For the first time we found people with whom we could identify and share the pain of our problem. Others actually understood and felt the same way. We were accepted for who we were.
We stayed because of the promise of hope. Later we stayed because of hopes fulfilled. We stayed to preserve a way of life and the positive feelings that were better than anything we had previously known.
When we came to SRA, it was suggested that we stop our destructive sexual behaviors. For many of us the initial healing came from complete sexual abstinence for a period of time. Many of us had never done this, and the prospect was unimaginable and terrifying. The thought of sobriety seemed painful, impossible, or just plain boring. Some of us felt that we would die if we didn’t have sex.
Then we saw sober women and men in our meetings. They had the same problem, but they had been able to stop. They seemed happy, or at least happier than we felt. They were able to laugh at their troubles. Somehow, they had found something which we wanted. We stayed to learn.
We began to work the Twelve Steps of the program, truly coming to know ourselves. For some of us, it was the first time that we were clear enough of the addiction to find out who we were. We began to have a spiritual relationship with a Power greater than ourselves. For many it became a healing and loving relationship.
As we stayed sober, we began to sense both our need and gratitude for the program. It became clear that our problems could not be solved by ourselves alone. We needed the strength and wisdom of the fellowship to learn how to live without engaging in our addiction, one day at a time. We started to be grateful that there were other people who understood and could help us through the difficult times.
While at first we stayed because we knew we had to, in order to survive, we now stay because we want to. We stay out of love for ourselves, our desire to be the person we always wanted to be, and our love for our fellow members. We are committed to our recovery, to living a life of joy and acceptance, and to sharing our struggles and successes with the fellowship. We stay because we know it is here we can fill the emptiness. Here we can find what we searched for in all the dark places of our addiction.
This program of recovery offers dignity of self, something more precious than the sexual experiences we chased.