Living with an Active Sexaholic

 April 25, 2021

Living with an Active Sexaholic… I have asked myself so many questions: What does it mean that I am still living with an active sex addict? Have I just not recovered enough to separate? What are the underlying effects on our children? What are my “bottom lines?” When I finish asking myself the questions that have yet to be answered, I come back to the reality of the First Step: I am powerless over sexaholism, and my life becomes unmanageable when I try to manage the lives of others. What about self-deception? Am I crazy to be living with an active sexaholic, given the progressive nature of his disease? Today I believe that no plan of my own could have given me the willingness to change and mend my ways. I know more will be revealed to me as I continue to rely on my Higher Power and work the S-Anon program. The peace I have today is a gift from my Higher Power. I am so sure of God’s love that I can leave my concerns in his hands, knowing that I and those I love will be provided for “one day at a time.” I believe that God will not leave me without a way out, even when I mistakenly interpret His will or my place in a situation. As long as I am willing to accept where I am, honestly, and be open to his help, it is easy to make the next decision to trust God and turn my life over to his care.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 73.

Grateful to Be Married to a Sexaholic

 April 23, 2021

When I lead a newcomer’s meeting, I share that I am grateful to be married to a recovering sexaholic. I tell them that I am not being sarcastic or trying to diminish the pain they are experiencing. Rather, my gratitude arises out of my awareness that sexaholism brought me to S-Anon which has given me many gifts.
One of these gifts is a relationship with myself. Before S-Anon, I acted how I thought others wanted me to act. I would change my opinion on a topic to avoid another person’s anger. In recovery, I came to think of my pre-recovery persona as “the chameleon-velcro woman” – stick to whomever and mimic them. Through S-Anon I have discovered who I am and have developed the courage to be myself, regardless of what others think or say. What a gift to truly like myself today!

Another gift has been learning to take the focus off my husband and put it onto myself. For years I tried to change my husband and got nothing but frustration. Coming to S-Anon has allowed me to enjoy him for the person he is.

Discovering I was married to a sexaholic was my worst nightmare. S-Anon has given me the gift of a better life. For that I am truly grateful.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 269.

Surrendering Our Will and Our Lives

 April 5, 2021

Our understanding of our Higher Power is not really a matter of logic. Few of us can be reasoned or argued into faith. Belief in a wise, powerful and loving God usually comes from seeing a Higher Power at work in our own lives. To see this power at work, we have to give God something to work with. Let’s begin with ourselves.

Exactly how can we turn our wills and our lives over to God? We make a decision to conform to God’s will instead of our own. We are the only ones who can make that decision. When we begin to conform to God’s will, we are on the right track. “Not my will but thine be done” is the motto for Step Three. As the alcoholics put it, “Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us.”

We found it helpful to take this Step with a loved one, best friend or spiritual advisor, but it is better to meet God alone in this than to do it with someone who cannot accept our understanding. Our words, of course, are up to us as long as we sincerely express our hearts.

Having the best intentions and motives for what we do is not always a guarantee we will do the right thing. Simply having faith in a Higher Power is not enough. We have to surrender our will and our lives over and over again. Now, in all times of emotional disturbance and indecision, we can pause, get quiet, and in that stillness let go of our problems and worries. We can have the confidence that we have an ever-present help in times of need.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 28-29.


Detaching From Myself

 March 22, 2021

I was doing some reading recently on “detachment with love” in preparation for leading a topic meeting, and what really caught my attention was a reading from CAL that suggested we must sometimes strive to “detach from ourselves.” That idea intrigued me. I understand at least a little bit about detaching from others and refusing to become entangled in someone else’s emotional chaos. Today I know that I am a whole and complete person, spiritually and emotionally separate, even from my much-loved sexaholic husband. Having found myself, why would I need to detach from myself?

After pondering, letting it rest, and pondering some more, here’s what that reading is saying to me. I have some patterns of thinking that are so deeply embedded that sometimes, before I know it, a negative thought pattern (emotional chaos) is triggered and I am 3/4 of the way down the road to a resentment before I even know it. Or some memory from the unhealthy past has caused the tape to start playing in my head that tells me I am not “enough.” “I don’t do enough, I don’t know enough,” I feel unworthy, alone and afraid (emotional chaos) in spite of any factual information to the contrary. Do I not need to detach from my own emotional chaos?

The reading further suggests to me that I can recognize that I have been “triggered” and use all the “will power” I have to gain some emotional distance from those thoughts and feelings by challenging their validity. In most cases, they are not real and true reflections of who I am today but tired voices from the past that had my full attention for many, many years. They have only the power I give them. What a concept. I can detach from those feelings, and “attach” to my Higher Power, asking to be restored to sanity, and make a concerted effort to turn my thoughts in a positive direction by making a program call, reading some CAL or other spiritual literature, more prayer, journaling, anything that affirms my recovery and drowns out those voices.

Wait. I almost forgot the most important part: the part where I “detach with love.” For me, detaching from myself with love means that I resist beating myself up by entertaining thoughts like, “You should know better by now.” “You must not be working a very good program if you are having those feelings.” “Why can’t you just get over it?” “If you didn’t have so many character defects, you wouldn’t be feeling this way.” These are not loving ways to think about myself. Today I am a card-carrying member of the human race, working to accept my good and not so good points with equal humility. It is progress for me to gently accept myself fully, including all my thoughts and feelings, even if I don’t want to entertain some of those thoughts for very long. (“Thanks for stopping by, but I have to go now.”) I am aware that I don’t work any part of this program perfectly, but I do it with the sincere intention of striving to be of the greatest use to God and others that I can be, and that is enough. I am truly grateful for all of the CAL that we have at our disposal, and for the changes that can occur in my thinking when I read something I have read before, but somehow understand it in a new and more positive way. It is another miracle of the program.

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

Sexaholic Father

 March 8, 2021

I was overwhelmed, confused, depressed and angry when I discovered that my father was a sexaholic. At first I was in shock and had no idea how to deal with the issue. I was so angry and thought that he was acting this way to hurt me. At first I kept myself busy with work and I chose not to deal with the issue, but soon I became even more depressed and began to isolate myself from friends. I was unsure who to turn to or where I should look for support. I knew I could no longer continue down my current path, so I started attending S-Anon meetings. After sharing my story, I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I shared the secret I had been keeping inside of me for years with people who understood and had been through similar circumstances. Through working the steps and relying on the tools of the program and my Higher Power, I see a difference in myself and my attitude toward my father. Instead of being angry at him, I feel compassion for him; he is sick and does not realize it. S-Anon has been the greatest gift that I could have given myself. I know that I still have a long and difficult road of recovery ahead, but as long as I keep working the program and using the tools, my story will become one that carries a message of hope for new members.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 79.

New Messages

 February 22, 2021

Unhealthy messages like: “Men are no good, so you had better make sure you get a good education” plagued my self-esteem and fueled my fears about men and relationships. I became afraid of intimacy, fearing I would be abandoned. I believed I had to use my body to manipulate men, and use them before they used me. My mother also told me: “Don’t ever depend on a man for anything.” As I entered adulthood, I continually found myself in unhealthy relationships that reinforced those old “tapes” from my mother.

S-Anon has given me new “tapes” from healthy people. I have made tremendous progress in replacing the old negative messages with new messages about the real me the person I was born to be. Now I believe I have the courage and wisdom to make good choices for myself. I am learning to embrace my real self like a cherished friend, and I am able to be in relationships and share my truth with others.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 35.

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