Logo graphic

My Journey Through Sexaholics Anonymous: From Embarrassment to Empowerment

May 24, 2024
Featured image for “My Journey Through Sexaholics Anonymous: From Embarrassment to Empowerment”

Walking into my first Sexaholics Anonymous meeting ever was super awkward. There were these three guys—really old guys. I must have been like 27; I think they were like 77. We all sat down, and they started reading excerpts from some book I didn’t recognize. Then they started introducing themselves just like they do in AA meetings. Instead, they said something like, “Hi, I’m Teddy. I’m a sexaholic. I’ve been sober for 15 years.” And, “My name is James, and I’m a sexaholic. I’ve been sober for 10 years.” And, “I’m Bernie, and I’m a sexaholic. I’ve been sober for five years.”

These are obviously not their real names. These meetings are anonymous. To be honest, I don’t even remember their names; it’s been so long. I didn’t know what else to say, so I did what they did. I said,  “My name is Collin, and I’m a sexaholic. I’ve been sober since, well, today.” So embarrassing. It was so bad. I returned several more times, and the same thing happened. These silver-haired men would introduce themselves and tell me how sober they were. And when it was my turn, I would say it just happened again—today, again and again. Although these men were supposedly there to inspire me, I felt humiliated. I couldn’t handle it, so I left and didn’t come back.

And these weren’t the only meetings I didn’t come back to. I went to a program called the Addiction Recovery Program. I went to Sex Addicts Anonymous, which is different from Sexaholics Anonymous, just so you know. I also went to a therapy group called LifeStar. At many of these meetings, I felt uncomfortable and so embarrassed because I couldn’t stop acting out. There were many occasions when I thought I was getting nothing out of the meetings at all. Going to meetings was definitely a challenge for me through many years of my recovery.

One day, my wife and I were meeting with our counselor at the time, and my wife asked, “Can I kick my husband out? He’s not sober and not doing his work.” Our counselor responded, “Kick him out.” That scared the you-know-what out of me. I didn’t want to get kicked out. I had nowhere to go, so I got my act together and started going back to meetings.   It was at this time in my life, returning to meetings, when I found one that I felt comfortable in.

I remember attending it for the first time and just sitting there. I said nothing. Everyone shared except for me. Then the group leader said, “Collin, would you like to share?” I don’t know why, but this was a life-changing experience. It was this invite to share that led to me feeling like someone cared. I didn’t feel alone anymore. I got my first sponsor. I added another meeting—a group of like 30 guys, all of us sitting up on a stage in some church in a huge circle. I remember I ran into an old school friend there. Awkward at first, but it turned out to be okay. I learned there was really nothing to be embarrassed about. He had gone through exactly what I did. There was no judgment from either of us.

I also continued attending my LifeStar therapy group. So, three meetings a week. This ended up being what led me to my first year and a half clean. Ever since then, I’ve had no fear attending meetings. But that doesn’t mean I always went. At some point, I thought I had it. I thought I’d arrived. That’s when I fell away from meetings again and lost my sobriety.

Today, I’ve learned my lesson—or at least I think I have. I can’t tell the future, but right now I understand that I need meetings to stay sober. I have the mindset never to leave again. And this isn’t a drag to me. It’s a blessing. I’ve learned so much. The old-timers have so much wisdom to give me. I get to help the newcomers, and I’m sober, but that’s secondary. You might think otherwise, but for me, sobriety has led to peace. And that’s what I’m ultimately grateful for.