August 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!

6th Bi-Annual Retreat

The 6th bi-annual retreat will be held at Mary & Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes on Sunday August 30th, 2015 from 9am to 5pm.  Details are on under the Upcoming Retreat tab.

As most of you are aware, the meeting location at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa is no longer available due to a parking lot expansion project.  We know this location facilitated numerous meetings and your OCI Intergroup is working very hard to fill this gap.  If you know of a location close by that would host a weekly meeting, please let us know.

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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:

The Struggle to Stay

She said that I might be a sex addict; that what I was doing was compulsive. She asked if I knew about 12 step programs; then, said it was for my best interest. I was dumbfounded and immediately defended myself stating that just because I am a gay man that does not make me a sex addict. Then, she explained how going to meetings could benefit the difficult situation that my acting out had put me in; so I agreed to look into meetings. She handed me an attendance sheet titled “self-help meeting record”. The fear I felt was deep, so I did what many addicts do – I embraced denial. I denied she knew better, I denied I had lost control, I denied I had a problem. Furthermore, I rationalized that going to meetings were to appease her: not help me. Basically, I did not first enter the rooms of SAA for myself but for someone else.

After a limited Google search for Sex Anonymous meetings, I ended up at a meeting more than 30 miles away, upstairs with 3 men telling their stories and asking me 25 probing questions. Am I addicted to porn? Do I cheat on my partner? Do I have a secret email account? Strippers? Prostitutes? All that was missing was a overhead light and a two way mirror. I left the three guys vowing to return next week, while secretly vowing to myself never to return. I felt like hiding from shame. I felt like a predator. Then I googled different types of anonymous meeting for sexual addiction. Sex Addiction Anonymous (SAA) meetings met on a night as another meeting I go to. SAA seemed to approach sex addiction from a healthy sex perspective, so I went with the paper in hand. I lurked in the parking lot, then left. I did that for 3 weeks before I walked to the door.  A man walked up behind me and opened the door and said this is Sex Addicts Anonymous, would you like to come in? I did.

I didn’t have to identify. So, I didn’t. I didn’t have to pay money. I didn’t have to share. I didn’t have to talk to anyone afterward. I did need my attendance sheet signed. It was. I was handed a small packet of pamphlets. I took them. I left. I ran. I parked under a street lamp and read a pamphlet defining SAA’a approach to sex addiction. I related to the description of a possible sex addict. I read about SAA’s concept of the 3 circles. I learned that I did not have to give up sex altogether like other programs. Over the following week, I thought about the suggestion for someone to attend 6 meetings before making a decision if SAA was right for them. So I went back. Each week I walked in late. I didn’t say a word. I got the paper signed. I left. During this time. I was still chatting on line, hanging out in bookstores, and getting massages. Something felt off. These men were talking about acting out behaviors and emotions and taking positive actions to avoid exactly what I was doing. My denial started to crack. I could see myself in their stories; yet, they never told me that I was an addict. They treated me well. They never pushed me. They allowed me space to find out for myself that I was a sex addict lost in my addiction, hopelessly using people so I did not have to feel anything. And when I felt great, overwhelming shame because of my actions, I opened my mouth and told them what I was doing. I saw heads nodding. I heard them say “yup”. And when I finished the men on either side of me shook my hand, welcomed me, and told me that I had done a good job and that they looked forward to seeing me next week. No pressure. No judgment. No criticism. No interrogation. I was in a room of men who understood and accepted me – faults and all – and wanted to help me recover.

Two and half years later I have a sponsor, I am working steps and have been sober 5 months. Recovery takes time and a willingness to stay. When you stay, honesty develops, actions change, and your self-value increases. I had to stay to realize I was a sex addict. I stay because I am a sex addict. I stay because sobriety not only helps me be a better man, but a better partner, and better member of society.

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Intergroup Project Updates

Retaining Newcomers

As always, we want to reach out and retain newcomers since most of us know that abstinence and sobriety is better maintained out of isolation and in the fellowship of others.  Please consider ways to retain newcomers and ensure they feel welcome as I know we all do.

Spanish-Speaking Outreach

We added a Spanish translation of the “12 & 12″ to our website and we now have a location for a Spanish-speaking meeting, details to follow.   We welcome your suggestions.

Internet Keyword Search Optimization

Our internet keyword search through Google is a big success so far.  In July 2015 we had 22,780 impressions, 500 click throughs and our landing page traffic was 581 up from from just 55 in May 2015 when we started this.  To date we have spent approximately $300 and there is discussion on a max monthly amount which will be determined soon.  This is a worthwhile venture and it brings the sex addict who still suffers to our page, hopefully meetings and most importantly to recovery.

Craigslist

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

August Retreat

The August retreat as mentioned above is Sunday August 30th, 2015 from 9am to 5pm at Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes.  See Upcoming Retreat tab on OCISAA.org for details.

Costa Mesa Meetings

We have found some new locations to replace those that were being held at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa.  The new locations are posted on the Meetings tab and are listed as replacements when you go through the list.  We still do not have a confirmed location for the noon meetings that had been held there.  Please keep checking the website for updates.

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 three 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 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 Treasurer manages the 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 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.

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

Treasurer and Secretary will be coming due in the next few months so if you are feeling the urge to fulfill the 12th tradition…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 September 10th, location TBD.

Needed:  Intergroup Representatives

Only 25% of our meetings have an intergroup rep. The commitment is approximately an hour a month for the intergroup meeting and then a report at least once a month to the group being represented. 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:

Costa Mesa (NEW LOCATION Effective Aug. 3th 2015 – formerly at First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa):  

Monday, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Men Only/Closed/Book Study
Costa Mesa Church of Christ, 287 W. Wilson Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Directions:  Between Harbor Blvd. & Fairview Ave.
For more information call 949-478-5617

Corona Del Mar (NEW LOCATION Effective Aug. 5th 2015 – formerly at First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa):
Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Mixed/Closed/Book Study/Share
St. Michael & All Angels’ Episcopal  Church, 3233 Pacific View Drive, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625 (South Wing Room attached to Church – Enter thru Patio on the Right)
Directions: to be added to website soon! For more information call (949) 636-1917

Wednesday, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Men only/Closed
Pines Park, 34941 Camino Capistrano, CA 92624
Directions: From the 5 Freeway head south on Camino De Estrella towards Coast Highway, turn right on to Camino Capistrano. Parking will be on the street on Camino Capistrano…….the meeting is held at the upper Park at the south end.
For more information call (949) 547-4498.

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

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

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 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:  Mark D., ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com
Parliamentarian: Vacant

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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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