We accept sexaholism is a disease very similar to alcoholism. At first many of us could not accept this idea. We thought it meant that sexaholics were somehow not responsible for their behavior, or that we were not entitled to our feelings of anger and hurt. But it does not mean either of those things. For S-Anons, it means that the actions of the sexaholic are not a result of something we did or did not do. We did not cause the sexaholic behavior by being stupid, weak, or unattractive, and we do not have the power to control it. However, as we tried to control or ignore the sexaholism in our lives, we often unknowingly acted in ways that led to a further decline in our emotional health and enabled the sexaholic to continue to practice his or her disease. Over a period of time, many of us took on the shame, guilt, and fear that characterize the disease of sexaholism, even though we may not have acted out sexually. We, too, became spiritually and emotionally ill. Once we begin to see our problems in this light, we can also see that we do have choices concerning our own behavior. This is the beginning of our recovery.
We remind ourselves as often as necessary that we are powerless over the behavior caused by sexaholism and all actions and reactions of other adults. We know we must stop blaming and trying to control the sexaholic and the acting out behavior. Just as we did not cause the sexaholic’s acting out, we cannot ‘cure’ it–the sexual sobriety of the sexaholic is not our responsibility. While our encouragement and cooperation can be helpful to the sexaholic seeking recovery, real peace of mind for us depends upon changing our attitudes and eliminating our self-defeating behaviors. As the recovering alcoholics put it, “Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, but the results were nil until we let go absolutely. ”
We commit ourselves to our own recovery, taking full responsibility for our actions and reactions. With the loving help of other S-Anon members and the God of our understanding, we focus on taking positive action to make our lives more serene and fulfilling, regardless of whether or not the sexaholic chooses sobriety. We attend as many meetings as we can, get a sponsor, if possible, and begin to apply the principles of the Twelve Steps to our lives. We use the telephone, the S-Anon literature and the S-Anon slogans. Eventually we reach out to help others and try to carry the message of our own recovery. We do these things in our own way, one day at a time–but we do them, striving for progress, not perfection. This is what is meant by “working the program.”