Dancing to a New Tune

 March 13, 2023

In a stormy period before recovery, my sexaholic husband and I attempted to take dance lessons. After three sessions we stopped speaking to one another. That was the end of dance lessons. We did what we often did back then – quit rather than work through the problem.

A few years into recovery, we found ourselves at a restaurant that had dancing. Our relationship was in a good place and we decided to dance. We laughed because we had forgotten everything we had learned in those few lessons years before. We were not a pretty sight, but the difference between what we were like before recovery and what we were like after just a few years in our respective programs was striking. We actually had a good time!

Now it is years later, and soon we will be taking a cruise to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. There will be dancing, so I dared to suggest that we take a few lessons before going. My husband agreed and admitted he was nervous because of our previous dance lessons. I shared with him my awareness that I was the one who had caused a great deal of the problem in those first lessons. I had been so focused on how he was doing and trying to lead him, that I had made cooperation difficult.

Today I am aware that I no longer need to be in control. I can follow a lead.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 22.


How International Conventions Have Helped My Recovery

 February 27, 2023

The atmosphere of love and recovery I have experienced from S-Anon members sharing at International Conventions has been more helpful to me personally than I could have ever imagined. The first Convention I attended was particularly memorable. I found myself surrounded by caring people who understood because they had been where I was. I finally felt safe enough to allow myself to experience the pain and grief built up over 25 years in three marriages and countless dysfunctional relationships. I was able to admit to myself that some of the actions I had taken over the years — that had seemed so necessary — had only served to maintain and increase my insanity and had caused people I care about, including myself, endless heartache and trouble.

For so many years I had complained about being rejected, and I finally saw that I myself had done much of the rejection, both physical and emotional, of those I claimed to have loved. I had judged and condemned others, while complaining that they were judging and condemning me. I cried for two days straight. The relief was unbelievable! These were healing tears, not tears of rage and frustration.

The tendency toward isolation that seems to be such a large part of this disease and a real impediment to recovery was replaced with a wonderful feeling of being a “part of.” I get that same feeling every time I attend a Convention, regional conference, or even a meeting. Possibly the reason that the Convention had such an overwhelming effect on me was that I heard so many people share their stories, and saw myself over and over with such clarity – for the first time in my life. All my old ideas were paraded before me – “It’s not so bad,” and “I’m not as ‘sick’ as these other people, so I probably don’t need to go to these meetings,” “I already know what’s what so why work the steps and make a special effort to get honest with myself”. All of these delusions were finally exposed for the rationalizations they were. Pride made me cling to these thoughts, and they in turn kept me locked into the pain that was so hurtful, and yet so familiar. I see now that I needed to be free of that form of denial, or no further recovery would have been possible. I thought I had already taken the First Step, but it was during my experience of my first International Convention that I felt the certainty of my powerlessness, at a gut level. I’m so grateful to my Higher Power for that experience, for all of you out there, and for this program of recovery.

Reprinted from the Summer 1989 issue of The S-Anews©.

New Levels

 February 13, 2023

When I came to S-Anon, I thought I had already done Steps One, Two, and Three, because I already believed in a loving God and had given my life to Him. As I learned more about the Steps, I realized that I had a very hard time admitting my powerlessness and turning over to God certain situations in my life. I had been sure that if I were just good enough, smart enough, or had tried long enough and hard enough, things would turn out O.K.—or the way I wanted. I had to learn and continue to learn that I do not have power over sexaholism, that the sexaholic in my life has a Higher Power, too, and that God is the only one who can restore me to sanity and serenity.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 39.

A Kinder and Gentler Approach

 January 23, 2023

Helping out after the birth of a second grandchild is giving me a new appreciation of the value of Tradition Two. Through the gifts of the program, my style of “helping” has changed from authority to trusted servant. I participate in decisions by offering my thoughts and then letting go of the outcome. My daughter often asks my opinion, and I also offer it on my own when I think it might be of value, but I can now offer my experience as one way of doing things rather than as the only right way. I frequently comment, “This is my vote on the issue, but of course it is your decision.” I think my daughter appreciates this more considerate and less bossy attitude. I am here to serve and support, not to control and dictate. I ask my Higher Power to help me remember that and to guide my interactions. I am learning to say things like, “Is now a good time for me to give the baby his bath?” rather than, “I am going to give the baby his bath now.” I try to gently remind my daughter of her doctor’s instructions not to pick up anything heavier than the baby right now, rather than just insisting she let me carry the diaper bag. This kinder, humbler, gentler approach is more respectful to my daughter and helps to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony. I still make mistakes and slip into an authoritarian mode, but I am quicker to recognize that now and make amends. Tension can build more quickly since we are sleep-deprived, so timely amends are especially important. Having a new baby in the family is both joyous and stressful, but applying Tradition Two has lessened the stress and increased the joy. I am so grateful.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Traditions, page 24-25.

Heal My Heart

 January 9, 2023

I have to admit that sometimes letting go feels more like chest-wrenching pain than gentle detachment with love from the actions of another person. Through using the principles of the S-Anon program, I have done all I can to safely stay in my relationship with my sexaholic partner. It has become clear that it is no longer safe to remain in the relationship, and I know I must now face my fear and let go, but my chest hurts when I consider actually doing it. I decided to offer that feeling to God and to invite God to do “heart surgery.”

This is my prayer: “God, if it is your will, please open my chest and heal my heart. You have opened the door for me to separate from the sexaholic before. Today please give me the courage to walk through the door, though not without sadness, pain, hope, or help. Please remove all the hurt and pain, and heal my heart.”

I am grateful for the willingness to work an S-Anon program, for the support I have from family and friends in my meetings, and for new opportunities that lay ahead of me. Thank you, God, for answering my prayer.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 345.

Making Amends to My Children

 December 26, 2022

As I became willing and able to make amends to my children, God gave me opportunities to do so. I have shared some information about the S-Anon program with a daughter who lives nearby. She knows that her father and I attend program meetings weekly. One day, this daughter, her baby son and I went shopping together. In the course of our conversation she shared that she had been disappointed by my attitude and behavior at her wedding five years previously. “You were not there for me when I got married.” I knew it was true. At that very time, her father was spiraling down into the depths of his sexaholism, and I was heading for my “bottom,” too. I was so focused on my husband’s problem that I could not muster the energy to be excited for my daughter. She went on to say that this had been the biggest day of her life, and I just did not seem to care. Fortunately, I had made enough progress in my
recovery that I was able to hear this without offering explanations or excuses. I understood that part of my amends to her was listening uncritically to her feelings and acknowledging the truth that I had not been emotionally present for her then.

After sharing her hurt and disappointment, she went on to say how much she appreciates my interest in her child. Her father and I had spent the day in the hospital with them when the baby was born. When he was two months old, I took care of him for a few days while they painted their new home. She told me I am a terrific grandmother and that she could see that attending S-Anon meetings has changed me. She sees a new, softer-hearted, loving woman with whom she trusts her child. The Ninth Step has allowed this daughter and me to grow closer.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 101.

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