Some of the many questions we receive:
Twelve Questions – Am I a Sex Addict?
- Do you keep secrets about your sexual activities from those important to you? Do you lead a double life?
2. Have your needs driven you to have sex in places or situation or with people you would not normally choose?
3. Do you find yourself looking for sexually arousing articles or scenes in newspapers, magazines, or other media?
4. Do you find that romantic or sexual fantasies interfere with your relationships or are preventing you from facing problems?
5. Do you frequently want to get away from a sex partner after having sex? Do you frequently feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?
6. Do you feel shame about your body or your sexuality, such that you avoid touching your body or engaging in sexual relationships? Do you fear that you have no sexual feelings, that you are asexual?
7. Does each new relationship continue to have the same destructive patterns which prompted you to leave the last relationship?
8. Is it taking more variety and frequency of sexual and romantic activities than previously to bring the same levels of excitement and relief?
9. Have you ever been arrested or are you in danger of being arrested because of your practices of voyeurism, exhibitionism, prostitution, sex with minors, indecent phone calls, etc.?
10. Does your pursuit of sex or romantic relationships interfere with your spiritual beliefs or development?
11. Do your sexual activities include the risk, threat, or reality of disease, pregnancy, coercion, or violence?
12. Has you sexual or romantic behavior ever left you feeling hopeless, alienated from others, or suicidal?
To summarize. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when using, you have little control over the amount you use, you might be a sex addict.
We would encourage you to seek out additional help by calling a contact for a local meeting, calling the HELP LINE or simply attend a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting. Another sex addict will be there to help you.
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex Addiction can involve a wide variety of practices. Sometimes an addict has trouble with just one unwanted behavior, sometimes with many.
A large number of sex addicts say their unhealthy use of sex has been a progressive process. It may have started with an addiction to masturbation, pornography (either printed or electronic), or a relationship, but over the years progressed to increasingly dangerous behaviors. We suggest you answer the 12 questions of the Self Assessment to evaluate yourself.
How is sobriety defined in SAA?
“Our goal when entering the SAA Fellowship and working the 12 Step program is abstinence from one or more specific sexual behaviors.
Unlike programs for recovering alcoholics, drug addicts or other S-fellowships, Sex Addicts Anonymous does not have a universal definition of abstinence. Most of us have no desire to stop being sexual altogether. It is not sex in and of itself that causes us problems, but the addiction to certain sexual behaviors. In SAA we will be better able to determine what behavior is addictive and what is healthy. However, the fellowship does not dictate to its members what is and isn’t addictive sexual behavior. Instead we have found that it is necessary for each member to define his or her own abstinence usually with the help of a sponsor.”© ISO of SAA, Inc.
Why We Came to S.A.A.
Here are a few comments from other sex addicts about their reasons for coming to SAA:
“I kept waking up at night in cold sweats, feeling anxious, worrying if I had a sexually transmitted disease and if I was going to give it to my wife. I couldn’t stand the fear, the loneliness and the feelings of total helplessness”.
“One religious conversion after another, therapy, a thousand broken promises to myself, God and others that I’d never do it again convinced me I needed something different”.
“I just couldn’t take the overwhelming shame and guilt, I had to find another way.”
“I didn’t want to live this way anymore. It was killing me and I didn’t want to die.”
Why we keep coming back?
Here are a few comments from recovered sex addicts about their reasons for returning to SAA:
“I keep coming back to the meetings and helping others because when I do I feel like I am part of the solution. Listening to others share about how they once struggled and then hear their successes makes me feel less alone and ashamed”.
“This group has become like a Higher Power to me. I had problems with the God thing. But I know this group gives me strength and guidance”.
“Because in doing so I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.”
“I have learned by sharing my difficulties with others who have similar issues, I become stronger and saner”.
“Even my worst day in recovery is better than my best day acting-out”.
“To have a sense of purpose, to be a part of something so much bigger than me, to see lives changed and families restored is an experience you do not want to miss.”
“Finally I have a place where my dark past can be used for good. To help another sex addict makes my past feel not so bad. In fact I haven’t found another place where my past can be so useful then when sitting down with another sex addict and connecting like only another sex addict could.”
What is a sponsor?
A sponsor is a sober member of the fellowship who can show others how they worked the 12 Steps to get well. A sponsor is someone that has worked the 12 Steps, with a sponsor themselves, and has the time and willingness to work with other sex addicts so they might receive the benefits of a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps. Think of a sponsor as a guide/mentor through the 12 Step program of recovery.
How Long Will It Take?
Recovery begins when we find the courage to admit that we have a problem and seek help.
We begin working the 12 Steps right away with a sponsor.
We begin to feel safe and draw strength from the fellow members in the group. We become aware of the extent of our addiction.
We learn to accept the truth about our sex addiction, we learn how to help others and we learn how to live life on life’s terms.
Learning these things is a process and takes time. We didn’t get here over night.
As we work the steps, we gain a more spiritual and realistic perception of what life is about.
The “promises” described below happen as a result of the Steps we take. If we’ve been thorough with our step work we can except the promises to be true in our life.
Our sponsors will show us what to do. Some work steps quickly, in a matter of weeks, while some will take a few months.
The good news is, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” from the Chapter 5 “How it Works” in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, page 58
What are the Twelve Promises?
- If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through it.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity. And we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain a genuine interest in other people.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations, which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
What can I expect in an SAA meeting?
Our hope is that you will find the fellowship you have always craved when you come to an SAA meeting. A member may great you as you come in and ask if you are new to the group. They will probably ask your name and introduce themselves. They might introduce you to some of the other member before the meeting starts. They’ll encourage you to find a seat. If there isn’t any time for introductions like this you’ll probably be asked to simply introduce yourself to the group using only your first name. There is no need at this point to identify yourself as a sex addict if you aren’t sure. There is usually a series of readings the group will go through that takes a few minutes. The facilitator of the meeting may then explain to you how that meeting will introduce you to the SAA 12 Step recovery program. Your first meeting will likely be an opportunity for you to listen to others’ stories, learn how the program works for them, and ask questions, or share as much or as little as you’re comfortable doing.
You WON’T be required to do anything — you never will be. In SAA your participation is voluntary. Your recovery is your own, we’re here to help you.
Every meeting is slightly different. We are blessed in DFW to have a variety of meetings to chose from. We suggest visiting several groups to see where you feel most comfortable.
Are the meetings free of charge?
Yes, all our meetings are free of charge. Typically those attending donate $2 or $3. That being said it is more important for us to have you in the room than your money so even if you can’t give please attend.
How many meetings can I attend?
You can attend as many meetings as you wish.
Can I go without making an appointment?
Yes, you may show up to the meeting at the scheduled time, we don’t make appointments.
Are meetings only for addicts or can spouses and friends attend?
Spouses and friends can attend only the “open” meetings. DFW has several to choose from. Only those who know that they are sex addicts or believe they might be can attend meetings described as “closed” meetings.
Do you keep records of those attending meetings?
No. Who you see at the meeting and what you hear at the meeting should stay in the meeting.
What are the Traditions?
We’ve heard that the steps are here to save us as individuals and the traditions are here to save the group. The steps are what we as individuals do to get well. The traditions are the things the groups honor to stay healthy and effective as a Fellowship. Once you have worked all 12 Steps with a sponsor we suggest you review the 12 Traditions with your sponsor to ensure the continued effectiveness of our 12 Step and 12 Tradition Fellowship. You’ll find the 12 Traditions in the short form listed under the Read More tab. For further study of the Traditions we suggest the Traditions portion of the book “The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” published in 1953 but still meaningful today.
I see many of the meetings are in churches. Is SAA religion based?
We rent the space from churches to be able to conduct our meetings. We are a spiritual program and each member’s religion or lack of if it is not something we look to change.
Is SAA some type of sex therapy, group therapy or treatment of any kind?
It is NOT sex therapy, group therapy or treatment of any kind. There is no professional class of treatment in an SAA meeting.
Is this a self-help program?
It is not a self help program. SAA is a spiritual program of action designed to get the individual members connected to a power greater than themselves that will solve their problems.
Is there any professional class of help in SAA?
No. A meeting of SAA is a great equalizer. Regardless of what you do on the outside of a meeting to pay the bills you are just another member of the group when you walk into the meeting. No one makes money in SAA trying to help another sex addict. We do this for free and for fun!
How do I know it is a safe place to share?
If you prefer to only listen you are welcome to do so, we do our utmost to make the meeting a safe place. We only use our first names and stress at the end of each meeting that everything that is said should remain confidential. Another nugget that we have found helpful to keep the meetings safe and effective for all is to bring your problems to your sponsor and the solution to the meeting.
Anonymity, as a spiritual principle, speaks primarily of humility—not secrecy.
Although as stated in Tradition Eleven, “…we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV and films [and new technologies],” the main purpose of anonymity is to protect the fellowship—to prevent any one member from taking credit for results that should be correctly attributed to the recovery program and more specifically to our Higher Power. In this manner, we always seek to place principles before personalities.
Is what I say in meetings confidential?
The opinions expressed in meetings are strictly those of the person who gave them. What we hear is spoken in confidence and should be treated as confidential.*
*Confidentiality is a legal principle.
Information or conversations are considered confidential in order to safeguard the personal information of an individual. However, confidentiality limits are defined by law rather than the SAA Traditions. Whom we meet and what we hear in a SAA meeting should not be shared outside the group; however, the legal requirement to reveal the criminal activity of another may override the limits of confidentiality.
For example, mandatory reporting of disclosures of ongoing criminal activity may be required by law in some jurisdictions and may or may not be appropriate under other circumstances as a matter of personal conscience or conviction, which may incur legal consequences.
We wish for our meetings to be a safe environment for open, honest and healthy recovery, but we cannot afford to be construed to be an organization that hides or condones illegal activity.
What is the rate of recovery?
Although SAA doesn’t keep formal stats on recovery rates those that have experienced recovery via the 12 Steps will often share this statement. “Rarely have we seen a person fail who thoroughly follows our path.” The path that we follow and the solution we have found is the program of SAA. Freedom from addictive sexual behavior can be found by taking all 12 Steps with a sponsor.