Sexaholics Anonymous

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Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) is one of several twelve-step programs for compulsive sexual acting-out based on the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. SA takes its place among various 12-step groups that seek recovery from sexual addiction: Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous and Sexual Recovery Anonymous. Collectively these groups are referred to as "S" groups since all their acronyms begin with that letter: SA, SAA, SLAA, SCA, SRA.

SA helps recovering "sexaholics." According to the group, a sexaholic is someone for whom "lust has become an addiction."[1] Thus SA distinguishes itself from other S groups by defining sexual sobriety as no sex with self or with partners other than with one's spouse and a progressive victory over lust.

"In defining sobriety, we do not speak for those outside Sexaholics Anonymous. We can only speak for ourselves. Thus, for the married sexaholic, sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self or with persons other than the spouse. For the unmarried sexaholic, sexual sobriety means freedom from sex of any kind. And for all of us, single and married alike, sexual sobriety also includes progressive victory over lust".[2]

The group uses the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the book "Sexaholics Anonymous" (often referred to as "The White Book") as a guide. The White Book explains that "the sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop."[3]

History[edit]

Sexaholics Anonymous was founded by Roy K (in 12-Step fellowships it is customary to refer to members by their first name and the first initial of their last name, in order to preserve their anonymity). SA received permission from AA to use its Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in 1979.[4]

Roy K died from cancer on the afternoon of September 15, 2009.[5][6] He had been sexually sober since January 31, 1976.[7]

Group Commitment to Sobriety Definition[edit]

From the earliest attempts by Roy K to found SA in the 1970s, and throughout the history of SA, some members have sought to change the group’s concept of sexual sobriety.[8][9] This was an attempt to generalize marriage similar to the 12 Step concept from Step 3 of “God as you understand God”. It was an attempt to endorse as sexually sober, sexual activity by couples, not legally married, whether they be of the same or opposite sex. The fellowship did not accept this and, as a result, in 1991 some SA members and groups left SA to form Sexual Recovery Anonymous (SRA), citing the SA sobriety definition’s lack of endorsement of same sex relationships and committed relationships.[10] Murray R, one of the SRA founders had served on the SA General Service Board[11] and had long attempted to change the SA sobriety definition to include committed relationships with either the same or opposite sex.

As early as 1991 Roy was writing to the fellowship regarding same-sex acting out. In an article titled Principles Corroborating SA's Interpretation of Sexual Sobriety [12] Roy wrote, Ever since attending the April 1986 and 1987 NYC Marathons, I have been examining my own assumptions in the same-sex area. That year I wrote a letter to a same-sex member sharing my thoughts; it now has the title “Recovery Reveals Our False Assumptions.” That paper, which follows, gives reasons from within our common recovery experience why I believe we in SA should not endorse or validate, even indirectly, same-sex or “committed relationship” sexualizing in SA. In the section titled "The Great Same-Sex Controversy" Roy goes on to explain how society was divided on the "nature vs. nurture" argument about homosexuality, Intense controversies rage about this issue in every area of modern life in highly polarized and publicized passion. It is one of the most explosive political issues of the day. Congress is divided. Religions and churches are divided. The Twelve Step program is divided. The same-sex culture itself is divided. The “experts” are divided. The point here is this: For SA to validate same-sex sexualizing in SA, even indirectly, would have us endorsing a highly controversial biological theory and political movement against our Tenth Tradition. If we validate same-sex sexualizing as normative for the sexaholic in recovery, and it turns out not to be normative, SA will have been promoting an untruth and doing a devilish disservice, supporting the problem instead of recovery. That's an awesome responsibility we're dealing with here—human lives![citation needed]

The issue came up again in the late 1990s. A "plebescite" was held, reaching out to various individual meetings through the regional councils and local Intergroups. A solid majority of responders felt that the sobriety definition did not require clarification. Nonetheless, on July 9, 1999, the SA leadership, meeting at an international conference in Cleveland, unanimously voted (9-0) to clarify the definition of "spouse" to be "one's partner in a marriage between a man and a woman."[13] This is known as the Cleveland Clarification. It was overwhelmingly accepted by the membership at the group, intergroup and regional levels. In 2000 same-sex attracted SA members expressed their support for the Cleveland Clarification in a letter to SA Delegates and Trusteees signed by 66 members from 7 countries.[14] This controversy continues to circulate within the fellowship. However, it is now a requirement for membership in the board of trustees of SA, that the candidate uphold the SA sobriety definition including the Cleveland Clarification. At recent International Meetings, discussion of the sobriety definition has been discouraged by disallowing open sharing at meetings which are being recorded, for fear that someone will speak up against the sobriety definition.[citation needed]

SA has attracted a subsection of the same-sex attracted population who seek not to act sexually on such attractions. At the July 2007 SA International Convention a survey was conducted of 176 SA members. Asked the object of their sexual fantasy and acting out, 23% nominated same-sex and a further 7% indicated both genders.[15] Topic meetings on same-sex issues are held at SA International Conferences and personal stories of same–sex recovery appear in Essay, the official SA quarterly publication.[16] There also exist other organizations which serve such individuals; see Ex-gay.

SA & S-Anon International Conventions[edit]

All conventions have been held in the United States, except July, 1992 and 1997 both held in Canada.

  • July 25–26, 1981 - Simi Valley, CA
  • January 28–30, 1983 - Simi Valley, CA
  • December 9–11, 1983 - Simi Valley, CA
  • June 13, 1984 - Salt Lake City, UT
  • December 7–9, 1984 - Phoenix, AZ
  • December, 1985 - Oklahoma City, OK
  • June, 1986 - Kansas City, KS
  • December, 1986 - St. Louis, MO
  • June, 1987 - Bozeman, MT
  • December, 1987 - Los Angeles, CA
  • July, 1988 - Rochester, NY
  • January, 1989 - Salt Lake City, UT
  • July, 1989 - Milwaukee, WI
  • January, 1990 - Nashville, TN
  • July, 1990 - Washington, DC
  • January 11–13, 1991 - Oklahoma City, OK, "There is a Solution"
  • July, 1991 - Chicago, IL
  • January, 1992 - San Diego, CA
  • July, 1992 - Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • January, 1993 - New York, NY
  • July, 1993 - Nashville, TN
  • January, 1994 - Rochester, NY "Spiritual Awakening"
  • July, 1994 - Portland, OR “Discoveries”
  • January 13–15, 1995 - Orange, CA "Living In The Solution"
  • July 7–9, 1995 - Baltimore, MD "The Fellowship of the Spirit"
  • January 12–14, 1996 - Phoenix, AZ “Freedom To Choose Not To"
  • July 12–14, 1996 - Chicago, IL "Willing To Go To Any Length"
  • January 11–13, 1997 - Oklahoma City, OK "Recovery Continues"
  • July 11–13, 1997 - Regina, SK, Canada "The Promises"
  • January, 1998 - Daytona Beach, FL "Our Primary Purpose"
  • July 10–12, 1998 - Newark, NJ "Experience, Strength, and Hope"
  • January 8–10, 1999 - Sacramento, CA "Stepping Into Recovery"
  • July 9–11, 1999 - Cleveland, OH "How It Works"
  • January 7–9, 2000 - Nashville, TN "Together 2000"
  • July 7–9, 2000 - Detroit, MI "Practicing these Principles"
  • January 19–21, 2001 - Orange, CA "Absolute Surrender: A new Beginning in Recovery"
  • July 13–15, 2001 - Tysons Corner, VA "An Odyssey In Recovery"
  • January 11–13, 2002 - Atlanta, GA "Courage to Change"
  • July 12–14, 2002 - Portland, OR "Discovery"
  • January 10–12, 2003 - Newark, NJ “Whatever it takes”
  • July 11–13, 2003 - Chicago, IL "A Program of Action: Maintaining our Spiritual Condition"
  • January 9–11, 2004 - San Diego, CA "There is a Solution"
  • July 9–11, 2004 - Oklahoma City, OK "Spiritual Awakening"
  • January 7–9, 2005 - Daytona Beach, FL "The Real Connection"
  • July 8–10, 2005 - Philadelphia, PA “A New Freedom and a New Happiness”
  • January 6–8, 2006 - Nashville, TN "Carrying the Message"
  • July 7–9, 2006 - St. Louis, MO "Happy, Joyous, and Free"
  • January 12–14, 2007 - Greensboro, NC "Our Common Welfare"
  • July 6–8, 2007 - Adelphi, MD “Live and Let Go”
  • January 11–13, 2008 - Newark, NJ "Chorus of Recovery"
  • July 11–13, 2008 - Akron, OH "Welcome Home"
  • January 9–11, 2009 - Nashville, TN
  • July 10–12, 2009 - Denver, CO "Serenity in the Rockies"
  • January 8–10, 2010 - Nashville, TN "We Absolutely Insist on Enjoying Life"
  • July 9–11, 2010 - Chicago, IL "Sweet Hope Chicago"
  • January 14–16, 2011 - Irvine, CA "Sunshine & Serenity"
  • July 15–17, 2011 - Portland, OR "Recovery on the River"
  • January 13–15, 2012 - Newark, NJ "Liberty from Self in New York"
  • July 27–29, 2012 - Nashville, TN "Three Legacies"
  • January 11–13, 2013 - Atlanta, GA "The Courage to Change"
  • July 19–21, 2013 - Baltimore, MD "Change on the Chesapeake"
  • January 10–12, 2014 - Nashville, TN “Three Legacies Convention”
  • July 11–13, 2014 - Detroit, MI "Miracle in Motown"
  • January 23–25, 2015 - Portland, OR "Awakening the Spirit"

Research[17]}

Literature[edit]

SA fully accepts all AA General Conference-approved literature for use in SA meetings, and SA groups frequently read from AA literature in their own meetings. SA adheres closely to the AA model, applying all of AA's principles to lust and sexual addiction, and whereas other members of other S-groups define sobriety for themselves, SA is closer to AA in proposing an understanding of sobriety which requires abstinence and is common to the group.[18]

Books[edit]

  • Sexaholics Anonymous (the "White Book") (also available on CD)
  • Recovery Continues (also available on CD)
  • Best of Essay, Practical Recovery Tools, 1994–2003
  • Step into Action: One, Two, Three
  • Step into Action: Four, Five, Six, Seven
  • Step Into Action: Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, and Twelve
  • Member Stories 1989
  • Member Stories 2007
  • SA Service Manual

Booklets[edit]

  • Best of Essay volume 1, Member Stories (2001)
  • Best of Essay volume 2, Practical Recovery Tools (2001)
  • Discovering the Principles
  • Beginnings... Notes on the Early Growth and Origin of SA

Pamphlets[edit]

  • SA Brochure
  • SA to the Newcomer
  • Why Stop Lusting?
  • SA as a Resource for the Health & Helping Professional
  • First Step Inventory
  • Practical Guidelines for Group Recovery
  • The SA Correctional Facilities Committee
  • Do You Have a Problem with Pornography or Lust on the Internet?

Proponents[edit]

Because SA's sobriety definition has clear roots in Western and Eastern morality, the movement has a great appeal to Christians, that is, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics,[19] religious Jews, as well as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and other mainstream religions. The New Testament gospels record Jesus Christ as teaching that lust is a sin "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.",[20] and numerous verses in the Bible clearly forbid extramarital, adulterous and promiscuous sex. The Noble Eightfold Path taught by Buddha, prohibits sexual misconduct.[21]

Criticism[edit]

A psychologist involved in sexual addiction treatment, Patrick Carnes, encourages self-defined sobriety in his writings, saying that a no-masturbation definition of sobriety is only appropriate for some sex addicts and that bottom lines can in fact be modified over time.[22] Joe Kort criticizes SA for its pro-heterosexual marriage stance.[23]

However, the founder Roy K. knew ahead of time that this was a controversial subject and often wrote letters from a contrarian perspective. "If we come into an SA group where we can define our own sobriety, watch those rationalizations come alive! And if we define our own level of sobriety, that's all we're likely to reach." [24] In addition, Roy was a very humble man having studied Theology for many years at a Seminary. He often would leave an SA convention where he was one of the 'keynote speakers' and preach at a church around the corner for those interested in listening to a more evangelical point of view. "We don't claim to understand all the ramifications of sexual sobriety. Some of us have come to believe that there is a deeper spiritual significance in sexual sobriety, while others simply report that without a firm and clear bottom line, our "cunning, baffling, and powerful" sexaholism takes over sooner or later.[25]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Sexaholics Anonymous. SA Literature. 1989. p. 4. ISBN 0-9622887-0-5. 
  2. ^ Sexaholics Anonymous. SA Literature. 1989. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-9622887-0-5. 
  3. ^ Sexaholics Anonymous. SA Literature. 1989. p. 4. ISBN 0-9622887-0-5. 
  4. ^ Essay (Sexaholics Anonymous): 1. December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Absolute Surrender". Essay (Sexaholics Anonymous): 20. December 2009. 
  6. ^ Essay (Sexaholics Anonymous). Front Cover. December 2009. 
  7. ^ K., Roy (2003). Beginnings … Notes on the Origin and Early Growth of SA. SA Publications. p. 2. 
  8. ^ K., Roy (2003). Beginnings … Notes on the Origin and Early Growth of SA. SA Publications. p. 2. 
  9. ^ Report of the Committee to Investigate Tri-state’s Affiliation, SA Tri State Intergroup, May 1993
  10. ^ Communique (Sexual Recovery Anonymous): pp 6–7. Fall 2001. 
  11. ^ Communique (Sexual Recovery Anonymous): p.1. Fall 2001. 
  12. ^ "Principles Corroborating SA's Interpretation of Sexual Sobriety" ,Essay June 1991
  13. ^ K., Roy (October 15, 2001). Sexaholics Anonymous. SA Publications. p. 192. 
  14. ^ "Same sex attracted SA members speak out". 2000. 
  15. ^ "Lust Questionnaire Findings". Essay (Sexaholics Anonymous): pp 18–19. March 2008. 
  16. ^ "Same-sex Lust Recovery in SA". 
  17. ^ K., Roy (2003). Beginnings … Notes on the Origin and Early Growth of SA. SA Publications. p. 2. 
  18. ^ Jan R. Wilson, Judith A. Wilson (1994). Addictionary: A Primer of Recovery Terms & Concepts from Abstinence to Withdraw. Hazelden PES, p.316
  19. ^ Mark R. Laaser, 2004. Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction. Zondervan, p. 231
  20. ^ Matthew 5:28
  21. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu. "Maha-satipatthana Sutta". Access to Insight. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  22. ^ Patrick J. Carnes, David L. Delmonico, Elizabeth Griffin (2004). In The Shadows Of The Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior. Hazelden PES.
  23. ^ Joe Kort. Ten Smart Things -Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives. Alyson Publishing, p.108
  24. ^ Roy K., White Book, SA Literature. 1989. p. 191. ISBN 0-9622887-0-5.
  25. ^ Roy K., White Book, SA Literature. 1989. p. 2. ISBN 0-9622887-0-5.

External links[edit]