Dear Fellow SCA-er,
I would like to introduce myself as the new Chairman of the SCA International Service Organization as of the ISO meeting in Milwaukee in February 1996. For those of you not familiar with the ISO, it is made up of delegates representing SCA meetings and its purpose is to further the recovery of those who suffer from sexual compulsion. The ISO meetings are fun. It is a rewarding experience to touch base with fellow SCA-ers from around the country. The regional updates and various projects we get involved in to "carry the message" are very interesting. One of the side benefits of my role as ISO Chairman is to stay in touch with people who are dedicated to their recovery and who care about carrying the message of our program, which to me is that you can recover from sexual compulsion and we have a program that will help you to do it. One project the ISO is working on presently is writing an SCA Big Book, like most other 12-Step Fellowships have. I'm not much of a writer and it's awkward for me to put feelings down on paper, but collecting stories and articles representing our membership is needed and if I can do it, anybody can. Here goes.
Until the time I came into recovery when I was 28, my life had been permeated by sexual addiction. I have experienced sexual acting out since me earliest childhood memories. Obsession, paranoia, fear and sexual compulsion were part of my daily experience. Of course, some days were better than others, but the pattern of addiction and all its ramifications was deeply ingrained in my psyche. It was who I was, there was not escaping from who I was. I tried my best to act like a "normal" person, but on the inside I was ever on the prowl for my next "fix" and was always worried others knew what I had done. I lived under the delusion that somehow I was "special" and I would never get caught or suffer the consequences of my lifestyle. It was a life of unaccountability, never being sure where I was going or with whom. How I managed to live as long as I did doing the self-destructive and dangerous behavior I was involved in is a mystery. All I can really say about that is that I'm grateful to have survived. There were consequences, however, and my delusional thinking that said I was special and would never get caught came to an abrupt end when I was arrested in 1984 for trying to pick up a police officer. My first thought was that my life was over, and in a way it was. Thank God! Through very unlikely and fortuitous circumstances, I came into contact with my first sexual recovery group and by the grace of God and the help of other sex addicts, I have been sexually sober since November 1985.
SCA first came to St. Louis in the spring of 1992. At that time I had been in sexual recovery for 7 years actively participating in the other "S" fellowships. My struggle was how to live a sexually sober life and develop a healthy gay identity. The other "S" programs provided a safe place for me to say I was a sex addict and I am truly grateful for the recovery that I found there, but I longed for an identity beyond being a sex addict who didn't act out anymore. SCA has helped me to find my own identity and be proud of myself as a recovering gay man.
What initially attracted me to SCA was finding other men who had what I wanted, which was an acceptance of themselves as gay men who also wanted sexual sobriety. I longed for a deeper acceptance and understanding of myself that would allow me to not have to turn off my spirituality when I wanted to be sexual. Sexuality and spirituality were not integrated in my life and I have found the SCA program to offer a place where these two very important aspects can be explored and transformed through recovery.
One thing I've discovered is that there are no shortcuts to recovery. This has been a very long process, but personal freedom and loving myself is worth doing the work.
I need to go regularly to SCA meetings because the honesty expressed at our meetings keeps me honest, the identification with other sex addicts leads me out of isolation, and hearing how other people use the tools of our program and the 12-Steps gives me hope. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to recovery from this disease.