July 2013

carry-the-messageThe purpose of our Intergroup is to more effectively reach the sex addict in the Orange County area who still suffers.  We meet the second Thursday of each month from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.  From 6:00-6:45 p.m. we may work together on an outreach project as we share snacks and fellowship, followed by the business meeting.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  All SAA members are welcome.  We are still a young organization and want your ideas!

Sign Up!  Sign Up!  Sign Up!  (Did We Say Sign Up?)

The Orange County Intergroup of SAA is sponsoring its third retreat on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at beautiful Mariners Church, 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine.  The second floor of the Life Development Building will be ours for the day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The agenda is being developed; this past January, we discussed Steps 4 through 7 and conducted a panel discussion on tools of recovery.  A light breakfast and lunch are included in the cost of $25 per person.  As the date nears, the fee may increase, so sign up early!  Register and pay at http://ocisaa.org using PayPal, or send a check to OCISAA, P.O. Box 12424, Costa Mesa, CA 92627.  Indicate “Retreat” on your check.  Some Intergroup representatives are also accepting cash payments to bring to the next Intergroup meeting.  A few scholarships are available to those who can’t afford the fee.  You can check for updates at our website:  http://ocisaa.org.  You may also call Matt S at 424-216-6967 for more information.  Join your fellows for an amazing day of recovery in a safe and serene setting.

This Month, Life Is Just a Picnic

Our Fun Through Fellowship event for this month is on Saturday, July 27.  We’re hosting a picnic from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley.  This activity is open to SAA members, their significant others, and their children.  We have reserved Shelter #1 beside a small lake at the park.  Activities will include volleyball and frisbee, among others.  Bring your own hamburgers and hot dogs – or steaks, or whatever – to barbecue.  We have a signup list for volunteers to bring drinks, desserts, chips, salads, condiments, etc.  Please check this website under “Events” for more information as the month progresses.  Although you may come unannounced, it would help greatly in our planning if you called 949-422-6654 or 949-861-1502 to let us know you’re coming and what you may bring.  Enjoy this healthy Outer Circle activity with us!

My Share

Each month, we publish a personal but anonymous story of recovery.  Stories should be written in the first person (“I”); speak from your experience, strength, and hope; and be limited to approximately one typewritten page.  Please submit your story to saamikek@gmail.com.  We may edit submissions for reasons of space, clarity, and appropriate language.  Here is this month’s story:

A Bump in the Road

I wish I was one of those people I see occasionally who, once they enter recovery from sexual addiction, never act out again.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.  I’ve been in SAA for several years and have put together significant periods of abstinence from my inner circle, but I have slipped or relapsed more than once.  It is so demoralizing.  I have to be reminded that slips and relapses are learning experiences that in the long run may help me better to help others who are struggling to recover.  But it still sucks.

At the time of this writing I have put together the longest period of abstinence I’ve ever managed.  Great!  But I recently spent a full month playing in my middle circle before I came to my senses not long ago.  Not so great.  Why did I do that, when I knew that my time, my recovery, my marriage, and my peace of mind were at risk?  Since most recovering sex addicts struggle as I do, a little analysis of my risky month might do us all some good.

First of all, why?  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that while we often attribute our acting out to something, there might not actually be a connection.  Many times we don’t really know why we act out.  We just do.  In my case, I remember being resentful of another family member and feeling sorry for myself.  It would be easy to cite that.  However, other things were going on.  For example, I get lots of phone calls from people in SAA.  So in my addictive wisdom, I practically stopped making calls to others, rationalizing that I was spending plenty of time on the phone.  The result, however, was that when I was tempted by my middle circle, I had neglected the tool of picking up the phone and calling someone to talk about it first, so it didn’t come to mind.

Overconfidence in my recovery might also have played a part:  “My recovery is in such good shape, I know how to handle this.”  My way of handling it was to flood my mind with euphoric recall, thinking it would burn itself out so it wouldn’t pop into my head anymore.  Does that seem as ludicrous to you as it does to me now?  That’s why we don’t trust our own judgment.  We have sponsors, friends in the program, therapists maybe, to give our addicted minds clarity.  But having written all this, in my opinion, the why doesn’t matter so much because we may not know.  The action does.

I talked with my sponsor only once during this infamous month.  Clearly, I made mistakes in judgment, both conscious and otherwise.  But why didn’t I take the next step and begin acting out in my inner circle?  What did I do right, or was I just lucky?  Well, I didn’t keep it a secret from my peers in SAA.  I shared about it every chance I got.  Keeping it in the light helped immensely and kept me accountable.  I said I knew I had to stop, although I didn’t until a month had passed.  In retrospect, I know now the reason I didn’t stop was because I was in the bubble, even in the meetings.  The scary thing is, I didn’t even know it.  What finally brought me back to reality was a stern lecture from my therapist.  God, this disease sucks.

Now that my month-long voyage in the middle circle has ended, I want to write that everything is hunky-dory again.  Not so.  My wife knows.  After initially going ballistic, she has been remarkably gracious; but the hurt is there.  While I was in my middle circle, I thought this would be a harmless secret to keep from her.  There is no such thing.  In addition, turning off intentional middle circle thoughts is not like a light switch.  It’s more like a dimmer.  The thoughts are gradually going away, but they are more persistent than I foresaw.  Finally, at present, life is not as fulfilling as it was before this episode.  Being in my middle circle elevated the brain chemicals that feed my addiction, and it will take time for those levels to normalize again.  Meanwhile, I’m suffering from withdrawal – not extreme, but enough to take some of the positive edge off life.  Did I say this disease sucks?

I have begun daily reading again.  I am making my own daily phone calls again, and I’m calling my sponsor regularly.  I am reviewing my circles weekly to remind myself of where I don’t want to go, and where I do.  I am grateful to report that this experience has indeed been a learning one, and I believe it has made my recovery stronger.  At the same time, it has given me a lesson in humility.  I don’t know everything and never will, and I will always need to rely on others.  For me, who has named Pride as his greatest character defect, it makes me wonder if this wasn’t my Higher Power at work, helping me where I needed it.

Announcements  

 A Few Intergroup Representatives Still Needed

If your meeting still lacks an Intergroup rep, please tell your secretary that you need one.  For more information, contact us at inreach@ocisaa.org.  We highly recommend you find someone to fill this service position.

A Note to Event Promoters and Organizers:  For those requesting announcements to run in our newsletter, please use the following format – and order – as much as possible:
Who:  Are you a committee (of the Intergroup, for example), or an individual SAA meeting group, or another type of organization or individual?
What:  Is this a workshop, breakfast, retreat, or another type of event?
Title:  What is the name of your event?
When:  Give the date and starting and ending times of your event.
Cost:  What is the suggested contribution, or is it a set fee, or is no one turned away for lack of funds?
Description:  In a sentence, or several sentences, say what is unique or especially appealing about your event.
Where:  Event address, along with any cross-street info or parking tips you think are important.
More Info:  Who to call for more information?  List a telephone number, email address, and/or website.
Please give us as much lead time as possible, and note that submissions are subject to editing for clarity and space.

 

SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

Sunday, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed, mixed
United Methodist Church, Room 2
13000 San Antonio Dr., Norwalk, CA 90650
Contact Eli R. (714) 650-0132 or Gary H. (562) 882-0729, email eliminatorfundeck24@gmail.com

Monday, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Women’s SAA Book Study Meeting:  reading & sharing on the SAA Green Book; general open sharing
Open to women only
Costa Mesa Alano Club, 2040 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa
For more information call Lori, 949-444-1554

Monday, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
AA Big Book Study – bring your AA “Big Book” for this SAA meeting
Open – Mixed – Newcomers (newcomers RSVP 6:45)
Valley Alano Club, Room 107, 10980 Arrow Route, Rancho Cucamonga 91730
Across White Oak from Post Office
For more information call Dexter, 909-218-0502

Changes:

Two meetings have suspended operations until a new location is found:
Monday and Wednesday, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Men Only/Open/Book Study
Formerly held at 23151 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods
Call Scott, 949-547-3412 for updates

 

Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. — Tradition 2

Chair:  Thomas P., ocisaa_chair@yahoo.com
Vice Chair:  Ron R., ocisaa.vicechair@yahoo.com
Digital Communications:  Neal B., ocisaa@yahoo.com
Inreach:  Greg R., ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.com
Outreach:  Steven C., ocisaa.outreach@yahoo.com
Literature:  Ron C., ocisaa.literature@yahoo.com
Treasurer:  Brian A. (2nd signer on checks:  vacant), ocisaa.treasurer@yahoo.com
Secretary:  Jacque J., ocisaa.secretary@yahoo.com
Parliamentarian:  Vacant (Are you interested?  Do you know a little about Robert’s Rules of Order?  Then volunteer!)

Website

 If you have ideas or suggestions for the website, please contact our Webmaster, Neal B., at admin@ocisaa.org.

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