April 2015

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 7:15-8:30 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 to participate.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  We want your ideas!

Wanted:  Topics for Our Next Retreat

We are currently preparing for our next retreat in August.  Retreats are a great way to find strength, hope, and courage while creating friendships and recovery.  Our last retreat in January 2015 had 50 attendees from Southern California.  The topic was “ISOLATION:  Causes and Cures” which highlighted a major component to our disease and ways to emerge from it.  Retreats are packed with great recovery opportunities and feature speakers, workshops, discussions, and panels, plus food!  The raffle prizes during the January retreat were two high definition LCD TVs…great prizes just in time for the Super Bowl.  We look forward to seeing everyone for fellowship, recovery, and hope.  The date and location are still being worked out with details coming soon.

We are soliciting suggestions for the main topic, or topics, to be featured at our next retreat.  What would you like to learn more about?  Or is there a subject you would like to present to others because you have learned a lot about it?  Here are some of the suggestions we have received so far:

►  How acting out affects my job/career
►  Sponsorship
►  The amends steps (8 and 9)
►  From inner to outer circle
►  Stepwork – why we have trouble moving forward (ed. note:  see the next article)
►  Shame and guilt
►  How and why to keep coming back
►  Honesty
►  Sharing with fellow sex addicts
►  Being of service/service positions
►  Fellowship
►  Support from/relationships with family and friends
►  Recognition of myself in others who are managing to stay sober
►  Not giving up
►  Openness
►  Acceptance
►  What happens before and after group meetings
►  How to organize and conduct a timely and educational SAA meeting
►  How to help others, e.g. hearing their story; taking the time; being friendly, helpful, and nonjudgmental

If you have further suggestions or if you would like to lead a discussion group, please attend the next Intergroup meeting on May 14, or email your suggestions to ocisaa.chair@gmail.com.

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My Share

Each month, we publish a personal but anonymous story of recovery.  It can be either an autobiography or about a subject important to your recovery.  Stories should be written in the first person (“I”) and speak from your experience, strength, and hope.  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:

Working the Steps:  Why Are They So Darned Steep? (and How I Climbed Them Anyway)

In the last Intergroup survey, working the steps was the second most prevalent problem for SAA members, right behind using the phone.  One-fourth of all respondents listed stepwork as one of the two toughest things in their recovery.  Some members cited stepwork in general; others, specific steps such as 1, 4, 9, or 12.

Me?  I bogged down on Step Four.  After joining a group and getting a sponsor, I conscientiously completed Steps 1, 2, and 3.  My life was better.  My relationship with my wife had improved.  I hadn’t acted out since my recovery began.  But man!  Step Four looked like a mountain.  Lots of lists, lots of columns, lots of work for someone who was doing so well in his recovery, I thought.  I began working on the step, but the incentive – the desperation – was gone; so I slowed down, then stopped.  When my wife asked why I wasn’t working on my steps, I said she needn’t worry.  Look at our relationship, I said.  I’m not acting out, I said.  Don’t worry, honey, I’ll complete the steps eventually.  But there’s no hurry.   I’m sure I’ll get something from the last nine steps, but I’m already enjoying most of the benefits from what I’ve already done.

I believed that myself, sort of.  I wanted to believe it, anyway.  But, overconfident, I fell victim to a common tendency among us recovering sex addicts:  to do the least we think necessary in order to stay abstinent.  Unfortunately, that is never enough.  I stopped calling my sponsor.  I began to dabble in my middle circle.  One day there I was, back in my inner circle, where I stayed for a year and a half until my wife caught me acting out.  Again.  I felt so low, so ashamed, so afraid.  Why my wife stuck with me is a miracle, but that’s another story.

My desperation had returned.  I called my sponsor, who was surprised to hear from me.  He suggested, in his insistent way, that I resume my stepwork.  This time he structured it for me:  15 minutes a day, no more, no less, no days off.  I protested:  Why can’t I do more if I feel like it?  15 minutes a day, no more, no less, no days off.  But it’ll take most of that time to review my previous work!  15 minutes a day, no more, no less, no days off.  What if I’m on vacation?  Sick?  Visiting friends?  15 minutes a day, no more, no less, no days off.  I thought I was talking to a broken record, but eventually he continued, saying he expected me to call him every day with a status report.  This time, I knew better than to protest.  His broken-record answer would always be every day, every day, every day.

I took up Step Four again.  Funny thing was, the step didn’t seem such a mountain anymore.  All I had to do was make a bit of progress each day.  I completed it and began the next step.  It wasn’t overwhelming, either.  Johnny Cash did a song, “One Piece at a Time,” in which, one by one, he gradually stole enough parts from his auto manufacturer employer to build a whole car.  The Johnny Cash approach worked for me.  It took about eight months to complete the last nine steps, 15 minutes a day, no more, no less, no days off.  And man, I felt good!!!

I learned a lot from each one of the 12 Steps, more than I thought I would.  Now I can apply the steps to my daily life and help others do the same.  That is so important in maintaining my sobriety.  How could I ever have believed otherwise?  Actually, that’s easy.  My addict is a clever S.O.B. and will fool me if it can.  And it did.  Working the steps daily – all 12 of them – helps me recognize my devious devil’s antics and gives me tools to keep the devil at bay.

Doing what my sponsor asked, even when I questioned his wisdom at times, taught me a valuable lesson in humility.  Sticking to his instructions every day without fail taught me a valuable lesson in self-discipline.  These bonuses were unexpected, and I didn’t realize I’d received them until it was over.  And that’s another valuable lesson:  Working on my program gives me unanticipated benefits.  I like pleasant surprises!

So many sex addicts have problems working the 12 Steps, and I was one of them.  I learned that no step has to be an intimidating mountain, not even all 12 steps together.  For me, the answer was to build my car one piece at a time, 15 minutes a day, no more, no less, no days off.  Vrooooooooom!!!!!!!!!

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Intergroup Project Updates

Retaining Newcomers

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.  It makes sense that if someone keeps attending meetings, he or she is more likely to make progress in recovering from their sex addiction.  The Orange County Intergroup solicited suggestions from the SAA fellowship to encourage newcomers to keep returning.  The resulting list was published in the March 2015 SAA Newsletter, available elsewhere on this website.  Intergroup representatives were also given copies to distribute at their home meetings.  If you think of more ways to “keep ’em coming back,” please let us know.

Spanish-Speaking Outreach

We are unaware of any Spanish-language SAA meetings in the Orange County area.  We added a Spanish translation of the “12 & 12” to our website and are looking for a location for a Spanish-speaking meeting, most likely in Santa Ana.  We welcome your suggestions.

Internet Keyword Search Optimization

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.”  In addition, we are working on inserting key words into recovery stories to help addicts find our program.  Google has approved our search terms and keywords.  At a recent meeting, we approved a 30-day test run.  We will inform you of the results.


The responses continue to ads we placed for SAA on the Orange County Craigslist website.  Sex addicts going there to act out are being presented with an opportunity for recovery, and for some of them, it’s working!

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Announcements & Newsnotes

A Message for Sponsors

We suggest you consider stressing to your sponsees the importance of service work such as volunteering for positions at their meetings.  Early in recovery, service work gives recovering sex addicts something to feel good about when they need it most.  Later on, it becomes Step 12 work, a very healthy activity and again a builder of self-esteem.  Some sponsors we know feel so strongly about it that they advise their sponsees either to fill a service position or find another sponsor!

Intergroup Vacancies

Our Intergroup has four vacant positions and a need for website contributors.  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 such as preparing the monthly agenda and helping with surveys.  It’s estimated that Vice Chair duties take about 2-4 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 Intergroup funds.  The duties generally occupy minimal time – just an hour most months.  Attendance at the monthly Intergroup meeting is encouraged.  This position requires one year of abstinence.

►  The Parliamentarian keeps order in the monthly Intergroup meetings (according to Robert’s Rules of Order, but detailed knowledge is unnecessary) and also leads a short discussion about one of the 12 Traditions each month.

►  We are looking for website contributors of any kind, including those who are willing to learn.

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 May 14.

Needed:  Intergroup Representatives

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 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 – if anything – 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: Whom 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:

Wednesday, 5:00-6:00pm
Closed, men only
1900 E. 4th St., Conference Room 2A, Santa Ana 92705
Free parking in structure
Contact Frank P. (949) 842-3454

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


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

The Tuesday morning 6:30 a.m. meeting at the First Methodist Church in Costa Mesa has 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

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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: Vacant

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


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