Tradition Two Reminds Me I Am Not Higher Power

Tradition Two Reminds Me I Am Not Higher Power

 March 21, 2022

Tradition Two states “For our group purpose there is but one authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants — they do not govern.” My experience is that although this Tradition tells me that there is but one ultimate authority (Higher Power) and that no one person should govern a group interaction, when people are in conflict or have opposing strong opinions, this caveat often goes out the window for me. When I’m in a situation in which “others” are involved, whether at work or at home, I have to take a deep breath as a reminder to myself that it is easy for me to get caught up in a “personality” conflict.

I have to remind myself to be humble. We are all human. Sometimes I feel strongly about things, and this creates in me a need to be right. If I have researched an issue well or feel very passionate about something, I can get caught up in this need to be right. What matters is how God expresses himself through the group conscience. God knows better than any one of us does — including me! I realize that I don’t hold the absolute truth. Also, the truth for me may be different than the truth for someone else. Part of my problem stems from childhood — I was taught that there was one “right way” and that I’d better find it. Recovery teaches me something different — it teaches me that diversity holds value in its panorama of opinions.

When I do a Fourth Step inventory on how I show up in conflict relating to group decisions, I can now admit that many times I acted as if I wrote the service manual. My interpretation of a Tradition or a Concept was the only way to see it. I used it as evidence of “rightness” and figured others would be eager to learn from me! In this way I was playing “king.”  Other times, I had a strong desire to not be controlled by another person in the group, and I just rebelled. If I didn’t like a person or their opinion I sometimes refused to be open. I can easily get caught up in trying to defend or convince someone of my point of view. Of course, this isn’t limited to my behavior in S-Anon. It affects all of my relationships. Harder for me to admit was that I participate in being a victim by asking myself why people don’t listen to me or honor my experience, strength, and hope. When I’m promoting, I’m not attracting; I just promote attraction. This goes counter to the premise of Tradition Eleven.

I have discovered that I don’t have to solve “it” for the group (or the relationship). Instead, I just put up the “white flag” and wait for God’s intervention. Higher Power knows what is best for the group. It was so hard for me to see that, despite my good intentions, it doesn’t always come across that way. It has been good for me to gain some humility by inviting HP to remove these defects of character.

What about after the group conscience decision is made? If I am left with a group vote I don’t like, I am not trapped. I still have a voice. I can choose to stay, leave, or learn to live with it. This has been a good lesson for me. My disease tells me that things are black or white. My disease is not patient and does not like to wait. Recovery tells me that I can relax, get quiet, and listen for God. I am given permission to wait until I have clarity. If I don’t have clarity, I don’t make any major changes — and today that’s okay.

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

My Daughter’s Sexaholism

 March 7, 2022

My daughter was the second sex addict who deeply affected my life. Her sexaholism drew her into a relationship with a person who was on probation and had a criminal record. She would listen to no one; she had all the answers. At one point she came home to live, but I was no longer willing to enable a sex addict. I was becoming a healthier person; she was becoming less and less healthy. We very much wanted that mother/daughter relationship. We would cry about it, and we would talk about it, but it just wasn’t possible. I confronted her with my suspicions and concerns and told her that she would have to move out out if she didn’t stop acting out. She went back to her husband, but what followed was a fast downward spiral that ended disastrously for her. Although it is still painful to reflect upon, I believe I am at peace now with the fact that we were not able to connect during the times when the disease of sexaholism was active.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 80.

A New Way of Life

 February 21, 2022

I was told by two doctors that my husband’s cross-dressing, as well as other sexually compulsive behaviors, was something I had to learn to live with. I began praying for a better answer. My prayers were answered while reading a response to someone in a syndicated newspaper column. As a result, I found S-Anon and my husband found SA.

I have been in recovery just over a year. My husband and I are working through the Steps in our respective fellowships. Through the grace of these programs, we are learning a new way of life. I have learned there are no quick fixes to the family disease of sexaholism. Instead, I have found it to be a gradual positive solution. I am finding hope, One Day at a Time, through the Twelve Steps and through applying the tools of recovery: writing, meetings, meditation, prayer, sponsorship, and more.

My relationship with my spouse has started to heal. By working the S-Anon program, I am getting out of the way of my Higher Power. I am devoting the same kind of energy and time to healthy living as I used to devote to obsessing about my husband’s sexual behavior. I am starting to experience the Gifts of the S-Anon Program in my life today.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 92.

Spiritual Awakenings

 February 7, 2022

During one weekend visit from my mother, I sat at my kitchen table just as the sun began to embrace the day. I had risen extra early to be able to read my meditation books before any one else got up, so naturally I felt a bit disappointed as I heard Mom come into the room to join me, pouring herself a cup of coffee. She asked what I was reading. After silently praying for acceptance before I responded, I looked at her and noticed a new softness and even an open yearning in her face. I felt a gentle inspiration from my Higher Power to read several paragraphs of the day’s meditation aloud. After I finished reading, I shared my gratitude for the healing God had brought into our lives and relationship.

We had spoken before of the incest in our family and now with tears in her eyes, my Mom spoke again of her sorrow for not seeing sooner what Dad was doing, for not being stronger, for not being smarter. I looked into her weary eyes and told her that I finally knew she had no power to control Dad’s disease. I told her I now realized that she had been just as much a victim of this family disease as my brother, sisters, and I had been, and that I also now understood how this disease had swallowed Dad, too. Remembering how each of us children had been sexually abused and how even the family dog had not been spared from the effects of this disease, I told my Mom that I also had struggled with feelings of guilt and shame because I had not been able to protect anyone.

As we cried together, I reached across the table to hold her hand. Our eyes connected, and it was as if time stood still, as images came to mind of the awakenings God had provided to me through working the Steps. I had become aware of why I had gotten into successive relationships with sexaholics. I had been willing to face painful flashbacks that seemed to swallow me whole at times, but ultimately helped me to face reality. I had been able to let go of blaming my mother for what my father had done and to let go of blaming myself, too. I had grieved the deep sadness from my childhood, layer by layer, as I healed and rose above it. I was filled with gratitude for my mother’s courage to look at her part in the family disease, too, and her willingness to talk about it.

In that moment, I thanked God, who had made possible the healing found in S-Anon. I was grateful, too, for how my husband, who really wants to be set free from lust and has been willing to go to any length for recovery, has helped me find my own recovery from the pain and shame brought by the first sexaholic in my life – my father.

Mom has no S-Anon group, but I can still carry the message of experience, strength, and hope to her. What I have practiced for years in meetings is beginning to be practiced in “all my affairs” and all my relationships, even the ones that had been so shattered before. As devastating and shameful as the disease of sexaholism can be, it does not compare to the richness of the continual spiritual awakening, renewal and healing that God has brought into my life. I am astounded by God’s ability to free so many of us by His message of truth, as He weaves our healing with that of those around us when we follow His lead and carry the message.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 147-148.

I RSVP’d “Yes”: A Step Two Story

 January 24, 2022

When I first came to S-Anon and started to work the Steps with my sponsor, I realized quickly that although I was in my late 40’s, I had a very childish sense of my Higher Power. I still saw God as my parents, powerful and punishing. I thought that God was like a magic genie; leaving gifts I wanted and making people do what I wanted and circumstances occur as I planned. I obviously needed to grow out of my life-long immature belief system. But how? My sponsor offered: pray for the willingness to receive God and that God reveal Himself to me. So I prayed.

The first miracle occurred when I was driving to an S-Anon retreat. I was pulling off the highway and noticed that the town had an ironic name. A beautiful version of an old, soulful worship song was playing on the radio and that’s when a new spiritual awakening hit me. The town bore my father’s name. I knew what my father’s love felt like. The love of my Higher Power was far greater and more powerful. I could feel the energy and warmth of that love right there on the side of the highway. Tears fell down my cheeks. God was not Mom, Dad, or Genie. I could not see God, but I could feel God. I could begin there.

The next miracle occurred some months later when I discovered my husband had relapsed in his sexaholic behaviors. One year into S-Anon and I knew far more about this addiction than when I started and with this relapse I was broken. I sat in my dining room in the early morning hours aware of my powerlessness and despair. I prayed the Third Step prayer with all my heart, not expecting anything, doing only what I was taught to do. In an instant, I heard words, not spoken out loud but clearly placed in my thoughts, placed there not by me: “It’s not a punishment, it’s a calling.”  I was dumbfounded. Again, tears came to me and I was aware of the powerful, loving presence of what I call God. I went to my knees and spoke “Yes, I accept the invitation.” What else could I say? I R.S.V.P.’d “Yes.”

Miracles happen all the time if I look. The Moon was full last night. My dog licked me on my face when I woke up. The roses in my backyard still smell of spring and it’s almost November. Today I fail in my program. I judge. I resent. But I do know what it feels like to be in the presence of my God. Just about every time I get stuck in these Steps we choose to follow, I have to go back to Step Two because I see that I have made my God too small or ventured out too far on my own. The answer is that I have to let God get bigger. Everyday. Because I accept the invitation. I have come to believe.

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

Most Important Sign of Love?

 January 10, 2022

Not having sex with my husband? It was a revolutionary idea! Our marriage was, so I thought, based on sex. What was going to happen if we did not have sex? Part of the sexual addiction in our home showed itself in our relationship. I was used to having sex on a daily basis, if not more often. My feelings of being loved were largely based on the fact that my husband very frequently wanted to have sex with me. In order to avoid arguments, I had long ago given up trying to say “no” when I did not want sex, and I had felt that I could count on a fairly smooth relationship by giving in. Then my husband began attending recovery meetings for his sexaholism. And I started attending S-Anon meetings.

After we had attended our respective groups for several months, he asked if we could go through a period when we did not have sex. Being angry and resentful, I replied that I had had enough sex for a lifetime and that abstinence was fine with me.

But was it really “fine?” What happened to me during that period of not having sex was incredible. I became very fearful that my marriage would not last, that my husband would leave, that I was not attractive to him, and that we would disagree even more. I began to realize that I used sex in an unhealthy way, too! For example, I would start an argument and see how long it would take me to manipulate my husband into bed, thereby dissolving our argument. I flaunted myself in front of him to satisfy my need to know that, indeed, he did “love” me because we would then go to bed. The tool I had used so successfully to manipulate my husband had been taken from me. but I learned that I could live in the same house, share the same bed, touch, hug and kiss my husband without having to have intercourse. I learned that I needed to communicate using words, rather than manipulation. I learned that even without sex I could still have a marriage and an even better relationship with my husband.

When my husband wanted to end the period of abstinence, I had grown enough to say “no,” and we had a period of 21 months in our marriage when we did not have intercourse. Would we ever have sex again? It was very frightening for me to realize that the decision of when I was again ready to be sexual would be mine to make. I ended the period of abstinence with the knowledge that I was loved for myself, not just for my body, and that I had become a woman who could love and participate more fully in a sexual union. Abstinence was a crucial part of my growth in S-Anon, even though I was not the one to initiate it. I am very grateful that I did have the opportunity to learn that sex can be an extension of an intimate relationship and not the only basis for our marriage. Today I feel cared for in our marriage, and I can give as well as receive.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, pages 69-71.


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