Sex Addiction

Which Sex Addiction Program Do You Belong In?

 

Sexaholics Anonymous

Sexual Recovery Anonymous

Sex Addicts Anonymous

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous

 

By Morty Finklestein 03/25/13

The range of 12-step sex addiction recovery groups can be dizzying. A 20-year veteran of all five fellowships gives his verdict.

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The many faces of recovery Art: Danny Jock

AA is for drunks, NA for junkies, GA for gamblers and OA for over-eaters. So far so clear. You have reached your bottom, you don’t know where to go, and the answer is as simple as two letters in the phone book.

If you seek help for a sexual addiction, however, you will be faced with five independent programs to sort through: Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexual Recovery Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. Why so many and what are the differences?

The history of recovery from sexual addiction is a bit murky, especially as to which of the fellowships was the first to come into existence. It seems that almost all of the groups came into being in the 1970s—perhaps in reaction to the sexual revolution. The only obvious splinter group is SRA, which broke off from SA in the early 1990s because SA would not budge from its anti-homosexual, anti-sinning-out-of-wedlock stance.

For many in all facets of recovery, treatment is the beginning of their sobriety. For me, it was the end.

Twenty years ago I spent a month in rehab for drugs and alcohol, followed by a year-long attendance at a full-time county outpatient program. At 26 years old, my indoctrination into 12-step life was quick and easy. Within the first 90 days of sobriety I was convinced that besides my heroin, cocaine, LSD, and alcohol addictions, I also had a dangerous, out-of-control problem with pornography, masturbation, commercial sex, fetishism and BDSM. After I shared one night in my regular meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous about a $1,500 phone-sex bill, a fellow approached me and brought me to Sexaholics Anonymous.

Since then I’ve sought help in all five fellowships for the sexually addicted. I attended an outpatient group therapy program—Sexual Addiction Training and Treatment Institute (SATTI)—for over two years, and went inpatient for a 31 day stay at KeyStone Center Extended Care Unit, also known as The Residential Center for Healing from Sexual Compulsivity and Trauma. The following impressions are based on personal experience:

Sexaholics Anonymous is by far the most rigid, fundamentalist and conservative of all the fellowships. Most of its members, like its founder Roy K., are religious. In New York most attendees are from the Orthodox Jewish community, along with Episcopalian or Roman Catholic clergymen. Serious problems such as pedophilia or incessant patronage of prostitutes are the main concern. “Deviant” behaviors such as sodomy, onanism, sadomasochism and a penchant for gang bangs are also addressed. Sexual sobriety is defined not only as freedom from all “inappropriate” behaviors but also “progressive victory over lust.” The only acceptable expression of the sexual impulse is through vanilla heterosexual carnal relations with one’s legally recognized spouse—man and wife, ideally in the missionary position, as sanctioned by the Holy Bible. Homosexual members are welcome—so long as they commit to a life of celibacy.

If SA is too draconian for your tastes, Sexual Recovery Anonymous may be for you. When I first came around in 1993, it was there, in the then-newly founded fellowship, that I put together a solid year of sexual sobriety, attending meetings regularly, working with a sponsor, going out to coffee, doing step-work and being of service. I accepted total abstinence—including six Tantric months without an orgasm, at which point I started dating again. For the following six months I approached sex with a new sunny outlook, enjoying a monogamous relationship, before I felt something was missing. I returned to the underworld for more research.

SRA is the progressive offshoot of SA. Many of the members still subscribe to conventional ideals of marriage, family, and the establishment without being dogmatic. The mix is far more diverse, with a strong presence of women, African Americans, Asians and members of the LGBT community. (There are, however, a number of businessmen awkwardly getting in touch with their feelings, who cannot wrap their heads around the concept that the transvestites and transsexuals they act out with are fully dimensional people.) There’s a discernible abundance of musicians, for some reason. The work of Patrick Carnes is held in the highest regard; he’s considered the indisputable authority on sex addiction. Inner children run amok, talk of mom and dad, incest, trauma and sundry therapy buzzwords abound. Higher Powers are usually framed on the Buddhist, New Age, Yoga trip, in conspicuous contrast to SA’s decidedly Judeo-Christian emphasis. Sometimes folks will sing their shares.

Sex Addicts Anonymous is serious and renowned for its Green Book. A distinguishing feature of SAA is the central importance of its “Three Circles” concept, which every member is encouraged to use as a tool to maintain sobriety. The Inner Circle contains all bottom-line behaviors that characterize your sexual addiction, including masturbation, prostitution, cruising, infidelity, leather bars, autoerotic asphyxia, glory holes, stalking, exhibitionism, child pornography, rape and so forth. The Middle Circle contains all those behaviors considered a grey area, to be monitored with the help of a sponsor. Obvious examples here include fantasy, objectification, euphoric recall, ritualization, preoccupation and any non-pornographic provocative images. The word “intrigue” has special meaning here—defined as lusting, flirting or taking a sexual interest in someone. The Outer Circle is where you would place all your top-line behaviors, those activities that cement your sobriety and affirm a healthy, happy life.

Maybe all of the above is too much. Maybe you’re not such a pervert. Maybe you just have a problem with intimacy and can’t commit, or you keep falling in love with unavailable people. Sure you masturbate with porn to soothe yourself when lonely, but you don’t think that’s a problem—everyone does that—it’s all the money you waste on hookers, the fear of AIDS and arrest and getting caught by your partner that bothers you. Or maybe you’re a desperate weirdo sexual anorectic and haven’t been sexual in any context whatsoever with another human being for many years. Or maybe, for some reason, even though you swear you’re straight, you keep acting out with men. Or maybe, even though you’re a good girl, you keep seducing your friends’ boyfriends and husbands and fathers and sons and dudes on the subway or, y’know, you just love too much.

Inevitably, I’ve been inappropriately touched during the coffee break.

Well whatever it is, check out Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, where you define your own sobriety! This is where you may enjoy the sexual equivalent of saying, “I want to stop shooting heroin but continue to drink beer and smoke pot.” A roomful of fellows will applaud your success, however you choose to define it.

Finally, there is Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. I’ve attended these meetings only a handful of times and upon hearing most of the shares I felt humbled, like a youngster encountering a veteran of AA telling me, “Kid, I’ve spilled more than you drank.” The men of SCA gather to escape the brutal merry-go-round of relentlessly pursuing high-risk encounters—such as engaging in unprotected anal and oral sex despite the mounting probability of contracting the virus. Mutually rewarding arrangements typically found in bath houses, sex clubs, rest stops, bus stations, public urinals, parking lots and Craigslist—while undeniably stimulating—all too often end darkly. Especially in this light, the recalibration of one’s behavior—as opposed to completely withdrawing from all indulgent pleasures—makes perfect sense. I was under the impression that many of these members would gladly de-escalate their harrowing pursuits to something as relatively innocuous as masturbating home alone in front of the computer with poppers and toys.

I am no tourist. I’ve gone to over a thousand meetings for sex addicts of one kind or another seeking relief and hope. Like a typical consumer, I have pledged loyalty to—and believed in the superiority of—SA, SLAA and SRA at various times. I would surely have done the same with SAA or SCA if I had given either a regular rotation. All the meetings were kind and helpful, and in turn, I’ve made good friends and had many positive experiences. I still receive program calls from men seeking help, needing to talk about matters that they couldn’t take anywhere else. I know how to be helpful and I’m happy to give away what was so freely given to me.

But. I’ve also encountered weirdness that is ludicrous relative to AA and NA standards, especially in the realm of sponsorship (perhaps because the meetings are young, and old-timers are in short supply). One clown jotted down notes while I spoke candidly, later saying he needed material for a screenplay. Another sponsor reacted with grave disapproval when I mentioned happily that I’d been out dancing the night before with sober friends, which had felt both innocent and life affirming: “Dancing is very sexual,” he admonished. Outside a meeting, in front of our group, he once saw fit to mock me for one of my more humiliating proclivities, revealed to him in confidence. I wondered how he’d feel if I casually mentioned his transsexual prostitute habit to his wife.

In my time, I have sat knee to knee with flashers, pedophiles and other perpetrators and listened with compassion to their side of the story. I’ve been ostracized for slipping too often. Inevitably, I’ve been inappropriately touched during the coffee break. And I’ve witnessed grown men crying and screaming about their mothers.

The meetings can be rather grim. Unlike AA, where we all tend to laugh at our most mortifying experiences, here, where sobriety is less black-and-white, there is a grey earnestness to the proceedings that fails to cheer. The specters of shame and trauma loom large. Protocols regarding boundaries can become so convoluted that interactions display little resemblance to routine social exchanges. In many gatherings I cringed at how easy it was to inadvertently molest someone’s inner child.

I’ve been banging my head against this wall for 20 years, after acting out sexually since the age of six. My final, desperate attempt to attain sexual sobriety was to go down to Pennsylvania where I attended Keystone Treatment Center, as recommended by many from SLAA, SRA and SA. I went full of optimism, recalling the experience of going to rehab for alcoholism at the age of 26. After a few days there, we went out to our first meeting in the outside world, in the facility’s unmarked van. And given all the options in the sexual recovery world, our outside meetings were…Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Right back where I started! For many in all facets of recovery, treatment is the beginning of their sobriety. For me, it was the very end.

The things I do to get off are child’s play compared to most of those in sexual recovery. I can’t say the meetings haven’t helped me but I have found that I am unable to comply with their suggestions. I also bristle at the morality bandied about by men who are not qualified to declare what is right and wrong for anyone. AA’s co-founder Bill Wilson wrote on page 69 (yes) of the Big Book, “We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t.”

I drifted from the meetings without making a clear decision to do so. I’ve been in a relationship for over two years and I feel happy, virile and loved. At this point, I am healthier—at least sexually—than they would have me believe in the five sexual recovery groups’ rooms. And from what I hear, I’m definitely happier.
Of course that doesn’t mean I stopped all the questionable behavior—after all, I still like the high.
Morty Finklestein is a pseudonym for a programmer in New York.

Three 6 Mafia’s Lord Infamous, Dead At Age 40

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Founding member of Memphis, Tennessee hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, Lord Infamous, has died. The 40-year-old rapper was found dead in his mother’s home in Memphis on Friday night US time, with fellow Three 6 Mafia member Gangsta Boo breaking the news via Twitter the next morning.

“Rest in Peace Lord Infamous please respect the family and dear friends during this tragedy (sic),” wrote Gangsta Boo in his tweet. Fellow crew member Juicy J likewise extended condolences to his fallen friend via Twitter, along with a raft of other rappers including Lil Wyte and Bun B.

Lord Infamous, real name Ricky Dunigan, was the half-brother of fellow Three 6 Mafia member DJ Paul, who confirmed the cause of death as a heart attack to The Hollywood Reporter. “He’ll be remembered as a legend, everybody knew him as a legend, an icon,” Paul told the magazine.

“He passed away in his sleep from a heart attack… He said he was tired, he wanted to sleep. He sat down at the kitchen table, put his head in his arms to lay down…to get some sleep,” Paul explained. Paul learned of Dunigan’s death via phone calls from the rapper’s mother and girlfriend.

Dunigan joined Three 6 Mafia at its inception in 1991, going on to score underground hits such as 2000′s Sippin’ on Some Syrup and crossover singles such as 2005′s Stay Fly and It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack, which won an Oscar for Best Original Song.

UPDATE: Dunigan’s half-brother, DJ Paul, has opened up about the rapper’s legacy in a new interview with XXL magazine, describing him as “the nicest dude in the world” and crediting him, along with the rest of the Three 6 Mafia crew, as “one of the creators of crunk.”

“He was one of the creators of crunk and the whole dark sound music with 808s and repetitive hooks that we did. All the drugs and the stuff that we talked about before rappers were even ready to do it… The whole crunk thing–the whole sound of the dirty South…it’s nationwide.”

Speaking about his brother as a person, he says, “He was telling his momma last week that he wanted to get right with everybody that he ever made mad in his life. But he never made anybody mad because everybody loved him… He was the nicest dude in the world.”

“Lately, he was so happy about everything that was going on like the regroup of the crew,” he adds. “That was his idea. He fought for that with me. He was like, ‘We got to do this.’ It was supposed to be just me and him… But he wanted to do the group thing first, with the whole group.”

Asked about a stroke Dunigan suffered in 2010, DJ Paul says, “He seemed like he was all right. He just had to walk with a cane. He got his speech back together; he was getting over the whole cane situation. He started to dance on stage, wildn’ just like usual.”

“It hasn’t hit me yet. It’s real sad. But I’m happy that he went peacefully because he was asleep and he wasn’t hurt, because anyone who knew him, anyone who grew up with him know he escaped death a gazillion times,” Paul told HipHopDX.

(Via Billboard)

Seahawks’ Browner banned indefinitely for substance abuse

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner has been suspended indefinitely for violating the National Football League’s substance abuse policy, the NFL said on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old’s suspension begins immediately, the league said in a statement.

According to a league source, Browner turned down a deal that would have “significantly reduced” his initial one-year suspension, NFL.com reported.

A Pro Bowl selection in 2011, Browner had argued that he missed drug tests while not competing in the NFL, though that appeal was denied because the league had notified him of those tests in writing.

Browner was also suspended for four games last season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.

Browner, who signed with the Seahawks and started every game of the 2011 season, had played eight games during this campaign.

In his absence, Seattle (12-2) has already secured a playoff spot with the best record in the league and can clinch the NFC West division title and home-field advantage in the postseason with a win against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Oscar De La Hoya completes 90 days in rehab

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Oscar De La Hoya is latest Hollywood personality to complete 90 days in rehab for substance abuse problems.

According to a source connected to the troubled former boxer and founder of combat sports promotional firm, Golden Boy Promotions, the three months were spent at the swanky Cliffside Malibu rehab facility, also recently frequented by party girl Lindsay Lohan.

De La Hoya, 40, was released about two weeks ago.

“Oscar is doing really well and is now going to lots of (AA) meetings and determined to follow his after care program,” a De La Hoya insider told FOX411. “He also really wants to help other people with addiction problems. He wants to do whatever he can to serve.”

It was reported in September that graphic photos of De La Hoya on an alleged cocaine binge during a Vegas party were being shopped around media circles. The boxer turned businessman promptly checked himself into a then undisclosed facility right before the highly-anticipated Mayweather versus Canelo fight – one of the biggest fights ever put on by his Golden Boy Promotions company.

De La Hoya also spent time in rehab back in 2011.

“It’s different this time,” the source assured us. “Nobody checks into rehab on a winning streak, but he’s fighting this with the same approach he fought to win fights in the ring.”

Aside from a lucrative professional career, the Olympic gold medal-winning boxer has two children with wife Millie Corretjer, and three children from previous relationships with Toni Alvarado, Angelique McQueen and Shanna Moakler.

Ultimately, we’re told De La Hoya’s faith is playing a prominent role in his road to recovery. And although he didn’t address rehab specifically, the sportsman did acknowledge the help from those around him via Twitter on Wednesday.

“I am grateful and humbled for all the support I’ve been receiving,” De La Hoya wrote. “Life is better than ever before #1day@atime #GOD.”

Reps for De La Hoya and Cliffside Malibu did not respond to a request for comment.

Director and producer Adam Shankman checkes into rehab.

Director and producer Adam Shankman has checked into rehab.

The 49-year-old’s rep confirmed the news in a statement to Us Weekly Monday.

“Adam Shankman is currently seeking treatment in a rehabilitation center,” the statement read. “His friends and family support him and wish him well on his journey to recovery.”

It is unclear for what he is seeking treatment.

"TrevorLIVE LA" Honoring Jane Lynch And Toyota For The Trevor Project - ArrivalsOn Dec. 8, Shankman served as executive producer and director of the TrevorLIVE event in Hollywood. TrevorLIVE is a semi-annual event benefitting The Trevor Project, a suicide and crisis intervention group helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

He was smiling on the red carpet earlier in the night, E! News notes.

Shankman is best known for his directorial and choreography work. He has directed episodes of popular TV shows like “Glee” and “Modern Family,” as well as big-screen flicks like “Rock of Ages,” “Hairspray,” “Cheaper By the Dozen 2” and “A Walk to Remember.”

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