Greater Toronto Area Intergroup of

Sex Addicts Anonymous*

When things get tough

I was seven when I had a sexual encounter with a group of older boys engaged in masturbation. They mercilessly teased me during and after this incident and I was humiliated. As I got a little older, immersing myself in pornographic images became a way of escaping from this humiliation and sexual more...

When it became available, I turned to internet porn whenever I felt bored, lonely or stressed. I married and had two children. But as a result of my obsession, I often ignored my health and failed to meet family and work obligations.

Head in her hands.

My marriage ended after 14 years.

When porn no longer provided the kick I needed I started making connections with anonymous partners online including men, women, and couples. Even though I tried to have stable, healthy relationships, my compulsive behaviours always returned. Each time I was initially able to conceal my activities with lies and deceit. But inevitably I could not manage the complexities of constantly hiding my double life and was repeatedly "caught".

With the painful end of yet another relationship I went to my first SAA meeting. Here was a place where I did not have to keep secrets.

After attending meetings regularly for some months and being honest about my behaviour, I found a sponsor and started working the 12 Steps. I reconnected with my sense of integrity and rekindled my moral and spiritual conscience. I had over two years of abstinence from compulsive sexual behaviour and started dating again. I slipped once but never stopped going to meetings and being honest about my addiction. By being a sponsor I help others find long-term relief from their own demons. Life still challenges me in many ways. But I have a new way of facing difficulties without retreating into sexual fantasy or acting out. When things get tough, I have the support of a caring community of recovering sex addicts. SAA has changed my life. show less...

No longer alone

When I was seven, a friend showed me some pornographic pictures in her parents' room, and the seed for my sex addiction was planted. At 15, I started masturbating with pornography after finding some magazines in my brother's more...

I had not been taught healthy ways to process the fear and anger I constantly carried with me, and I used sex to avoid feeling these emotions. Comparing myself to women in pornographic magazines, I felt like I could never measure up physically and sexually to other women. This fear plagued me well into adulthood.

When I was in grade 10, I started living a double life. By day, I was an honour student and after school I would act out with boys I knew in places where we risked getting caught. I felt a powerful high when these boys expressed surprise that such a "good" girl could do what I was doing. I thought that maybe with my acting out "talents" I could get a boyfriend and finally feel loved.

These patterns continued throughout my 20's. I yearned to be taken care of sexually, emotionally and financially as I had never learned how to take responsibility for meeting those needs myself. I risked getting an STD on several occasions and became pregnant one time.

In my late 20's I started acting out with married men and hit my first bottom when I started fantasizing about stalking one of these men. I stopped acting out on several painful behaviours for a few years, and came to SAA after hitting another bottom with internet pornography. SAA is helping me to heal at a deep level and I am starting to love myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am no longer alone thanks to SAA, and I have hope for a happy life. show less...

Never too late

As an only child, I was showered with attention. But as I grew older, my parents became remote and unaffectionate. I felt empty, abandoned and alone. I felt entitled to attention and became increasingly desperate to get it by any means. As far back as I remember, I was attracted to men. From my early teens I poured over menswear catalogues, and fantasized about attractive men I'd seen on TV. I started cruising parks and gay more...

My initiation into my addiction involved being forced into a sexual act I did not want by an older man. Rather than feeling shamed and scarred, I felt that I had discovered how get the attention I craved so desperately. Within a week I went back. I found dozens of public places for cruising, spending sometimes hours a day. Later, the internet became my gateway to even more sexual liaisons.

I've had over 10,000 sexual partners. Over the years there were many close calls with being arrested and being fired my job. I was extorted, suffered from STDs, and became an alcoholic. Somehow I was able to establish a stable relationship with a man who loved me. But I could not stop my behaviour for long.

Head in her hands.

My life crumbled when I was caught. Shaken and distraught I came to my first SAA meeting. But I was not yet ready to honestly face my addiction. I abandoned the program for three years and continued to cruise for anonymous sex while deceiving my partner. Two year ago the relationship ended for good. I started coming back to meetings ready to commit to recovery, to be honest with myself and others, and to start working the steps with a sponsor. It is too late to save my relationship, but never too late to save myself. show less...

Sobriety is the gateway

A friend was going to tell his story at a retreat in Washington, so I decided to make the trip up from Oregon to hear his story. As an added bonus, an old timer was also telling his story at the same retreat. show more...

This old timer had worked at the home office of SAA. I talked with him on the phone many times as well as exchanged e-mail messages. I looked up to this gentle and patient man so I was very excited to hear his story.

At this time in my program, it was all about staying sober: that was the goal. I was also a Big Book thumper--we didn't have the green book back then.

We also used the AA 12x12. As this old timer was sharing his story, he mentioned that sobriety is not the goal of recovery. I was shocked! The man I looked up to could not be saying what I just heard. He must be mistaken. He continued with, "Sobriety is the gateway which we walk through to a new life." I was stunned. The foundation of my recovery was rocked so that this piece of gentle wisdom could be placed.

My view of recovery has shifted. Yes, we can stop acting out, but we get so much more than just that. When I first came into the program, that was my goal: stop acting out. I had never asked for a new life. I had never asked to be surrounded by friends who genuinely care about and love me, but here I am in a fellowship that showed me the gateway to that new life. show less...