I was asked a few times yesterday why I choose s-anon, so I'm posting one answer here to link to... all wrapped up and ready to link to whenever I need it!
The first recovery material I ever picked up was Colleen Harrison's "From Heartache to Healing." So far as I could tell -or as Google would tell me at the time -it was the ONLY thing out there for women on the butt-end of the sex addiction stick. Her words poured into my parched soul for a whole... FEW pages.
And then they started saying things like:
You can't control this.
You have to let go.
Try a 12-step group.
When I finally did attend a support group, I went with the intent purpose to simply sit next to women who knew my pain. I didn't want to work the steps. I just wanted some friends.
They sent me home with a Healing Through Christ manual. I only read it when I went to group -which wasn't every week because it was a 45 minute drive away to a completely different town.
In that place, I was ONLY ready to face my husband's issues and how they applied to me.I was only ready to feel victimization, pain, anger... everything that could be traced back to HIM.
And that's okay. It was where I needed to be. I needed to feel those emotions, and I DID feel them. Truly and thoroughly and sincerely.
I continued to attend group without working the steps, but each week my shell began to crack a little here and a little there. As I STUCK WITH IT... going, even though it was something totally against what I'd ever done before... the Spirit spoke to me in small, quiet ways.
Soon, I was reading the manual at home. Surely, there could be no harm in simply READING. It didn't equate to WORKING the steps.
I maintained I didn't need the steps because it was my husband's addiction. Not mine, thankyouverymuch.
It didn't take long for the questions to look appealing... I would read them and realize that I had answers, and they were really applicable to me.
Before I knew it, I was working steps 1, 2, and 3. At that point, I began finding support online from women working the steps.
Hope and Healing Forum
This entire WORLD opened up to me where I began blogging and leaning about TRAUMA.
It was SUCH AN ANSWER to prayer. To find trauma! Feeling trauma fit right into my healing schedule of blaming my husband for EVERYTHING.
He did it to me, so I was more that ready to find healing. Even as I educated myself, I was a victim.
Again, THAT'S OKAY. It's where I needed to be.
I was beyond excited!
A SPONSOR! Alone, I made it through three steps over the course of a 2 years. With a sponsor, I knocked out 4 steps in the course of a few months!
A few months prior to my finding a sponsor, I began to do something I'd never FULLY done before... I looked in the mirror.
I didn't glance or shy away or retreat... I figuratively stood full-form and stark nakedly in front of the mirror and LOOKED AT MYSELF.
I didn't put my husband in front of me and ask him to please notice his addiction and how it was hurting me.
I stood there myself and stared in wonder and the WHY of me... the WHO of me... the WHAT of me.
Why was I hurting in specific ways?
Why did I find myself learning the same lessons over and over again?
Who am I, really?
What do I like?
WHAT CAN I DO? FOR ME?
Steps 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 helped me decode these patterns, helped me to see myself in a mirror with the light of Christ shining down on me.
And as I flew through them, I found myself wanting MORE. Healing Through Christ was great.
AddoRecovery was good and educational.
Betrayal Trauma brought some good light on my path, but it didn't light the ENTIRE WAY.
That's when I picked up the phone and called someone who had walked this path, someone without a license but with experience. Someone who was actively working what they taught.
And that someone told me about s-anon.
Had someone given me an s-anon manual when I picked up that first book by Colleen Harrison, I would have trashed it, wholly and completely. I wasn't ready to look in the mirror.
But now I am.
Now I am.
And s-anon is specific and simple. It's approachable.
It's taught me about surrender more than anything else, and practicing the surrender process has brought me PEACE.
S-anon is not a therapy program to be worked and rehearsed, it is a guideline to God, mapped out and ear marked and highlighted. There's others on the pathway waiting to walk with you: men, children, other beautiful and wonderful women!
Reading the s-anon manual might make the reader feel broken and can feel somewhat offensive if you're still in a very painful place, but I would only ask that -if you are interested -you stay with it for a few weeks: attend at LEAST 6 meetings before you dump it.
In everything I've tried, this pathway has held more truth, more clarity, more light, more hope, more peace than any of them.
And THAT is why I choose s-anon. God wants me here.
Get started HERE at SA Lifeline -it's a great resource and jumping off point. I prefer the SA Lifeline website to the sanon website!
Here's a link to an article addressing the question, "Why do I need the 12-steps" with a link to finding meetings in different areas.