175: Sexaholics Anonymous – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)

We are exploring the program of Sexaholics Anonymous. Rick joins us to talk about how the program works, how it differs from more traditional recovery programs, and what you can expect when going to a meeting or working the program. We talk about the differences that we know between the different sex addiction programs. We talk about concerns and questions we have with the program. We explore why the program might feel useful. And we talk about some of the ways you might know that a meeting about sex addiction might be beneficial for you. Listen in as we explore Sexaholics Anonymous and then share your thoughts with us. 

From the episode:

Sexaholics Anonymous website

Baltimore area Sexaholics website

Sexaholics quiz

Episodes mentioned:

Sex addiction programs

Porn addiction

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Email: RecoverySortOf@gmail.com

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason and it’s quite possible I could be considered a sex at home and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I’m

today we have Rick with us hi Rick hi I am Rick and I am a sexaholic along with a recovering alcoholic and workaholic oh man yeah I got a few of those holics myself that’s for sure uh so yeah we’re here to explore the program of sexaholics anonymous that is why we have Rick before I go blabbering and getting into anything I think we should just let Rick tell us a good five to eight minute version of his lifetime story of why he’s here to talk about this right um as I said I’m recovering alcoholic and a sexaholic um alcohol was in my family I actually learned to walk to folk to beer cans thrown on the beach and that was a folklore in my family for years but the biggest problem was then I was 16 when I found my dad’s eight millimeter movies that were in black and white you know porn movies stag flicks I think they used to call them and uh I can remember showing them on my basement you know I found them it was kind of buried in the back and when nobody was home I would go down and put one on and sit on the concrete floor showing it against the wall you know it was like this you know now I should say it it sounds like what an incredibly crazy idea but that was where I started and when I was 18 then my dad gave me Playboy so I had a you know subscription to Playboy so magazines started getting in it and it was just the go-to area you know I had that you know that feeling that I wasn’t enough so that uh you know here I could be the master of my own fate especially with women women uh you know I was kind of shy so you know I wasn’t uh I wasn’t the big stud that I saw everybody else think they were and so you know but I could be the master of my own Universe with pornography or the on the movies and so it just kept going and then of course I got married after grad school so I thought oh The Cure now I don’t need any of that cuz you know I can have 24 as some people in the program will say 24. uh sex and you know of course that doesn’t happen and it that lasted through the two week of honeymoon into the next week when my dad and my mom got separated after many years of marriage and of course you know that upset me so what was I back to masturbation and porn and on and off for the for many many years it turned to be pornography alcohol got into strip clubs and I was I was my work was very important I became a workaholic and it just became a a big mix not worked really hard well I deserve a break you know what does break mean well strip club well to be friendly I gotta have plenty alcohol and it just you know and the cycle just got worse and worse and until 2007 basically my wife had had enough she had caught my porn collection and instead of thinking at a great attic thinking instead of thinking I had a problem you know my problem was I just gotta hide it better you know great thinking and but then eventually she caught it and had enough after 30 we’d been married 36 37 years and she kicked me out of the house and we were separated for about six weeks when one Sunday my uh daughters were all three of them were in town he said hey Dad when Mom’s at church why don’t you come visit us well that was the setup for an intervention um and it was a really powerful experience you know if you’ve ever seen one you know where they read the letters I was in tears literally uh most of the time and when the interventionist who is now one of our close friends uh asked are you ready to get recovery they had already said they thought they’d have to do at least two or three rounds and I said yes in that afternoon I was on a plane to Wickenburg Arizona for a five-week program that was life-changing and my last drink was actually July 7th of 2007. oh congratulations so and then and then when I got there I thought well alcohol is my primary you know I knew of sex was in there they said Oh no you’re a sex addict first alcohol is your secondary and so I did the program for uh sex addiction and as soon as I got back my wife did let me back in the house it was challenging but it was we can make it work and I found um sexaholics Anonymous some people recommended some meanings to me and I started going and been going ever since how challenging was it to find a meeting when you got back to your home uh actually because we were also in a recovered Church recovery Ministry there were two or three guys that were already visiting so I had plenty of resources plus a member of the church actually or one of the pastors was in sa and he recommended a couple of meetings so I had plenty of sources which was very helpful I I think one of the first things you said that stood out to me was when you were talking about finding those films and kind of like the the wacky or not ideal method in which you set them up to try to be able to you know watch them and I was thinking back to I think my generation we had like the early cable TV channels that were scrambled and like every so often you thought you peaked something and it was like just you know that I hate to call it addict mentality but that idea that like we need this so bad we will you know accept these minor scraps off the table just to have something oh yeah I remember I’ve heard people Todd I kind of remember a little bit of it uh you know or the the ones where they’re not quite hardcore but they’re right right you know soft core right and you know how can I watch those yeah like the HBO they would have the late night like wasn’t quite you know porn but kind of yeah very uh suggestive very titillating as I would say life another thing that stood out and I imagine this makes it it’s probably getting better and changing in our world now but just especially hearing it come from you know you talking about coming of age at 18. I would imagine it’s really tricky in our society to be able to recognize sex addiction because we kind of champion this idea that like part of coming of age for boys is sort of like women and nudity and sex and all these things it’s like oh you’re finally ready Bud here’s your Playboy subscription or you know hey let’s go to the strip club because you turned 18 or let’s go out for a beer because you turned 21 like we sort of championed some of these ideas and I would imagine when you’re coming of age and you’re just confused by life and trying to figure it out there’s probably a lot of mixed messages about am I unhealthy or am I just like all these other guys that I hear talking well you have that but the problem is also uh cell phones yeah I did some research the average age a boy finds a hardcore pornography yes eight six seven I mean I I you know it’s 16 I had a hard enough time processing it right what’s a seven-year-old do with I mean not in not porn that the the in my day it was it wasn’t right now it is really really explicit and what is a seven-year-old how does he process it right but you know and then the male culture you know buck up be a man being a man is being with women you know all of that yeah no absolutely and as you say that like I have an eight-year-old little adorable boy at my house and like picturing him stumbling across some of the things that we know exists that are out there it’s just like yeah that’s that’s scary and sad at the same time um you also mentioned this idea that I don’t think we talk about a lot or at least I haven’t heard much about in in the 12-step groups that I’ve gone to but kind of like this one addiction almost helping and reinforcing another right because you you had a hard day with your workaholic addiction right but then you were like well now I get to treat myself and then you say well I’m gonna treat myself by going to the strip club and blowing off some steam well but that’s about talking to people so now I also need to involve the alcohol and it’s it was really fascinating to hear and I would imagine if I was to probably explore my life from that lens there’s probably also a lot of these ways that addictive pieces or the obsessions or the search for Relief kind of overlap and reinforce themselves man that makes it really tricky to to get out because with that old theory of like hey just stop one at a time it’s too much to stop everything and yeah and that’s one of the reasons the the rehab I went to uh the the interventionists picked because it dealt with multiple addictions yeah that’s that is an issue because in essay in a couple of the groups I’m in uh especially I noticed that early on probably 40 to 50 percent or more were recovering alcoholics and some of them had 15 20 years of sobriety and AAA and then I hear you know oh I got I’ve been in the program two years and I got six months of sobriety and I’m thinking okay they got plea you know sober but they just switched addictions right because you know that I’ve heard it called the whack-a-mole you know whack one and something else pops up what do people an essay called your surrounding yep okay yes alcoholics gets sobriety yes I mean it you know I’ve actually heard somebody said I’ve been you know clean but yeah we call it sobriety sober I had heard another person uh along my journey that really really felt like it was powerful for them to have someone tell them that drugs weren’t there quote unquote main addiction it was actually sex addiction and the way they described it for me it’s not that in the moment the drug addiction was probably more interruptive to their life or more unmanageable more destructive but when they traced it back the sex addiction came first and they said it for a lot of people that’s true right we think of like porn or masturbation you’re talking seven when people are being exposed to it I’m thinking you know I don’t know 11 12 that seems like the pretty typical stage of development even though it wasn’t as destructive it had its roots early like they were seeking that relief early and then drugs just became kind of the next extension of that did you feel like hearing that was I mean I guess just in this sense that we just talked about you said that that allowed you to address it much sooner in your recovery which is beautiful do you think that’s an important thing that maybe more of us need to hear this idea that maybe sex addiction is the I don’t want to say the primary but like the precursor almost it could be um certainly in the program I’ve run into a lot of people who were sexually abused and sex became a big deal and you know they used it but then they had alcohol or drugs also to medicate those feelings and yes they saw that the alcohol and drugs were clearly a problem but sex addiction probably was their base addiction and part of the problem I think is you know an alcoholic most of them pretty much everybody in the family and and your friends know it right same way drugs you know you come in glassy-eyed and red-eyed pretty much they know you got a problem but you can watch porn for eight hours how’s everybody going to know right so it’s easier hidden and you know we don’t and again we get clean from sobriety you know if I come go to people that I meet and say oh I’ve been sober 15 and a half years you know from alcohol oh man great job same way you know drugs drug addicts I’ve had heard you know they get praised most everybody gets praised sex addiction sadly people will look at you you know and actually I’ve seen people almost take a step back they don’t want to get you know what you’ve got sadly and and they’re loving people it just has a very negative connotation it’s so fascinating because my my initial um entrance into recovery was through the 12-step program of Narcotics Anonymous specifically and I remember going there early on and thinking we are like a bunch of IV using drug addicts we are like the scum of the earth in this basement this is as low as it gets right and then over some years feeling more comfortable with it we were just people whatever it was fine and then um with like 10 years seeking some therapy at one point and the therapist recommending I go to a a sex addiction program which ended up being I explored as a a sex addicts anonymous and then sex and love addicts anonymous and I never made it around a sexaholics Anonymous I always wanted to but I I think there was a piece of it that bothered me which we’ll probably get into um but the fascinating part was the only real meeting near me was on a Friday night in the same building that at any meeting was going on at and when I went to drive there I thought oh my God I can’t let these n a people see me going into this other meeting and there’s this connotation right sex addict the initially thing that comes to my mind even as an open-minded guy is pervert um pedophile plays with children and so like it’s just so hard to break that stigma because I think that’s the first place people’s minds go and it’s I gotta be honest I would imagine in in your role in your life now that might even be more looked at that way that’s scary um yeah it can be and and the words you just used I did we did the recovery Ministry I had at church I actually had the group and when we talked about sex addiction and we did a group teaching a couple of weeks I asked them when I said those words what came to mind and all three of those were what some of the first came out and that’s the problem um I went the rehab I was at it was shocking to me that oh the alcoholics man oh they were on top the codependents were right there drug addicts well you’re you’re kind of right maybe second class but you sex addicts you you are in the basement yes and you know I said wait a minute we all have addiction right how can there be this pecking order but there was even there right so how does General Society what are they going to think right yeah that’s a it’s an interesting concept that we we have so much stigma and Hang-Ups around this idea of sex addiction and and don’t get me wrong the worst ugliest most tragic instances yeah they they may look like those labels right but I would say at least from my experience ninety percent of it looks like I watch too much porn and it’s making my life unmanageable in some way it’s hurting my wife I’m masturbating and it takes away from my sex life and my marriage like it was I guess pretty typical or normal sounding things most of the time which broke my heart for the fact that we all felt so shameful about going and seeking help like we’re trying to get better and we still felt shameful going absolutely I mean it’s it’s scary I’m in Reading you know people in their 20s need you know help right to be able to have relations with their wives I mean that’s pretty scary right I mean that’s telling you something’s you know not not normal right right yeah I mean that’s the sad part and and I can’t tell you how many times talking with newcomers you know what what uh what the issue is well I I you know I watched a little bit of porn and then you know I’d get up at two you know get up and my wife and I go to bed at 11 I get up at 12. I’m only going to watch 10 minutes next thing I know it’s 4 30 and I gotta get up at six right and yeah does that interfere with your life yeah absolutely and you know and and and you know the other parts of it I mean you got massage parlors in in that area you know Affairs but pornography has been been the biggest one right um Pat Carnes who I’ve read a lot of if you’re you know he’s a lot of people call him the guru of sex addiction said the internet and internet porn was the crack cocaine of sex addiction yeah he’s uh he’s actually the gentleman that wrote The General path through the 12 steps which is which he he admits is the brutal path right I’ve heard it out of his own mouth so I’m not I believe it I believe but it’s a very thorough books

thank you

um yeah so with your was your family aware of your issues around your sex addiction when they did your intervention and were you aware that that was a big issue for you before uh yes my wife certainly and and my daughter and my youngest daughter kind of caught me one time so I mean she she didn’t see me but I think she suspected what was going on right um the older daughters weren’t in the house at this point but I think they knew um they knew there was there was issue with alcohol you know the whole thing right what did I no I actually thought probably alcohol was more more of an issue that you know and that’s you know that denial that addicts are so famous for but um I didn’t see it as interrupt as as disruptive as the alcohol because alcohol took me out of being present sex addiction it does the same thing but I didn’t recognize it as much so now at that point I probably would you know as I said when I got to the rehab and I thought alcohol was my primary do you think that the the intervention maybe I should ask this first your wife was not at the intervention yes she was there too oh yeah when I walked in she was there that’s when I knew something was up do you think that your your daughter’s being involved made it a greater chance of success like did that really sell it to you um actually and and two of them were married so they were sons-in-law wow um and actually that my uh one son-in-law was the first he read the first letter and his dad had died of alcoholism wow so he you know he that set the tone I was already crying right and yeah the pain that I heard from my daughters and my wife yeah I mean if you’ve ever seen those I mean you know and people affected it does affect you I mean it it was life-changing it was the toughest day of my life and yet the best day of my life that’s awesome so to get into a little bit of the program I think which is what we hope to do here is yeah let people know what is there and what it can help with and how it can do it um going back to just my little bit of experience I I went to SAA first it was very focused on just the sex addiction piece of it which you know is all I knew at the time honestly uh it was mostly male so it felt at least for me who part of my interaction was with other women so that felt really safe for me that it was mostly male um and I ended up choosing that more as my home base because it just it I guess I liked at that time the idea that you and your sponsor and your network kind of come up with what your troubled behaviors are as opposed to a hard line like this is what your problem is stop doing that um and eventually I went to to slaa and uh I think at that time I liked the idea more because there is a little bit of that love addiction for me like that please accept me please make me feel like enough kind of part but it felt kind of dangerous because there was more women in their population I guess and that didn’t feel quite as safe for me with what I was working on um and so I considered going to sa at one point and what I had heard and you can clarify if any of this is true or not was that generally essay or sexaholics Anonymous was more geared towards married men um and that the idea was any sex outside of that marital uh agreement was wrong and that included you know masturbation and and I wasn’t so sure about that but maybe you can just talk about is that true that yes our definition is basically no sex with self or anyone else other than the spouse and his spouse is considered a female may you know a relationships male and female okay um and yes I’ve heard that I am familiar with SAA at the rehab I actually did the green red green yellow and red circles and that has some some advantages that was a good tool to know what are good safe uh and enriching uh things I need to do the reason essay has been so successful is that it has such a firm bottom now people will say well it’s you know the definition isn’t so uh welcoming yes I get that in the founder Roy K wrote it that’s how the program has been I am sure there have been discussions at the inner group and the higher levels but people look at it and I’ve heard people come in and some struggle with same-sex attraction said I need that firm indefinitive bottom when when you say the way it’s written isn’t welcoming um I mean I think there’s definitely a part of it doesn’t seem welcoming to like the lgbtq community but are you also referring to and you describe this weird so when I heard it before it was just like actual legal marriage but the way you described it made it sound like maybe there was some space for girlfriends fiances boyfriends that’s always been a little bit I I’d say open-ended okay everybody’s welcome don’t get me wrong I mean we have you know you can come in and there have been people that were in you know same-sex marriages and they realized that they were out of control and yet they needed that firm bottom for the time being right um so we’re you know nobody’s gonna say oh you can’t come in right so I want to make you know it’s it’s it is welcoming it’s just that when I say that is that yes there are people that you know I’ve had conversations with when we talk about it is can’t we change it well that you know that’s up to the fellowship over the you know in the future I don’t know I suspected I will stay the way it is right and if you’re if you’re not comfortable there is SAA right I saw that there’s actually five sex addiction programs oh what are the other two so there’s essay I say SLA oh hey we want the two more yeah okay let me go back to the internet but um so when you came out of rehab did you know you wanted sa you you knew you were headed for that program or was it just convenient because that’s what was available um actually I had done uh some of the literature and the meetings we did used SLA literature I had the green book which is SAA I was familiar with sa and we had talked about it I had not been able to go to a meeting because you couldn’t really leave campus uh so um when I got involved and talked to people here there were more essay meetings and people were very they said it’s a great program so I went to my first meeting and it’s actually become my home group you know we don’t really call it quite the same as as a a but that we do I’d call it that and it’s the group I still 15 plus years later you know if I’m in town I’m at the meeting and uh you know I just found that it was do so the people were welcoming and affirming and it was and they were supportive so I found you know it I you know God led me there I’m sure right it was it was funny so when I I was attending SAA there was probably more people from AAA or affiliated with AAA than there was from n a but I did have the thought reading through that the SAA literature I was like I wonder if the people that go to na come here for sex addiction help and if the people that go to AAA all go to sexaholics just because we like the terminology better because it did it did feel like saa’s literature kind of felt like it had read similar to Na’s literature and then I was like oh sexaholic I’m like Rick just chose it because he liked the holics that’s why he picked that one I mean hey the the you know ammonium are the same but essay the white book which is what was Roy K the founder wrote you know it reads A awful lot like AAA literature yeah right um go ahead oh so yeah I’m talking before the show what it’s like when you get a newcomer um all are welcome but it sounds like there’s a bit of a vetting process could you talk about that oh when when uh you know I actually help out on our hotline the Baltimore Area Intergroup hotline um because sex addiction has such a shame uh characteristics and people you know having negative opinions occasionally you get people that are curious and all essay meetings uh in our area and probably most of the country are what’s called closed meetings only those Desiring the desire to be sexually sober and there’s a reason because you know we don’t want people just coming in curious it’s just very disruptive and probably would take away from the healing that would happen in the meeting so unlike AAA where you know pretty much anybody’s welcome um essay you know they are closed meetings so we will ask people newcomers why do you think you have a problem and yeah and very few uh will say oh I’m just curious right and but occasionally you you’ll sense that hey you know there’s some curiosity and and you know we maybe say Hey you know why don’t you look at another fellowship where the meetings aren’t closed right that’s that’s really interesting I feel like that’s a factor that maybe the the more typical or traditional 12-step programs don’t have to really deal with it’s like an extra step that uh I wouldn’t have considered but I appreciate that it’s being done because yeah that there is some really sensitive information that can be shared there or or not shared if there’s you know investigative journalists in the back row absolutely absolutely you know I can’t tell you how many times in the 15 years that I’ve been in a meeting and a guy and I’ve gotten to know him and all of a sudden he’ll say something he said I thought I’d take this to the grave and share something um that was so you know I was was you know he’d been carrying around right and he shared it and you can almost see the weight come off of him I mean they’re almost different people uh because you know so they’re especially if they were sexually abused right I mean you know that’s for for males especially uh I think you know oh I’m I’m supposed to Buck Up and handle all of this and you know so I’m not going to share that with anybody right right is it mostly male in you uh yeah the essay the majority of the meetings are almost 100 percent uh we do have some uh women in SA um they’ve been reaching out um and again I think it’s you know if it’s shameful for males I think it’s even probably worse for for women yeah to admit it now the rehab I went to had a group that was strictly women and there were almost as many women as there were men and the weeks I was there so it’s there right it’s just that uh yeah it’s difficult and there aren’t enough women to be able to have women’s only meetings and that’s hopefully something that is changing we’re trying we’re being you know in in the Baltimore area we have been looking to try to create a women’s only meeting and hope for like oh I hope there’s more women

may have the problem so it’s not like right right uh you know I hope that they get sex addiction I know that already exists it’s just hopefully you know they can start to get some help yeah I found the other programs yeah so it’s so sex addicts anonymous sex and love addiction Anonymous sexual compulsives Anonymous oh I’ve never heard of that sexaholics Anonymous sexual recovery Anonymous oh okay so yeah I’ve never heard of those two there’s five five to pick from five flavors I wonder if if those other two even have their own kind of distinct flavor or touch to them because that’s what I noticed about the couple I went to like SAA uh I heard that sa was like 100 male and SAA was like 98.7 male you know we’d have like a woman every so often and and uh but then slaa seemed very split and in fact they did have women’s only meetings in Baltimore um this was four or five years ago last I checked but yeah it is I wonder what those what those other two are and if they’re just I’ve heard of them but I don’t know enough about them so right you can’t really speak to it okay out so does essay follow the traditional 12 step 12 tradition model oh absolutely I mean the only change from in the 12 steps is instead of alcohol it’s uh yeah I’m perilous over lust okay oh is that what it says yeah that’s that’s the and and Roy wrote about you know yes sex addiction you know porn and all that and when he he wrote it you know internet porn hadn’t come out so it wasn’t but Affairs and all that are up here but underneath is the is lust which is that unnatural use of and of something that was natural sex is you know hey we were give you know born with the desire for sex right but we use it in a very unnatural way right and that’s how he kind of defines and it’s very lengthy but that’s a brief nutshell of it well that’s I’m always curious in the 12 step 12 tradition model so it’s always how do they differentiate the first step and then what about like the fifth tradition like in N A that’s the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using you know what they use for a fifth is it similar yeah it’s uh I can’t remember the exact it’s this basically to stay sexually sober yeah and I guess that gets more into the what are the sort of qualifications for membership or for you know people coming like what what specific criteria fit you know well into that program uh yeah I mean basically if you’re struggling with you know as I said probably now eighty percent ninety percent are struggling with internet porn that’s you know but they’re still you know and and a lot of them will have had a you know an affair or uh strip clubs or um massage parlors but uh most of them recognize you know the internet porn’s probably their their go-to is that just a you know quick fact check each group has but one primary purpose to carry its message to the sexaholic who still suffers which sounds like what Rick came up yeah that’s perfect um yeah I was I was gonna ask Rick uh right around that same time just to try to get into this idea like does sexaholics Anonymous pretty much follow with Alcoholics Anonymous with kind of the way they conceptualize what’s going on um you know like this is a spiritual malady or a spiritual disease and that the treatment comes from the same place and that like I I love the way when you said that uh you know we all have this lust and that it’s just kind of what I heard I know these weren’t the words you used but like blown out of proportion because of the other things we’re struggling with that feels like what uh I learned about in the sixth step with my Character defects right like these are normal human traits but because of the way I feel about myself and I interact with the world I do them to an extent that doesn’t feel typical or normal anymore um so I guess I was just wondering like is pretty much the entirety of the program very similar to the feel of AAA and what they say the problem is and how we work on it oh absolutely I think so I mean I went to AAA meetings for the first few years oh okay to because of you know I also knew I was recovering alcoholic right and yes it is all addiction is a spiritual disease you know I’m very convinced of that um and being connected to a higher power however you define it for me it’s God um is so important and yes Character defects you know are a big part of it and those things that uh you know you could say you know affected us from our youth a lot of it and family of origin right um you know those things that we don’t like about ourselves that we use sex alcohol drug whatever to medicate we need to be able to identify it and we see that in the essay just like you see it in eggs right what I like about essay though uh also is that that if I’m struggling that day and it’s been a long time that you know that maybe uh a drink would be really nice uh I can share it in a meeting whereas in an a meeting if you don’t talk about alcohol you’re gonna probably hear about it on 14. you know you can’t bring up and that’s one of the problems I think why people men especially have struggled in AAA with sexy because they can’t talk about it right whereas I think you can talk about alcohol or drug problems not you know again it’s not why you’re there but if you bring it into it nobody’s going to say anything so there just seems like there’s a lot more space and I would say I would agree this is what I found in other programs or fellowships is that there is more space for the intersection of how these different parts of us all Impact our life right because if I’m taxed from my drug addiction I really don’t have the resources to work on the recovery from sex addiction right like when I drink alcohol I tend to act out more on my sexy like there’s all these ways they intersect and it really does make it impossible it would say impossible it makes it really really difficult to treat when you can’t talk about them all at the same time and how they they interact and interoperate with each other I would agree I mean I and it you know as I said my ex story is that they one led to the other and right you know you you hear the hamster wheel and it keeps going faster and faster uh that was my story do you happen to know off the top of your head when sexaholics Anonymous came to be um there is a booklet uh Roy was uh recognized he had a problem with sex addiction he had affairs and stuff he tried to talk about it at an AAA meeting he did connect with people and this was in the mid 70s he finally started a few groups after an AAA meeting they would stay and talk about their sex addiction cool in the late 70s it really the founding begins early maybe 81 where he actually starts to have some you know true meetings right right so that’s that time frame I I there’s not a specific date that I got you right kind of like that 10-year span of like the the mid early 70s on that’s that’s a really cool story actually about how it came to be yeah I like that yeah he was it’s quite he hit a lot of his story is in the white book and it’s pretty fascinating I did find it funny though when you said uh when you said that lust was the word using the first step I was like it would take an old AAA guy to pull out an old word like that like I don’t think people use lust a lot anymore modern vernacular no not really I don’t know maybe maybe I just hang around my teenagers too much yeah they’re definitely not using that uh I’m glad you asked when it was founded because I was wondering about that too that’s over in 2007. correct and so I was still drinking then um but I remember sexa sex addiction becoming like popular do you guys remember this like it was in like pop culture more there was that uh TV show Californication with David Duchovny do you remember this so he was a sexist [  ] n a it was like one disease one Fellowship yeah like that other shit’s all [  ] um I uh but I remember that being like like a Hot Topic because it was and then David Duchovny was in that show and then he came out as a sexaholic do you remember that and then Tiger Woods got in a car accident yeah we all know about time you know sex addiction is part of his problem so I remember it being kind of trendy which uh you know that’s a weird thing to say but like actually it’s kind of a miracle that it got trendy because it brought it to the light for people to get help I looked it up essay was founded in 79. um it didn’t I don’t know I don’t remember it being in pop culture well uh again uh Pat to quote Pat Karns sex addiction it’s 50 years behind AAA so yeah I mean it and sadly there are therapists today who don’t think sex addiction is an addiction I wondered about that like if people treat it like sometimes oh you can’t get addicted to weed you can’t get addicted to sex you know um yeah it’s because the argument is it’s not officially listed in the DSM five and I don’t know if it’s six is out yet or no it’s five hard stuff yeah no nope no it’s really tricky there’s a group of people uh uh who subscribed to the idea that because processes in themselves aren’t addictive even though they create the same exact thing in your brain that the drugs or the alcohol does that they can’t be considered an addiction because it’s a choice I guess I I really can’t figure out what their argument is honestly yeah but is it a behavior addiction which is sex addiction considered a behavior Behavior yeah they call them processes addictions um the term yeah they only recognize a couple like trichophilamania where you can’t stop pulling hairs out of your head or your face um it’s one of the only few process addictions right food food is in various ways but not a process addiction or a regular I would say regular oh that’s fair to say but eating disorders I guess disordered it would be considered I think a process I’ve always called it that yeah it’s It’s Tricky but well and I guess it falls into the category of like things that and I guess sex you don’t have to do but there are some natural things that people do you know eating sex you know for reproduction things like that first is like when I do drugs that’s very I’m going to use the word unnatural like you know like that’s not that’s not a thing that just everybody does you know so well I mean I’ve been to a couple of workshops and stuff and I learned more about the brain than I probably wanted to but they you know they put you know pictures of brains on drugs and pictures on pornography and nobody could see a difference you know they look the same yeah so it’s all the same I mean and again it’s you know why you know that was the UN to I mean my alcohol why I never really addressed it was I had an uncle who was a what I call true alcoholic I mean he drank uh quart to a half a gallon of vodka a day kept a half a gallon of vodka beside the bed for it was older he didn’t get up in the middle of the night to relieve himself chug chug chug you know that was he was the alcoholic my drinking yeah but I did it for the same reason to get out of my feelings to be disconnected and it took me a while in recovery to realize yeah I did it for the very same reason I just didn’t drink as much but it allowed me to deny that I had a problem

it’s kind of fascinating in a way because you’ll have the experts debating about whether sex addiction is a real thing or really exists and then you go to a some sort of meeting that talks about it or you go to an informational seminar like you’re talking about and then you learn that sex addiction is kind of harder to treat because Billy if you want to get high you have to think about the idea that you want to get high and then make some moves to go get money go get the stuff whatever this that and the other there’s a lot of time in there for you to catch yourself sex addiction you catch somebody out of the corner of your eye getting off the bus and three minutes later you done got high you’re your own drug dealer like you don’t have to go anywhere to get that so it’s really really tricky to try to interrupt that fast process and it’s so much harder to stop in some ways because of that and yet we want to debate whether it’s a real thing or not I mean that’s that’s why relapse unfortunately in sec in essay and all of them I’m sure is that yeah I mean if I want to drink you know I gotta go make a decision get in the car go to the liquor store well actually walk in buy the bottle put it on you know all those steps I got at least a shot hey you know maybe this isn’t the best thing or call somebody right but with sex addiction all I do is close my eyes and I can yeah or as you said you know some body you know walks and yeah absolutely yeah and it seems like our culture now is so much more like over sexualized you know with you know it’s like celebrated as far as sexuality and I don’t know not that sexuality is bad but there’s the level that you can find what would have been deemed pornographic 20 years ago like now that’s like commonplace on Instagram or or whatever like that stuff is just so readily yeah and that’s the other part I mean you know social media it can you know and I that’s one area I for my own recovery I don’t do but uh absolutely I mean you got you got you know pictures and stuff that’s totally inappropriate and you know it’s everywhere and it you’re right it’s celebrated I mean look at people have commented and I didn’t watch it the Super Bowl uh halftime show there were some moves that I’ve heard that were not exactly encouraging right I think Rick maybe a really important thing we want to cover before we have to run out of time here like you didn’t necessarily notice when you had this intervention you maybe had some thoughts here and there that sex addiction was a thing or possibly a you know a problem for you but not really what kind of ways or things might the average or typical person be looking for in their life that they’re not seeing now that maybe is evidence that like they might want to talk to somebody about it you know maybe it’s not a problem maybe it is but maybe it’s like there’s some certain warning signs that you didn’t notice that you’re aware of now that could help people recognize sooner that maybe they have some kind of sex addiction or disordered uh interactions with sex um good question um for me I guess the question would be you know not it’s not necessarily how often but how is it controlling your life um you know as I said people I’ve heard people and and this is a question I’ve asked newcomers um you know when you when you view porn oh yeah I was only going to do it for 10 minutes and you know it was four hours later um I’m only going to do it on Sundays or Saturdays or whatever day all of a sudden I’m doing it three and four and five times a week you know is it you know is it trying to get the idea is it controlling your life that unmanageability part in step one but to kind of awaken them but for me it’s also sharing my own story a little bit that you know oh yeah I and and being honest and saying hey I didn’t think I had a problem until I heard that I did because that’s how we can carry the message is the most powerful part is telling our own story just realizing that that sexaholics Anonymous has a little test uh it’s just to read a couple of these off that might be 20 Questions yeah um do you feel like sex or stimuli are controlling you that’s one you just mentioned have you tried to stop or limit what you’re doing or felt that what you were doing was wrong um do you resort to sex to escape relieve anxiety or because you can’t cope do you feel guilt or remorse or depression afterwards has your pursuit of sex become more compulsive does it interfere with relations with your spouse uh do you have to resort to images or memories during sex

um you know but yeah I think there’s there’s quite a few more I will make sure to put that link up underneath our show notes um I think for me one of the things that was hard for me to admit or own or see I guess about myself at that point in time in my life was was that it was really calling the shots like I have this tendency and I think this is a pretty human trait that we we act and then we create the reasons why we acted later even though we think we do it in the other order and what I would do is I just kept having good justifications good rationalizations for why I did these things that I wasn’t so happy about later right like oh well I did it because of this and it’s just a shame it didn’t work out better for me and um maybe maybe just that that better self-reflection would have helped me or or more ability to hear those around me who are pointing it out like dude you’re you’re a little off the hook there maybe you should look at yourself right like I don’t know and like you said I think one of the struggles was that for me sex addiction was such a hidden Behavior like I wasn’t really telling all my network or my sponsor about every little thing I did because like it wasn’t none of their business in my mind and it was awkward and weird and and maybe in that just one of the things we need to do is normalize the conversation around sex or or sex addiction like just be able to talk about it more without the stigma would be nice I think you’re right I mean and but you know I think also here you know being with a people who are willing to share I mean most people are not very open about it yeah I mean I try to be as much as I can you know again I don’t go blab at the big groups but uh there’s certainly if anybody at you know they know I’m in recovery you know if they ask I I share and you know and being able to do that kind of breaks down because it again as I say shame is such a you know and shame is you know hey yes I did I do bad things absolutely but I am not a broken you know worthless human being but unfortunately addicts and sex addicts probably get in in spades you know that I am just worthless man I am in such agreement because I every so often I will share about the fact that I’ve gone to sex addiction meetings or that I have you know some kind of history with that on the show knowing that people out in the world are hearing that right but a lot of times I don’t and it takes somebody like you come on and I’m like all right you know what I’m here with Rick like I don’t have to be alone in this and it is easier to say I did this I went to these meetings I sought help for this so you I think you’re right like it’s gonna take me and you and other people speaking up about it and trying to lower that shame level I mean that’s why I came it’s because they carried a message right because it and I know you know let’s face it we just went through the pandemic porn usage jump 30 to 40 percent right yeah now again not everybody’s going to be addicted I get that hate people drinking don’t get addicted right uh people use oxycodone and don’t get addicted but there is a percentage that got in introduced to it good now can you know it’s controlling them what would be the best way to find out more like say you’re you’re in a 12-step program or you’re not and you happen to listen to this podcast and you’re like oh huh I got some questions about that I would imagine there’s a good route to finding where the closest meeting is but maybe even this this telephone line you said could help direct people yes there’s uh sa.org is the International Group okay and anybody in the Baltimore area there’s Baltimore sa.org uh could that is our Baltimore area web page and it has the hotline number in on it you can either call or text in oh cool so you can even text and get answers right yeah I did it’s I’ve learned that it’s a pretty good tool and we we have started a newcomers meeting on Zoom nice it’s on Thursday nights every other week and we we can connect you to that and that’s it’s we do it a little bit like a meeting but it’s not totally not you know you can ask questions right and you know share a little bit of your story and and it’s it’s and it’s a good experience and I it’s something you know hey the pandemic had a lot of negative that encouraged us to go that way and I think it’s a positive and just one more quick question because I think this turned me from going to AAA early on so I got in recovery very young and when I went to AAA meetings it was like well that’s just a bunch of old people um in SA meetings are you seeing a younger demographic with all the porn issues and with the panda um yes I think the more recent members have been younger

um now we do you have to be 18. yeah really uh yeah huh yeah uh because of the the nature of it yeah it’s just you know it’s something that’s you know for safety purposes for everybody do you happen to know is that for SAA and slaa2 because I don’t ever I don’t know that’s so fascinating I mean it makes sense it’s just interesting I never thought about it well yeah because there’s I mean you have alatine and you know you have a lot of you know other ones but yes sex addiction and that’s one of the reasons one of the immediate or workshops I went to they talked about researching young kids they can’t really do because of you know the nature of it right you know abuse yeah let’s see how bad this is for kids we’ll just show them all a bunch of images right um Rick I’m going to ask this and it’s not to be offensive I’m just trying to explore this and I think it makes it even more interesting because of your I guess background at this point in your life it felt a little I think for me uh in hearing about sexaholics anonymous with maybe the literature not being as welcoming to the lgbtq community and with the kind of strict bottom line around this being your your marital partner it felt like there wouldn’t be as much freedom in deciding your higher power like it kind of felt like those ideals came from sort of Christianity to some extent and it didn’t feel like it would be in my mind I was like oh if I go there they’re not going to let me believe in something else or feel like something else is my higher power does that feel like the vibe and your experience with it or is that maybe a little off base yeah it’s a probably a little off base I’ve actually had a sponsee who was an atheist awesome so um you know and he’s struggling in that area some right but his parents were huge atheists and you know and I said hey yeah you know if you want to say the the group is your higher power because it is a power greater than yourself absolutely and then that’s working for you you know for now that’s fine Billy Billy likes the one of uh or maybe I just keep giving this one to Billy uh of like if I wanted to carry a couch to the second floor of my house I can’t do that but like maybe me and Billy could do that and that’s a power greater than me right um no I I like that we cleared that up or clarified that actually because that was one of the hesitations I had about going so hopefully that won’t have to hold anybody else no I don’t think you know is it is it a crit you know Christian based no um I Roy I I suspect had Faith you know I’ve never pursued looking uh certainly you know in my own background yes my higher power is God right I’m very open about it you know when I introduce myself I’m grateful for another day of God’s sobriety and they know and that’s fine nobody says one word you know but if somebody else isn’t quite there yet that’s fine you mentioned the virtual meeting for newcomers that you guys have and I imagine there’s probably some other virtual meetings going on are there also in-person meetings in the Baltimore area and if so about how many are there um we have 20 24 meetings we have probably three or four five I think uh Zoom or phone meeting still a couple were created because of the area we cover right um certain part of it they decided they liked that so the there’s a in-person meeting that they that they had gone to afterwards they now have a zoom meeting so we headed that uh the majority of meetings are in persons there are probably three or four uh or five that that are hybrid that have a zoom or a phone component a couple of them are pretty good I mean they’ve mastered the technology right so it’s it’s uh you know again a blessing maybe from the pandemic we were able to use this tool right now that’s awesome is there anything you were hoping to make sure you expressed today about the program or about who might want to think about considering going and learning more like is there anything you were thinking you wanted to share that we haven’t I think we pretty much covered a lot of it I mean uh again uh I would want to stress that is hey I understand that you know it is that chain based I mean when I connect with somebody if they could want to come to one of my meetings I’ll actually wait outside of the meeting and walk them in I recognize that I mean I’ve heard stories you know I showed up on the parking lot three times before I even had the courage to walk in right I don’t you know I want to try to make it as welcoming because yeah I’ve been there I know it’s scary but I know the you know the life changed right as I said I was I was in my late 50s when I got in recovery these last 15 years have been the best of my life marriages you know we just celebrated actually 51 years now congratulations congratulations um you know that would not have happened if it hadn’t been for Recovery I’ve been able to help people I’ve been able to you know I when I look in the mirror in in the morning I like who I see now that’s the kind of I want to help people to get to that point and I’ve been there I look at my you know I remember the days when I look in the mirror like who or coming from a strip club literally on 95 saying who was that idiot you know shoving dollar bills down right girls garters and as soon as you stop stuffing them they wouldn’t even talk with you I mean yeah it goes crazy behaviors and saying oh I’ll never do it again you know a week later how can I get out of the house right to do it again right oh you know and you know yeah and and I shame myself so I want to try to you know hopefully people hear this is hey yeah I get the shame but there is a better way of life yeah thanks so much for coming in Rick this was really a nice conversation and I hope people out there can have the safe space and time to sit back and just you know ask themselves some of these questions and maybe if some of those questions really hit home maybe go on essay site or look underneath this podcast I’ll have the link right there you can click on it and go check it out and maybe you’ll end up texting or calling Rick if you’re in the Baltimore area and you’re and you’re reaching out for help Rick again thank you so much and uh thank you for just being this this person in the world and doing this work thank you guys for having this opportunity awesome enjoy the rest of your day okay okay bye

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