Like many others, a crisis brought me to S-Anon. While on a camping trip with friends, my husband was arrested for trying to expose himself to a child. I felt confused, in a lot of pain — and totally focused on him and this crisis to the exclusion of everything else in my life. My mind constantly raced: How could he do this to me? I loved him so much, and I treated him so well. Why did he have to be like this? Why couldn’t God just fix him?
When I began to work the program, S-Anon members suggested that I apply the tools of the S-Anon program like the literature, slogans and writing about my problems on a daily basis. As I used them, I began to experience some serenity. Yet when the Steps were read at meetings, I noticed that the words of Step Six — that God could remove defects of character — still seemed hollow and empty. If this was true, why hadn’t God removed the obvious defect in my husband’s character — his sexaholism?
Despite these uncomfortable feelings, I continued to work the program. I got a sponsor and finally started to really work the Steps and practice the principles of the program. Through working Steps Four and Five I learned that I, too, had defects that stood in my way and needed to be removed. The most obvious defect was the way I focused on my husband rather than on myself — a defect that had been so evident in my reaction to the crisis that brought me to S-Anon. My pattern of focusing on my husband and his problems had been my way of denying my own problems and difficult feelings. Unfortunately, this behavior kept me in a lot of pain.
Working the Fourth and Fifth Steps helped me see just how much this “outward” focusing had hurt me. I realized that when I focused on my husband I was not able to focus on God’s plan for me. That was when I finally became willing to surrender this character defect to God. Today I am continuing to practice Step Six by remaining open each day to any revelations God has for me about my shortcomings. I am finding serenity and happiness in my life and my marriage by learning to focus on myself and by allowing my Higher Power to help me.
Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 66-67.