November 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!

2014 Intergroup Survey Results

The results are in!  One hundred ten SAA members participated in our 2014 survey.   By periodically asking certain questions of its members, the Intergroup seeks to confirm ways in which our efforts to reach more sex addicts have been effective, and also to get new ideas for attracting sex addicts to the SAA program and helping them progress.  Below is a summary of the results.

How did you hear about us?
► 38% were referred by therapists.
► 33% found us on the Internet.
► 13% were referred by 12-step programs.
► 6% were referred by clergy.
► 6% were referred by other addicts or friends.
► 4% found us through other media or were court-referred.

Do you have a sponsor?
► 71% answered yes.
► 29% answered no.
► Of the respondents who answered “no,” 88% said they would like to have one.

Name the two toughest things in your recovery.
► 31% phone calls.
► 25% stepwork – either general stepwork, or specifically Steps 1, 4, 9, or 12.
► 12% sobriety/Inner Circle.
► 7% honesty.
► 5% the Middle Circle.
► 4% finding a sponsor.
► 4% sharing at meetings.
► 4% calling their sponsor.
► 3% Internet porn.
► 2% attending meetings.
► 2% emotional triggers.
► 1% each for mental lust, developing Circles, consistency, trusting another person.
(Rounding resulted in over 100%.)

As you can see from the above, some areas stand out positively, and other areas evidence chronic problems.  We are analyzing and discussing the results at our monthly meetings, and planning many of our future actions based on these data.  All members are invited to participate.  Thanks to all of you who contributed to this anonymous survey.

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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:

Disclosure

This is such a difficult topic.  In my experience, it is perhaps the most sensitive area of recovery.  What do you tell your significant other, and/or your relatives, friends, and associates, about your disease and recovery work?  How much detail?  When do you tell them?  Do you tell them at all?  Which ones?  Do you tell them individually?  Should you disclose in the presence of a therapist?  This article cannot answer all these questions, but it will explore the subject in order to give recovering addicts some assistance on dealing with this extremely sensitive, but also very important, subject.

Secrets are poison.  They are part of our addiction.  Recovery requires not keeping secrets anymore, neither old nor new.  Therefore we must disclose our secrets.  Disclosure is a complicated subject for several reasons.  Each addict has his/her own unique story.  Spouses and significant others can be very different in what they want to hear.  There are varying needs to know.  However, it should not depend solely on what the addict wants to divulge.  The recovering addict, used to living in extremes, can tend either to be very sparing in what they say, or will want to blab it all over to cleanse themselves.  At the very least, most of us are unsure.

One thing is for sure, at least with the mental health professionals I have met.  They all say disclosure is necessary.  Secrets are poison to sex addicts.  Recovery calls for rigorous honesty, so they all need to tell their story to someone.  Beyond that rather general statement, individual circumstances come into play.

First, who is that someone you tell?  For most of us, it is more than one person.  We need to tell our sponsors everything – usually at first, but certainly by the end of Step 5.  I was afraid to tell my sponsor some things that I was reluctant to say in meetings, but to my surprise he wasn’t in the least judgmental.  What a relief!  If we have a therapist, we also need to tell them everything; otherwise, they can’t help us.  In addition, if we have a spouse or significant other, we need to tell them about our acting out for what should be obvious reasons.  That is more complicated, however, as we shall see.  In general, beyond our spouse/significant other, therapist, and sponsor, we need specific reasons why others need to know.  There may be reasons for telling others, but “coming clean” is not a reason.  That is self-serving, and I have seen it backfire on members – such as getting them fired.

How much do you tell people?  As stated above, the therapist and sponsor need to know everything.  But what about the spouse or significant other?  Some partners want to know everything and then some; others want almost no details.  The answer can vary widely and does not necessarily depend on what the partner wants to know, although most therapists favor some type of full disclosure – whatever that may mean.  For example, full disclosure may not require giving out addresses of acting out partners, even if the spouse demands it.  In my view this is best discussed with a therapist.  If one is not in therapy, sponsors can be good resources, as can others in the program with some experience.

When do you disclose?  This is also a thorny issue.  Spouse catches addict acting out and often wants to know everything on the spot.  Addict tries to minimize.  Spouse gets angry, asks what are you still hiding.  And so on.  Maybe a lot is divulged then and there, maybe almost nothing.  At that time addicts wishing to recover (or placate their partner) will go to an SAA meeting and/or see a therapist.  Many therapists suggest a disclosure session with both parties present.  That can be difficult to wait for when the aggrieved spouse is demanding all the facts immediately.  The partner may not want to see the therapist at all, saying it’s the addict’s problem.  I don’t know the answer to this, other than to suggest that the addict tell the partner that they want to share their story, but because emotions can run so high, the therapist suggested that the disclosure occur in their office.  Partners can be very traumatized by what is often a sudden revelation that their loved one has betrayed them with a secret life.  They need support too, usually from some type of 12-step group and/or a therapist.

As far as telling others besides sponsor, therapist, and partner, maybe the kids need to know.  Maybe the employer.  Maybe the addict’s clergy, and so on.  Maybe no one.  The important thing to remember is, there should be good reasons for telling them.  “Getting it off the addict’s chest” is not a reason and may do more harm than good.  Decisions on whom to tell and what to say are best discussed beforehand with a therapist and/or sponsor.

Disclosure is an important part of recovery and can be a source of great relief once done.  Getting rid of secrets is essential.  But disclosures should be done in such a way as to tell others everything they need to know without inflicting unnecessary harm on them or ourselves.  What this means, along with everything else in this article, is best discussed with a therapist and/or sponsor.  Every situation is unique in some respects.

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Intergroup Project Updates

Our Next Retreat

We are planning our next one-day retreat tentatively for Saturday, January 24, 2015 at a site yet to be confirmed but possibly the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa.  A member is donating a brand-new large screen high definition TV to be raffled off!  Check our website for updates, or ask your group’s Intergroup representative for more information.

Internet Keyword Search Optimization

Wow, that’s a mouthful!  We are working toward directing certain Internet searches to our website, using key words and phrases to do so.  Examples are “massage parlor reviews” and “can’t stop watching porn.”  We are awaiting approval of our search terms and keywords from Google.

Craigslist

We have placed three ads for SAA on the Orange County Craigslist website and have gotten some responses.  This is a promising area to keep an eye on (in a healthy way!).

Retention of SAA Members

Anyone who has attended SAA groups for very long knows that some members are in for the long term, but too many others attend a few meetings and leave.  At next month’s Intergroup meeting we will begin discussing ways to help and encourage new members to keep coming back.  Please join us on Thursday, December 11 to share your ideas on this important topic; or let your Intergroup representative know; or email us.

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Announcements & Newsnotes

Intergroup Vacancies

Our Intergroup has three vacant positions.  These are great opportunities to be of service, and they generally require little or no special expertise.

►  The Vice Chair works with the Chair to coordinate the Intergroup’s overall activities.  It’s estimated that Vice Chair duties take about four hours per month, plus the monthly Intergroup meeting.

►  The Inreach Coordinator handles Intergroup activities involving the existing SAA framework, as opposed to Outreach, which works to bring in newcomers.  The Inreach Coordinator’s duties require two (sometimes more) hours per month, plus the monthly Intergroup meeting.

►  The Vice Treasurer works with the Treasurer to manage our Intergroup funds.  The duties generally occupy minimal time, but this can vary.  There may be an abstinence requirement for this position.  Attendance at the monthly Intergroup meeting is encouraged.

If you are interested in any of these positions and want to learn more, please contact Ron R. at ocisaa.chair@gmail.com.  Or, you may attend the next monthly Intergroup meeting on December 11.

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.  See the list of meetings on our website.

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.

Thanks for Your Donations!

We are grateful for the support we receive from the Orange County area SAA meetings.  As you can see from all our activities listed in this newsletter, we are putting your donations to good use.  We encourage you to attend our monthly meetings and voice your ideas.

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; meet in the Albright Room past the restrooms.

All early 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: Reza B., ocisaa.digicom2@gmail.com)
Inreach: Vacant, ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com
Outreach: Maurice B., ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature: Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer: Brian A. (Vice Treasurer: Vacant), 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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