Note: remnants of the class assignment formatting are left over (“meeting essence” and “personal essence”) and some blanks have been filled in. Names are different. Parts may have been fabricated. I don’t know. NA meeting – EA meeting – CA meeting – AA meeting – AlAnon meeting.
This meeting took place at noon on a weekday in a church rec room. The group Secretary, Aron, passed out papers to be read by different members, including “What Is Sex Addiction?”, “Abstinence In SAA”, and their Twelve Steps. The meeting leader Eli then shared for six minutes and then the group read the Sixth Step from their “Green Book”.
After that, everyone who wanted to share could speak for a timed three minutes. When the clock read 12:50PM, they observed the Seventh Tradition and handed out chips for varying lengths of abstinence. Then several announcements of other SAA meetings were made and the one hour meeting was closed out a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer.
Meeting leader Eli shared for the greatest amount of time. It answered some of my questions as to what a sex addict is, or more specifically, how a sex addict defines themself. He spoke of being abstinent from his problem behaviors of looking at pornography, drawing child pornography, masturbation, “Thai massages”, prostitution, phone sex, and in general – just cheating on his wife. He was abstinent from all of those behaviors for nearly two years, but relapsed recently by having phone sex with someone he met via an iPod app (all his words, not mine). He also mentioned being in other programs and being sober for two years.
Side note: before anyone else shared, Elliot said we could raise our hands if anyone’s share became too graphic.
The next man to share was named Tomas shared how upset he was about his (attempted) relapse on Monday. He spent the day hitting on various women, obsessed for the day with sexual release. He didn’t follow through because the woman he was with admitted to being a prostitute after she wouldn’t offer any money for a hotel room. That brought him back to reality and allowed him to look at himself and how bizarrely he was behaving.
There were several shares that related directly our reading of the Sixth Step and how it made them feel. These people talked about coming to the program and not thinking they had defects. Maybe they had never had any introspection in their life, but through the program combined with therapy they now know.
Jay was last to share, and appeared to be the youngest person. He didn’t define what his problems were but was happy to be one hundred twenty days abstinent. This was his first time at this particular SAA meeting in quite some time. He mentioned being very bored, and needing something to consume his time other than marijuana and video games. If anything was going to fill that time and be worthwhile, it would be step work and meetings.
The definition of abstinence in this program is open to interpretation. Each individual describes their own personal “inner circle” of what they view as unhealthy sexual behaviors. I don’t know how I feel about that, or how I feel about sex as an addiction at all. I noticed how a few speakers mentioned being in other programs, and that makes sense to me.
It’s very difficult to find an open SA, SAA, or SLA meeting so I had no option but to attend a closed meeting. When I arrived I was one of four people. Thankfully, the numbers grew, but I had to identify myself as an addict, and read the Abstinence In SAA information paper, and even had to operate the timer and accept a welcome chip. I was given lots of information on my way out the door, too. Although that experience made me uncomfortable personally, I can see how the person seeking help would feel very welcomed by this group. This wasn’t listed in the directory as a men’s stag meeting, but there was definitely no women. That might make me feel unwelcome if I were a woman.