Honesty or HONESTY?

 May 9, 2022

Are there two types of honesty? For me, there seem to be. First is the Ego-Boosting kind where I look like such an honest person. For example, I may have returned something given to me by mistake or corrected a clerk who gave me too much change. This type of honesty is important, but compared to the second type, it’s easy because I will usually get a lot of approval and others are so pleased. HONESTY of the second type is much harder for me because I must own a wrong I have done or a character defect. HONESTY brings me to my knees with humility. In the fellowship of S-Anon, I have been finding the love and support to work on this more difficult, yet rewarding form of HONESTY. It is like a “breath of fresh air” as the weight and pain of dishonest secrets are acknowledged. With the first type of honesty I can be relatively sure that others will respond in a positive fashion. Since one of my character defects is to try to control things, this honesty is easier for me. It seems risky when I venture out with the second type of HONESTY. Others could respond by rejecting me or being hurt or angry—emotions I prefer to avoid in my life as I try to protect myself. Thanks to the trust I am developing with my fellow S-Anon members, I am being more HONEST and finding warmth and loving acceptance. What a wonderful gift! I continue to be grateful for what I have been given.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 50.

Opportunities for Growth

 April 25, 2022

My sponsor taught me about the importance of service work in S-Anon. She suggested that I be open when asked to do service. If I was asked to speak, it was an opportunity to share my experience, strength, and hope. When members asked me to sponsor them, it was a chance to return the gifts that I had been freely given. Each new service experience taught me something about myself. Through interacting with others, I better learned how to put the spiritual principles of this program into action. My sponsor’s encouragement helped me become the person I am today.

The service of sponsorship has taught me many things. Most of us come to this program broken in some way, and participating in service work is not something everyone feels comfortable doing right away. While most of my sponsees follow up on my encouragement to accept the gifts of service, one of my sponsees refused to do any service work. This became an opportunity for us to do some Step work together. She shared her fear with me, which was based on childhood experiences of having never been recognized for doing anything right, and the consequences she faced as a result of those experiences. I saw that my sponsee was taking the time she needed for healing.

In time, she took baby steps toward service – setting up chairs and helping to clean up after the meeting. I had the privilege of being a witness to this shy, fearful woman’s growth as she finally allowed herself to take the risk of offering help in many ways since then. I love the way this program works.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 333.

In the Care of My Higher Power

 April 11, 2022

I was molested in early adolescence by my grandfather. After I became aware of my husband’s sexaholism and began attending S-Anon, I saw that my molestation secret needed to be shared. As I went to the meetings and called my sponsor and others, I learned to share this secret and other emotional struggles. Through this process, I found I could release some of the hurt, and I experienced healing. I eventually came to see the molestation as a part of my history. I no longer had great pain, bitterness or anger about it. Clearly, the family disease of sexaholism influenced my life, and I could use my S-Anon program to help me work on issues as they arose.

I went to meetings and listened and talked to others. I worked on willingness, and I surrendered various issues to my Higher Power, including when to share with my family about the molestation. I asked for guidance. This went on for several years. When I traveled the long distance to visit my family, I would say to myself, “This is the time to share” — but it didn’t come about. So I would go back to surrendering my will. Finally, I became open to the possibility that it might not be the will of my Higher Power for this information to be revealed to my family.

Then my younger sister attempted suicide, and it was disclosed that she had been sexually abused. My Higher Power seemed to give me the “green light,” and I trusted an intuition that the time was right. I made a phone call to my mom and told her I’d been sexually abused, too. She expressed great anguish, and I recognized a need for some professional help to assist our family. It was at this time that I believe my Higher Power really took care of me, guided my life and showed me that He had a broad perspective of the situation and I a narrow one. My original plan had been to tell only my parents, but now through the family therapy sessions, I would tell my two sisters and brother, too. I had thought that sharing my secret was about me and my desire for real honesty and intimacy with my family. I now began to see my Higher Power wanted those things and open communication for all members of the family. Today I’m grateful that I can trust that I will always be in the care of my Higher Power whose perspective is so much wider than my own, and that with each decision I face, I can choose His will for my life with confidence.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 32-33.

Tradition Two Reminds Me I Am Not Higher Power

 March 21, 2022

Tradition Two states “For our group purpose there is but one authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants — they do not govern.” My experience is that although this Tradition tells me that there is but one ultimate authority (Higher Power) and that no one person should govern a group interaction, when people are in conflict or have opposing strong opinions, this caveat often goes out the window for me. When I’m in a situation in which “others” are involved, whether at work or at home, I have to take a deep breath as a reminder to myself that it is easy for me to get caught up in a “personality” conflict.

I have to remind myself to be humble. We are all human. Sometimes I feel strongly about things, and this creates in me a need to be right. If I have researched an issue well or feel very passionate about something, I can get caught up in this need to be right. What matters is how God expresses himself through the group conscience. God knows better than any one of us does — including me! I realize that I don’t hold the absolute truth. Also, the truth for me may be different than the truth for someone else. Part of my problem stems from childhood — I was taught that there was one “right way” and that I’d better find it. Recovery teaches me something different — it teaches me that diversity holds value in its panorama of opinions.

When I do a Fourth Step inventory on how I show up in conflict relating to group decisions, I can now admit that many times I acted as if I wrote the service manual. My interpretation of a Tradition or a Concept was the only way to see it. I used it as evidence of “rightness” and figured others would be eager to learn from me! In this way I was playing “king.”  Other times, I had a strong desire to not be controlled by another person in the group, and I just rebelled. If I didn’t like a person or their opinion I sometimes refused to be open. I can easily get caught up in trying to defend or convince someone of my point of view. Of course, this isn’t limited to my behavior in S-Anon. It affects all of my relationships. Harder for me to admit was that I participate in being a victim by asking myself why people don’t listen to me or honor my experience, strength, and hope. When I’m promoting, I’m not attracting; I just promote attraction. This goes counter to the premise of Tradition Eleven.

I have discovered that I don’t have to solve “it” for the group (or the relationship). Instead, I just put up the “white flag” and wait for God’s intervention. Higher Power knows what is best for the group. It was so hard for me to see that, despite my good intentions, it doesn’t always come across that way. It has been good for me to gain some humility by inviting HP to remove these defects of character.

What about after the group conscience decision is made? If I am left with a group vote I don’t like, I am not trapped. I still have a voice. I can choose to stay, leave, or learn to live with it. This has been a good lesson for me. My disease tells me that things are black or white. My disease is not patient and does not like to wait. Recovery tells me that I can relax, get quiet, and listen for God. I am given permission to wait until I have clarity. If I don’t have clarity, I don’t make any major changes — and today that’s okay.

Reprinted from the Fall 2010 issue of The S-Anews©.

My Daughter’s Sexaholism

 March 7, 2022

My daughter was the second sex addict who deeply affected my life. Her sexaholism drew her into a relationship with a person who was on probation and had a criminal record. She would listen to no one; she had all the answers. At one point she came home to live, but I was no longer willing to enable a sex addict. I was becoming a healthier person; she was becoming less and less healthy. We very much wanted that mother/daughter relationship. We would cry about it, and we would talk about it, but it just wasn’t possible. I confronted her with my suspicions and concerns and told her that she would have to move out out if she didn’t stop acting out. She went back to her husband, but what followed was a fast downward spiral that ended disastrously for her. Although it is still painful to reflect upon, I believe I am at peace now with the fact that we were not able to connect during the times when the disease of sexaholism was active.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 80.

A New Way of Life

 February 21, 2022

I was told by two doctors that my husband’s cross-dressing, as well as other sexually compulsive behaviors, was something I had to learn to live with. I began praying for a better answer. My prayers were answered while reading a response to someone in a syndicated newspaper column. As a result, I found S-Anon and my husband found SA.

I have been in recovery just over a year. My husband and I are working through the Steps in our respective fellowships. Through the grace of these programs, we are learning a new way of life. I have learned there are no quick fixes to the family disease of sexaholism. Instead, I have found it to be a gradual positive solution. I am finding hope, One Day at a Time, through the Twelve Steps and through applying the tools of recovery: writing, meetings, meditation, prayer, sponsorship, and more.

My relationship with my spouse has started to heal. By working the S-Anon program, I am getting out of the way of my Higher Power. I am devoting the same kind of energy and time to healthy living as I used to devote to obsessing about my husband’s sexual behavior. I am starting to experience the Gifts of the S-Anon Program in my life today.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 92.

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