February 2013

carry-the-messageFor a PDF version of this newsletter, click here: February Newsletter
The 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 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.  From 6:00-6:45 p.m. we may work together on an outreach project as we share snacks and fellowship, followed by the business meeting.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  All SAA members are welcome.  We are still a young organization and want your ideas!

Big Crowd at Retreat #2!

After a successful one-day retreat last August, the Orange County Intergroup sponsored its second retreat on January 26 at beautiful Mariners Church in Irvine.  About 70 persons attended, close to twice the attendance last August.  At one point new signups were put on a waiting list, but compassion ruled the day and everyone who wanted to come was allowed in.  Attendees enjoyed talks and breakout group discussions on Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7, plus a Tools of Recovery panel discussion.  The next one-day retreat is tentatively set for July or August, again at Mariners.  As many as 100 may be allowed to attend, depending on available space.   Check for updates at our website:  http://ocisaa.org.

On February 24, Bike Along the Beach

Our next OCISAA Fun Through Fellowship outer circle event will be a bike ride along the shore of Huntington Beach on Sunday, February 24, beginning at 10 a.m.  We will start in downtown Huntington Beach in the grassy area at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main (near the pier).  Public parking is available.  The cost is right – it’s free unless you rent a bike – and it’s open to all levels of cyclists.  You can bring your own bike or rent a bike there (for example, Bargain Bike Rentals at 410 Main Street rents bikes for $10/day, cash only).  We will grab a bite to eat after the ride as well.  If you have questions about this event, email us at ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.com or call 949-478-5756.

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 or less.  Please submit your story to saamikek@gmail.com.  We may edit submissions for reasons of space, clarity, and appropriate language.  On the next page is this month’s story:

My Toolbox Overfloweth

For me, the goal of the SAA program isn’t so much not to act out, but to accept and feel good about myself – to be comfortable in my own skin.  However, in order to accomplish that, I must abstain from sexually acting out.  Over time, I’ve collected many tools of recovery that help me greatly in all aspects of life.  Here, in no particular order, are 20 tools that I have found useful to me.  It’s not a complete list, and individuals will find some tools more valuable than others as they try them.

1.  Do the basics:  Go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps.  Do all three.  They are basics for a reason.

2.  Act “as if.”  It’s useful when I find something is hard to believe, such as in a Higher Power, but I know it would be good for me if I did believe.  Just act as if I believe until – eureka! – one day I really do.

3.  Contrary actions:  If my wife is irritating me, go to Starbucks and bring back a coffee for her.

4.  I believe the so-called “3-second rule” for staring at someone is too long.  I practice “AAA” instead:   Alert myself to my staring, Avert my glance, and Affirm the person as a real human being, not a sex object.

5.  I want to do what I want to have done, not what I want to do.  Think about that one.  It’s deep.

6.  Do a service that no one will ever know about.  This builds humility and lets me feel good about my actions without pride – the need for recognition – as an undesirable motivator.

7.  If I’m having a bad day, the surest way to feel better is to get out of my head and help someone.

8.  Don’t be so danged hard on myself!  Be gentle with myself and others.  No one is perfect.

9.  To feel better about myself, take a service position.  This was especially helpful in my early recovery, when I desperately needed something to feel good about.  But it helps anytime.  Any service position is OK.

10.  Be open to new ideas.  After all, my best thinking got me into SAA.

11.  Use the once-dreaded phone to call my sponsor and others in the program.  Once I got used to it, it became easy – and invaluable.  Two fallacies I had to overcome were “I don’t want to interrupt him” and “I should know how to solve this myself.”  My calls help the recipients as much or more than they help me.

12.  When I’m feeling sorry for myself, think of things I’m grateful for.  It can be an instant mood-changer.

13.  Practice RIGOROUS honesty.  Listen to what I say and correct even the little things.

14.  Morning meditation, whatever I can manage.  It starts my head off right.  I like to read the daily message from Answers in the Heart, read the Steps 3-7-11 Prayers, and ask my Higher Power for guidance.  But when I’m in a hurry, I have to just hop in the car and ask my Higher Power to guide me as I drive off.  It’s all OK.

15.  Review each day before going to sleep.  I look at “SDRFAG:”  Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentments, Fears, Amends I still need to make for harms I did that day, and things I did that I feel Good about.

16.  Letting go/acceptance:  They are pretty much synonymous.  Stop badgering my wife about her annoying but harmless idiosyncrasies.  Accept her, idiosyncrasies and all, and let go of my resentment.  Appreciate her good qualities instead.  It’s amazing how much better I feel.  This is an incredibly powerful tool for me.

17.  Ask for help instead of thinking I have to do it all. This builds humility — and it often yields better answers.

18.  “Think through the drink.”  Before I go too far, consider what will happen after I act out.  Even if I succeed in keeping it a secret, how will I feel about myself?  How will my negative feelings affect my relationships?

19.  Help others.  Pick up someone’s cup from the coffee table.  Call someone who’s having problems.  I believe that ultimately, sponsoring others is the greatest gift of all — to me!

20.  Work through all 12 steps.  I thought I had them mostly figured out in advance, but each one yielded unexpected new tools and insights.  Plus, now I get to practice all 12 steps daily and feel good about it.

I also suggest reading the 46-page SAA blue booklet Tools of Recovery, about $4; the SAA Green Book pp. 62-66, and the Big Book of AA for many ideas.  This program gives me lots of tools.  All I have to do is use them.  And they have a lifetime guarantee!

Announcements

 Intergroup Representatives Still Needed

If your meeting lacks an Intergroup rep, please tell your secretary that you need one.  For more information, contact us at ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.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.

SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

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:

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

Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

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

Chair:  Thomas P.

Vice Chair:  Ron R.

Digital Communications:  Neal B.

Inreach:  Rosario, ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.com

Outreach:  Gary H., ocisaa.outreach@yahoo.com

Literature:  Ron C.

Treasurer:  Phil G. (2nd signer on checks:  Brian A.)

Secretary:  Jacque J.

Parliamentarian:  Doug C.

Website

 If you have any ideas or suggestions for the website, please contact our Webmaster, Neal B., at admin@ocisaa.org.

January 2013

carry-the-messageFor a PDF version of the newsletter, click here: January Newsletter
The 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 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.  From 6:00-6:45 p.m. we may work together on an outreach project as we share snacks and fellowship, followed by the business meeting.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  All SAA members are welcome.  We are still a young organization and want your ideas!

On January 26, 2013:  Retreat #2!

After a successful one-day retreat last August , the Orange County Intergroup of SAA is sponsoring its second retreat on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at beautiful Mariners Church, 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine.  The entire second floor of the Life Development Building will be ours for the day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The agenda comprises Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7, plus a Tools of Recovery panel discussion.  A light breakfast and lunch are included in the cost of $25 per person.  Register and pay at http://ocisaa.org using PayPal, or send a check to OCISAA, P.O. Box 12424, Costa Mesa, CA 92627.  Indicate “Retreat” on your check.  A few scholarships are available to those who can’t afford the fee.  Please sign up early, or at least notify us of your intent to come, so we can plan the right amount of food to serve.  You can check for updates at our website:  http://ocisaa.org.

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 or less.  Please submit your story to saamikek@gmail.com.  We may edit submissions for reasons of space, clarity, and appropriate language.  Here is this month’s story:

My Recovery Wasn’t Automatic

My adoptive parents, an alcoholic dad and mentally ill mom, divorced when I was 7.  My mother remarried when I was 10, and my new father mentally and physically abused me.  Punishment was often restriction to my room with no TV or radio for long periods.  That led to me believe that isolation and fantasy were safe places, and they became the twin pillars of my addiction.  I discovered my dad’s porn stash and felt an intense rush while looking at it.  I began masturbating and used this to escape from a hard and unhappy childhood. (cont.)

As time went by, I would fantasize, do rituals before acting out, and then crash unhappily.  I had no boundaries for myself or others, and I used unhealthy relationships to further my sex addiction.  I objectified women, never thinking of them as persons with their own needs.  I also tried alcohol and drugs, but they never gave me the rush that sex did.  My behavior became riskier, approaching women just to have sex, visiting prostitutes, and moving toward peeping and public exposure.  Then came the internet.  It transfixed me for hours, but afterward left me feeling exhausted and disgusted with myself.  I lost jobs and turned down a great job opportunity due to my addiction.  I got into a bad marriage for 2 years and looked at people as interruptions in my acting out.  The lowest point came when my now ex-wife found porn on my computer and kicked me out.

I came to realize that something was very wrong with me.  I read Out of the Shadows and was shocked at how many attributes I shared with sex addicts.  I started reading the Bible and praying.  One night while praying for help, I heard God speak to me, saying, “Do not be afraid, I am here.”  I immediately felt relief and safety.  I started going to sex addict recovery meetings, but it took a year to feel like I really belonged.  After the meetings, a couple of guys would have fellowship with me.  I might not have kept coming back if not for them.  I volunteered for service work, and I got a sponsor who taught me to work on my negative thinking by reading about tools of recovery and writing down 3 positive things I noticed each day.  Man, was that hard!

However, I wasn’t working the steps or making phone calls.  Then my sponsor moved away.  I made some temporary progress alone, losing the urge to act out in ways that could lead me to jail, and stopping using pornography and visiting unhealthy places.  I started going to church, reading scripture, and praying often.  I started working the steps with a group and started making calls.  However, when my step group ended, so did my step work and everything else.  I slowly started viewing porn again and fantasizing.  Additional stress with the health of one of my children (I had remarried by now) helped me to rationalize acting out.  After almost a year of sobriety, I dropped my new sponsor, had many slips, and became stuck in my old cycle of acting out.

I eventually returned to my senses and began working the steps again, more diligently this time.  I reached a turning point when I wrote my 4th Step inventory and shared it with my sponsor in Step 5.  But recovery really came alive when I started practicing the 12th Step – helping others – even before I got there.  Once I learned to get out of myself and think more of others and their needs, a lot of my shame and guilt left.  I look forward to 18 months of sobriety on January 21.  I have set new inner and middle circle boundaries.  I pick up the phone that used to weigh 900 pounds, but only weighs 6 ounces  now.  I pray and ask for help for myself and others daily, reminding myself to be humble, realizing I am powerless over everything except my own thoughts and actions.  I sponsor fellow sex addicts.  I fill service positions.  I plan to keep working the steps as long as I live.

The spiritual part of isolation from God and others was a huge obstacle I had to overcome.  I am able to handle life without the helpless urge to act out when I am stressed or uncomfortable.  My personal relationships continue to improve as I get more recovery.  “Progress rather than perfection,” “better not bitter,” “this too shall pass,” and “one day at a time” are things I try to keep in mind.  Thinking through Steps 1-4 is something I try to practice daily, as well as practicing the 10th Step of taking my daily inventory and whenever I am wrong promptly admitting it and making amends.

The resources I use are the SAA Green Book, the AA Big Book, Hope & Recovery, the Bible (especially Proverbs), 12 Steps & 12 Traditions, the Life Recovery Bible, and continually learning and reading about recovery.  I work the steps and leave the rest to God.  It DOES work if you work it!  If I can do it, ANYONE can!

Announcements

Intergroup Representatives Still Needed

If your meeting lacks an Intergroup rep, please tell your secretary that you need one.  For more information, contact us at ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.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.

SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

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:

Two meetings have suspended operations until a new location is found:

Monday and Wednesday, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Book Study

Men Only/Open

Formerly held at 23151 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods

Call Scott, 949-547-3412 for updates

Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

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

Chair:  Thomas P.

Vice Chair:  Ron R.

Digital Communications:  Neal B.

Inreach:  Rosario, ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.com

Outreach:  Gary H., ocisaa.outreach@yahoo.com

Literature:  Ron C.

Treasurer:  Phil G. (2nd signer on checks:  Brian A.)

Secretary:  Jacque J.

Parliamentarian:  Doug C.

Website Feedback

If you have any ideas or suggestions about the website, please contact our Webmaster, Neal B., at admin@ocisaa.org.

Event: “Bowl” the Message

bowlingOur next OCISAA Fun Through Fellowship outer circle event will be at:
Bowlmor, 2405 Park Ave, Tustin CA 92782

on Friday October 12th starting at 7:30pm. Cost will depend on how much you want to bowl: expect $5-$10 per game and $5 for shoes.

This will be the first Fun Through Fellowship event where spouses and partners are welcome. We plan to have a handful of events spread throughout the year that will include spouses and partners.
You don’t have to RSVP for this event, but we would appreciate it if you did so we can reserve the right number of lanes. To RSVP, email ocisaa.inreach@yahoo.com or call 949-478-5756