The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous Adapted for Sexual Addicts
1. We admitted we were powerless over our sexual addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
—From Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, page 170.
Tools of Recovery
A. Michael Johnson, Ph.D., lists the following tools and more on his website.
Accountability Partners and Agreements: Being accountable to someone is an important anchor for sobriety. Make an agreement with someone to check in daily if at all possible. That person should have a list of questions—very specific questions—to ask you and that you have agreed to answer honestly. Your partner may be a member of your group, a friend in recovery, your therapist or a good friend. An accountability partner must be someone you trust and with whom you feel safe. It is not recommended that you ask your life partner to be your accountability partner. Related tools include sponsors and a support network.
Avoid Triggering Situations: You don't have to go to business meetings at nude bars. You can tell the others that going to such places interferes with your spiritual growth. If you can't avoid some triggers such as working on a computer, make it safe for yourself. Install blocking software (so that you don't know the password), keep your door open, turn the screen toward the door, put the computer at home in a public area and never go online when you are alone.
Balance Your Life and Service
Carry Recovery With You at All Times: That may be reminders, cues, instructions or anything else that will help. Those things might include:
Phone numbers of recovery friends.
Photographs of loved ones.
Cost card (add up the costs of your addiction).
Combat Physical Inactivity: Spend time doing fun activities and getting involved in sports, exercise and other physical activities. This is useful for all addicts and particularly important for those who became sedentary with their addictions such as cybersex addicts.
Combat Isolation: Spend time with people. Isolation is a part of your disease. Find ways to be in contact with people.
Interrupt Your Acting Out: Develop and memorize a set of strategies to help you avoid acting out. Use these daily.
Meetings: In these meetings you learn valuable information about your disease and how the 12-step program works. Members give and receive support, work the steps and share experience, strength and hope in a safe environment. At first, attend as many meetings as you can. If possible, attend meetings daily for the first 90 days and practice abstinence to the best of your ability.
One Day at a Time
Prayer and Meditation
Professional Help: Your addiction may have been a subconscious way of self-medicating yourself for wounds you carry from your earlier life. It is important to work with a professional who understands sexual addiction or is willing to learn. This is another way to keep yourself on the path of recovery. Remember that recovery is much more than abstinence from sexually addictive behaviors. You may want to seek out group therapy, individual therapy or both. If possible, including your spouse in therapy, both individually and as a couple, can be a great benefit to the recovery of both and to your relationship.
Telephone: The telephone is your lifeline between meetings. Get phone numbers from other members in your program. Get used to calling someone daily. It is an important way to break out of the isolation that is so strongly a part of the disease. You may be shy and hesitant at first, but by training yourself to call someone, it will be easy to place that call when that moment of crisis arises. And it will!