Discovering Our Own Value

 May 22, 2023

For some of us, having a sense of personal autonomy can be a challenge. Before recovery, we might have been so focused on what others thought of us that we only identified ourselves as part of a couple, part of a group, or part of a family and did not recognize our worth as individuals. Because of the effects upon us of another person’s sex addiction, some of us have given little thought to our own value. As we grow in our understanding of program principles, we come to see that we do matter and have value — this is essential to our recovery. When we can recognize our autonomy, we can better appreciate the importance of good self-care. As we surrender our people-pleasing behavior to our Higher Power, we begin to recognize our inherent worth and growing ability to act on our own behalf.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Traditions, page 56.

Seeing God’s Handiwork

 May 8, 2023

For the longest time, I struggled with seeing how God was working in my life and my marriage. I not only felt God owed me something (a godly husband, a healthy marriage, and children), I thought the life I was “entitled to” was being withheld from me. I continually asked God why my husband’s problems were determining the outcome of my life – it just didn’t seem fair.

I now find that I am able to see God’s handy work more clearly. As my knowledge of the principles of the S-Anon program grows, I am able to learn more from those whose experiences are similar to mine. Instead of thinking God is withholding something from me as a punishment, I am learning to accept that life has difficult challenges, and that my life is not exempt. When I feel I am missing out on something, I stop to consider God’s timing and purposes or me. What I have or don’t have may be for my protection, education, or development – or for that of others. I’m learning I can trust God’s care for me.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 37.

Single In S-Anon

 April 24, 2023

Some married S-Anons new to our program express surprise at seeing so many single S-Anon members regularly attending meetings. “Why do you need to go if you’re no longer married to the sexaholic?” they ask. The reason that we go is to get recovery for ourselves, regardless of our marital status.

I began going to S-Anon at my husband’s suggestion, even though I did not perceive that I had a problem. It was only when as part of my first step I made an inventory of all my significant past relationships that I realized that indeed I did have a problem. What I recognize was that every important relationship, beginning with my first romance at age nineteen, was with an emotionally unavailable person. The details differed, but the bottom line was that I had made consistently poor choices in my relationships. I had to face the fact that I was attracted to people with whom I could not have a healthy, intimate relationship. Time after time I had rejected the stable, loving man because he was “boring,” while I pursued the exciting, unavailable, unpredictable guy. And I realized, to my dismay, that if my current marriage were to end, I would undoubtedly once again seek an unhealthy relationship. That was when I knew I needed to work on myself. “Our relationships can only be as healthy as we are,” we learn in the program. Some single S-Anon members have also recognized a long-term pattern of making poor choices. If those of us who are single hope at some point to have a healthy relationship, we need to become healthy ourselves first.

In the S-Anon program I also became aware how my tremendous fear of abandonment has led me to accept unacceptable behaviors in others. I could not establish boundaries as long as being alone felt like a fate worse than death. Now that my self-esteem has improved to where I know I would be comfortable alone, I have real choices in my life. I am in my current relationship by choice, not out of dependency. Single S-Anon members who are working on this issue have shared their unhappiness over being alone and their desperation to get into a new relationship. They describe how easily their boundaries erode and how quickly they return to people -pleasing behaviors in an attempt to hold onto a new relationship. S-Anon members who have separated from spouses who are still acting out have shared their difficulty in staying away from the spouse and their temptation to give her/him another chance although the spouse is not in recovery. In S-Anon we learn that we are worthwhile people who do not need a relationship to make us feel whole.

Our basic emotional health does not depend on our marital status. S-Anon helps us build our self-esteem, love ourselves, and make healthier choices in our lives. Too many of us have let significant others be our Higher Power. In S-Anon we learn to rely on a real Higher Power so that we can be happy whether single or in a relationship.

Reprinted from the Summer 1990 issue of The S-Anews©.

Walking through Fear

 April 10, 2023

What generally stands between me and willingness is fear. I’m usually willing to do things that feel comfortable to me, but when I’m afraid, my willingness diminishes. For example, when I was first asked to lead a meeting, I fearfully said “no.” But the person asking encouraged me by saying that we were all equals and that we all supported the group. Her words helped me become willing. Now when fear comes up—whether it’s working with a sponsee or setting a boundary with the sexaholic, I ask my Higher Power to be with me and to increase my willingness to walk through my fear.


Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 52.

Reaching out for Help

 March 27, 2023

I remember sitting quietly and listening as my sexaholic partner told me about S-Anon, a program that could help me. On the outside I was courteous, while on the inside I felt like I wanted to explode. I could see this was terribly important to him; however, it turned out to be vital for me as well. When he finished explaining, he handed me a piece of paper with the S-Anon contact information.

The first thing I did was to call my current sponsor from another Twelve Step program. Much to my surprise, she told me a part of her story I had never heard before. She had been married to a sexaholic years before. She was well acquainted with Twelve Step programs, so after discovering his disease, she had looked for help. S-Anon was not in existence, so, regrettably, there was no one to welcome her and show her that she was not alone in the problem.

After our phone conversation, I called the S-Anon helpline in my area. I received a call back from a local S-Anon member. She listened quietly and respectfully as I shared my feelings of fear and discomfort. She helped me to understand that I could benefit from S-Anon because of my relationship with a sexaholic. She gave me information about the meetings and suggested that I attend one near my home the following night.

I know now this was Tradition Three* in action. I am grateful that the wisdom found in Tradition Three helps me today when I take calls from people who are affected by someone’s sex addiction.


*Tradition Three states, “The relatives of sexaholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an S-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of sexaholism in a relative or friend.”

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 37.

Dancing to a New Tune

 March 13, 2023

In a stormy period before recovery, my sexaholic husband and I attempted to take dance lessons. After three sessions we stopped speaking to one another. That was the end of dance lessons. We did what we often did back then – quit rather than work through the problem.

A few years into recovery, we found ourselves at a restaurant that had dancing. Our relationship was in a good place and we decided to dance. We laughed because we had forgotten everything we had learned in those few lessons years before. We were not a pretty sight, but the difference between what we were like before recovery and what we were like after just a few years in our respective programs was striking. We actually had a good time!

Now it is years later, and soon we will be taking a cruise to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. There will be dancing, so I dared to suggest that we take a few lessons before going. My husband agreed and admitted he was nervous because of our previous dance lessons. I shared with him my awareness that I was the one who had caused a great deal of the problem in those first lessons. I had been so focused on how he was doing and trying to lead him, that I had made cooperation difficult.

Today I am aware that I no longer need to be in control. I can follow a lead.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 22.


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