What is Sexaholics Anonymous?
The SA Purpose
Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober. There are no dues or fees for SA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. SA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and help others to achieve sexual sobriety.
Reprinted for adaptation with permission of the Alcoholics Anonymous Grapevine.
Copyright The AA Grapevine, Inc.
Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book), p. 201
What is a sexaholic?
We can only speak for ourselves. The specialized nature of Sexaholics Anonymous can best be understood in terms of what we call the sexaholic. 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. Lust has become an addiction. Our situation is like that of the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and must stop drinking altogether but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with the sexaholic, or sex drunk, who can no longer tolerate lust but cannot stop.
Thus, for the sexaholic, any form of sex with one’s self or with partners other than the spouse is progressively addictive and destructive. We also see that lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out, and true sobriety includes progressive victory over lust. These conclusions were forced upon us in the crucible of our experiences and recovery; we have no other options. But we have found that acceptance of these facts is the key to a happy and joyous freedom we could otherwise never know.
This will and should discourage many inquirers who admit to sexual obsession or compulsion but who simply want to control and enjoy it, much as the alcoholic would like to control and enjoy drinking. Until we had been driven to the point of despair, until we really wanted to stop but could not, we did not give ourselves to this program of recovery. Sexaholics Anonymous is for those who know they have no other option but to stop, and their own enlightened self-interest must tell them this.
Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book), p. 202
Many of us felt inadequate, unworthy, alone, and afraid. Our insides never matched what we saw on the outsides of others.
Early on, we came to feel disconnected – from parents, from peers, from ourselves. We tuned out with fantasy and masturbation. We plugged in by drinking in the pictures, the images, and pursuing the objects of our fantasies. We lusted and wanted to be lusted after.
We became true addicts: sex with self, promiscuity, adultery, dependency relationships, and more fantasy. We got it through the eyes; we bought it, we sold it, we traded it, we gave it away. We were addicted to the intrigue, the tease, the forbidden. The only way we knew to be free of it was to do it. “Please connect with me and make me whole!” we cried with outstretched arms. Lusting after the Big Fix, we gave away our power to others.
This produced guilt, self-hatred, remorse, emptiness, and pain, and we were driven ever inward, away from reality, away from love, lost inside ourselves.
Our habit made true intimacy impossible. We could never know real union with another because we were addicted to the unreal. We went for the “chemistry,” the connection that had the magic, because it by-passed intimacy and true union. Fantasy corrupted the real; lust killed love.
First addicts, then love cripples, we took from others to fill up what was lacking in ourselves. Conning ourselves time and again that the next one would save us, we were really losing our lives.
Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book), p. 203
We saw that our problem was three-fold: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Healing had to come about in all three.
The crucial change in attitude began when we admitted we were powerless, that our habit had us whipped. We came to meetings and withdrew from our habit. For some, this meant no sex with themselves or others, including not getting into relationships. For others it meant “drying out” and not having sex with the spouse for a time to recover from lust.
We discovered that we could stop, that not feeding the hunger didn’t kill us, that sex was indeed optional! There was hope for freedom, and we began to feel alive. Encouraged to continue, we turned more and more away from our isolating obsession with sex and self and turned to God and others.
All this was scary. We couldn’t see the path ahead, except that others had gone that way before. Each new step of surrender felt it would be off the edge into oblivion, but we took it. And instead of killing us, surrender was killing the obsession! We had stepped into the light, into a whole new way of life.
The fellowship gave us monitoring and support to keep us from being overwhelmed, a safe haven where we could finally face ourselves. Instead of covering our feelings with compulsive sex, we began exposing the roots of our spiritual emptiness and hunger. And the healing began.
As we faced our defects, we became willing to change; surrendering them broke the power they had over us. We began to be more comfortable with ourselves and others for the first time without our “drug”.
Forgiving all who had injured us, and without injuring others, we tried to right our own wrongs. At each amends more of the dreadful load of guilt dropped from our shoulders, until we could lift our heads, look the world in the eye, and stand free.
We began practicing a positive sobriety, taking the actions of love to improve our relations with others. We were learning how to give; and the measure we gave was the measure we got back. We were finding what none of the substitutes had ever supplied. We were making the real Connection. We were home.
Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book), p. 204
The Twelve Steps
- We admitted that we were powerless over lust – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to sexaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Reprinted for adaptation with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book), p. 208
The Twelve Traditions
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on SA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or Sexaholics Anonymous as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the sexaholic who still suffers.
- An SA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the SA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every SA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Sexaholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- SA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Sexaholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Reprinted for adaptation with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book), p. 209
Sexaholics Anonymous Statement of Principle
We have a solution. We don’t claim it’s for everybody, but for us, it works. If you identify with us and think you may share our problem, we’d like to share our solution with you (Sexaholics Anonymous, 2).
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. In SA’s sobriety definition, the term “spouse” refers to one’s partner in a marriage between a man and a woman. 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 (Sexaholics Anonymous, 191-192). Passed by the General Delegate Assembly February 2010.
The only requirement for SA membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober according to the SA sobriety definition. Any two or more sexaholics gathered together for SA sobriety according to the SA sobriety definition may call themselves an SA group. Meetings that do not adhere to and follow Sexaholics Anonymous’ sobriety statement as set forth in the Statement of Principle adopted by the General Delegate Assembly in 2010 are not SA meetings and shall not call themselves SA meetings. Addendum to the Statement of Principle passed by the General Delegate Assembly on July 2016.
What is EMER
EMER is an abbreviation for Europe and Middle East Region (EMER), a collaboration of Intergroup of Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) from all across the continent of Europe. EMER was formed on 8th December 2011 by the vote of five SA Intergroups – Flanders (Belgium), Ireland, Israel, Netherlands and the UK. Since then, many other Integroups have joined EMER and one, Israel, has grown to form a region of its own. We now join together as a Regional Assembly of 14 Intergroup Representatives (IGRs), five General Assembly Delegates (GADs) and four regional officers (Chair, Vice-chair, Treasurer and Secretary).
EMER holds quarterly teleconferences on the first Monday of March, June, September and December. It also holds an annual face-to-face Regional Assembly (RA). All SA members are welcome to attend these events.
“Just as groups in a local area come together in an Intergroup to serve their area, so Intergroups come together to serve their Region and SA on the national and international level where the numbers of Intergroups warrant a Regional Assembly.”
The primary purpose of Sexaholics Anonymous is to carry the message to the sexaholic who still suffers. The Regional Assembly for the Europe and Middle East Region has the same purpose and pursues this by:
- Facilitating contact between members and fostering SA unity in the Region and internationally.
- Communicating information between Intergroups and SA as a whole.
- Sharing resources among Intergroups and improving public information.
- Sponsoring regional conventions, workshops, study materials, etc.
- Discussing matters affecting the Region and SA as a whole.
- Electing General Assembly Delegates to represent the Region at the SA General Delegate Assembly (GDA), and to bring motions to the GDA as required.
Intergroups in EMER
The following SA Intergroups are currently part of EMER (as of June 2023).
- Egypt Intergroup
- Finland Intergroup
- Flanders Intergroup
- French-speaking Intergroup (supporting French-speaking meetings in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg)
- Ireland Intergroup
- Italian-speaking Intergroup (supporting Italian-speaking meetings in the South of Switzerland and in Italy)
- Lithuania Intergroup
- Netherlands Intergroup
- Poland Intergroup
- Russian-speaking Intergroup (supporting Russian-speaking meetings in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine)
- Slovakia Intergroup (supporting meetings in Slovakia and Czech Republic)
- Slovenia Intergroup
- South-East Europe Intergroup (supporting meetings in Armenia, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, and Romania)
- Spain Intergroup
- United Kingdom Intergroup
- Ukraine Intergroup
Which countries does the EMER region cover?
EMER helps SA loners, SA groups, and SA Intergroups in the following countries. Through its Good Neighbours Committee, EMER has links to the German-Speaking Region (GSR) and Persian-Speaking Region (PSR).
- >> Austria (part of the German-Speaking Region)
- Azerbaijan (Persian/Farsi speakers can contact the Persian-Speaking Region)
- Bahrain (Persian/Farsi speakers can contact the Persian-Speaking Region)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Faroe Islands
- >> Germany (part of the German-Speaking Region)
- >> Iran (part of the Persian-Speaking Region)
- >> Liechtenstein (contact the German-Speaking Region)
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- Switzerland (German speakers can contact the German-Speaking Region)
- Tajikistan (Persian/Farsi speakers can contact the Persian-Speaking Region)
- United Arab Emirates (Persian/Farsi speakers can contact the Persian-Speaking Region)
- United Kingdom
- Uzbekistan (Persian/Farsi speakers can contact the Persian-Speaking Region)
- Vatican City (Holy See)