12 Step Meetings for Sexual Compulsiveness

Winterfr3sh

Registrant
Hey Guys,

It's been awhile since I've posted. So hello again.

Has anyone found 12-step programs like SAA or SCA to be helpful in terms of sexuality, relationships, etc?

I've started attending meetings on Zoom. The main purpose was to have somewhere safe to go with my marriage and sexuality issues. But I've learned that it's also aimed at being a life-long journey, encompassing all areas, not just sexual stuff.
These meetings have been really helpful for me overall so far, and I have a temporary sponsor.

However, tonight I called someone from the list who said things that triggered my shame. I was able to hang up but it left me shaken.

Can anyone relate? Has anyone been helped (and/or triggered) by the people/ideas of the 12-step programs??

Thanks
 
hi w/b, i used to go to S.A. meetings thats sex addicts, a T suggested it ex and i went as a couple, i guess u can look online or ur local govt. mental health dept. good luck in ur hunt.
 
Has anyone found 12-step programs like SAA or SCA to be helpful in terms of sexuality, relationships, etc?
To that I can say: YES. SAA has been extremely helpful for me. I've been lucky in my group and my sponsor, and I'm grateful for that. If you're struggling with compulsive acting-out and find a good crew to talk to each week, it can be really effective. If you find that good group and want it to work, it will help you stop the compulsive stuff, figure out how to handle the consequences of all the relationship betrayal that acting out has caused, how to begin repairing those relationships, and give you a way forward that's healthy and affirmative.

In my case, I also found that the 12 steps broke down my resistance and allowed key memories of my abuse to return. I don't think that's one of the things that's "supposed" to happen, but whatever. It's been painful, but also makes me feel even more fully rooted in sobriety, which is great. My acting out was all about repetition compulsion, and I'm more than happy to have that shit out of my life. I've found that once I figured out exactly what I was trying to avoid facing and began facing it, the desire to replay what happened with the most painful feelings omitted felt a lot less compelling.

I've started attending meetings on Zoom. The main purpose was to have somewhere safe to go with my marriage and sexuality issues. But I've learned that it's also aimed at being a life-long journey, encompassing all areas, not just sexual stuff.
Zoom meetings are unfortunately weak tea, though better than nothing. One face to face meeting per week was fine for me pre-Covid, but in zoom-land I'm finding I need two. A zoom meeting's like a half-strength dose.

Re. the "life-long journey": One of the most valuable things about SAA for me has been the way in which it involves accepting that the feeling of compulsion will never entirely stop happening. It's a malignant coping strategy I've relied on for too long to ever fully be rid of. But the commitment to the group and the steps provides an excellent way both to deal with the compulsion without acting out when it inevitably returns and to forgive myself for its having returned. The two are equally important. This is, unfortunately, not something that "goes away." It's something we learn to live with in a way that doesn't hurt those we love and doesn't exploit whoever we previously acted out with (porn actors, sex workers, guys on grindr, whatever).

However, tonight I called someone from the list who said things that triggered my shame. I was able to hang up but it left me shaken.
Can anyone relate? Has anyone been helped (and/or triggered) by the people/ideas of the 12-step programs??
This has also happened to me. Lately I've been mentioning my CSA directly (of course without any triggering detail) in my SAA meetings, and I can feel the other guys get uncomfortable. There's one guy in particular who just basically ignores what I say whenever I share about it. That triggers me to some degree, because I feel concerned that he might have his own activities with underage guys to feel guilty about. At the same time, though, I remind myself that that's what the meetings are for: by being honest about what happened to me, I'm forcing him to see what he's done in his acting out, and in that way, ideally, I'm giving him a sense of the other side of the equation that will keep him from doing that crap in the future. Everyone in the group helps everyone else by being honest. The net result is less evil being radiated out into the world.

I'm sorry about your shame being triggered, also. That might be something to share about in this group, either in a thread or in a pm with somebody. My experience so far is that MS guys know from shame related to CSA, which is to say: mainlined shame, speedballed shame. So you aren't going to shock anybody, and you'll probably find more than one person here who has felt exactly the same thing.
 
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I attend Celebrate Recovery meetings. The larger groups have specialized Share Groups (pre-COVID). I have found it very helpful.
 
I attended Survivors of Incest Anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous years ago. There is quite a difference between talking about what happened TO me and what I DID with that experience. SIA begins with the reality of sexual abuse while SLAA and SAA are focused on our sexual acting out behavior... in other words, one acknowledges trauma while the other is uncomfortable with it.

I spent five years in SLAA and it was a good experience, though I don't believe I ever said anything about the sexual abuse I was uncovering in therapy at the time. But that fit my mental stance at the time. Yes, sexual abuse can happen and it's bad, but it certainly isn't why I'm a pervert... right? SLAA was supposed to help me stop acting out without really giving me any tools for finding compassion for myself. I was to use the Steps, meetings, sponsorship to stop acting out. It didn't work and guess what? The shame continued to haunt me.

I'm involved in Overeaters Anonymous at the moment and have been at it long enough that I'm not trapped in shame any longer. Honestly, I wouldn't say the 12 Steps have changed that but certainly the fellowship has made a difference. They have a line that says "We'll love you until you can learn to love yourself." That has made all the difference. Now I can look at the language in the Steps and the importance of abstinence without cascading into shame. And I really see no difference any longer between acting out with food, with porn or with alcohol. All three take me away from the moment. Realistically that is what those three have ALWAYS done for me. I drink, I use porn, I eat... then feel shame.

Nick is right... these compulsions don't miraculously disappear. We need support. I may decide to attend an SAA meeting for support around the porn but in reality, I've shared my sexual abuse AND sexual acting out behavior with friends in OA and they've been remarkably supportive. They are all women who have sexual trauma in their past. I don't know whether I'd be met with the same tenderness and kindness by men trying to control their sexual acting out... without addressing their own history of trauma.

Sorry you had the experience you did. I think Nick is right... that if you're going to be in that environment, telling the truth about your experience is important. For some it will help them relate to you. For others it will lead to their withdrawal. But at least you will have identified what may be the biggest unacknowledged elephant in the room. I'm glad you can talk about this here. We DO know what it is like and can support you exactly where you are.
 
I've started attending meetings on Zoom. The main purpose was to have somewhere safe to go with my marriage and sexuality issues. But I've learned that it's also aimed at being a life-long journey, encompassing all areas, not just sexual stuff.
These meetings have been really helpful for me overall so far, and I have a temporary sponsor.
I admire you for pursuing such support. I have thought about it but I am to lazy or scared to do it. Maybe online would be a good way to start for me but still scares me.

I am sorry to hear you were triggered by someone that is suppose to be supportive. I hope that turns out to have been just an usual occurrence. Maybe reach out to your sponsor and let that person know what happened and how it impacted you.

Your a good person who has giving me support in the past which I still greatly appreciate.

Stephen
 

Winterfr3sh

Registrant
Thank you for the responses and support. I'm really leaning in to the program. My wife is, too, she's found S-anon helpful.
The program is helping me abstain from my 15+ year habit self-soothing, compulsive masturbation, an issue that has been straining our marriage.
I'm less than two days from breaking my all-time abstinence record. I'm trying to replace the habit with phone calls, meetings, working on creative work projects, and getting enough sleep.
 

Piepel

Registrant
I joined Sexaholics Anonymous back in 1995 and found it very helpful. I also joined SAA, SLAA and SCA, but I did not find these support groups as helpful. I found there was a lot of turnover in these three whereas in SA the membership is steady. I also was able to achieve a strong positive sobriety in SA, but not in the others. SA meetings in my area have been cancelled due to the pandemic. They meet on zoom, which I do not use. What ever group you join, it is well worth the investment.

Piepel
 

Winterfr3sh

Registrant
Glad to hear your support, @Piepel and @copernicus
Today is the day - I broke my all-time record of abstinence from compulsive masturbation!!
Thanks largely to the program, and making phone calls, I did it.
I never dreamed, or thought I could really do this.
I'm actually taking a break from a part of myself I couldn't seem to let go of.

It's strange to have such a different relationship with my body, with my sex organs, and my fantasies.
I hope this will help reset the old patterns of arousal and self-soothing that have been firmly in place since middle school.
 
I'm less than two days from breaking my all-time abstinence record. I'm trying to replace the habit with phone calls, meetings, working on creative work projects, and getting enough sleep.
I admire your focus I am still in the turning to that to feel pleasure then tell myself what a looser I am and how everyone would see me as this looser if they knew what I got off to. My T tells me I need to not hate myself yet I do. I hope to find the ability you have.
 
It's strange to have such a different relationship with my body, with my sex organs, and my fantasies.
I hope this will help reset the old patterns of arousal and self-soothing that have been firmly in place since middle school.
I wish I could even begin to get there. I admire you for figuring it out.
 

Piepel

Registrant
Hey Winterfr3sh,
I was thinking the other day that one of the differences of sexual recovery groups is that in sexaholics anonymous there are many very excellent men who are available to sponsor a newbee. Saa had some, but not many. Slaa had very few and sca had none. Getting a sponsor is key to working a program of sexual recovery. It helps get us away from our subective perspectives.
 
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