What are the 12 steps of the SA Program? What are the 12 traditions of SA? What are the Promises of SA? Reprinted with permission of SA Literature Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober. There are no dues or fees for SA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
SA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and help others to achieve sexual sobriety. Sexaholics Anonymous is a recovery program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and received permission from AA to use its Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in Reprinted with permission of SA Literature.
We can only speak for ourselves. The specialized nature of Sexaholics Anonymous can best be understood in terms of what we call the Sexaholic. The Sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong.
He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop. Lust has become an addiction. Our situation is like that of the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and must stop drinking all together, but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with the Sexaholic, or sex drunk, who can no longer tolerate lust but cannot stop. Thus, for the Sexaholic, any form of sex with one's self or with partners other than in a committed relationship is progressively addictive and destructive.
We also see that lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out, and true sobriety includes progressive victory over lust. These conclusions were forced upon us in the crucible of our experiences and recovery; we have no other options. But we have found that acceptance of these facts is the key to a happy and joyous freedom we could otherwise never know.
This will and should discourage many inquirers who admit to sexual obsession or compulsion, but who simply want to control and enjoy it, much as the alcoholic would like to control and enjoy drinking. Until we had been driven to the point of despair, until we really wanted to stop but could not, we did not give ourselves to this simple program of recovery. Sexaholics Anonymous is for those who know they have no other option but to stop, and their own enlightened self-interest must tell them this.
Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking or behavior? That you'd be better off if you didn't keep "giving in"? That sex or stimuli are controlling you? Have you ever tried to stop or limit doing what you felt was wrong in your sexual behavior? Do you resort to sex to escape, relieve anxiety, or because you can't cope? Do you feel guilt, remorse or depression afterward?
Has your pursuit of sex become more compulsive? Does it interfere with relations with your spouse? Do you have to resort to images or memories during sex? Does an irresistible impulse arise when the other party makes the overtures or sex is offered? Do you keep going from one "relationship" or lover to another?
Do you feel the "right relationship" would help you stop lusting, masturbating, or being so promiscuous? Do you have a destructive need-a desperate sexual or emotional need for someone? Does pursuit of sex make you careless for yourself or the welfare of your family or others?
Has your effectiveness or concentration decreased as sex has become more compulsive? Do you lose time from work for it? Do you turn to a lower environment when pursuing sex? Do you want to get away from the sex partner as soon as possible after the act? Although your spouse is sexually compatible, do you still masturbate or have sex with others?
Have you ever been arrested for a sex-related offense? Many of us felt inadequate, unworthy, alone, and afraid. Our insides never matched what we saw on the outsides of others. Early on, we came to feel disconnected from parents, from peers, from ourselves. We tuned out with fantasy and masturbation. We plugged in by drinking in the pictures, the images, and pursuing the objects of our fantasies.
We lusted and wanted to be lusted after. We became true addicts: We got it through the eyes; we bought it, we sold it, we traded it, we gave it away. We were addicted to the intrigue, the tease, the forbidden. The only way we knew to be free of it was to do it.
Lusting after the "Big Fix," we gave away our power to others. This produced guilt, self-hatred, remorse, emptiness, and pain, and we were driven ever inward, away from reality, away from love, lost inside ourselves. Our habit made true intimacy impossible. We could never know real union with another because we were addicted to the unreal. We went for the "chemistry: Fantasy corrupted the real; lust killed love.
First addicts, then love cripples, we took from others to fill up what was lacking in ourselves. Conning ourselves time and again that the next one would save us, we were really losing our lives.
We saw that our problem was threefold: Healing had to come about in all three. The crucial change in attitude began when we admitted we were powerless, that our habit had us whipped. We came to meetings and withdrew from our habit. For some, this meant no sex with themselves or others, including not getting into relationships.
For others it also meant "drying out" and not having sex with their committed partner for a time to recover from lust. We discovered that we could stop, that not feeding the hunger didn't kill us, that sex was indeed optional. There was hope for freedom, and we began to feel alive. Encouraged to continue, we turned more and more away from our isolating obsession with sex and self and turned to God and others. All this was scary. We couldn't see the path ahead, except that others had gone that way before.
Each new step of surrender felt it would be off the edge into oblivion, but we took it. And instead of killing us, surrender was killing the obsession! We had stepped into the light, into a whole new way of life.
The fellowship gave us monitoring and support to keep us from being overwhelmed, a safe haven where we could finally face ourselves. Instead of covering our feelings with compulsive sex, we began exposing the roots of our spiritual emptiness and hunger.
And the healing began. As we faced our defects, we became willing to change; surrendering them broke the power they had over us. We began to be more comfortable with ourselves and others for the first time without our "drug! At each amends, more of the dreadful load of guilt dropped from our shoulders, until we could lift our heads, look the world in the eye, and stand free.
We began practicing a positive sobriety, taking the actions of love to improve our relations with others. We were learning how to give; and the measure we gave was the measure we got back. We were finding what none of the substitutes had ever supplied. We were making the real Connection.
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.
There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.
Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start.