be touched and held in a loving and healthy way. I’m grateful that I was sick enough to finally listen. And I’m grateful that the sexaholic gained me access to a room that delivered me to a Higher Power that could love and support me, without conditions in a healthy way. I have learned to find the wisdom in the slogans. I no longer dismiss any of them as cliché. Thank you, S-Anon.

Reprinted from the Winter 2009 issue of The S-Anews©.


 July 12, 2021

In the very early days of AA, a newcomer had to be “sponsored“ before she or he could even attend an AA meeting. Today this concept has changed a great deal, and we find that sponsorship means different things to different people. In S-Anon, sponsorship is a key kind of Twelfth Step work. Sponsors are program members who can help us work the Steps by sharing how they have worked or are working these Steps in their own lives. A sponsor is also a person with whom we feel comfortable enough to share our whole story and who is willing to guide us on our journey through the Twelve Steps. No one is required to have a sponsor. Our experience suggests, however, that in order to minimize confusion and frustration, it it is most helpful to rely on one person in S-anon who knows our situation well. Working the Steps with a sponsor also encourages us to maintain accountability while on our recovery journey.

Many members have found it difficult to ask for this kind of help, and even more difficult to listen to and apply any suggestions that may be offered. Once these initial obstacles are overcome, a sponsor can be a real source of strength and inspiration. Newcomers sometimes feel that they don’t want to be a bother to another member or may feel embarrassed to ask for help in understanding the principles of the program. Many members who have sponsored others are grateful for the experience and for how it has enhanced their own growth in recovery.

There is no right or wrong way to be a sponsor. Having worked through at least the first five Steps and having our own sponsor is often good preparation to be a sponsor. The usual guidelines apply: we don’t give specific advice or tell people what to do about their personal problems. One member says, “The most important thing for me to remember in sponsoring another member is that I don’t have to have all the answers. Part of me wants to rescue and fix anyone who is hurting and the other part of me knows I can’t do it! I just need to stick to sharing how the tools of the program have helped me to solve my own problems. Being a sponsor can be a wonderful learning experience for S-Anon members, because sponsorship gives us a chance to put our new principles into practice. We can also see and appreciate the growth of another member from a very special viewpoint.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 103-104.

I Can Only Change Myself

 June 21, 2021

Recently, my sponsor and I were discussing an invitation I had received to reapply for a professional position. There were several people advocating for me to interview for the job. I had been daydreaming about how I would impress my supporters and how everyone enthusiastically would recognize my unique qualifications.

My sponsor’s response brought me down to earth: “Just do your footwork, trust God, and believe that, no matter what happens, the outcome will be exactly the way it is supposed to be. Nothing will be a loss.”

With that, I realized that I once again was imagining that somehow I could change other people. I thought if I was just “good enough” everything would work out my way. I had fallen back into the same unhealthy thinking pattern that had caused so much unmanageability in my life with the sexaholic.

I took my cue from the Serenity Prayer, asking my Higher Power to help me find the courage to change the things I could. I took contrary action by doing something different from my usual way of doing things: I reapplied for the position, and I kept my feet on the ground by using the tools of the S-Anon program and placing the outcome in my Higher Power’s hands.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 179.

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