Things I Wish I Knew Earlier – My mistakes, so you can avoid them. #1 You are not an addict. YOU ARE a person with an addiction.

I have been in the SAA program for over 3 1/2 years, and thanks to SAA, My Higher Power, and good counseling and hard work, have been able to keep my marriage, family and children. I am not perfect, but I am better, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to help others with this program

I’ve made a number of mistakes along the way. Some serious enough to really delay my recovery. It is with these things in mind that I write this series of blog posts. I hope that some of you will be able to have a faster change in your life, and understand recovery better,by reading about my mistakes, and avoiding learning them yourself.

Mistake #1: Hi My Name is Paul and I am NOT a sex addict. I AM a person with a sexual addiction, and I’m in recovery.

I have all the admiration for 12 step programs in the world, after all, I have been brought back from the brink with the help of one. But I have one major criticism of the program, and not realizing this issue hurt my recovery for quite some time.

One of the important things about 12 Step Programs is that  they arei a fellowship. You are in a room with people who are in different stages of fighting the same demons that you fight. With that in mind, the beginning of the meetings begin with each person saying their same, and they acknowledging that they are an addict. “Hi, my name is Paul, and I am a sex addict”

The Buddha said “You are what you think”, and for my first two years of the program, I thought about, and was, a sex addict. A sex addict to me was a person who should be ashamed and depressed, and who should not feel good about themselves. This negative perception of myself caused a great deal of stagnation with my recovery.

Contrary to what SAA or any 12 step program has you say, I’m here to tell you that.
YOU ARE NOT AN ADDICT. YOU ARE A PERSON, A GOOD PERSON, WHO HAS AN ADDICTION… and you, unlike many other people, are working to control this addiction. Do not be shamed about your addiction, be proud that you are dealing with your addiction.

I do not introduce myself as a sex addict at meetings. Instead I introduce myself as a recovering sex addict. It may not make a difference to you, but it makes all the difference in the world  to me.

I think Bill W,,  when he started AA, wanted everyone in the rooms to greet each other this way to show us that we all come to these rooms with the same problems, and that we are all fighting and struggling with it.  It was obviously with good intention.

But if you step into a 12 step program, you are already different than those outside of the rooms, because:

  • You know you have a problem
  • You are beginning the process of fighting it.

You are not the person who has not recognized or decided it wasn’t worth the effort to fight their addiction. You are someone who has stood up, and said “I am better than my addiction. I am asking my Higher Power to help me.”

The second part of that quote from Buddha, “You are what you think” is “and with your thoughts, you make the world”. Addicts don’t make the world, they destroy it. Recovering addicts try to repair their destruction, and help those around them conquer their demons.

Coming next “Pain is not a good long term motivator”

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