I entered S-Anon more than seven years ago, determined to save my 17-year marriage to a charismatic, deeply troubled sexaholic. Fourteen months later the sexaholic was gone, and my motivation for staying in S-Anon and working the program had changed. Now I was determined to pursue health for myself and my pre-teen and teen- age children. I had learned that sexaholism is a family disease, and I was willing to do anything to stop its spread throughout our family. The first few years were difficult, especially for my sensitive 13-year-old son. All three of us were in therapy, attending spiritual support groups. When my son was 15, he began to attend an S-Ateen group, which helped him to deal with his unhappiness.
The year my son was 17 he gradually stopped attending S-Ateen meetings, stating that he had resolved many of his issues with his father and was getting all the support he needed from his spiritual and church youth groups. Shortly after his 18th birthday I was trying to locate my tax records on the computer and found, openly stored in the documents bin, a collection of pornography which clearly belonged to my son. My immediate desire was to react — find him at the school function he was attending, give free reign to my fear, and issue ultimatums. Thank God for six plus years in the program, and the knowledge of how counterproductive that would be. Instead, for support I called two S-Anon friends with older male children. Then I called one of my friends who is a recovering sexaholic and asked for his suggestions. Instead of obsessing, I went to bed and actually slept. In the morning I went to church and asked God to give me the right words. Fully 24 hours after finding the pornography I sat down to talk to my son about it. I did not ask him for any explanations or promises. Instead I told him how much I loved him. I also shared with him that, having watched this disease destroy his father, I was terrified of what it could do to him. I offered him resources, including the names and phone numbers of two men who were recovering sexaholics, who would be willing to meet with him one-on-one and take him to recovery meetings. Then I limited my input to daily heart-felt prayer for my son.
Fifteen months later God has not shown me any more pornography or signs that my son is sinking deeper into sexual addiction. Today I have the faith that my Higher Power will bring to my attention anything I need to know. I do not have to search, snoop, or question my son. Today I also know that, as much as I love him, this is my son’s problem, not mine. He has the tools to deal with the disease—tools such as the knowledge of the effects and progressive nature of sexaholism, the opportunity through marathons (local or regional one-day conventions) and open speaker meetings to meet and listen to the stories of recovering sexaholics, and the experience of working an S-Ateen program. My son knows where to find help. The best way I can help him is to pray for him, be open for conversations, and leave him in God’s hands. My perspective and attitude depend on my working my own program.[For information about S-Ateen meetings see the S-Anon/S-Ateen Service Manual or contact the S-Anon World service office.]
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, pages 80-81.