This Digital Edition requires Flash 9.0.115 or above to activate some rich media components.
Please click the following link to download and install:
When you are finished installing, please return to this window and PRESS F5 to view this edition.
Description: the Journal is a bimonthly publication prepared by members of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. This valuable recovery tool offers personal stories, writings on important recovery topics, poetry and humor, as well as Fellowship announcements and event listings. Writings are submitted by members and others interested in sex and love addiction.
Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal 1. Having few healthy boundaries we become sexually involved with and or emotionally attached to people without knowing them. 2. Fearing abandonment and loneliness we stay in and return to painful destructive relationships concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones ourselves and God. 3. Fearing emotional and or sexual deprivation we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time. 4. We confuse love with neediness physical and sexual attraction pity and or the need to rescue or be rescued. 5. We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts. 6. We sexualize stress guilt loneliness anger shame fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing care and support. 7. We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others. 8. We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies. 9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable. 10. We stay enslaved to emotional dependency romantic intrigue or compulsive sexual activities. 11. To avoid feeling vulnerable we may retreat from all intimate involvement mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery. 12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations. 1990 The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. All Rights Reserved the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Table of Contents Letter from the Editor The S.L.A.A. Preamble Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Resources 1. We seek to develop a daily relationship with a Higher 3 4 5 Sharing from the Heart Power knowing that we are not alone in our efforts to heal ourselves from our addiction. 2. We are willing to be vulnerable because the capacity to trust has The been restored Untreated Sex a Higher Power. Reality of to us by our faith in and Love Addiction 3. We surrender one day The Newcomer s strategy of and Question of the Day at a time our whole lifeExperience our obsession with the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and I Struggled to Define Myself as an Addict emotional dependency. 6 8 9 0 3 4 7 0 23 4 7 30 3 34 An Agnostic Findingsituations thatWithout God 4. We learn to avoid Recovery may put us at risk morally psychologically or spiritually. Honesty The Core of Recovery physically 5. We learn the Day Recovery from Isolation Question ofto accept and love ourselves to take responsibility for our own lives and to take care of our own needs before involving Pornographic Anorexic ourselves with others. Isolated from God Myself and Others ourselves to be vul6. We become willing to ask for help allowing nerable and learning to trust and accept others. Where I Belong The 7. Weof Relationship work through the pain of our low selfJoy allow ourselves to Question of the in solitude. to feel comfortable Day Recovery from Fantasy Me and Mrs. Jones (woo imperfections and mistakes as part of 8. We begin to accept our woo) Why Nothuman healing our shame and perfectionismOne working being Have Fun While Waiting for The while Godon our character defects. is my Answer Question emotions and feelings. Year s Achievement pressing of the Day This About Boundaries 10. We become honest in expressing who we are developing true A Lovely Way To Live with ourselves and others. intimacy in our relationships 11. We learn to value sex as a by-product of sharing commitment trust 0 cooperation in Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and The Augustine a partnership. 12. We are restored to sanity on a daily basis by participating in the process ofto copy for distribution of the entire original edition only Free recovery. Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. All Rights Reserved. esteem and our fears of abandonment and responsibility. We learn 9. We begin to substitute honesty for self-destructive ways of ex- available online at www.slaafws.org journal freeissue Not for sale or resale. S.L.A.A. service bodies including meetings 1990 The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. and intergroups may charge a fee to cover actual printing costs. All Rights Reserved Any opinions or beliefs expressed by individual members belongs to those members and does not reflect the position of the Journal or S.L.A.A. as a whole. Recovery Outreach Edition The Twelve Steps of S.L.A.A. the Journal 1. We admitted we were powerless over sex and love addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves praying only for knowledge of God s will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives. 1985 The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. is affiliated with this program. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism only. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise. THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Letter from the Editor Dear Reader Welcome to the special issue of the Journal. For those not familiar with the program of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous we are a fellowship of men and women recovering from sex and love addiction. Our magazine the Journal is meant to be a meeting in print. We have compiled selections from various issues of the magazine to introduce our program of recovery . Since sex and love addiction affects people from all walks of life in many different ways we have included stories that deal with various aspects of the addiction. We hope that anyone who reads this free issue will walk away with a sense of how much the S.L.A.A. program has helped countless people recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind. As you can tell from the stories we are not people who would normally mix. But we are brought together and support each other in meetings outreach calls and fellowship. If any of what is written in this issue speaks to you as I hope it will I urge you to find a meeting in your area and join us. S.L.A.A. saved my life as it did for many others. We hope to return the favor in part with service work such as this issue that you hold in your hands. Thank you for reading. Be well. Sincerely the Journal Managing Editor & the Conference Journal Committee 3 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal The S.L.A.A. Preamble 1985 2003 The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. All Rights Reserved. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is a Twelve Step Twelve Traditionoriented fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. The only qualification for S.L.A.A. membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction. S.L.A.A. is supported entirely through the contributions of its membership and is free to all who need it. To counter the destructive consequences of sex and love addiction we draw on five major resources 1. Sobriety. Our willingness to stop acting out in our own personal bottom-line addictive behavior on a daily basis. 2. Sponsorship Meetings. Our capacity to reach out for the supportive fellowship within S.L.A.A. 3. Steps. Our practice of the Twelve Step program of recovery to achieve sexual and emotional sobriety 4. Service. Our giving back to the S.L.A.A. community what we continue to freely receive. 5. Spirituality. Our developing a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves which can guide and sustain us in recovery. As a fellowship S.L.A.A. is not affiliated with any other organizations movements or causes either religious or secular. We are however united in a common focus dealing with our addictive sexual and emotional behavior. We find a common denominator in our obsessive compulsive patterns which renders any personal differences of sexual or gender orientation irrelevant. We need protect with special care the anonymity of every S.L.A.A. member. Additionally we try to avoid drawing undue attention to S.L.A.A. as a whole from the public media. 4 the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Resources Visit the official website of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous discover local meetings phone meetings online meetings connect find a long-distance sponsor purchase literature write The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. 1550 NE Loop 410 Suite 118 San Antonio TX 78209 phone 1 (210) 828-7900 www.slaafws.org Anorexia The compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social sexual or emotional nourishment. S.L.A.A. Common Definitions Bottom Lines Self-defined activities from which S.L.A.A. members abstain in order to experience physical mental emotional sexual and spiritual wholeness. Higher Power A self-defined power greater than ourselves that is capable of restoring us to physical mental emotional sexual and spiritual wholeness. Qualifier Anyone who becomes your drug of choice who qualifies you to identify as a sex and love addict (typically an ex-lover.) Sponsor An S.L.A.A. member willing to give a sponsee direction based on their experience with how to work the 12 Steps of S.L.A.A. Top Lines Self-defined activities that members pursue to experience physical mental emotional sexual and spiritual wholeness. 5 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal The Reality of Untreated Sex and Love Addiction As a former primary counselor in a major treatment center a former owner of a women s shelter and a Pastor I have come to see the reality of untreated sex and love addiction. It would be unethical for me to share patient tenant or member information with you but I can still share with you a truthful story. The story invented below is a fictional synthesis of a thousand real stories realistic in every respect. Situations and personalities have been combined in a way that no single real-life person is even remotely represented. Beth is a cocaine addict. She entered treatment because her live-in boyfriend got into recovery and threatened to send her packing if she didn t get clean. Beth arrived angry at him at the treatment intake people and at 6 the world. She was quickly diagnosed with substance dependence acute anxiety and borderline traits. Her history of sexual promiscuity went unnoticed because she deliberately made a big deal about how faithful she had been to her current man. During the course of her treatment she would frequently disappear into the bathroom for twenty minutes during trauma group. The staff discussed it and decided that she was resisting treatment. The fact that she was visiting the ladies room to quietly masturbate went undetected as did her past promiscuity so instead of treating sex and love addiction the staff prohibited her from visiting the ladies room during group. Beth abruptly entered withdrawal which had not been her the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition plan so she responded by running away. She first found some cocaine and then held up in a hotel room with another relapsing addict. He introduced her to shooting cocaine during sex. No one could find her for a month. When she emerged all mangled she was not able to return to treatment because the insurance company was denying coverage. Her boyfriend had lost interest in flying her home. Where she ended up after the emergency room only God knows. Lynn the trauma specialist on staff had had a vague sense that Beth s acute anxiety had something to do with early abuse. She had quietly wondered what Beth had been doing in the bathroom. It never occurred to anyone on staff that Beth ran because of sexual withdrawal not cocaine withdrawal. Beth s borderline diagnosis explained the chaos and dependency in her personal relationships and her impulsive behavior so love addiction (which insurance companies don t recognize as an addiction) was overlooked. Consequently Beth disappeared like thousands of others into a world of darkness. If there was someone there someone who had taken the time to start an S.L.A.A. meeting in the facility if someone dropped by the treatment center to invite the staff to take the patients out to a nearby S.L.A.A. meeting Beth might have found the help she needed. Who is responsible for this travesty I am. -- Anonymous 7 (Issue 115) Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal Every issue we ask one new question for S.L.A.A. members all around the world to share their experience strength and hope. Here s a sample of responses that suggest how important the first impression of our recovery program is to newcomers. Question of the Day As a newcomer to S.L.A.A. what first really helped you Everyone shared from the heart. I isolated so it helped when people welcomed me. -- Manuel Los Angeles I ve been whistling around in my darkness wondering when my husband or my boyfriend will find out about each other or my online romances. I went to an S.L.A.A. meeting and told my story. There were men and women there that seemed pretty happy and normal. They welcomed me and told me to come back. What a relief. I think I ll go back. All this secrecy is exhausting. -- Tammy Texas When I was a newcomer I knew about the pain of the disease all too well. I felt SO relieved to hear shares around the room that included a person s experience strength and hope. I needed hope. It kept me coming back. -- Amy New York 8 At the first meeting I ever attended I was scared lonely suicidal and convinced my life was over. I could hardly speak and in fact throughout the entire meeting I could only croak out pass when it came my turn to share. But no one thought worse of me because of it and I came home with one thing hope. That made all the difference. -- Jim Fresno CA The first meeting I attended was very small. What helped the most was that everyone listened while I basically just spilled the beans. I was a wreck by the time I was done crying and feeling hopeless. Immediately after the meeting all of the guys stayed and talked to me. They let me know they had been in the same spot and that the program had worked for them. Simple as that. -- Greg Boise ID the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition I Struggled to Define Myself as an Addict S tep One states We admitted we were powerless over sex and love addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable. I have struggled with admitting that I am a sex and love addict. Mostly I have struggled with the word addict. It had or I gave it some pretty negative connotations. To me an addict is someone who is out of control untrustworthy and causes pain lots of pain. So why on earth would I want to identify myself as someone like that My ego resisted. Eventually Higher Power introduced a particular definition of addiction along my path. I then realized that I could take a loving position toward myself while still identifying myself as an addict. I d like to share that definition in the hope that it may help someone else. Addiction Fear running from self not knowing how to love one s self. That pretty well described me I had fear I ran from myself and I didn t know how to love myself. I used people places and things to avoid being present to myself. This definition provided me with a loving objective perspective a perspective that I hadn t been able to find or give myself. Today whenever I feel uncomfortable with identifying as an addict I turn to this definition once more to ground myself and open my heart. I remind myself that in any given situation I ve done and still do the best I can with what I have depending on where I am in my recovery. As much as my ego might want me to believe that I am my dis-ease I am much more. Slowly with time patience willingness working the Twelve Steps going to meetings meditating praying trusting and doing service I am better able to love and accept myself - addiction and all and that has made all the difference. Thank you S.L.A.A. for the new ways I m learning and practicing to behave and think towards myself and others. Thank you Higher Power for my recovery. -- Anonymous Canada (Issue 121) 9 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal An Agnostic Finding Recovery Without God I have been sober over 5 years. I am also sober 8 years in another fellowship all without a belief in God. When I was new to the program being open-minded meant trying anything including praying on my knees or while driving at meetings and in private. I also tried my hand at the turning it over to God vocabulary. Ultimately I knew I was kidding myself and I wouldn t continue pretending to believe in God any more than I would insist to a doubting youth that there absolutely is a Santa Claus and he lives at the North Pole. I remember finding ways to fit into discussion my story about how I would love to subscribe to an all-loving all-powerful deity that cares about me has a will for me and the power to protect and enlighten me but for me that would be insanity and the program teaches me to seek the truth and shed unsound thinking. At times I was speaking my truth and at times I was venting my Theist-resentment. I know that what divides me and theists in the program is small compared to the commonground that binds us. Most of the time I meditate during the praying in meetings and apply the adage Live and Let Live during the sharing portions of the meeting. A value such as turning my will and life over to the care of God is indeed someone else s value. I just don t believe in God or heaven. There is much I don t understand. I don t willfully pump my own heart for instance but I see much of the unknown as chaotic - not a divine mystery. I joke that you might think the steps without God is a short cut but actually it s more work more personal responsibility. But S.L.A.A. is for all of us. And you can belong without believing. -- Joe Toronto (Issue 126) Editor s note Publication of this share in the Journal is neither intended to espouse a particular belief nor an alternate interpretation of the steps. The intent is to fully share all stories of experience strength hope and recovery without bias to the path chosen. 0 the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Honesty The Core of Recovery One time at an S.L.A.A. meeting an experienced member said Dishonesty lies at the center of every addiction. The converse is also true honesty forms the very core of recovery. Without it no recovery is possible. I have experienced this principle in my own plunge into sexual addiction and my slow upward crawl out of its depths. The Fourth and Fifth Steps show us the necessity of being honest with ourselves and with at least one other human being while the Tenth Step tells us that we need to continually be honest with ourselves and promptly admit when we are wrong. As addicts we try to hide the truth from our spouses friends and coworkers. After a devastating year in 004 during which I concealed acting out from my fellow S.L.A.A. members I finally got honest and began almost four years of abstinence from my bottom line. I thought I was cured but I was not being completely honest with myself. Two years later what I thought to be an innocent emotional affair with a customer resulted in my second wife s attempted suicide a terrible event that sobered me up for awhile. I now know that I can only stay in recovery as long as I am honest with myself my Higher Power and others. It is painful but it is necessary to face the truth of who I am and what I have done. There is no other way. -- JF Missouri (Issue 115) Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal Question of the Day How is isolation part of your sex and love addiction and how do you find recovery I can isolate anywhere anytime whether it s in a room alone or in a crowded convention hall full of people. I can use my perfectionism to keep people away any excuse to cut people out of my life. It s almost like a binge and purge cycle. After lengthy periods of isolation I act out sexually. Then the shame sets in and I start isolating all over again. -- Nick Los Angeles CA I am terrified of intimacy and so I isolate. I am the class clown I have many friends and I am an extrovert but I am terrified I am not good enough for you for the world and for myself. I pretend and masquerade a self I think you want to see that my parents told me was the right way to be that is acceptable to society. But deep down I am ashamed of me so I avoid real intimacy and letting the real me shine. I play second best. I defer to others and then I resent you. I find recovery by accepting my self as is and others as they are. I learn to listen. I learn not to run to stay and participate imperfect broken and loved by God. I learn to be humble. -- Ann Los Angeles CA Isolation is a major facet of my disease a lot of unhealthy consequences result. I get lost in my own head too much. I lose practical perspective of what s happening in the world I obsess and I get into self-pity. For recovery I get in touch with my Higher Power I think of things I can do for self-care and to be of service to others. I make a conscious effort to reach out to others. -- Natalie Chicago Isolation (being antisocial) is a big part of my addiction. When I start to isolate it is a warning sign that I am not taking care of myself which is a new top-line behavior for me. My isolation is a part of my not addressing my feelings or admitting my feelings and starts my slide down the slippery slope. I find recovery by calling program people and being honest about how I am feeling. -- Stephen Connecticut the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Pornographic Anorexic My bottom-line behaviors are one-night stands pornography and sex or intrigue with married women. Those in S.L.A.A. with experience told me that all my bottom lines are anorexic. At first I did not know what they meant. It makes sense to me now. What I liked about one-night stands was their brevity. One night one of my trophy girls passed out drunk in my bed after we finished our sexual frenzy. I stayed up reading almost until sunrise so that she would sleep it off enough so I could wake her and send her home all to avoid sleeping next to her. It s not that she was unattractive. It s just that I m an anorexic sex and love addict. Pornography was the most anorexic. The only thing on the celluloid was disconnected sex. The anorexic part of me was comfortable with the horrible acting. I did not want to know the characters. The best part was that no one ever had to see me physically or emotionally naked. I could get my addictive hit without ever being known. Zero intimacy. If that is not anorexic then I don t know what is. Married women were safe because I could cut it off at any time by declaring that adultery is wrong. Of course I had no such morality when I lured them in. I always pretended that they somehow manipulated me into their web of marital dishonesty but it was just a front for my emotional anorexia. It was the lie I told myself. I just wanted the woman to go away. All this acting out was an avoidance of giving and receiving love. The old-timers in my home group were right. All my bottomline behaviors are anorexic. It s now possible for me to experience love. It started with my sponsor then I was able to love my family with real emotion and they could feel the difference. I used to just fake it. I love now in ways I didn t know were possible and none of the people I love are one-night stands porn stars or the wives of others. I can even cuddle with my girlfriend without feeling like I need to wiggle free after a few minutes. Thank God I m free of the craziness. They tell me that one day at a time I can live life without falling into bottom-line behaviors provided I maintain my spiritual condition. I just keep coming back to S.L.A.A. and follow the few simple suggestions that always work when we truly follow them. -- Vladimir Russia (Issue 116) 3 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal what I wanted God to be no matter how outrageous my demands. I wanted my own personal Santa Claus who gave me everything I wanted and loved me unconditionally. My sponsor told me my Higher Power would love me unconditionally but that I would eventually get a more realistic God than Santa Claus. When I had a lightening bolt spiritual experience two years later I saw what she meant. I was insane on my hands and knees crying and screaming and hyperventilating about a relationship with a married man. I called a fellow S.L.A.A. member and she said Prayers are powerful. What do you want me to pray for I said Pray for my obsession with (my qualifier) to be lifted. She said the prayer with me over the phone. I felt a calm and sanity come over me. That was my S.L.A.A. sobriety date. I was a completely different person from that day until now nine years later. I was isolated from myself because I didn t even know myself. I was so busy trying to be the perfect daughter girlfriend and worker that I didn t know what I liked. I fit my personality to the situation. If I was going to a party I dressed up in tight clothing and Isolated from God Myself and Others When I walked into anonymous programs fourteen years ago I was isolated from God myself and others. I was isolated from God because I spent most of my life either believing he didn t exist or thinking he must hate me if he did exist. I suffered a lot of verbal physical and sexual abuse as a teenager from a nine year relationship with a psychopath boyfriend who ended up murdering my best friend. I thought if God did exist he abandoned me a long time ago. Through the tools of S.L.A.A. (steps meetings praying to a God I didn t understand and meditation even when restless) I started to see that God did exist and he hadn t abandoned me -- I had abandoned him in favor of my boyfriend. I made my boyfriend my higher power for nine years because I was addicted to him. S.L.A.A. helped me break my isolation from God. My sponsor had me write out what I thought God was. At that time he was an evil man who sat up in the sky on his throne and played tricks on me. He was judging me and I was always coming up short. My sponsor had me tear up the sheet of paper that contained that writing symbolically throwing that God out. Then I had to write 4 the Journal played the party girl even if I was uncomfortable or cold or tired. I didn t even have a hobby because I was too busy running around trying to make my boyfriends lives easier. When I joined S.L.A.A. I had to start being honest about who I was and what I thought. A lot of this was revealed in my fourth and fifth steps. My sponsor gave me direction to take myself out on dates. I had to start thinking about what Recovery Outreach Edition or anyone else. I ran around telling so many lies so that I wouldn t hurt people s feelings or get hurt myself that I no longer knew what the truth was anymore. Being honest in meetings and with my sponsor cleared out all the junk in my head so I could actually work on myself. Breaking out of my isolation from myself helped me with my isolation from others. Once I was able to trust myself and my sobriety it was easier When I think back to my loneliest moments there was usually somebody sitting there next to me. I liked to do. In the past I always went along with what my boyfriend wanted to do even if I was bored to tears. I took myself out to movies and restaurants and art galleries. My sponsor also forced me to become self-supporting through my own contributions. I couldn t rely on my parents for money anymore which was a huge step for me. My self-esteem grew by leaps and bounds when I could honestly say I supported myself. And I didn t have to rely on anyone else to come and rescue me. Rescuing usually brings control along with it. Another big part of isolation from myself had to do with honesty. I wasn t honest with myself to trust others. When it came to significant others it took a lot of outside help to tackle that behemoth. Like Ally McBeal said When I think back to my loneliest moments there was usually somebody sitting there next to me. Being seen but not heard is very lonely. None of the guys I was with before my recovery in S.L.A.A. ever heard me. I was never honest with them or myself so they couldn t hear the real me anyway. S.L.A.A. helped me find the real me. And God and S.L.A.A. helped me find the man who became my husband and partner. My sponsor gave me a dating plan that helped me show my partner the real me and gave us 5 Recovery Outreach Edition enough time to really get to know each other. I wasn t able to isolate myself because I had to be in constant contact with my Higher Power sponsor and meetings. The difficulty with being honest and showing another human being who you really are is that they can see who you are and say You know I really don t like that so I m going to go now. My character defects of jealousy and drama queen and immaturity were pretty hard to handle. After six months of dating my then-boyfriend decided he didn t want to deal with it anymore. So he broke up with me. This was confusing to me because even though I did the dating plan and followed my sponsor s direction and felt I did everything right the S.L.A.A. way he was still a human being with his own thoughts and feelings who could choose to walk away which he did. My anorexic addict voice said see you shouldn t trust people because even if you do everything right they ll abandon you in the end anyway. I told him that if he wanted to get back together to give me a call otherwise to please not contact me. I knew my addict would start trying to manipulate him to come back to me. I was amazed that I didn t even feel like acting out or retaliating or replacing the loss. I 6 the Journal relied on God meetings my family and the fellowship of S.L.A.A. to get me through that tough time that used to break me (before sobriety in S.L.A.A. I always gained 40 pounds and became suicidal after a breakup and acted out with anyone who would have me). And two months later --after he did some soul searching -- he came back to me. I needed that time away to realize that relationships are more about trusting God and myself than about trusting others. It s about communication and living in reality. Once I stopped choosing dangerous men my partners turned out to be trustworthy human beings. I found a really good guy in sobriety who is willing to do the work with me. That was part of the reason he came back. He realized he had a partner who was also willing to do the work. He joined S.L.A.A. a year after we started dating and now he sponsors more people than I do. I always say that God found the perfect partner for me. He s not perfect but he s perfect for me. I wouldn t trade what I ve got today for anything and that s a good place to be. I am grateful to S.L.A.A. and God for my life. -- Lisa C. (Issue 128) the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Where I Belong Secret thoughts and behaviors define my disease. I was in the military and in addition to near constant sex with prostitutes in far-east Asia I always had a stash of hard core porn. Sometimes I was on a ship for long periods of time and the porn and masturbation was a ritualistic part of almost everyone s day but it had always been for me whether on or off shore. After the military I hit a brutal bottom with cocaine and alcohol and cleaned up in rehab and a step program in my mid-0s. Then during college in the mid 90 s something happened the internet. I soon found the free hardcore and fetish sites completely irresistible. It was as addictive as and more damaging in many ways than my other addiction to cocaine would ever be. When I moved in with my fianc in the late 90s we bought a computer for my graduate school studies. I never had a chance. We looked at internet porn together a few times for laughs. But I secretly said to myself if she only knew the half of it. I was constantly constantly clearing the search history site history image caches key words and internet viruses the evidence of my secret life. And it was a secret life hours and hours spent researching for school. Late nights turned into early mornings masturbating compulsively. The fetishes went from weird to insane I followed links that descended into a hell of depravity always seeking to find a bigger hit. Six years of meetings and service and sponsorship in another step fellowship was no match for my sexual addiction. The shame and remorse the lies and secrets I could not sleep and started abusing sleeping medications. Narcotic sleep meds from a doctor first to sleep then to get high taking them on my way to school because I liked the way it helped me dissociate from the emotional hangover of the previous night s activities. Soon it was painkillers and tranquilizers too. 7 Recovery Outreach Edition In short my internet porn addiction led me back to my drug addiction. I didn t talk about the new drug habit in my meetings though I still claimed my seat and now had more lies than I knew what to do with. This went on for three years. Then marriage came along and I promised myself the insanity would recede in the lights of my successful career and relationship. Instead a bottom I never could have imagined was only two years away. By now the prescription drugs were almost daily the internet porn was daily and it led me to the Journal pretty sick. I had a meltdown. Rehab for drugs and alcohol was successful again but I refused to take the sex and porn addiction seriously. I left my wife rather than tell her the truth. I started having compulsive sex with any available or unavailable woman I could find civilian or pro . Internet sex was almost nonstop sometimes using a cell phone and masturbating in the car. I ruined relationships with my friends because of my paranoia thinking my sex partners were sleeping with them. I took hostages. I became socially anorexic in an They say you re as sick as your secrets. Well I was pretty sick. throw away two 000 laptops because I couldn t stop the popups and couldn t have explained to my wife what was wrong. My sex life was nonexistent now massage parlors and clandestine sex were back in the picture too. My identity was completely consumed by my addiction. My work suffered tremendously. Guilt ate at me hourly. Vodka seemed like something I could get away with though it had been years since my early trips to rehab following the military. After that I began using cocaine again. I was still not talking about any of these secrets with anyone. They say you re as sick as your secrets. Well I was 8 almost absolute sense. I was at the jumping off point. I went to treatment for sex addiction. I entered a sexual recovery program but slept with one of the women there. Then I went home to my community now divorced and humiliated having learned the language of sex addiction but having done nothing with it. I wish I could have found the courage to face the music instead I left town. I landed in a new community no job picked up the cocaine and prostitution and internet porn like I had never left. Unbelievably risky illegal behavior was a part of my daily existence so much for a geographic the Journal cure. I was now nearly destitute divorced unemployed and unemployable. Welcome to my bottom now for the good news. I have found recovery. S.L.A.A. has given me relief from a life of insanity. I am clean from all substances but I devote myself to step recovery from sex porn addiction as my primary addiction. My sex porn addiction is THE main path to crazy town and I pray to God that I never forget that fact. I will use drugs and die if I don t deal with my sex porn addiction. I will go to prison if I don t deal with it. My luck will run out and I ll suffer health consequences that I ve somehow avoided. What do I love the most about S.L.A.A. recovery I love the certainty that I am not alone that my story is not unique. Nothing compares to sitting at a meeting defining my bottom line behaviors in practical terms and discussing my freedom from them. I talk to my fellow men in my network about temptations that I ve survived sometimes just barely with compassion and humor. It seems hard to believe as I write this that I m free of the insanity. I know it is my relationship with God and with other recovering addicts that has saved me. Help is only a phone call away. There are meetings six nights a week only 0 minutes Recovery Outreach Edition from my home where I can play a role in the recovery of other addicts and share experience strength and hope. I feel useful and my past is actually not just a source of pain. In leaving it behind my past now is useful to others another story of heartbreak averted death postponed for another day. My path from here is clear I will clear up the wreckage of my past with the 8th and 9th steps. I will share my story of spiritual recovery with others and support meetings in my community wherever that may be. One of my favorite concepts in recovery is social anorexia. It fits me so well at times in the past I withdrew from virtually all relationships in the service of my disease. But I no longer accept as normal the shame paranoia guilt and manipulation that the withdrawal represented. I talk to my family now and I have friends again. I am in the process of repairing relationships that are important to me. Within the safety of the S.L.A.A. fellowship I can now shine a spotlight on the darkest parts of my past my deepest fears. I have found my tribe at last. Some members of my S.L.A.A. network have other addictions in common with me. I have never felt so at home. I have never felt such hope. -- Jay Connecticut 19 (Issue 123) Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal different ways of acting to get what I wanted. It took spending years in the program to develop an inside. That is what I relate to now not to external validation. That became terminology I heard I didn t know that was how I was operating. It took a long time to have self-value self-love integrity and virtue things I did not know how to put into place. I had to start with bottom lines doing the steps in S.L.A.A. and doing the work. The value of going to meetings sitting in rooms and hearing people s stories helped me to see people as people. I was forced to listen to their experiences. This was new to me because until recently I objectified everyone. I saw people as just cardboard cutouts who were getting in my way. I decided who I would bother talking to or not or who might be a friend or who was interesting. I made these judgments before anybody opened their mouth. So sitting in the rooms I found myself relating to so many people s stories that I never thought I would. I started to soften and have compassion especially with men. I had so much rage and anger and fear toward men that I didn t think men had feelings. Listening to them in meetings revealed beliefs and experiences very similar to what I was experiencing like trying to connect The Joy of Relationship I am now in my first sober healthy relationship. Before this I had not been in a relationship in over 0 years. Looking back I felt like I was going to be alone forever never connecting with another human being. I did not really know I was a sex and love addict and there are ways to heal this. When I first came into the program when I was not sexually active my life was black and white. When I was sexually active however it was in color it was rich and everything mattered. It was exactly like the Big Book says I was like a dazed animal waiting to be prodded into life. Sex was a euphoric. It did not matter the length of physical contact whether it was in a relationship or just a one-time experience--it just was somebody else validating me rather than myself. I had no sense of who I was. You hear people say Just be yourself on a date and I always thought Which one I had only 0 the Journal and have love in their lives. The support in the fellowship is so valuable. The group I think is developing where love is where God is and people are sharing their experiences. Anorexia is always lurking There was an anorexia meeting that I went to early on in the beginning of my recovery. I walked into the meeting and the S.L.A.A. Anorexia pamphlet was being read and I related to so many of the characteristics it was really painful to hear. My first thought was I m not catching this. This is contagious I m out of here. Probably the reason why I was so turned off by sexual anorexia was that I really related to it being alone keeping people away. In addition I was an extrovert so I really related to social anorexia particularly the part about being around a lot of people having a lot of fun but just feeling alone and isolated. All this tied into my depression with a feeling very similar to the withdrawal depression of Oh no I m never getting up and dating I m not going to connect with another human being ever again and I never like anybody. I know that the top-line meetings really helped me to get out of my anorexia to do things differently to take action. I worked really hard to get on the Recovery Outreach Edition phone and make calls when I did not want to to stay busy or to force myself to date. Before recovery I could barely walk down the streets when couples walked by holding hands. I just felt so envious and alone and separate. Holding hands getting married. I considered that normal what normal people do. I never knew how to be normal. Now I m in love. How did this happen I think by doing a lot of things opposite to my addiction and anorexia and learning that my thinking was faulty. I constantly have to really challenge my faulty thinking and say Well that s not really true. I like who I am and I like who my partner is able to see today. Before I could not say these things. I would say that maybe I tricked somebody into liking me falling in love with me or my sexuality was a commodity. That is not the case now. Now it is based on friendship. I had always heard that you can have a relationship with friendship where your partner is your best friend. That concept terrified me because I thought that meant that I would not be attracted to the person as a friend. I have learned that it is not the case. I feel blessed. -- Jill W. (Issue 126) Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal Question of the Day What s your personal experience and recovery around fantasy I used to lay in bed at night as I fell asleep thinking and dreaming of how I was going to get or seduce someone. Four hours later I was still awake repeating over and over variations of the same theme. When I awoke the next morning I was exhausted. Today I know this is the hangover of a fantasy addict. -- Anonymous Before S.L.A.A. my eyes would roam objectifying women and fantasizing scenarios. Now I look at women and men in a spiritual sense as human beings. -- Kurt Connecticut As a sex and love addict I am no stranger to fantasy whether sexual romantic or simply imagining awful outcomes to scenarios that may never occur. The way that I have dealt with fantasy is by working the steps. When I m going through a sexual or romantic fantasy I accept first and foremost that I am a sex and love addict and these things will happen to me but they do pass especially when I share them with friends (like other sex and love addicts) who understand. -- Owen New York NY One of my aspects about fantasy regards who my partner is. My fantasy is he will always be there for me. He will show up when I need him. He will rescue me and protect me. But my partner is human. In recovery I realized I often didn t ask my partner for what I needed because if he couldn t do it it would destroy my fantasy. My sponsor reminds me to speak up gather information and recognize my partner for who he really is not who I fantasize he is. -- Kim B. Boston MA I have always been an artist and fantasy has been my stock in trade. When I came into the program I obsessed constantly about romantic fantasy. Today I rarely obsess but my imagination is intact and no longer disturbed by constant distraction. -- Karen Delray Beach FL the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Me and Mrs. Jones (woo woo) Married men are catnip to your basic love junkie. For one it s all so tragic and dramatic. If only he had met you first You two were fated to be together had not cruel fate intervened. Yes I know that s contradictory on its face. Don t argue with someone in love. It s dangerous. Married men are like unappreciated artists or suicide survivors or vampires and relationships with them are similarly doomed beautifully romantically doomed. This of course is the point. Because deep down what a love junkie is terrified of is actual intimacy. The illusion of relationship beats the hell out of What do you want for dinner tonight honey Next great thing about married men They are incredibly affectionate and forthcoming about their feelings. They can ADORE you unreservedly because they have no fear of commitment to get in the way. There s a simple reason for this They are already committed to someone else Third and we re getting down to stuff you should be talking to your therapist about now married or otherwise unattainable men are a selffulfilling prophecy for women with zero self esteem. You don t genuinely believe you deserve someone in your life. Guess what You don t have to worry about that any more. Plus if you can snag some other woman s man even for a little while you must be better than her right Your desirability has been confirmed for one more night. You can breathe again. Then there s the whole Forbidden Love aspect of it. It s taboo and rebellious and edgy. Admit it that s just plain sexy. In a world where age race religion social class geography and gender are no longer barriers to relationship it is hard to find a good obstacle to bang your head against. Some of us like banging our head against things. Helps drown out the voices inside. It was harder and took me longer to get off married men that to get off cocaine. What I didn t know at the time was that neurochemically speaking they were pretty much the same thing. Married men are cheaper easier to come by and generally legal. That does not it turned out make them a better idea. -- Ethlie Beverly Hills (Issue 124) 3 Recovery Outreach Edition That was my motto Why not have FUN while waiting for The One For over twenty years I was extremely promiscuous remaining emotionally stunted with wildly unrealistic romantic fantasies. Here s the biggest fantasy of all this idea of The One a dream partner that completes us makes us whole. Another common fantasy is that we have fun whenever we sexually act out. The therapist who first told me about S.L.A.A. suggested that my sexual romantic acting out was actually a primitive attempt at managing abstract emotional pain giving it a face and a name making it real in the real world. This struck a nerve. I realized that many painful hours of disconnection indeed were the trade-off for fleeting moments of sexual and emotional relief. This started at 6 when I d hook up for anonymous sex with complete strangers in the gay ghetto of Seattle. Afterward I d always be filled with self-loathing and suicidal longing. Once at a high school party some friends joked they liked to go to the gay ghetto to watch the little f gs get picked up. They described a scenario that happened to me the previous night. Upon hearing this I freaked 4 the Journal out by drinking so much alcohol I went into convulsions - with every sip I wanted to die. I puked my guts out on the way to the hospital. My petrified friends drove me home and never mentioned anything about gays again. We laughed about what a wild party it was without talking about what happened. Wow So wild So fun From then on every time I drank or took drugs there would always be this element of trying to blot out the pain of being alive at the moment of intake. The proportion of dull pain for delusional pleasure grew more imbalanced as sex and love addiction consumed my life. In college I became obsessed with my best friend. He was the first person I confided the dark secret that I was gay solidifying our bond. I felt we were destined for each other he was The One. Unfortunately I couldn t express any of this because I was terrified of breaking the spell of losing him. So for two years I sat in silent love. He avoided and evaded my (usually drunken) attempts at caresses and kisses. The night that he reunited with his ex-lover I responded by attempting suicide. A few months later I had an epiphany that for all of my over- Why Not Have Fun While Waiting For The One the Journal powering feelings of love -- I was not really feeling much actual love. Rather I was feeling a lot of unfulfilled longing despair envy hatred and vengeance. I pulled a geographic and transferred to Hong Kong for a semester abroad to get away from everyone especially myself. Within a few days I d discovered all the underground gay nightclubs in Hong Kong and started casually dating this guy who later turned out to be a prostitute. I was popping pills and drinking until I passed out almost every night. This guy started bringing me along on his jobs. We d have sex while the johns watched and then after I passed out... I don t know what happened. One night I woke up with complete strangers having their way with me. As I passed out again I remember Recovery Outreach Edition Compared to my performance artist friends I was the vanilla one. I surrounded myself with an environment that reflected a distortion of reality. I didn t know it was sex and love addiction we referred to it as a fabulous debauchery. It was a lifestyle choice or at least I thought I had a choice in this. Flash-forward from this scene to the last year of my active addiction well after I d stopped performing. I was spending time with strangers over friends and most of these strangers I would never choose as friends. I would sleep with at least ten different sex partners a week sometimes ten a day. This adds up to more than three thousand sex partners throughout my life. I have a genetic immunity to the HIV virus (CCR5 mutation ) but I was getting treated for STDs on a yearly basis. The principles of this program were waiting for me my whole life. angrily thinking I can t believe they d have sex with me when I m unconscious (I d write in my diary Wild times What fun ) For the next 0 years I worked in many different nightclubs mainly as a club kid gogo dancer. As a performance artist all my work revolved around explicit themes of sex and love. As it says in S.L.A.A. literature I made a career out of my addiction. While I was proud of the fact that I could do any drug without getting hooked this was no longer true. Strangers started offering me a hit of crystal meth during sex and then someone gave me their paraphernalia. In that last year I started smoking meth daily. It felt like I d lost the capacity to care. Sex with everyone started to seem like nothing more than mutual masturbation. 5 Recovery Outreach Edition This is where my last qualifier appeared a fellow meth and sex addict from the British upper class. There s no new twist. Same delusional fantasy and magical thinking as my previous soulmates (-- I can say that now at the time it was I ve never felt this way for anybody before ) He was supposed to quit meth for a brilliant job offer in another country. For me to join him unasked I would need to quit too. Driven by love addiction I forced myself to quit the drug addiction. Crystal meth is an epidemic in the world of homosexual hookups. The only way to successfully stay off meth was to quit having sex with strangers. In February 007 I quit using both for good. Well the qualifier didn t want to be with me. While I knew I didn t want to kill myself I kept dividing my possessions into pre-sorted piles for relatives and friends in case I suddenly gave in to suicide one night. I called around several free clinics for free therapy programs. And that s how I met the therapist at a gay center who as an S.L.A.A. member brought me the message. When our free sessions came to an end I finally attended my first S.L.A.A. meeting. The recovery here blew me away. I felt like I d come home. The principles of S.L.A.A. were waiting for me my whole life. 6 the Journal How do I find freedom from a lifetime of living in fantasy I show up for S.L.A.A. meetings. Sometimes I share for my allotted three minutes the rest of the time I listen. I get a lot of reality checks in the rooms through identifying. I trust my sponsor because I can t always trust my thinking my feeling and my interpretations of reality. I practice the 3-second rule when I start to fantasize or obsess meaning I have three seconds to think of something else. When I first started 12-steps I thought the drug & alcohol programs were too triggering. There seemed to be a lot of untreated sex and love addiction there. Now whenever I go anywhere I bring my S.L.A.A. program with me. There are so many in this world who still suffer including prevailing mindsets in the media and other institutions. I hope that others may come to the same realization that indulging our fantasies of true love or unbridled lust might be misguided attempts at psychological healing rather than true expressions of healthy sexuality. But as they say here If someone s not ready for recovery from addiction there s nothing you can say to help them. And when they are ready there s nothing you can say that won t help them. -- Tom Los Angeles (Issue 129) the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition God is My Answer Love Addiction is a disease of desperation. It s desperation for attention affection and love. The addict will be temporarily satisfied with a fix at anytime in any amount and from anyone. It s pathetic to watch the way a love addict will manipulate lie and even cheat in order to get a fix. I know. I m a Love Addict. I did not have a name for who I was in relationships. Sex Addict was not an accurate description for the way in which I acted out. Sure I had a number of men I sexually acted out with in my 0 s but by the time I married at age 8 that form of acting out was over. That s when the Love Addiction kicked in. It would be another 0 years before I d see that although no longer a sex addict I was indeed still an addict. The proof that I was an addict was evidenced by the fact that I felt so unlovable. I felt so desperate. I felt so lonely. I felt so hopeless. I felt so unloved. This was despite my being married to the same man for 0 years having a wonderful son many friends and family a thriving career and an abundant life. Outwardly I appeared happy. It just didn t make sense. I had been in step programs for 5 years worked a rigorous program sponsored provided service and still I was not happy. The day I walked into S.L.A.A. and identified myself as a love addict was the day my life began to change inwardly. There was a man who each week checked in with I feel loving of my wife and family and free from addiction. I wanted to strangle the guy. It was painful to hear him say the words that I wanted so desperately and yet seemed to elude me over the years. I was convinced my husband did not love me as that man loved his wife and I was sure he never would. I certainly didn t feel loving toward my husband and in fact was known to often say to close friends It would be so much better if he just died . That s how much pain I was in. It took 6 months of meetings twice week working the steps and numerous outreach calls to break through all the anger I felt toward my primary love object 7 Recovery Outreach Edition my husband. I was so invested in blaming my husband for all of my problems that I couldn t even begin to look at my part. I got a lot of fuel out of badmouthing my husband. When I realized that I was never going to progress by being supported for being a victim my first breakthrough occurred. I began by telling the whole truth. I used the meetings to gain my courage. I would practice on the group level by telling the truth. An example is that I would say I come to the meetings to get attention or Sometimes I get a hit when someone comes up after the meeting to praise me about my recovery . I told the truth any opportunity I got. No sugarcoating. My behavior had been to lie by omission to just not tell you everything. I call it selective truth telling to avoid conflict . I stopped blaming my husband for my problems. I stopped acting like a victim. There s a huge difference between being a victim (which most 12 step people are in some way) and acting like one. Acting like a victim is a choice for staying stuck. The day I decided to get off the victim soapbox is the day I began to heal from Love Addiction. My love addict though is very sneaky. She will do almost anything to get validation for being right . The next big step in my 8 the Journal recovery was when I began to be honest with my husband. My way of relating to him prior to recovery was to tell him only what I wanted to tell him so that he didn t have to ever know about all my flaws which keep me secure in my self-righteousness. Guess what You can t have an intimate marriage by not telling the whole truth about who you are. So I took baby steps and began to be more honest about whom I was. It was uncomfortable. It still is uncomfortable but I have more intimacy then I ve ever experienced. It scares the daylights out of me. I didn t grow up telling the truth about myself. I did not grow up letting others know about who I really am. I did not grow up having closeness. My hope is that someday I will feel comfortable being intimate. I keep coming back to S.L.A.A. because the women who have more recovery than I do assure me that my day will arrive. I m choosing to believe them until I have the faith to know it without a doubt. Then there is my relationship with God. Currently I am working on trusting God with regard to the love addiction. I still do not fully believe that God is with me everyday all day long. I have to make outreach calls to be reminded. My vision is to be a steward of God s Love. My goal is to express God s the Journal love by being a loving wife and mother more often than not. That s not a reality for me yet. I believe the only way for me to become more loving is to be open to God s grace. I believe the only way for me to feel lovable is to open to God s love. Then the desperation loneliness fear and despair will melt away. Each day I have to say God please remove the desperation please remove the control please remove the bad choices so that I might be a loving steward of Your love in all my relationships. Fill my heart with trust faith and love. Remove the fear that keeps me from my greatest good. Thy will not mine be done. Amen. A few weeks ago at a meeting during feelings check-in I said I m feeling loved and I m feeling loving of my husband and family . I meant it because now I only tell the truth. I meant it because by the grace of God and working the program I am beginning to heal. It s a miracle that s been granted to me by God who s doing for me what I couldn t do for myself. When I began S.L.A.A. recovery I had no hope little faith and no trust. Now I have some hope more faith than before and a little trust. When I showed up 8 months ago I thought Well I ll hang out here for a year take what I like and leave the rest and be on my way . That was the Love Recovery Outreach Edition Addict s Happily Ever After Version of Love Addiction recovery. The reality is that I have some recovery but I have a long way to go in order to experience intimacy in all my relationships. Leaving S.L.A.A. for me would not be a wise choice. S.L.A.A. offers me experience. S.L.A.A. offers me strength. S.L.A.A. offers me hope. But in order for me to experience the promises of S.L.A.A. recovery that I m worthy of I need to keep coming back. It s unfortunate that I (as well as all S.L.A.A. members) did not get loved the way we could have should have and would like to have been when we were growing up. It s also sad and in many cases downright tragic. Yet to stay stuck in the past of could have should have and would like to have been is a waste of the life I can have should have and will have. I can learn to be loved. I can learn to love. I can learn to make wise and loving choices for myself. S.L.A.A. promises me a different life if I am willing to do what is suggested. I ve had 48 years of feeling unlovable lonely desperate and hopeless. I d like the rest of my life to be different. With God and S.L.A.A. all things are possible even a life of emotional sobriety and love -- Anonymous Sacramento CA (Issue 122) 29 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal Question of the Day What has been your biggest achievement in SLAA recovery this year The natural capacity to realize that what I feel is about me. So much freedom comes from it from owning my stuff. It actually gives me a sense of worthiness. -- Christine Montreal Canada Feeling better. -- James E. Seattle First and foremost I have remained sober and committed to my program amidst a year of tremendous growth and courage. I moved in with my girlfriend a first and I m learning how to cohabitate with love. -- Jenny Los Angeles Hope for a beautiful life full of love and serenity becoming the person I truly am. -- Martin Mannheim Germany My husband and I were separated due to my acting out. We reconciled and continue to work on our relationship. We celebrate our 5 year anniversary with a vow of renewal this October. -- Jessica Houston TX I am more aware of myself and getting integrity less concentrating on others. Being here and now every day. -- Luciano Warsaw Poland I am joyful for reconnecting with my family. I thought that I had lost my brother but because of my work in this program I now have a loving relationship with him and I am able to be actively involved in my nephews lives. This is something that wouldn t have been possible without the program. -- Nicole Santa Monica CA I have been able to use the tools of recovery to love myself more consistently than at any time in my life. I have to practice this every day and it s not always easy. Today I really do love myself. -- Brian R. West Palm Beach FL 30 the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition About Boundaries When I started my recovery in SLAA at the tender young age of 46 I did not have any boundaries. None. Nada. Zip. Zed. I did not know I had thick walls around me. For most of my life I had been in denial deeply hidden behind my walls of shame. Very early in my recovery I had an argument with my then soonto-be ex-wife and I realized that I felt very very different afterwards. Later that day during getting current with a person wise in the ways of S.L.A.A. recovery I went over the incident and he told me that I had boundaries during the argument. Being the newbie I responded with the question Okay then what is the difference between walls and boundaries The answer that came back was If you have walls ... you start bleeding and you don t even know you got hit ... with boundaries the incoming sort of get close before dropping to the floor near your feet they don t get in. That was 0 years ago and I can still remember how I felt after hearing that it was like my Higher Power hit me in the forehead with a x4. I know that over the years my boundaries have improved a lot but I do not have a perfect recovery. and from time-to-time I find out I have walls instead of boundaries. That s when I go to a meeting and ask for the topic to be about boundaries because I m a very slow learner. 3 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal When I was growing up in an abusive home I developed walls to keep me safe then my fetish addiction (and the consequential shame) made those walls even thicker. In recovery I have learned that my boundaries need to flex--there always needs to be some give and take-- and that flexing has been based on being mindful of the present moment. If my boundaries do not flex they become rigid and I am right back dealing with walls. I know that my boundaries are my choice and in recovery I discovered that I had choices. When I remain present aware and available especially during what appears to be emotional stress I can choose to keep my boundaries intact. While vigilance was still important the choices we had to make now seemed easier. Boundaries keep me safe while I learn my lessons. I have internal boundaries and external boundaries. For me internal boundaries are basically about not taking on someone else s opinion about me or my actions and then beating myself up because I do not meet their expectations. External boundaries have to be explicitly stated e.g. If you continue using that kind of language I will leave the conversation. If I cannot articulate my external boundary then there is no boundary. In addition I have learned that once I state a boundary I have to follow through. In the case of above the person trampled all over my boundary and I literally left the room without saying another word. If I cannot follow through then the boundary setting is incomplete and I have not taken care of my spiritual and emotional well-being. The following quote is paraphrased and I have long forgotten the author. However I can claim being deeply moved by it If I can t say no then how do I know when to say yes And that brings me to boundaries in my service work. In recent years I ve been involved in service work within the S.L.A.A. Conference and Board structure. It s been a wonder-filled time for me. For years I d been saying I love our fellowship because it saved my life . With the help of my Higher Power and my sponsor I learned that just as in my primary relationships I had to put feet under the words I love you . Otherwise I was saying empty words. And so finally by walking the walk I have begun to develop a deeper feeling of gratitude for and towards our fellowship. 3 the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition In service to our fellowship just as in other areas of my recovery life I have found that I need to have good internal and external boundaries. Service work at this level is about my ability to stay focused on the business of the fellowship. If I take our Twelve Traditions to heart I find my overall direction in the closing phrase of Step 12 to practice these principles in all areas of our lives. 3 Then by coupling that guidance from our founders with Tradition Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. 4 I find new depth in the boundary stated there. That brings me to viewing all our Traditions as group boundaries while our Steps remain as my personal boundaries. In 006 I began working with S.L.A.A. Conference committees and I quickly learned some difficult lessons. I learned that anyone volunteering in service to our fellowship was not my enemy. I carry many of these lessons from service back to my primary familial relationships. So for example when I find myself occasionally trying to build resentment toward my wife I literally have to say to myself she is not my enemy I love S.L.A.A. I m grateful for my recovery. I express my gratitude by performing service work. My attitude of gratitude is an expression of love and all my service work is an act of love. I respect and honor the boundaries expressed in our Steps and Traditions. By honoring those boundaries I show love for myself and everyone else. Thanks to everyone in our fellowship for all the expressions of healing love. -- Leon C. Dallas TX (Issue 123) (Footnotes) 1The Basic Text for The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous First MarchApril 2010 edition p.96 Author attribution not known. 3 The Basic Text for The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts First edition p. 0 4 The Basic Text for The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts First edition p. 3 Q. What do all the world s great religions have in common They refer their members to 12 Step recovery from addiction 33 A. Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal A Lovely Way To Live I am so glad to be in this program and always glad to be in a meeting where I can feel the calm and soothing presence of my Loving Power. It always brings me closer to the best part of myself. I am grateful to be sexually sober today. To me that means I have a choice about intimate relationships I have options. Instead of fighting off all the compulsive junk in my mind and heart like I used to do all the time I find enjoyment and fun in learning about real love that lasts and what my part is in it. Learning to love for real is difficult yet so much easier than that other thing I used to do. It s so good for me to remember that one day at a time. I m so grateful for the increased connection to my Loving Power that comes through living recovery. New doors have opened for me here new doors to better feelings and then better and better life opportunities as time goes by. I am relating right now to Steps One Two and Three. Even after years of Loving Power s help and love I still go through times of forgetting that my Higher Power is on my side. I might begin to think that life is out to get me. I forget to trust Throughout the nine years I ve been in program I cannot remember a single time when I surrendered in Step One said yes in Step Two and then turned it over in Step Three that it has not turned out well - not one single time. My recovery has not been perfect or according to my expectations but the great thing is that I can surrender again and make a new choice. Making different choices as my life evolves is another great gift of the program. Being willing to love myself love life and love others is a new skill. I don t always know how and I don t have to. I m glad I m willing and able to learn. This is a lovely way to live. -- Nancy M. Warwick NY (Issue 118) Keep Coming Back. It Works If You Work It. And You re Worth It. 34 the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition Quotation Corner My mind is like a bad neighborhood at night I shouldn t go there alone. Nothing changes if nothing changes. God doesn t close one door before at least opening a window but it s hell in the hallway. The elevator to recovery is broken. You ll have to use the steps. -- Contributed by Eric EE Subscribe to theJournal U.S. Canada International Subscriber Info Name Address City State Zip Phone (optional) Email (optional) (Prices effective January 1st 2012) 24 for 1 year or 33 for 1 year or 1 year 6 issues 40 for 2 years 60 for 2 years Complete this form and mail with check (payable to the Journal) to EXPERIENCE this meeting in print. The official bimonthly magazine of S.L.A.A. F.W.S. Suite 118 1550 NE Loop 410 San Antonio TX 78209-1626 USA www.slaafws.org To order online 35 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal 36 the Journal Recovery Outreach Edition 1. We seek to develop a daily relationship with a Higher Power knowing that we are not alone in our efforts to heal ourselves from our addiction. 2. We are willing to be vulnerable because the capacity to trust has been restored to us by our faith in a Higher Power. 3. We surrender one day at a time our whole life strategy of and our obsession with the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency. 4. We learn to avoid situations that may put us at risk physically morally psychologically or spiritually. 5. We learn to accept and love ourselves to take responsibility for our own lives and to take care of our own needs before involving ourselves with others. 6. We become willing to ask for help allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and learning to trust and accept others. 7. We allow ourselves to work through the pain of our low selfesteem and our fears of abandonment and responsibility. We learn to feel comfortable in solitude. 8. We begin to accept our imperfections and mistakes as part of being human healing our shame and perfectionism while working on our character defects. 9. We begin to substitute honesty for self-destructive ways of expressing emotions and feelings. 10. We become honest in expressing who we are developing true intimacy in our relationships with ourselves and others. 11. We learn to value sex as a by-product of sharing commitment trust and cooperation in a partnership. 12. We are restored to sanity on a daily basis by participating in the process of recovery. 1990 The Augustine Fellowship Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services Inc. All Rights Reserved 37 Recovery Outreach Edition the Journal 38