August 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!

My Serenity Prayer

SAA members quickly become familiar with the Serenity Prayer, which they hear at every meeting.  Recently one member found an expanded version of the prayer which adds phrases after every few words.  We decided to publish it in the newsletter because it could be meaningful for some members.  Despite the prayer’s references to God, it applies to all members’ Higher Powers, whether that be God or anything else.  Unfortunately, we don’t know the source of the revised prayer, so we cannot publish an attribution.  The prayer, with the additions italicized in parentheses, is titled “My Serenity Prayer.”

God grant me (not my spouse, my kids, or my friends)
The serenity (remaining unruffled in spite of it all)
To accept (not just endure, suffer and bear)
The things (as well as people in my life)
I cannot change (even though I’ve tried and tried),
The courage (which can only come from you, Lord)
To change the things I can (particularly about myself),
And the wisdom (this is your area too, Lord)
To know (not just guess or hope)
The difference (between your will and mine).

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Intergroup Activities

From time to time we provide updates on projects your Intergroup is working on.  Here they are:

Survey:  We are rounding up the last of our survey forms from groups and expect to publish the results in the next couple of months.  The goals of this survey are to determine how many persons are participating in SAA in the Orange County area, how they found out about SAA, how many members need sponsors, and areas that members have found problematic.

Website:  We are working on ways to increase the probability that various online searches will bring viewers to our website.  This will be done by adding keywords that result, if named in a search, to display ocisaa.org at or near the top of the first search page.  Some search terms are free, some cost money.

Therapists:  We are in the process of sending emails to therapists informing them about SAA and inviting them to receive, by email, copies of the newsletter.  We purchased a list of therapists and initially sent out 1500 emails, many of which to our surprise and disappointment were no longer valid.  We still have hundreds of valid addresses, however, and we are compiling a list of therapists who want to continue receiving the newsletter.

Retreat:  As you probably know, the retreat scheduled for August 23 had to be canceled because we lost our proposed meeting space.  We are looking for a venue to hold our next retreat, possibly in January.  The location will have to accommodate approximately 70 attendees.

We will keep you advised of our progress on these and other issues.  Thank you for your participation and contributions to the Intergroup.

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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:

Reflections After Five Years

Five years ago I was kicked out of my house.  On a short visit home I remember lying on my kid’s floor just full of sadness.  My life was so unmanageable.  Sex addiction was about ready to take everything I love away.

The acting out that led me to SAA includes compulsive masturbation, pornography, and strip clubs.  For many years I carried shame from childhood sexual events that I thought no one would ever understand.  After a few SAA meetings I quickly found out that I was not alone.  It has only been in the rooms of SAA that I’ve been able to share secrets I thought I would take to the grave.  There is such freedom in SAA, and it’s changed my life for the better.

Recovery is a continuous process for me.  It really is one day at a time, but I feel fortunate to have many tools of recovery.  Yesterday I was in an acting out city that I did not do well with on my last visit.  I was planning on going to this city alone.  I asked myself, “Do I want to go alone because I need a normal respite, or is my addict trying to isolate me?”  I had no clarity on this situation, and I resented it when I couldn’t go alone.  It was only later that I realized my Higher Power was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

Still, upon arrival in this city I felt triggers.  But instead of yielding to them, I was able to call my sponsor and another friend from the program.  That removed the remainder of the power from my addict.  What was baffling yesterday is now clear.  My addict was trying to isolate me.

Today I am home alone feeling tired and hungry, but I don’t have to surf the web for triggers.  I have tools to keep myself in my program, do service, and work on writing this short share.

This program means everything to me.  During recovery I’ve experienced many sad moments, but also many joyful moments.  Feelings are part of reality.  It’s so nice to be able to stay present with my feelings, good or bad, instead of fleeing to my addiction.  I am grateful for recovery.  Keep coming back.  This program works.

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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!

Intergroup Vacancies

Our Intergroup has two vacant positions:  Vice Chair and Inreach Coordinator.  These are great opportunities to be of service, and they require no special expertise.  The Vice Chair works with the Chair to coordinate the Intergroup’s overall activities.  It’s estimated that the 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.  If you are interested in either position 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 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.

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; meet in the Albright Room past the restrooms.

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: Vacant, 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.

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

 

June 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!

As the SAA International Conference Fades into the Distance…

Many members of Orange County SAA groups attended and/or presented at the annual SAA International Conference over the recent Memorial Day weekend.  Attendees enjoyed lots of informative sessions, fellowship meetings, speaker dinners, entertainment, and much more.  Feedback indicated it was inspiring to see so many fellow recovering sex addicts in one place.  Truly, we are not alone.

The Orange County Intergroup rented a 15-passenger van to transport SAA members to and from the International Conference on Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, at no charge, saving the riders who took advantage of this offer $40 per day.

Now it’s time to plan for the next Orange County 1-day retreat on Saturday, August 23, at Mariners Church in Irvine.  More information is available elsewhere on this website.

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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:

Reflections on SAA

I have been attending SAA meetings for two years and have nearly 18 months of sobriety.  In this essay, I offer some reflections on my experience.

I am an addict.  It was difficult for me to accept this fact.  With the aid of SAA I have been able to achieve sexual sobriety, but the “lust of the mind” is still with me, ready to spring into action.  To address this problem, I have to grapple with what is normal lust, which is difficult.  We live in a highly sexualized society.  It is almost impossible to conduct routine tasks on the Internet without being confronted with provocative images.  The Internet is a danger zone for sex addicts.  Easy and open Internet access for a sex addict is like having gallons of whiskey always on hand for an alcoholic.  Carrying an unblocked smart phone for a sex addict is like packing a bottomless flask of gin for an alcoholic.  These technological changes have had a profound impact on the problem of sex addiction, creating an epidemic of sex-distracted men.  What is normal lust?  We are being encouraged at every turn to stoke our lust, not to recognize and redirect it appropriately.

Our highly sexualized society extends well beyond the Internet.  Many forms of print media use provocative images to catch our attention and manipulate us.  Women enjoy dressing up, for men and for each other, especially in SoCal, and clothing today is designed to be alluring.  Our culture encourages the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake; it does not encourage the pursuit of personal growth.  I am not “making excuses.”  We face a challenging terrain on our journey, and it is important to map this terrain.

I like to think of SAA meetings as “lodge” meetings.  Groups like the Masons take “good” men and help them become “better” men.  SAA is no different.  It is our goodness that brings us to the meetings.  Our goal of becoming better men permeates every meeting and every share.  We have our rituals; we have spirituality; we have personal bonds.  Most important of all, we have the potential for personal growth.

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Announcements & Newsnotes

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 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 July 10.

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.

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:

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

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

Changes:

New location—
Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Formerly held at Novus Mindful Life Institute, 6695 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Moved to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 370 Juniper Ave., Room 104, Long Beach
South of 4th Street at Carroll Park North
Enter parking lot off Carroll Park North
For more information call 949-478-5617

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: 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
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Website

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

May 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!

Free Van Rides to the SAA International Conference – Still Available!

The Orange County Intergroup has rented a 15-passenger van to transport SAA members to and from the International Conference on Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25.  The rides are free, although a small donation is welcome if you can afford it.  Parking at the convention costs $40 per day, so this could save you lots of money, plus make the trip more fun!  If you want to join your fellows in the van, send an email to motrago@hotmail.com.  Pickup times and locations will be provided to those who sign up.

Attending the annual SAA International Conference is like attending a retreat on steroids:  lots of informative sessions, fellowship meetings, and much more.  It’s inspiring to see so many fellow recovering sex addicts in one place.  Please join us.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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:

Who Am I to Judge?

I have been in SAA for almost seven years.  I’ve had a few slips and one bad relapse, but it’s been mostly a pretty clean period.  I have worked all 12 steps and have three sponsees.  I use the phone and other tools, attend meetings regularly, and am in therapy.  I believe I’m doing the right things (imperfectly, of course), and my recovery is stronger now than it’s ever been.

So what’s the problem?  Here it is:  At this stage of my recovery, I have become increasingly aware of a character defect that is standing between me and further serenity.  I am terribly and continually judgmental.  If someone does something differently than I would, I am likely to think it inferior.  I can even explain why I think it’s inferior.  I may hold my tongue, or I may offer a “helpful” or barbed comment, often in a passive-aggressive manner.  I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s become a part of me, but it gets in the way of my relationships.  My wife is the most frequent target.  Even though we generally get along well, I see how my continual criticisms harm our relationship.  The other day she said she was afraid to do some rearranging because she feared I would be upset.  That made me sad and still more determined to work on this defect.  But how?

In recovery we are encouraged to seek help, not to believe we must do everything on our own.  A fellow SAA member had recommended the book “Drop the Rock” several times, and I bought it recently.  “Drop the Rock” addresses Steps 6 and 7, where we become entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove our character defects, then humbly ask to have them removed.  I have worked these steps already, and my character defects have improved overall, but I know this will be a lifelong process.  I am only just getting into the book, but one of the first things mentioned is we fear that we will lose our identity in losing these parts of what we are, however much they get in the way.  As the book says, we fear that we will become average or boring, give up our intensity or aggressiveness, lose our edge, and/or become “spiritual” and monklike.  In fact, the book adds, we need to set aside these self-images as irrelevant and move into self-awareness.  Steps 6 and 7 don’t say whom we will become, but whom we don’t want to be.  I simply need to practice being willing to give up my defects; that is, act “as if,” until I’m entirely willing.  I hope this book will help me deal more effectively with all of my character defects, not just the one in this article.

The second thing that helped me occurred in a recent SAA meeting, where a member shared what his sponsor suggested that he do in his relationships.  Before saying something to another person, ask yourself three questions:  Is it honest?  Is it necessary?  Is it kind?  Unless the answer is “yes” to all three questions, skip it.

When I returned home, I started asking myself these questions when I contemplated speaking to my wife.  I was surprised at how often I made unnecessary, unkind comments.  An example:  Unbeknownst to me, my wife used my bath towel to help dry some of my clothes.  When I stepped out of the shower, I was surprised to find half of my towel wet.  My first impulse was to say to her when I saw her again, “I see you used my bath towel to dry my clothes.”  Would that be honest?  Yes.  Necessary?  No.  Kind?  No – it’s implied criticism.  In fact, I was able to dry myself just fine using the dry half of my towel.  And after all, she had used the towel to do something for me – dry my clothes.  So I said nothing, and our relationship was better for it.  I felt good because I had spared her unnecessary criticism.

My judgmentalism has two aspects:  spoken criticism and silent judgment.  What I’ve written mostly addresses the criticism part.  That’s an action.  Through recovery, I’ve found that I can control my actions more easily than my thoughts.  The harder part will be to stop all that judging in my mind.  I really would be happier if I stopped it, so I will keep seeking help and practicing until, hopefully, I do.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Announcements & Newsnotes

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 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 June 12.

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.

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:

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

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

Changes:

New location—
Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Formerly held at Novus Mindful Life Institute, 6695 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Moved to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 370 Juniper Ave., Room 104, Long Beach
South of 4th Street at Carroll Park North
Enter parking lot off Carroll Park North
For more information call 949-478-5617

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: 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
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Website

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

April 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!

Free Van Rides to the SAA International Conference!

The Orange County Intergroup is renting at least one 15-passenger van to transport SAA members to and from the International Conference on Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25.  We will rent more if the demand is there.  The rides are free, although a small donation is welcome if you can afford it.  Parking at the convention costs $40 per day, so this could save you lots of money, plus make the trip more fun!  If you want to join your fellows in the van, send an email to motrago@hotmail.com by the May 8 deadline.  Pickup times and locations will be provided to those who sign up.

Attending the annual SAA International Conference is like attending a retreat on steroids:  lots of informative sessions, fellowship meetings, and much more.  It’s inspiring to see so many fellow recovering sex addicts in one place.  Please join us.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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:

Cunning, Baffling, Powerful

That’s how they describe our disease of sex addiction, or as I put it below, how they describe my addict.  We read the three words in the title above, we hear them, but have we ever taken the time to examine each of these characteristics thoughtfully?  Here are some personal examples to illustrate just how devastating each of these three aspects can be to us.  Imagine what havoc they can wreak when they are all working in concert.

•  My addict is cunning.  “Oh, it’s only middle circle.  You won’t lose your abstinence time.”  “It’s okay.  You can keep it under control.”  “You’re a lot better now.  You can relax a little and not work so hard.”  “Well, now that you’ve acted out again and lost your abstinence time, you might as well keep acting out for awhile.”  Honestly, if my addict were a salesman, he really could sell refrigerators to Eskimos.  My addict is so clever.  He knows all of my weaknesses.  He talked me out of two reasonably solid years of recovery and I began an 18-month tailspin that almost cost me everything.

•  My addict is baffling.  “I swore I’d never do this again.  Why did I do it?”  “I am morally opposed to this.  Why would I do something I’m morally opposed to?”  “I feel terrible after I act out, so why don’t I ever think of that beforehand?”  My addict is a hypnotist, a real swami.  He mesmerizes me into doing things that I want to stop doing, without regard to the possible consequences, things I’d cringe at if I saw someone else doing them.  And then he somehow has me do them again and again!  The key word is “why.”  Unfortunately, the truthful answer often is “I don’t know.”  I risked everything in my addiction:  health, safety, freedom, relationships, finances.  Why?

•  My addict is powerful.  “I just can’t stop; I’m overwhelmed by the desire to act out.”  “I stray momentarily into the middle circle, and I’m done – boom, into my inner circle.”  “My addict is doing pushups in the next room, just waiting for me to open the door a crack.”  My addict is an 800-pound gorilla, and he’s in the room.  I have to learn how to keep him at bay.  If I let him get close to me, he will take me in his powerful arms and squeeze the life out of me.  I have learned that he is much stronger than I am.

It is likely that you can relate to at least one of the examples in each of the above paragraphs.  When we fully realize what an immense and genuine threat our disease is to us, maybe – just maybe – we can give our addict the respect it deserves.  Paradoxically, when we do this, it begins to give us power over our addiction through the principles and tools we learn to use in our 12-step program.

I became a sex addict over 50 years ago.  I was an active, unrestrained addict for all but the last seven years.  During my active period, my addiction gradually progressed until I was doing and watching things I never dreamed I would do or watch.  Unfortunately, that’s what happens with this disease.  I know too well that my addict is cunning, baffling, and powerful.  Thankfully, the program taught in SAA has brought me back to sanity and taught me how to deal with real life without having to act out.  I am so grateful.  So very grateful.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Announcements & Newsnotes

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 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 May 8.

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.

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:

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

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

Changes:

New location—
Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Formerly held at Novus Mindful Life Institute, 6695 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Moved to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 370 Juniper Ave., Room 104, Long Beach
South of 4th Street at Carroll Park North
Enter parking lot off Carroll Park North
For more information call 949-478-5617

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: 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
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Website

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

March 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!

 

What Is Your Intergroup W0rking On?

The Orange County Intergroup receives donations from your SAA meetings and uses these funds to accomplish our work.  If you do not attend the monthly Intergroup meetings, you may not be aware of activities your Intergroup is contemplating and conducting.  Here are some of them:

•  We will sponsor retreats at Mariners Church in Irvine on August 23, 2014 and January 24, 2015, both on Saturdays.  They will last from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  We are looking for speakers at these retreats.  Contact information will be announced shortly.

•  We are looking to optimize search engines to have SAA in the Orange County area appear more prominently.  Examples of keywords which would bring up our fellowship might be “porn addiction,” “sex addict,” “multiple affairs,” “massage reviews,” “caught having affairs,” etc.  If you have ideas or want to participate in the selection process, contact our Webmaster, Neal B., at ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com.

•  We are conducting our annual survey of SAA meetings in the area to determine how many persons are attending, how they heard about SAA, sponsorship information, and areas they have struggled with in their recovery.  We use the survey results, which are completely anonymous, to help us plan our work more efficiently.

•  We are in the process of emailing therapists about our program while being careful to keep our efforts within the boundaries of attraction, not promotion, as called for in the 12 Traditions.  In addition, we are discussing doing the same thing with recovery homes and health clinics.

•  We are discussing the feasibility of renting vans to transport SAA members to the International Convention in May.  Members would not be charged, although donations would be encouraged if they can afford it.  Parking at the convention costs $40 per day, so this could save you a lot of money, plus make the trip more fun!  If we can work it out, we will give your Intergroup representatives the pickup locations and contact information to make reservations.

•  We have developed a flier for distribution at local SAA meetings to encourage Intergroup participation.

As you can see, your Intergroup is busy, busy, busy.  We encourage you to attend the next Intergroup meeting on Thursday evening, April 10, to learn more.  Any SAA member may attend.  The more, the better!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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:

22 Years in Recovery

I attended my first SAA meeting in 1992.  I found my way to this life-saving fellowship almost three years to the day after stumbling into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’m grateful to NA and AA for keeping me clean and sober, but there is no way I could have dealt with my sex addition in those fellowships.  For me, sex addiction goes way deeper than alcohol and drugs, which are substances we put in our bodies.  With sex addiction, the drug is already inside my body and can be released in multiple ways.

My inner circle involves cross dressing and masochistic behaviors.  I acted these behaviors out with paid sex workers, phone sex and pornography.  I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars over my acting our career, maybe even more than $100,000.

I drew lines in the sand only to cross those lines and have to draw new ones.  I can’t even count how many times I said, “Just one more time and then I’m done for good.”  There always seemed to be one more thrill to experience, and then another and another.

Acting out impacted my work, my social life and family life and most of all, damaged my spirit.  Living in my addiction was like living in a bottomless black hole.

A therapist who specializes in sex addition steered me to my first SAA meeting.  And while I didn’t achieve long term abstinence until a number of years later, I felt at home and knew this is where I belonged from my very first meeting.  There was comfort in identifying with other sex addicts and discovering I was not the only person who did some of the insane behaviors that we all do.

I amassed varying periods of abstinence during my first few years in the fellowship. My longest period of abstinence was 90 days.  Then I went out on another run for a few years, acting out in more dangerous and costly ways.  In 1997, I hit another bottom and came crawling back into SAA meetings and this time, got more serious about it.  For the first time, I got a sponsor and worked steps in this fellowship and managed to string together nine years of abstinence from my inner circle.

But towards the latter part of that stretch, my meeting attendance dropped way down and I stopped calling my sponsor and working steps.  Meanwhile, I was spending more and more time camped in the middle circle, pushing my nose harder and harder against the wall containing the inner circle.  It was inevitable that I would act out again and that’s exactly what happened.  The time I spent in the inner circle was probably just a few days, but the reality is that I was in relapse mode for many months before I ultimately crossed the line.

So here I am today with about seven and half years.  My abstinence has been far from perfect and there have been a few times I’ve come close to acting out.  But for the most part, I’ve stayed connected to the fellowship.  I get to about two meetings per week, call my sponsor somewhat regularly and stay connected by phone with a few other guys.

I have absolutely no doubt that SAA saved my life and enabled me to create a new life.  Without this program, who knows where I would be?  If not dead, I’d be in that same dark place I was in before I got here.  And I don’t want  to go back.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Announcements & Newsnotes

OCI Officer Vacancies

Our Intergroup has two vacancies to be filled:  Vice Chair and Outreach Director.  These are great opportunities to be of service.  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 April 10.

Roommate Wanted

A male SAA member is looking to share an apartment with another member, preferably around Costa Mesa, Anaheim, or Fullerton.  If interested, please call him at 805-404-6512.

New Meeting Room for the Orange County Intergroup

The Orange County Intergroup now meets in a different room – the Albright Room – at the same church.  Turn right down the hall toward the restrooms, but keep going straight ahead into the Albright Room and greet your fellows.

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.

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:

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

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:

New location—
Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Formerly held at Novus Mindful Life Institute, 6695 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Moved to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 370 Juniper Ave., Room 104, Long Beach
South of 4th Street at Carroll Park North
Enter parking lot off Carroll Park North
For more information call 949-478-5617

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:  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:  Vacant, 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
Parliamentarian:  Mike K.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Website

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

February 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!

 

Spirituality:  Our 4th Biannual SAA Retreat

On January 25, almost 70 persons attended the fourth biannual retreat sponsored by the Orange County Intergroup.  We met at Mariners Church in Irvine from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The program, which included breakfast and lunch, focused on spirituality.  Spirituality is often confused with religiosity.  For most of us, spirituality does contain a religious element, often a strong one.  However, many of us have experienced the spiritual transformation described in our recovery literature without the involvement of religion.

After opening comments by host Matt S., the group was led into guided meditation by Thom C.  Next, Ron R. spoke about spirituality as it applies to Steps 2 and 3, and eight breakout groups met to discuss the subject.

In the afternoon, Brian K. spoke about spirituality as it applies to Step 11, and again breakout groups followed.  As the last major activity, a panel discussed “Spirituality in Our Program.”

Response to this program was quite positive.  We are planning another retreat for August.  It will be our fifth.  We look forward to seeing you there!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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:

Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough

Go to meetings.  Get a sponsor.  Work the steps.  That’s what we hear when we enter the meeting rooms.  Unfortunately, the frequency of following these three suggestions dwindles in the same order:  that is, lots of people go to meetings, a good number of them get sponsors, some begin working the steps, and a few complete the steps.  Oh, this disease.  It really is cunning, baffling, and powerful.  It make us overconfident.  It tricks us into thinking we’re doing great when we’re really not doing enough.  Then it triggers us with overwhelming temptation and we act out.  If we’re lucky, it’s a slip and we continue the program with renewed purpose and a greater respect for the disease.  If not, it’s a relapse.  The consequences can be horrifying.  How can this happen to someone who sincerely wants to recover from sex addiction?  Yet it does, all the time.

Take me for example.  My wife, whom I dearly love, caught me acting out; and I went into counseling at her insistence.  My counselor said I needed to attend a 12-step program for sex addicts, and I settled on SAA.  I was so scared.  I feared for my marriage, and I feared what it would mean to be in SAA.  Like many others, my fear put me temporarily on the straight and narrow path with no desire to act out.  Later, I learned this is called the “pink cloud” that many of us experience.  Too bad it doesn’t last.

Floating along on the pink cloud, I got a sponsor.  My sponsor said he would guide me through the 12 Steps of SAA, and I began working them in earnest.  I completed the first three steps and began work on the fourth.  Then I started thinking:  My life had improved.  My wife and I were getting along better than ever.  Wow, I thought, this is what recovery is like.  I thought of myself as basically recovered.  Oh sure, I’d need to keep attending meetings and keep my sponsor, and eventually I’d work the rest of the steps, but no hurry.  I didn’t realize that what I heard was my addict speaking to me.  They don’t say “cunning, baffling, and powerful” for no reason.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are, your addict can outsmart you, even to convincing you that what you’re thinking is logical, positive, and productive.

I had forgotten the familiar saying that “my best thinking got me into SAA.”  I had also forgotten the suggestion to seek the advice of others, especially my sponsor.  My sponsor said that by not working the rest of the steps, I was missing out on the greatest benefits of the program, but what did he know.  Since I knew my situation better than he did, I rarely called him.  My wife worried about my lack of stepwork and failing to call my sponsor, but what did she know.  I reminded her of how much better we were doing, and heck, I’d work the rest of the steps at leisure for whatever good they’d do me.  Don’t worry, I reassured her.

I began nibbling at my middle circle.  Not a problem, just the middle circle, I thought.  Then one day I found myself inexplicably in my inner circle.  That’s how it works; that’s the progression of our disease.  Cunning, baffling, powerful.  I went into full-blown relapse.  But I was too clever for my wife to catch me this time.

That was true until I got caught again; then I wasn’t so clever.  My marriage to this woman I loved hung by a thread.  Why would I jeopardize such an important relationship?  How did this happen?  I called my sponsor, who was surprised to hear from me after all this time.  After expressing regret that I had gotten myself into such a fix, he said I had not taken my disease seriously enough.  I had overestimated my power over the addiction and underestimated how hard I’d have to work to recover.

My sponsor put me on a rigorous program that included stepwork every day, no excuses.  In about seven months I completed the steps.  Contrary to what I’d previously believed, every single step brought me more than I thought it would just from reading and thinking about it.  Plus, simply completing the steps made me feel good about myself.

I am grateful that my wonderful wife didn’t leave me.  I have taken my disease seriously for over two years now.  My progress hasn’t been perfect, but thanks to working all 12 steps and practicing many tools of recovery, I have come to experience the serenity that comes from knowing I’m taking care of myself, treating my family well, and offering my experience, strength, and hope to others, including my sponsees.

Go to meetings.  Get a sponsor.  Work the steps.  It took awhile for me to learn this is not a multiple choice.  All three – and more, such as using tools like the telephone – are essential if we want to recover badly enough.  Recovery can be hard work, and it’s easy to make excuses like there’s not enough time.  But just think of the time we spent acting out.  If we spend a fraction of that much time on our recovery, our lives can change permanently.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Announcements & Newsnotes

OCI Officer Vacancies

Our Intergroup has two vacancies to be filled:  Vice Chair and Outreach Director.  These are great opportunities to be of service.  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 March 13.

Roommate Wanted

A male SAA member is looking to share an apartment with another member, preferably around Costa Mesa, Anaheim, or Fullerton.  If interested, please call him at 805-404-6512.

New Meeting Room for the Orange County Intergroup

The Orange County Intergroup now meets in a different room – the Albright Room – at the same church.  Turn right down the hall toward the restrooms, but keep going straight ahead into the Albright Room and greet your fellows.

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.

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:

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

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:

New location—
Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Formerly held at Novus Mindful Life Institute, 6695 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach
Moved to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 370 Juniper Ave., Room 104, Long Beach
South of 4th Street at Carroll Park North
Enter parking lot off Carroll Park North
For more information call 949-478-5617

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:  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:  Vacant, 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
Parliamentarian:  Mike K.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Website

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