The Recovery Book Sub-Committee is again without a Chair. If you can really donate some time and care about the future of SCA, please consider helping to Chair this group to finish it’s chartered work on producing the building blocks of our recovery.
POSITIVE NEW BEHAVIORS
I remember when Bill Clinton was being impeached and people could not figure out why he would do such a stupid thing as to have sex with an intern and ruin everything he had worked for. It was then that I first heard the words “sex addict.” At the time I was in a relationship with a man who I thought was the love of my life. When we first got together we decided to be monogamous and I was completely in love. Then one day at the gym I had sex with a stranger in the steam room. It was at that point that I started hanging out in the wet area of the gym, and it was not long after that I was introduced to chat rooms online. This new thing called the internet kicked my sexual compulsion into high speed. My boyfriend and I had a little apartment, and I began hooking up with guys when he would go to work despite the high risk. Afterwards, I would feel such shame and guilt, and I swore I would never do it again. One day I went to the neighborhood book store and I was intriguing with a cute guy, and as I walked past him, I saw a sign with the words I had heard used about Bill Clinton, “Sex Addiction.” And in that section there was a book called “Don’t Call It Love” by Dr. Patrick Carnes. I bought the book and secretly read it on my way to work. As I read the stories, I knew I was a sex addict.
My addiction was out of control. I could not stop cheating. I created a huge fight with my boyfriend and broke up with him. I was heartbroken, but I knew of no other way because I did not want to hurt him. With him out of the picture, I started going to the bathhouse and hiring massage therapists. I would go to the gym on my lunch break to have sex in the steam room. One acting out partner was a doctor and I told him that I was a sex addict. He said he had a friend who worked with sex addicts and gave me his number. I saw this addiction therapist for a few months, and he did confirm that he thought I was a sex addict. He advised me not to go to SCA because “they just hook up there.” He also helped me identify that I had been sexualized as early as fourth grade by a neighborhood friend who had been molested by an older cousin. It was good to know these things about my addiction, but the behavior did not stop. The therapist asked me not to masturbate for a week, and I thought I was going to die. Even with a therapist who specialized in sex addiction, I could not stop.
It was around that time that I decided to move to another city. It was a fresh start, and I swore that I was going to change and I would never act out again. It is not lost on me that my massage therapist helped me drive halfway across the country to my new home. The first week after I arrived was amazing. I did not act out and I had no desire to. I had relief from acting out for the first time in years. I was staying at a friend’s apartment. After I finally got the internet hooked up to my computer, the acting out resumed with a vengeance. I was bringing strangers into my friend’s apartment and having unprotected sex with them in his bed.
I got my own apartment, a car and a job, so the acting out opportunities increased. I had changed cities for my writing career, but each time I would sit down to write, I would get drawn into the chat rooms, looking for my next hookup. My acting out had become a time killer.
My friend convinced me to join hundreds of bicyclists riding to fight AIDS. I began raising funds for the ride while the whole time I was having unprotected sex with prostitutes and massage therapists. I was living a double life. I pretended to be such an upstanding person by raising funds for AIDS-related causes and I was having unprotected sex. I could not stop. There was no PREP at that time. I was in constant fear that I would contract HIV, and I still could not stop. I would get tested every few months and pray to God, “If it comes back negative I won’t do it again.” The test would come back negative, and I would celebrate by having unprotected sex with a stranger, and the cycle continued.
On my 36th birthday, the same age as Marilyn Monroe when she died, I was doing the AIDS Ride and I was riding that morning with a friend. I had already hooked up with several guys on the ride and it was only day 3. I could not take it anymore and I broke down sobbing, telling my friend the whole story. He told me his husband went to a group called SCA and it might be good for me to talk to him. His husband and I rode together the rest of the afternoon and he introduced me to SCA. A few weeks later I went to my first meeting, and when I heard the 14 Characteristics read aloud, I knew I was home.
My first few months in program were great. I created a sexual recovery plan: “No unprotected sex. No paid sex.” It was so clear. And in the first few months it seemed to work. I wanted this so much I would do anything. I even went to an SCA retreat.
The night before the retreat I went out drinking and hooked up with a guy I met at a bar. He went into my bathroom and did crystal meth. He came into my bedroom and started simulating sex, but I was not involved, it was all in his imagination. It was like seeing a blind mole dig into the dark earth. I was so lost. When I got to the retreat, I broke down and told my story to the group. Again I had a reprieve. That is where I met my first sponsor. I was in the honeymoon phase of recovery. I started doing the Steps with my sponsor. At some point I didn’t call him when he wanted me to, and I missed a meeting we had scheduled, and he fired me. I had never been fired from anything in my life! I thought he was supposed to call me. How could he do this? Didn’t he know how hard this was for me?
Later that year, I went to an SCA convention, and at a workshop I heard a man speak. He had the kind of recovery and life that I wanted, and I got the courage to ask him to be my sponsor. I told him I was nervous and afraid he might fire me. He told me that he was not getting paid to sponsor me and therefore he could not fire me. The first thing he asked me to do was call him for 30 days. I missed a few days and he would ask why. Then he asked me to remove my computer from my home for 30 days. How could I? I needed it for work! Reluctantly, I did. I got my first little bit of sobriety. I got 30 days on my plan. But then around day 31, when the computer returned, I acted out. My sponsor had me install a device that blocked pornography and inappropriate websites. That stopped the hookups from the internet, but I started going to bars instead. My sponsor then told me that I might have a drinking problem. I could not believe he would say that. After all, I could stop for long periods of time and not even desire a drink! He asked me, “When you drink, does your life become unmanageable?” Well, I did always seem to act out sexually when I drank, and my life did become unmanageable. I was a sex addict and an alcoholic. It was as if I had been asleep in a bad dream and my sponsor woke me up.
I got about two years of sobriety at that time. I had a boyfriend and I did not cheat on him. Then we broke up. The problem was, I did not know what healthy sex was when I was single. When I was in a relationship it was simple, no sex outside my relationship. But what was healthy “single” sex like for me? Then I had to create my new “single” sexual recovery plan: “No paid sex. No unprotected sex. And I have to go on a coffee date with the person to get to know them a bit.” Sounded simple, but I could not stop losing my time. When I had a partner, I was more motivated because I did not want to hurt him. But when I was alone, I didn’t see how I was hurting myself. And I really didn’t care. At that time I allowed sensual massage on my plan as a part of having “single” sex.
I started drinking again because I still was not totally convinced I was an alcoholic. I mean several years went by and I never really had the craving to drink, not like I did for sex, so therefore I could not possibly be an alcoholic. It was in this period that I met the love of my life. We quickly became exclusive and within a few months moved in together. I changed my plan to, “No sex outside my relationship.” And it worked for a few months. Then I started getting sensual massages. I would hire a bad boy, tell him to be good and then try to seduce him. Cut to five years later. We had a work Christmas party at our house. I had been drinking and a new employee decided to stay later than the rest. My partner went to bed and the employee tried to seduce me. We engaged for a brief moment and then I told him I didn’t want this, that it felt wrong. At that point he said he wanted $30,000 or he would sue me. He was blackmailing me. I immediately called my sponsor and he told me exactly what to do; he got me a lawyer and had me file a police report. He had me go to 30 meetings in 30 days. I stopped drinking again and I had another 2 years of sobriety.
Then life happened and my mother died of cancer. While I was taking care of her I had the gift of sobriety, but a year after she died I started drinking again. The sensual massage started again, and for the first time I had a blackout from drinking while I was getting a massage. It was my bottom. I now have no doubt that I am an alcoholic and a sex addict. When I stop drinking, I stop acting out. As I write this I have 455 days of sobriety. I cannot drink. I cannot get a massage. I cannot have sex outside of my relationship. I cannot look at porn. That is what I have to do to stay sober.
I also have to replace that acting out behavior with positive new behaviors. I now have 4 sponsees and we have a Step study at my house every other Tuesday. I have a ritual every morning before I start my day: I meditate, do yoga stretches, read program literature and literature that helps me with my private religious practice, and I journal. If I do not meditate, I don’t have a great day. I have been the secretary of several meetings, worked on several convention committees and directed several of the SCA shows. I have served on several committees for the retreats. I have also started writing screenplays as a part of my sexual recovery plan. I have to attend a minimum of one meeting a week. If I dabble in my gray area, I have to attend a meeting within 24 hours.
I don’t know why it works, but I know that if I do the combination of things mentioned above and make outreach calls, it seems to work. I also know I am willing to do anything necessary to maintain my sobriety. The most important thing I have learned is never give up. Never give up. No matter how many times I have fallen, I go back to a meeting and I share my story. It is progress not perfection, and it is one day at a time.
I WILL KNOW A NEW HAPPINESS…
My addiction started like so many others – in a dysfunctional family. My
mom had a drinking problem that started when I was in the fourth grade. As
her addiction grew, mine took root.
I discovered masturbation quite my mistake while taking a bath. I soon
learned how to use it to make myself feel better. I was not that aware of
that at the time, though. I had my first sexual experience at a birthday
party for my sister. All of the older kids thought it would be funny if
they got me drunk. After two beers I was totally wasted. I remember trying
to put pajamas on a yucca plant and feed it beer. (My first love!)
One of my sister’s friends took me up to put me to bed and that night I was
molested for the first time. Mark started to set up situations where we
would be alone. The sex was always one sided. Mark would use me just long
enough to get off and then he was gone. We continued to have sex for the
next seven years. One night, Mark had taken me from a party to the
playground of a church where I got to kiss him for the first time. When I
kissed him, he told me to never do it again… because that was not what I
was good for.
I took the opportunity to have sex with a neighbor one night. He had been
out drinking with my brother and I molested him after he fell asleep. I had
discovered a new way of taking control. I get them drunk and then I take
advantage of them. I did this time after time. I got caught in the act one
night by the brother of one of the guys I was molesting. The next day, I
got beat up in front of all of our friends. That was the first time I knew
I went into high school a total love addict. I was in love with over fifty
guys. I wanted them to notice me, but it never happened. When it became
obvious that I was not getting anywhere with the guys, I decided to get
close to them another way. I would get into the locker room at night and
take the gym clothes of the guys I liked. I had a way into the locker room
any time I wanted in. I found myself locked in there night after night,
totally wrapped in a fantasy world. I ended up with over one hundred pair
of underwear under my bed – not to mention the sports uniforms hidden all
over my room. At home, I started to do the same thing. If I liked someone,
I would case their house for a few days and when the opportunity came up, I
would break in and take their underwear for my collection. I have broken
into nine or ten homes.
I was now living a life of secrets, crimes and lies. One day, I overheard
someone talking about the parks and malls as places to pick up sex partners.
I wasted no time in starting my search. Once I found the acting out places,
I threw myself into anonymous sex with everything I had. I was soon acting
out with eight to twelve men every time I was there. I met my lover in the
park acting out one day. He and I moved in together three months later. I
thought this was the answer to all my problems. I wanted to stop acting out
so bad and I came very close to getting some sobriety. But, only weeks
after Randy and I got together, I was looking for ways to act out. I had
stopped having sex with Mark only a few weeks before Randy and I met. I had
had sex with several hundred men in the previous four years. I was not
aware of how difficult it was going to be to stop.
My answer came when we had the opportunity to move. This would be my way to
start fresh. About a week after we moved to the desert, Randy told me about
all the acting out places. He had grown up there and he had no idea what he
was telling me. I’m sure I would have found them soon enough on my own,
however. In the seven years that Randy and I owned our business in the
desert, I had slipped to the lowest depths. I was arrested for climbing on
the roof of a gay hotel and trying to look into the skylights. After I was
released that night, I went back and acted out there. I acted out a
different fantasy in each room. In less than two months, I had totally
trashed the hotel. I was sure that I was HIV+. After all, I had to go with
the odds. I had acted out with over 1000 men in the desert and I was often
less than careful. There is a great danger in presuming. As it turns out,
I was using that HIV status as an excuse to act out even more – and I’m
negative! Sometimes, I would have to get drunk before I would act out and
this would often lead to my being raped and abused by strangers.
Without Randy knowing anything about my behaviors, I was beginning to feel
depressed, guilty and worthless. I was making deals with myself only to see
them go down in failure. I knew I needed to move again if I was going to
stop. We moved to the beach and settled into a new life. In such a small
town I knew I would be free from this addiction. That was true until Randy
and I went to the beach. Randy came back from a walk and told me I should
see what was going on in the bushes. That day, I resisted the temptation to
go check it out. But, by my next day off, it was business as usual. By the
end of that summer, I was worse than I had been in the desert. On our tenth
anniversary together, I told Randy all my secrets. I was prepared to move
out and live on my own. Randy just listened and we talked for most of that
day and all the way through our anniversary dinner. During that dinner, he
told me he would stay with me and try to work it out.
I went to my first SCA meeting on a Saturday night in Los Angeles. The
drive was 180 miles, round trip. I didn’t mind, though. I had found a
group that would understand and support me. I became literature person at
that meeting a few months later, and I loved taking home the literature to
read. Just before Christmas, I had a slip and I got caught in a public
restroom acting out. I was alone, but I was definitely breaking the law.
When the police officer found me doing what I was doing, I found out what
hitting bottom is really all about. The officer asked me if I was on drugs
or alcohol. I told him, no. He asked if he could look in my car just to
make sure. I told him he could. He slowly opened the literature box, not
knowing what to expect. He asked me to explain the literature. After I told
him about my meetings in Los Angeles, he said they were obviously needed in
my life. He let me clean up the mess I had made, and, in leaving, he
suggested that I start a meeting in the area because there were others he
had seen who needed the same help.
Now a year has passed and I have celebrated more sobriety that I could ever
have imagined. I do still have slips and difficult moments, but they are
far less a part of my life now. Randy is still with me and I am truly
grateful for all he has done to help me through this. With the help and
understanding of my mom and dad and all my brothers and sisters, as well as
the countless numbers of people at the meetings, I will know a new
Needs Your Commentary on any of The Characteristics
The Recovery Book Subcommittee of SCA’s International Service Organization is inviting interested SCA members to submit their personal commentaries for consideration for use in an upcoming Recovery Book or other SCA publication. Please target for around 500 words and suggest a title.
(Commentaries should not contain references to personally identify the author and may be edited. SCA-ISO would own the rights to publish these stories in any of its publications.)
Please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline of December 31, 2019.
You may also submit questions about the process of development and publication of the SCA Recovery Book, or requests for support and suggestions of how to begin writing your personal story of recovery to email@example.com.
You’re invited to participate in this year’s
SCA International Service Organization’s (ISO) Annual Conference.
This year’s ISO conference will take place from Friday May 3rd through Sunday May 5th in Chicago IL. Any SCA member may attend, and we especially encourage representatives from intergroups and/or meetings to do so. You don’t have to travel to be a part of the ISO Conference. Using the app StartMeeting will allow you to fully participate from your home, allowing you to see documents that are being discussed, as well as engage in any discussion and voting.
The ISO was created by SCA in 1990 to serve all intergroups and meetings worldwide. ISO approves, publishes and distributes SCA approved literature. It also maintains the website: www.sca-recovery.org, it answers inquiries via phone, letters and email, encourages and helps support the development of new SCA meetings. ISO also reaches out to families and friends, the courts, institutions, the media, and professionals to make them aware of SCA and its purpose.
Among the Fiduciary, Outreach and Inreach topics to be discussed and voted upon this year will include 3 pieces of new SCA Literature. All of these documents have been sent to ISO delegates currently registered in our SCA ISO Yahoo group. If your intergroup and/or solo meeting is unrepresented and has not received these documents, please consult with your members as to electing someone to be a delegate, and notify firstname.lastname@example.org so that your delegate can be included in the email/document list. Each SCA meeting has one vote, and a delegate from an intergroup may represent one or more meetings for voting purposes.If you have any questions about the conference, or if you would like to become more active in the ISO is, please contact Gordon at: email@example.com.
SPONSORSHIP IN SCA – A new ISO approved piece of literature now available for purchase. Ask if your local intergroup has it or order it on-line at: https://sca-recovery.org/WP/literature-and-resources/store/
Sponsorship in SCA $3.50
Experience, strength and hope discussion of Sponsorship as a tool of the program. Topics include setting expectations, finding a sponsor, and guidance on the conduct of the sponsor-sponsee relationship (18 pages).
To Be Of Service
The Recovery Book Committee is looking for writers to produce commentary on a few of the SCA “characteristics”.
The type of writings can be summed up as similar to what the AA 12&12 has done with the Steps and Traditions. They are not personal stories, but more from the viewpoint of a non-specific member and general language, including as much experience and “solution” so others may identify with the characteristic.
Please announce or pass this along at your meetings and Intergroup.
If interested respond to either:
(modified from a piece produced by the St. Louis SCA Service Committee)
A word about sponsorship. Sponsorship is two people with the same problem helping each other to work the program. Many SCA members are seeking sponsors to be part of their program of recovery. A sponsor may be (but not limited to) someone who has made some progress in sexual-recovery and shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with a fellow addict. Would all those who are willing to serve as a S.C.A. sponsor, please let your meeting(s) know.
In order to keep our recovery, it is suggested that we can help others through service. Chairing a meeting, sponsoring a fellow addict, or participating in local, regional or international positions are just a few examples of service. These actions can break our isolation, form community, meet the needs of SCA members and meetings, and ultimately help us stay sober. Consider making service a regular part of your recovery.
To learn more contact:
Gary S. at: firstname.lastname@example.org