When I first came to S-Anon, I could readily admit my unmanageability. I was working two jobs because most of my husband’s income went to support his sexual acting out or to one new business scheme after another. Even though my husband had lost interest in me sexually, and I knew he was sexually active with other women, I was still desperately trying to get pregnant. I frequently had “rage attacks” where I would follow him around the house or even outside screaming — and I couldn’t stop. Often my anger leaked out at co-workers through sarcasm or a very cold, angry tone of voice. When I was confronted with this, I was totally surprised and hurt. How could anyone perceive me this way? I felt I was a very sensitive and caring person. The most blatant sign of my unmanageability was that I was suicidal. I vacillated between praying for my husband to die and praying that I would die. Eventually, I stayed with praying for me to die. I would go to bed each night praying not to wake up. At times I would get into the car in a hysterical rage at two or three o’clock in the morning, trying to get the nerve to drive into a wall.
In spite of the awareness of my unmanageability, it took at least six months in the S-Anon program before I accepted that I was powerless over sexaholism. I don’t think I ever felt responsible for my husband’s acting out, but I did feel that I was capable of curing and fixing it. When I worked evenings, I would take the telephones with me. I thought I was helping — that this would prevent him from engaging in telephone sex. I searched through his wallet, his pockets and his desk drawers, hoping to find clues to his acting out. I participated in degrading and humiliating sexual activities in an attempt to gain his sexual interest and to keep him from acting out with other women. I was obsessed with him and totally out of touch with my own needs and feelings.
The unmanageability of being married to a sexaholic brought me to S-Anon. In meetings, though, I came to recognize that it was actually my mother’s sexaholism that had affected me initially. My mother had many affairs before I was born and shortly after. She was also incestuous with my brother. My brother sexually abused me, and I was sexually abused by an older man when I was 18 years old. Although these facts about my family background and my childhood were very painful to face, I am grateful for the knowledge. In S-Anon I came to realize that it wasn’t just bad luck that I married a sexaholic — I was being groomed for it all my life.
Over time, through the help of my S-Anon friends and my Higher Power, I was able to accept my powerlessness over sexaholism. I was able to see the difference between being powerless and being helpless. I recognized my powerlessness over sexual addiction and my own crazy thinking and behavior. I saw I was not helpless to take positive action to face my pain. With this admission, I really started to work the First Step and my own program.
Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 9-10.