Anorexia—Sexual, Social, Emotional

What is Anorexia

In Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, we suffer from addiction to sex, love, relationship, fantasy, romance and co-dependency. However, there is still another addiction some of us suffer from: anorexia. 

As an eating disorder, anorexia is defined as the compulsive avoidance of food. In the area of sex and love, anorexia has a similar definition: Anorexia is the compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual or emotional nourishment. ​

Some Varieties of Anorexia

Some of us may not have had sex or been in a close personal relationship in years. Or we may be in partnerships but find it difficult to be emotionally close. We may be the members in SLAA who seldom speak in meetings, disappearing the instant the meeting is over. Or we may be those who, outside meetings, are barely social. Or we may be the kind who do not have intimate friendships. We may have many acquaintances but no one we’re really close to. Or we may have close relations with only certain people, our children, say, but keep our distance from anyone else. There are many other varieties of anorectics as well. But whichever kind we are, all of us in some important way have distanced ourselves from experiencing love. 

Anorexia may be difficult to recognise

​Anorexia is a form of sex and love addiction, but it is often hard to detect. Other forms of sex and love addiction themselves can mask anorexia. Indeed, anorexia may be masked so completely that the individual doesn’t recognize that anorexia is present at all. Sexual promiscuity, for instance, may actually hide an avoidance of intimacy. Co-dependency, while producing the “appearance” of relationship, may actually hide a resistance to real relationship. Often, when SLAA members stop acting out their most obvious addiction they discover to their surprise that anorexia lies beneath their addiction after all.

Excerpts from Anorexia: Sexual, Social, Emotional, excerpts © 1992 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Recovery Tools– Summary

We give considerable attention to our emotions. We take time and space to process and elaborate on them. Knowing what we are feeling is an essential guide to our recovery.

We are gentle with ourselves. We learn to recognize and lovingly provide for our needs, as if we are the person that we love most.

Go at Our Own Pace
We go slowly in doing things that are healthy for us, knowing that we can be overwhelmed by the emotions whether positive or negative, caused by our healthy actions. By going slowly, we can more easily follow our heart, our Higher Power, and not be misdirected by our own fears or the expectations of others. Going at our own pace helps us decide for ourselves if our behavior in a situation is healthy.

Self Care
We take tender care of our body, our food, our possessions and clothes, our desires and dreams, our fun, our vacations, and our emotional and sexual needs. We dedicate time and energy to ourselves.

We know that our anorexia pushes us toward extremes, therefore we look for balance in our recovery and moderation in every part of our lives.

We dare to be healthy in our own way. Being true to our heart, provides our personal path to recovery.

We develop, day by day, our own way of staying in touch with a Power greater than ourselves, which can lead us and gently support us in our recovery.

We thank our Higher Power; whenever we can.

We experience freedom from the anorexic self by giving back to the S.L.A.A. community what we continue to freely and lovingly receive through balanced service.

We enjoy the closeness and the affection of our friends, and we nourish our relationships with them, one day at a time. 

We find a sponsor who can help with working the Twelve Steps and day-to-day decisions. Our sponsor is an S.L.A.A. member who has worked the S.L.A.A. Program, may be anorexic, has some recovery, and wants to share it with us. 

Recovery Plan
We write a plan for our recovery; we follow it and adjust it as we heal.

The S.L.A.A. Twelve Steps
We follow a spiritual program of with confidence and openness. 

Excerpts from Anorexia Recovery Tools, © 2015, The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.

Signs of Addiction/Anorexia Recovery

  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/anorexia.
  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 romance and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency and/or avoidance of intimacy with self and others.
  4. We learn to avoid situations that may put us at risk physically, morally, psychologically or spiritually and learn to take healthy risks that nurture us at all of these levels. We develop healthy boundaries and learn to trust ourselves and feel safe to become open to intimacy.
  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 self-esteem and our fears of abandonment and responsibility. We learn to feel comfortable in solitude, in social interactions and, if we choose, in partnerships.
  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 openness and honesty for self-destructive ways of expressing or repressing emotions and feelings.
  10. We become honest in expressing who we are, developing true intimacy in our relationships with ourselves and others.
  11. We believe we deserve love and partnership if we so desire. We learn to appreciate our bodies and cherish our sexuality. We learn to value sex as a byproduct 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.

(NOT CONFERENCE APPROVED. Reprinted from this Anorexia Workshop Handout published by GDVI)

Anorexia Resources

SLAA Anorexia Literature​