For Newcomers

What Is Sex & Love Addiction?

We in .S.L.A.A.. believe that sex and love addiction is a progressive illness which cannot be cured but which, like many illnesses, can be arrested. It may take several forms - including (but not limited to) a compulsive need for sex, extreme dependency on one person (or many), and/or a chronic preoccupation with romance, intrigue or fantasy. An obsessive/compulsive pattern, either sexual or emotional (or both), exists in which relationships or sexual activities have become increasingly destructive to career, family and sense of self-respect. Sex and love addiction, if left unchecked, always gets worse.However, if we follow a simple program which has proved successful for scores of other men and women with the same illness, we can recover. In S.L.A.A., we learn to accept the reality of having this addiction and surrender any notion that we can control it successfully on the basis of our unaided will. Admitting personal powerlessness over this affliction, we cease our addictive behavior and turn to guidance from a Power greater than ourselves, make restitution for harm done to others, and reconstruct our lives physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

excerpted © 1985

Am I a Sex Addict?

The following questions are designed to be used as guidelines to identifying possible signposts of sex and love addiction. They are not intended to provide a sure-fire method of diagnosis, nor can negative answers to these questions provide absolute assurance that the illness is not present. Many sex and love addicts have varying patterns which can result in very different ways of approaching and answering these questions. Despite this fact, we have found that short, to-the-point questions have often provided as effective a tool for self-diagnosis as have lengthy explanations of what sex and love addiction is. We appreciate that the diagnosis of sex and love addiction is a matter that needs to be both very serious and very private. We hope that these questions will prove helpful.

1. Have you ever tried to control how much sex to have or how often you would see someone? Yes [  ] No [  ]
2. Do you find yourself unable to stop seeing a specific person even though you know that seeing this person is destructive to you? Yes [  ] No [  ]
3. Do you feel that you don't want anyone to know about your sexual or romantic activities? Yes [  ] No [  ]
4. Do you get "high" from sex and/or romance? Yes [  ] No [  ]
5. Have you had sex at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places, and/or with inappropriate people? Yes [  ] No [  ]
6. Do you make promises to yourself concerning your sexual or romantic behavior that you find you cannot follow? Yes [  ] No [  ]
7. Have you had or do you have sex with someone you don't (didn't) want to have sex with? Yes [  ] No [  ]
8. Do you believe that sex and/or a relationship will make your life bearable? Yes [  ] No [  ]
9. Have you ever felt that you had to have sex? Yes [  ] No [  ]
10. Do you believe that someone can "fix" you? Yes [  ] No [  ]
11. Do you keep a list, written or otherwise, of the number of partners you've had? Yes [  ] No [  ]
12. Do you feel desperation or uneasiness when you are away from your lover or sexual partner? Yes [  ] No [  ]
13. Have you lost count of the number of sexual partners you've had? Yes [  ] No [  ]
14. Do you feel desperate about your need for a lover, sexual fix, or future mate? Yes [  ] No [  ]
15. Have you or do you have sex regardless of the consequences (e.g.. the threat of being caught, the risk of contracting herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, etc.)? Yes [  ] No [  ]
16. Do you find that you have a pattern of repeating bad relationships? Yes [  ] No [  ]
17. Do you feel that your only (or major) value in a relationship is your ability to perform sexually, or provide an emotional fix? Yes [  ] No [  ]
18. Do you feel that you're not "really alive" unless you are with your sexual / romantic partner? Yes [  ] No [  ]
19. Do you feel entitled to sex? Yes [  ] No [  ]
20. Do you find yourself in a relationship that you cannot leave? Yes [  ] No [  ]
21. Have you ever threatened your financial stability or standing in the community by pursuing a sexual partner? Yes [  ] No [  ]
22. Do you believe that the problems in your "love life" result from continuing to remain with the "wrong" person? Yes [  ] No [  ]
23. Have you ever had a serious relationship threatened or destroyed because of outside sexual activity? Yes [  ] No [  ]
24. Do you feel that life would have no meaning without a love relationship or without sex? Yes [  ] No [  ]
25. Do you find yourself flirting or sexualizing with someone even if you do not mean to? Yes [  ] No [  ]
26. Does your sexual and/or romantic behavior affect your reputation? Yes [  ] No [  ]
27. Do you have sex and/or "relationships" to try to deal with, or escape from life's problems? Yes [  ] No [  ]
28. Do you feel uncomfortable about your masturbation because of the frequency with which you masturbate, the fantasies you engage in, the props you use, and/or the places in which you do it? Yes [  ] No [  ]
29. Do you engage in the practice of voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc. in ways that bring discomfort and pain? Yes [  ] No [  ]
30. Do you find yourself needing greater and greater variety and energy in your sexual or romantic activities just to achieve an "acceptable" level of physical and emotional relief? Yes [  ] No [  ]
31. Do you need to have sex, or "fall in love" in order to feel like a "real man" or a "real woman"? Yes [  ] No [  ]
32. Do you feel that your sexual and romantic behavior is about as rewarding as hijacking a revolving door? Yes [  ] No [  ]
33. Are you unable to concentrate on other areas of your life because of thoughts or feelings you are having about another person or about sex? Yes [  ] No [  ]
34. Do you find yourself obsessing about a specific person or sexual act even though these thoughts bring pain, craving or discomfort? Yes [  ] No [  ]
35. Have you ever wished you could stop or control your sexual and romantic activities for a given period of time? Yes [  ] No [  ]
36. Do you find the pain in your life increasing no matter what you do? Yes [  ] No [  ]
37. Do you feel that you lack dignity and wholeness? Yes [  ] No [  ]
38. Do you feel that your sexual and/or romantic life affects your spiritual life in a negative way? Yes [  ] No [  ]
39. Do you feel that your life is unmanageable because of your excessive dependency needs? Yes [  ] No [  ]
40. Have you ever thought that there might be more you could do with your life if you were not so driven by sexual and romantic pursuits? Yes [  ] No [  ]

excerpted © 1985

What Is Sex & Love Addiction?

The following are suggestions are from members with some time and sobriety in this program. They are only suggestions, but they are techniques that have worked for many of us. These suggestions are not in any particular order.

Get to meetings: Meeting makers make it. Many of us have found that doing ninety in ninety -ninety meetings in ninety days - has proved to be invaluable at the beginning of our recovery and also when the going gets rough in our program. It is a great way to start off your recovery and get a firm footing in the Group.

Use the phone list: We have a phone list with the telephone numbers of members of the group who are willing to talk on the phone with you. We cannot do this program alone, and the phone list is a mechanism to insure that we never have to be alone. Use it. Call people. Even if you don't know them, call. Putting our names on the phone list means we are willing to accept recovery calls from anyone in the group, whenever the need strikes. Do not worry that the call will inconvenience us; it is our experience that recovery calls from someone in need are one of the greatest gifts of the program. Your call helps us at least as much as it helps you. We will be glad to talk to you, to help you through tough periods, to answer your questions, to walk you through situations that used to lead you to act out.

Work the steps: The twelve steps are a program of action. You will get the gifts of recovery in direct proportion to the amount of time and energy that you put into working the steps. Our experience is that it is virtually impossible to work these steps alone: get a sponsor, join a Step Study Group. Better yet: do both.

Find the God of your understanding: This is a spiritual program. If the concept of God troubles you, believe us when we tell you that you are not the first who has had this reaction to the spiritual aspect of the Twelve Steps. Read the Chapter entitled "To The Agnostic" in the AA Big Book. Read the Chapter on Step Two in the Twelve and Twelve. Listen with an attentive heart in meetings and try to hear the voice of God as it may speak to you. Ask people how they handle this God deal. They will be delighted to tell you. The Eleventh Step commends prayer and meditation. So do we - but we know that it may take a long time before you figure out how to pray and meditate in a way that works for you. Be patient. You need only be willing; God will do the rest.

Start Writing: Many of us have found it useful to keep a daily journal about the progress of our recovery. Some have found a gratitude list useful: add ten new items (no repeats) to the list every day - read it over at the end of ninety days, and you will find how far you have come. Some recommend making and keeping a powerlessness list - a list we make every day of those things we are powerless over. This is a good way to get a firm grasp on the essence of the First Step.

Clean House: Get rid of the pornography, the sex paraphernalia and the phone numbers of those you act out with. Get caller ID, and put a block on your Internet connection. Cancel your subscriptions to suspect magazines and your memberships to clubs or chat lines where you have acted out. Throw out your acting-out clothes and costumes. Cut off your contact with your acting-Out partners - don't worry about hurting their feelings, just tell them you won't be dealing with them in the future but don't get into a discussion about it. Don't drive unsafe routes or go past the houses of your former partners. Not all of these suggestions may apply to you - but you get the idea. If you put your mind to it, you will know what you need to do to clean house.

Get organized: Don't allow yourself to have spare time or spare money. Fill your time with activities that enrich your life. Be accountable: tell your spouse, significant other or friends where you will be and when you will meet them; then stick to it.

Get a sponsor: Because of the difficulty of working this program, we strongly recommend that as soon as possible you find a sponsor, or at least a temporary sponsor. A sponsor is a person who has sobriety in this program whom you select to help you work the steps and make important life decisions in this program. It should be someone with whom you will feel comfortable sharing the most intimate details of your life and your addiction. The selection of a sponsor is a highly personal decision: pick someone whose sharing impresses you in meetings and who appears to have what you want. Freely fire any sponsor who does not meet your needs; you may make a mistake or two before you find the right sponsor. For heterosexual members of the group, a sponsor should be of the same sex.

Read the literature: All the information you need for a complete recovery from sex and love addiction is in our Basic Text, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. We strongly recommends all members read the Basic Text of SLAA, especially Chapters: 4, 5 and 6. These chapters explain, respectively, our twelve step program of recovery, the withdrawal experience, and building partnerships. Additionally we encourage you to read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, especially Chapters 5, 6 and 7. These chapters further describe how the program works, how to get into action, and how to maintain your newfound emotional sobriety. Lastly, we suggest you read 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, colloquially referred to as the Twelve and Twelve. It further explains how a 12 step program works and how a 12 step group operates. Many members have found other books vital to their own recovery; we suggest you inquire of members of the group what has helped them to achieve and maintain sobriety.