Bottom-line Behavior: Sex and love addiction is more complicated than alcoholism or drug addiction in that it may manifest itself in patterns that vary from addict to addict. Because of this fact, in SLAA, we each define our own sobriety, and the behavior that we determine to constitute our addiction we call our bottom-line behavior. A common basic bottom line is to avoid sex outside of a committed relationship. Members may also include on their bottom-line going to a particular place, contacting a particular person, watching a certain kind of movie or program, avoiding pornography, dressing provocatively, cruising for partners or even allowing oneself to drift off into all-consuming fantasy -- in short avoiding anything that causes us to plunge back into our addiction. The participation of a sober sponsor is essential in setting your bottom-line. Only we ourselves can determine which behaviors are addictive for us, but our addiction may blind us to the realities of our behavior; we need the assistance of a loving outsider and a Higher Power to assist us in this process. Typically our bottom line will change as we progress in recovery. The initial bottom line may be changed, as we see the need, to include behaviors that we did not previously recognize as addictive. This process continues until the addict reaches a comfortable and manageable pattern of living. The process of establishing our bottom line, like much else in recovery from this disease, is a trial and error process. We may even have to modify our behavior with our spouses and significant others.
Acting Out: Acting out is performing our bottom-line behavior, crossing our bottom line. If we have acted out -- sometimes called having a slip or a relapse -- we have lost our sobriety. Virtually everyone in this program has had a slip at some time. Those who succeed in this program use their slips and relapses as opportunities for learning and growth. The answer to acting out is to come back to our meetings. It is the shared experience of our fellowship that meeting makers make it. Many members of our group have had difficulty maintaining sobriety, but all who persist succeed. Never let the shame or guilt of acting out prevent you from coming to meetings. Don't quit before the miracle.
Withdrawal: This is the first stage of SLAA recovery. It is a necessary part of recovery. Just as with drug addicts, there is a period of withdrawal that will occur once you stop your addictive behavior. It can be a period of great pain, but as Chapter 5 of the Basic Text makes clear, it is also a time of great rewards. We may find that we have survived a period of withdrawal, only to have again to go through withdrawal when we change our bottom line and abstain from additional behaviors that we have determined are addictive.
Cross talk: We avoid cross talk at our meetings. Each person is allowed to share without interruption. During meetings, we do not offer one another advice or feedback, nor do we lecture or single out another person. In this way, our silence honors the reality of each person's path to recovery. Any cross talk, even affirmative statements directed to another member, may disturb the decorum of the meeting.
Euphoric Recall: Euphoric recall is becoming lost in our remembrance of past addictive behavior, recalling that behavior as ecstatic rather than insane. In euphoric recall, we totally fail to recollect the massively negative consequences of that behavior, which have brought us to SLAA. For most of us, euphoric recall is one of the first steps on the road to acting out and losing our sobriety. Our euphoric recall may even affect others: excessive detail in talking about our acting out in a meeting may trigger addictive thoughts in other members' minds. We are in meetings to share our experience, strength, and hope. Euphoric recall has no place in that sharing.
Feedback: Feedback is someone's sharing his or her experience, strength and hope as it relates to your own situation. Feedback should always be loving and supportive, but may be confrontational. Feedback should never be given unless it is requested or one has permission to give the feedback. Since we avoid feedback at our meetings, we typically reserve time after the meeting to give and receive feedback.
Personal Anonymity and Group Confidentiality: We must respect the privacy and confidentiality of every SLAA member's name and stories. What we hear or see in our meetings must remain within our walls. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of SLAA's 12 step program of recovery, as set out in the Twelfth Tradition. We are sharing extremely personal matters in our meetings; we need always to know that what we confide to other members of the group will not be spread to outsiders.
Gossiping: In our discussions outside of meetings, we need to avoid gossip and criticism of one another. It is often easier for us to see the defects of others than to recognize our own, particularly when we dislike the person in question or hold resentments against that person. The wisest course in such a case is to keep our own counsel -- or share our concerns only with our sponsor. Complaining about others to members of the group takes us out of our own recovery and may involve violations of anonymity. And it is, quite simply, impolite. We need always to treat each other with courtesy and respect. The steps require us to take our own moral inventory, not the inventory of others.
Chips: We are on the chip system. The white desire chip, also known as the one-day chip, is a token symbolizing a member's desire to quit living out a pattern of sex and love addiction. Acceptance of the one-day chip signifies our commitment to a day's sobriety, and carrying the chip is a concrete reminder of that commitment. For those of us who have suffered relapse, taking a one-day chip may represent our renewed commitment to recovery. We also awards chips for other periods of time; one week, one month, two months, three months, six months, nine months, 1 year and multiple years.
Three Second Rule: One of the things we know about our disease is that acting out begins with mental obsession. Where our minds go, our bodies will follow. For this reason, it becomes important to keep our minds on a fairly short leash, insofar as sexual matters are concerned. The Three Second Rule is one of the major devices we use to achieve this goal. When we see someone who is attractive we allow ourselves three seconds to look at him or her and then we turn away, allowing the memory to slip away from us. We do not take that second glance, the look over our shoulder after we have driven past the attractive person on the street; we do not hold on to a detailed image of that person in our mind. This is a seemingly small matter, but many of us have found that if we can follow small rules like this one, God takes care of the larger issues in our recovery.