February 2014

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 7:00-8:15 p.m. in the Albright Room at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.  All SAA members are welcome.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  We are still a young organization and need your ideas!

 

Spirituality:  Our 4th Biannual SAA Retreat

On January 25, almost 70 persons attended the fourth biannual retreat sponsored by the Orange County Intergroup.  We met at Mariners Church in Irvine from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The program, which included breakfast and lunch, focused on spirituality.  Spirituality is often confused with religiosity.  For most of us, spirituality does contain a religious element, often a strong one.  However, many of us have experienced the spiritual transformation described in our recovery literature without the involvement of religion.

After opening comments by host Matt S., the group was led into guided meditation by Thom C.  Next, Ron R. spoke about spirituality as it applies to Steps 2 and 3, and eight breakout groups met to discuss the subject.

In the afternoon, Brian K. spoke about spirituality as it applies to Step 11, and again breakout groups followed.  As the last major activity, a panel discussed “Spirituality in Our Program.”

Response to this program was quite positive.  We are planning another retreat for August.  It will be our fifth.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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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 ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com.  We may edit submissions for reasons of space, clarity, and appropriate language.  Here is this month’s story:

Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough

Go to meetings.  Get a sponsor.  Work the steps.  That’s what we hear when we enter the meeting rooms.  Unfortunately, the frequency of following these three suggestions dwindles in the same order:  that is, lots of people go to meetings, a good number of them get sponsors, some begin working the steps, and a few complete the steps.  Oh, this disease.  It really is cunning, baffling, and powerful.  It make us overconfident.  It tricks us into thinking we’re doing great when we’re really not doing enough.  Then it triggers us with overwhelming temptation and we act out.  If we’re lucky, it’s a slip and we continue the program with renewed purpose and a greater respect for the disease.  If not, it’s a relapse.  The consequences can be horrifying.  How can this happen to someone who sincerely wants to recover from sex addiction?  Yet it does, all the time.

Take me for example.  My wife, whom I dearly love, caught me acting out; and I went into counseling at her insistence.  My counselor said I needed to attend a 12-step program for sex addicts, and I settled on SAA.  I was so scared.  I feared for my marriage, and I feared what it would mean to be in SAA.  Like many others, my fear put me temporarily on the straight and narrow path with no desire to act out.  Later, I learned this is called the “pink cloud” that many of us experience.  Too bad it doesn’t last.

Floating along on the pink cloud, I got a sponsor.  My sponsor said he would guide me through the 12 Steps of SAA, and I began working them in earnest.  I completed the first three steps and began work on the fourth.  Then I started thinking:  My life had improved.  My wife and I were getting along better than ever.  Wow, I thought, this is what recovery is like.  I thought of myself as basically recovered.  Oh sure, I’d need to keep attending meetings and keep my sponsor, and eventually I’d work the rest of the steps, but no hurry.  I didn’t realize that what I heard was my addict speaking to me.  They don’t say “cunning, baffling, and powerful” for no reason.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are, your addict can outsmart you, even to convincing you that what you’re thinking is logical, positive, and productive.

I had forgotten the familiar saying that “my best thinking got me into SAA.”  I had also forgotten the suggestion to seek the advice of others, especially my sponsor.  My sponsor said that by not working the rest of the steps, I was missing out on the greatest benefits of the program, but what did he know.  Since I knew my situation better than he did, I rarely called him.  My wife worried about my lack of stepwork and failing to call my sponsor, but what did she know.  I reminded her of how much better we were doing, and heck, I’d work the rest of the steps at leisure for whatever good they’d do me.  Don’t worry, I reassured her.

I began nibbling at my middle circle.  Not a problem, just the middle circle, I thought.  Then one day I found myself inexplicably in my inner circle.  That’s how it works; that’s the progression of our disease.  Cunning, baffling, powerful.  I went into full-blown relapse.  But I was too clever for my wife to catch me this time.

That was true until I got caught again; then I wasn’t so clever.  My marriage to this woman I loved hung by a thread.  Why would I jeopardize such an important relationship?  How did this happen?  I called my sponsor, who was surprised to hear from me after all this time.  After expressing regret that I had gotten myself into such a fix, he said I had not taken my disease seriously enough.  I had overestimated my power over the addiction and underestimated how hard I’d have to work to recover.

My sponsor put me on a rigorous program that included stepwork every day, no excuses.  In about seven months I completed the steps.  Contrary to what I’d previously believed, every single step brought me more than I thought it would just from reading and thinking about it.  Plus, simply completing the steps made me feel good about myself.

I am grateful that my wonderful wife didn’t leave me.  I have taken my disease seriously for over two years now.  My progress hasn’t been perfect, but thanks to working all 12 steps and practicing many tools of recovery, I have come to experience the serenity that comes from knowing I’m taking care of myself, treating my family well, and offering my experience, strength, and hope to others, including my sponsees.

Go to meetings.  Get a sponsor.  Work the steps.  It took awhile for me to learn this is not a multiple choice.  All three – and more, such as using tools like the telephone – are essential if we want to recover badly enough.  Recovery can be hard work, and it’s easy to make excuses like there’s not enough time.  But just think of the time we spent acting out.  If we spend a fraction of that much time on our recovery, our lives can change permanently.

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Announcements & Newsnotes

OCI Officer Vacancies

Our Intergroup has two vacancies to be filled:  Vice Chair and Outreach Director.  These are great opportunities to be of service.  If you are interested and want to learn more, please contact Ron R. at ocisaa.chair@gmail.com.  Or, you may attend the next monthly Intergroup meeting on March 13.

Roommate Wanted

A male SAA member is looking to share an apartment with another member, preferably around Costa Mesa, Anaheim, or Fullerton.  If interested, please call him at 805-404-6512.

New Meeting Room for the Orange County Intergroup

The Orange County Intergroup now meets in a different room – the Albright Room – at the same church.  Turn right down the hall toward the restrooms, but keep going straight ahead into the Albright Room and greet your fellows.

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 ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com.  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.

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SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Closed, mixed
Book study/Check-in
First Southern Baptist Church, Dining Room
6801 Western Ave., Buena Park, CA 90621 (just north of Orangethorpe Ave.)
Contact Maurice B. (714) 683-8663/motrago@hotmail.com or Eli R. (714) 650-0132

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:

New location—
Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Formerly held at Novus Mindful Life Institute, 6695 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Moved to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 370 Juniper Ave., Room 104, Long Beach
South of 4th Street at Carroll Park North
Enter parking lot off Carroll Park North
For more information call 949-478-5617

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

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Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

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

Chair:  Ron R., ocisaa.chair@gmail.com
Vice Chair:  Vacant, ocisaa.vicechair@gmail.com
Digital Communications:  Neal B., ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com  (Assistant:  John R., ocisaa.digicom2@gmail.com)
Inreach:  Greg R., ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com
Outreach:  Vacant, ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature:  Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer:  Brian A. (Vice Treasurer:  Carol M.), ocisaa.treasurer@gmail.com
Secretary:  Earl Q., ocisaa.secretary@gmail.com
Parliamentarian:  Mike K.

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Website

 If you have ideas or suggestions for the website, please contact our Webmaster, Neal B., at ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com.

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