July 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!

Two Steps Forward and One Step…

We love to report positive things in our newsletters, and there are lots of positive things to report.  After all, we share the blessings of recovery from a devastating disease.  But we also learn that life is not always a bed of roses, even in recovery.  Bad things not related to our addiction still happen.  Fortunately, we have learned how to deal with them better.  We’ve all heard the talk about living life on life’s terms.

One of the issues we occasionally confront is that of places to hold our meetings.  New groups – there’s a positive; more meetings are continually forming – always have to find a place.  Ongoing groups sometimes relocate, but usually it is not voluntary.  Most frequently, our host asks us to leave, often so they can use the meeting space for something else directly related to their operations.

Recently, the Monday through Friday noon meetings at Mariners Church in Irvine were asked to relocate.  After an incident connected with one of the 12-step groups (not necessarily SAA) happened at the church, Mariners thought it best to discontinue all of the 12-step meetings on their campus.  This also meant that the one-day retreat scheduled for Saturday, August 23 at Mariners was canceled.  The Intergroup is refunding fees to members who already paid to attend.

Beginning Thursday, July 31, the erstwhile Mariners meetings will be held at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.  As before, they will be held from noon to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We are very grateful to Mariners for letting SAA meet there for about the past five years, and for letting us hold our one-day retreats at their beautiful facility.  They have been kind and generous in welcoming us.  We regret that the action of one member of a 12-step group resulted in all of the groups being asked to leave; but as the guests of Mariners (or any other facility), we need to understand that something like this is all it takes to end the relationship.  Mariners deserves a big “thank you” as we bid it farewell.

In addition to relocating, sometimes meetings are discontinued.  This can happen for several reasons.  Sometimes it’s due to losing their meeting space.  The members may fail to find a suitable new place; or they may decide that they would be better absorbed by other nearby groups, especially if the attendance was small.  Recently, all morning meetings at the First Methodist Church in Costa Mesa were canceled.  The Friday morning meeting at the Alano Club was also canceled.  We do not know the reasons for these cancellations.

The SAA program teaches progress, not perfection.  Perfection is impossible in life.  Groups are not perfect; meeting places are not perfect.  The news is not always good.  But if our progress is more forward than backward, it’s still progress:  progress toward a better life, one in which we can feel better about ourselves and be of service to our families and friends.

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Sex Addiction and the Media

Often we read, hear, or see news stories about people involved in sordid, scandalous, or even fatal sexual activities.  Some of these people are famous or in very responsible positions in society.  They pay a dear price for their sexual misdeeds – often loss of family, loss of job, and great public embarrassment.  While on an individual basis we do not know which of these people are sex addicts, we intuitively know that some must be.  Too many of the signs are there.

Recently we learned of someone who died allegedly at the hands of a prostitute who gave him an overdose of heroin.  We do not know if either party is a sex addict.  But for SAA members, the incident reminds us of the potential – and sometimes actual – tragic consequences of the risks we took in our addiction.  For those of us who said they would never do something so risky, we learned in recovery that the disease is progressive:  The longer we are trapped in it, our actions become riskier; and the chance of public humiliation and/or physical harm will increase, not to mention loss of family if it hasn’t already happened.  We simply do not know where our disease will lead us if it stays unchecked.  That is scary.

There are many reasons for us to “work the program” diligently and honestly toward recovery from our sex addiction.  We see more of these reasons almost every time we read a newspaper or watch TV.

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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:

The Equalizer:  SAA

It was five years ago next month that I walked into my first SAA meeting.  It was so surreal.  I had just had it out with my wife at a hotel in Santa Barbara where I had proposed to her.  She found an email in my trash folder seeking a massage.  It wasn’t the first time I had been caught.  Through her tears, my wife demanded I get help.  The first meeting was at the hospital where both my children were born.  I was so scared and nervous that I gave my whole name when a member asked who I was.

I knew I was a sex addict when I walked into that room full of strangers.  Always ignored it or denied it.  But as we know sooner or later the addiction will ruin your life and swallow you whole.

My addiction runs the gamut and has done so since I was young.  I can trace it back to the lack of affection and love from my mom.  There are a lot of worse things a child can experience but the strained relationship I endured with my mom set the course for my addiction.  When my mom died of cancer seven years ago I had to go look at a videotape that my dad had put together of childhood moments to see if my mom ever held me when I was young.  It was there on the tape even though I was too young to remember it, but scanning that tape tells you how starved I was for love.

My addiction flourished in my teens and early 20s.  Porn was just an appetizer as I would visit massage parlors and escorts.  I was so young that I even dated an escort for a few months.  I objectified women, never held a steady relationship and longed for intimacy but didn’t know how to go about giving or receiving it.

In my world, the addiction is a bottomless pit.  There is not enough to satiate it.  For a moment I can feel relief but it’s outweighed by the shame, the lack of self worth, the disgust that I couldn’t put an end to something that consumed me.

With SAA I found an equalizer.  I know the addiction will never go away.  Sexuality is part of everyone of us.  But it’s the power of sharing, knowing that you aren’t alone and tapping into a Higher Power that sets us all on a new course if we are willing to embrace it.

That room full of strangers is no more.  I can call those who I sit with, even if I have never met them, my friends.  We share a shameful and debilitating bond, but through sharing and working the steps we can start to treat ourselves.  I never thought I had the wherewithal or the power to heal myself.  But I know now that I can openly talk about topics I won’t even share with my closest of friends because there is no judging at meetings.

Like most who go to meetings I’m grateful there is a place for me to share.  I still struggle with the abstracts, spirituality and serenity, but I know I would be in far worse place if I didn’t have SAA in my life.

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Announcements & Newsnotes

Do You Know What “Keyword Optimization” Means?

If so, you may be able to help us.  We are looking for expertise in the area of keyword optimization and design, so our website will appear more prominently in online searches.  If you think you can help, please email Neal B. at ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com or Ron R. at ocisaa.chair@gmail.com.  Thank you!

OCI Officer Vacancy

Our Intergroup’s Vice Chair position is vacant.  This is a great opportunity to be of service, and it requires no special expertise.  It’s estimated that the duties will take about four hours per month, plus meeting for a little over an hour one evening a month.  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 August 14.

For Residents of Newport Beach (and Those Who Like to Visit)

The SAA meetings in Newport Beach are looking to grow.  If you are in the market for a new meeting, you may want to consider attending one of these gatherings of fellow SAA members.

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.  We also suggest if possible, that your group allocate a percentage of its donations to the Intergroup for its activities, which benefit all SAA groups in the region.

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:

Thursday, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Closed, men only
707 E. Chapman, Orange 92866
Building is close to Orange Traffic Circle, white with green trim, no suite number; parking lot adjacent to building
Contact Chris B. (949) 278-3642

Friday, noon-1:00 p.m.
Closed, men only
St. Matthew’s Church
1111 W. Town & Country Rd., Unit 14, Orange 92868
In the Town & Country Business Center North (look for “Gondola Subs”), around the back
Contact Casey (323) 375-7322

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

Changes:

The Monday evening women’s book study meeting has relocated.  Please call 714-485-3655 or email womeninsaa@gmail.com for more details.

The Monday through Friday noon meetings at Mariners Church in Irvine have moved.  New location:
First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.
May meet in the Albright Room, but the exact room has not been finalized.

All morning meetings at the First Methodist Church in Costa Mesa have been canceled.

The Friday morning meeting at the Alano Club has been canceled.

The Monday and Friday Long Beach meetings are no longer at Kaiser Permanente, 3900 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach.  The new meeting times and locations are:
—Monday, 7:30-8:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM
Friday, 6:30-7:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.) in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM

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: Maurice B., 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
Newsletter Editor:  Mike K., ocisaa.newsletter@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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