Now It’s My Turn

 June 27, 2022

In my first months of recovery, I spent almost every meeting in tears, feeling deep pain and hopelessness. One evening, the leader of the meeting brought treats for the group to celebrate her S-Anon birthday – another 365 days of working her S-Anon program. She shared how grateful she was to be a part of this fellowship and how happy she was to be celebrating her birthday that evening among fellow S-Anon members.

I found myself in tears again, but this time it was for the hope she gave me. My S-Anon birthday was over eight months away, but I thought if I could feel happiness at my one year S-Anon birthday, then that could be something to hope for and work towards.

Over the months, my hope for happiness became a reality. It is now my tradition to bring treats for the group on my S-Anon birthday. Because of the program, I can rejoice in my new life and freedom that I have received through working the Steps and being part of this fellowship. Now it’s my turn to pass on encouragement, strength, and hope.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 352.


Focusing on Myself and God’s Plan For Me

 June 13, 2022

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.

Self-Centeredness – A Barrier to Detachment

 May 23, 2022

In a recent writing meeting we covered the topic of “detachment with love” and then were given the opportunity to journal about it over the next 15 minutes. This is what I wrote:

I heard a phrase in the reading today about not having the power to change anyone else. Prior to recovery, I was one who wanted power and control over others. I felt it was my duty as a mother and wife — I knew best how to keep my kids safe, teach them responsibility, blah, blah, blah. I was confident that I was the one who knew how to run the household. Heaven forbid if my husband wanted to load the dishwasher, cook a meal, or do the laundry!

I heard the phrase “detachment by amputation” in a local marathon [of meetings]. At that time, my mind immediately went to a news story about a woman who took some radical measures along these lines. I suddenly understood how a wife could get to that point. This scares me. But after more time in my recovery journey, I learned, changed and grew and finally understood what it meant to detach with love.

I have been realizing what effects my self-centeredness has had on me and on those around me. My anger arose when I felt others’ actions were personally directed against me. How self-centered is that? When I think of my spouse’s life before recovery and even before me, I realize he wasn’t acting out in his disease to harm me. Harming me was a side effect that he never had even thought about.

In other areas of my life, I have realized that my anger with people or situations was only played out because I was self-centered and thought only of myself and not of anyone else’s thoughts or reasoning. I hope that with this continued line of thinking and with ongoing recovery work in S-Anon, I can detach with love more fully and maybe then the first line of the Serenity Prayer will come true for me: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

Reprinted from the Fall 2010 issue of The S-Anews©.

Honesty or HONESTY?

 May 9, 2022

Are there two types of honesty? For me, there seem to be. First is the Ego-Boosting kind where I look like such an honest person. For example, I may have returned something given to me by mistake or corrected a clerk who gave me too much change. This type of honesty is important, but compared to the second type, it’s easy because I will usually get a lot of approval and others are so pleased. HONESTY of the second type is much harder for me because I must own a wrong I have done or a character defect. HONESTY brings me to my knees with humility. In the fellowship of S-Anon, I have been finding the love and support to work on this more difficult, yet rewarding form of HONESTY. It is like a “breath of fresh air” as the weight and pain of dishonest secrets are acknowledged. With the first type of honesty I can be relatively sure that others will respond in a positive fashion. Since one of my character defects is to try to control things, this honesty is easier for me. It seems risky when I venture out with the second type of HONESTY. Others could respond by rejecting me or being hurt or angry—emotions I prefer to avoid in my life as I try to protect myself. Thanks to the trust I am developing with my fellow S-Anon members, I am being more HONEST and finding warmth and loving acceptance. What a wonderful gift! I continue to be grateful for what I have been given.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 50.

Opportunities for Growth

 April 25, 2022

My sponsor taught me about the importance of service work in S-Anon. She suggested that I be open when asked to do service. If I was asked to speak, it was an opportunity to share my experience, strength, and hope. When members asked me to sponsor them, it was a chance to return the gifts that I had been freely given. Each new service experience taught me something about myself. Through interacting with others, I better learned how to put the spiritual principles of this program into action. My sponsor’s encouragement helped me become the person I am today.

The service of sponsorship has taught me many things. Most of us come to this program broken in some way, and participating in service work is not something everyone feels comfortable doing right away. While most of my sponsees follow up on my encouragement to accept the gifts of service, one of my sponsees refused to do any service work. This became an opportunity for us to do some Step work together. She shared her fear with me, which was based on childhood experiences of having never been recognized for doing anything right, and the consequences she faced as a result of those experiences. I saw that my sponsee was taking the time she needed for healing.

In time, she took baby steps toward service – setting up chairs and helping to clean up after the meeting. I had the privilege of being a witness to this shy, fearful woman’s growth as she finally allowed herself to take the risk of offering help in many ways since then. I love the way this program works.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 333.

In the Care of My Higher Power

 April 11, 2022

I was molested in early adolescence by my grandfather. After I became aware of my husband’s sexaholism and began attending S-Anon, I saw that my molestation secret needed to be shared. As I went to the meetings and called my sponsor and others, I learned to share this secret and other emotional struggles. Through this process, I found I could release some of the hurt, and I experienced healing. I eventually came to see the molestation as a part of my history. I no longer had great pain, bitterness or anger about it. Clearly, the family disease of sexaholism influenced my life, and I could use my S-Anon program to help me work on issues as they arose.

I went to meetings and listened and talked to others. I worked on willingness, and I surrendered various issues to my Higher Power, including when to share with my family about the molestation. I asked for guidance. This went on for several years. When I traveled the long distance to visit my family, I would say to myself, “This is the time to share” — but it didn’t come about. So I would go back to surrendering my will. Finally, I became open to the possibility that it might not be the will of my Higher Power for this information to be revealed to my family.

Then my younger sister attempted suicide, and it was disclosed that she had been sexually abused. My Higher Power seemed to give me the “green light,” and I trusted an intuition that the time was right. I made a phone call to my mom and told her I’d been sexually abused, too. She expressed great anguish, and I recognized a need for some professional help to assist our family. It was at this time that I believe my Higher Power really took care of me, guided my life and showed me that He had a broad perspective of the situation and I a narrow one. My original plan had been to tell only my parents, but now through the family therapy sessions, I would tell my two sisters and brother, too. I had thought that sharing my secret was about me and my desire for real honesty and intimacy with my family. I now began to see my Higher Power wanted those things and open communication for all members of the family. Today I’m grateful that I can trust that I will always be in the care of my Higher Power whose perspective is so much wider than my own, and that with each decision I face, I can choose His will for my life with confidence.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 32-33.

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