The word “powerless” summons up for us several related ideas. First, it means that whatever power is usually involved in making sound choices in our sexual and emotional behavior did not reside with us.
…The fact that we became captives of these things shows that there was something extremely important and powerful in our sexual and emotional patterns which gave us some kind of “payoff’ that we thought we needed. Sometimes we were seeking to screen the world, with all its demands and responsibilities, out of our awareness by mesmerizing ourselves with sexual activity. Sometimes we were trying to deaden a load of guilt and frustration by taking romantic or sexual holidays. Sometimes we sought to fill the emptiness within us with another person. Or perhaps we masked the fear of commitment by thinking of ourselves as living out new standards of morality based on “guilt-free sex,” “free love,” or “recreational sex.” But all of us were using our sexual powers and emotional investments to either lessen pain or augment pleasure.
These pervasive motives governed our sexual and romantic intentions and actions. At some time in our lives our behavior began to take on the compulsive hallmarks of addiction. The once rare liaisons became monthly, then weekly. They happened when inconvenient, or when they interfered with work or family obligations.
……..One by one such things as satisfaction in our work, friends and social activities dropped away as we found more and more of our time and our thoughts absorbed by one person. The occasional relief of sexual tension with masturbation became a need for which the opportunity had to be created. We had lost control over the rate or frequency (or both) at which we would seek the romantic or sexual “solution” to life’s ills.Excerpts from SLAA Basic Text © 1985 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.
What is Withdrawal?
A primary and critical step in beginning recovery from sex and love addiction is identifying our Bottom Line behaviors -those activities from which we must refrain in order to attain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness.
For guidance, we turn to our sponsor, our Higher Power, and other members of SLAA. A change in our behavior –stopping the addictive pattern -one day at a time, marks the beginning of abstinence from compulsive and destructive acting out. The physical, mental, emotional, and often spiritual upheaval which generally accompanies the release of our addictive pattern is called withdrawal.
Whether our craving is for sex, romance, or relationships, whether this craving is constant or periodic, not satisfying such a craving often comes as a shock to our system.
Abstinence from acting out is initially followed by a period of withdrawal. The word withdrawal typically conjures up an image of substance abusers dependent upon their “drug of choice” to alter moods and/or escape from the present moment. Like drugs, sex and love addiction can become all-consuming -pushing us toward greater and greater risk to our physical health, our emotional well-being, our sanity…our very life itself.Excerpts from Withdrawal ©1995 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.
Working a program to recover from our addiction is a life-long journey. During our journey, it is helpful to gauge how far we have travelled and how we are doing at any moment. Above all, we need to be able to recognize and acknowledge our progress, especially when we are making the crucial adjustments to return to the path of sanity after losing our way.
The steps of our journey can seem slow and incremental. Many times we dwell on the stretches of our path where we stumbled and often do not see the steps forward that we are making. We can easily become discouraged when we have difficulty seeing our progress. We have to realize that progress can be, after all, a learning process of trial and error. We understand that our realistic goal is progress rather than perfection. The purpose of this … is to help us see all those areas in which we are making progress. Realizing that we are actually making progress can give us hope for our recovery, whether we are new, returning or in long-term sobriety.
… Measuring progress is about recognizing where we are along the road of recovery. Our journey is one of hills and valleys. The hills of our successes offer us wonderful views. However, success is not a lasting destination; nor is getting lost in the valleys of our struggles an excuse to give up on our journey.
…In continuing to measure our progress we find that the program is indeed working in our lives and, in spite of occasional setbacks, we are encouraged by realizing that we are growing in sobriety. We move forward in our recovery one day at a time.Excerpts from Measuring Progress ©2012 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.
- Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction
- 40 Questions for Self Diagnosis
- SLAA Basic Text Hardcopy Ebook
- Setting Bottom Lines
- Measuring Progress