Do I Belong?
Is S.L.A.A. for You?
(Excerpt from the pamphlet "An introduction to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous" © 1985 S.L.A.A.)
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is a fellowship based on the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. With established meetings in many cities in the United States and several cities overseas, this self-help fellowship is open to people of any age or sexual preference. Members include both those who suffer from a compulsive need for sex, and those with a desperate attachment to one person. What all members have in common is an obsessive/compulsive pattern, either sexual or emotional (or both, in which relationships or activities have become increasingly destructive to all areas of their lives -- career, family, and sense of self-respect.)
What is Sex and Love Addiction?
Excerpt taken from the pamphlet, "Suggestions for Newcomers" Copyright 1985 S.L.A.A. We in S.L.A.A. believe that sex and love addiction is a progressive illness which cannot be cured, but which, like many illnesses, can be arrested. It may take several forms -- including (but not limited to) a compulsive need for sex, extreme dependency on one person (or many) and/or chronic preoccupation with romance, intrigue, or fantasy. An obsessive/compulsive pattern, either sexual or emotional (or both), exists in which relationships or sexual activities have become increasingly destructive to career, family, and sense of self-respect. Sex and love addiction, if left unchecked, always gets worse. However, if we follow a simple program which has proven successful for scores of other men and women with the same illness, we can recover. In S.L.A.A., we learn to accept the reality of having this addiction and surrender any notion that we can control it successfully on the basis of our unaided will. Admitting personal powerlessness over this affliction, we cease our addictive behavior and turn to guidance from a Power greater than ourselves, make restitution for harm done to others, and reconstruct our lives physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
The Characteristics of Sex & Love Addiction:
The following are characteristics of signposts of sex and love addiction.
- Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
- Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
- Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
- We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
- We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
- We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
- We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
- We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
- We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
- We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
- To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery
- We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
*© 1990 The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Twelve Signs of Recovery in S.L.A.A.
- 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.
- We are willing to be vulnerable because the capacity to trust has been restored to us by our faith in a Higher Power.
- We surrender, one day at a time, our whole life strategy of, and our obsession with, the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency.
- We learn to avoid situations that may put us at risk physically, morally, psychologically or spiritually.
- 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.
- We become willing to ask for help, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and learning to trust and accept others.
- 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.
- We begin to accept our imperfections and mistakes as part of being human, healing our shame and perfectionism while working on our character defects.
- We begin to substitute honesty for self-destructive ways of expressing emotions and feelings.
- We become honest in expressing who we are, developing true intimacy in our relationships with ourselves and others.
- We learn to value sex as a by-product of sharing, commitment, trust and cooperation in a partnership.
- We are restored to sanity, on a daily basis, by participating in the process of recovery.