January 2015

carry-the-messageThe purpose of our Intergroup is to more effectively reach the sex addict in the Orange County area who still suffers.  We meet the second Thursday of each month from 7:00-8:15 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!

Hope You Didn’t Miss Our Retreat, But in Case You Did…

The Orange County Intergroup hosted its fifth one-day retreat on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa.  The topic of the day was isolation, something all addicts are familiar with and suffer from.

Following breakfast, introductions, and group meditation, the morning session featured an SAA member speaking on “Isolation Sucks:  Where Can I Find Recovery?”  The speaker, someone with long-term sobriety, confessed that he was bad about making telephone calls, although he receives a lot.  He wouldn’t recommend that others not use this valuable tool, but he went on to name several ways he breaks out of isolation besides using the phone:

–Socializing with friends, both in and out of the program.
–Fellowship; for example, going for coffee after SAA meetings.
–Therapy.
–Recovery oriented literature.
–Service work such as meeting secretary.
–Sponsoring; sponsees help his recovery.
–Working an honest First Step.
–Going to meetings.
–His wife – she works closely with him, shares his struggles, and provides him true intimacy.
–His sponsor.
–Doing Outer Circle activities and journaling.

After the presentation, attendees – about 50 in all – broke into small groups of 5 or 6 to discuss the methods they use to combat isolation.  Then we broke for lunch, after which two high definition TVs, which had been donated by an SAA member, were raffled off.

The afternoon agenda began with a speaker discussing “Using Steps Six and Seven as Springboards Out of Isolation.”  He explained that our character defects lead us into isolation, and that by working Steps Six and Seven – identifying our defects and asking our Higher Power to remove them – we also remove sources of isolation.  After the presentation, members wrote their answers to two questions:  “What character defects can I identify that lead me to isolation?”  and “What would my life look like if I had these removed?”  Once again, small groups were formed to discuss their answers.

The last activity was a panel discussion about tools that individuals use to take themselves out of isolation but were not on the usual lists, such as humor, distraction, and developing a texting group.  A wide ranging question, answer, and comment session followed before the closing activities.

We plan to host our sixth one-day retreat in late summer or early fall.  Please take note and watch for the announcement!

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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:

I Partitioned My Middle Circle

SAA members learn early on about the Three Circles.  The Inner Circle consists of actions that brought us to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.  The Outer Circle contains all of the healthy activities that bring us serenity.  The Middle Circle comprises activities that are risky and may lead to the Inner Circle.  The Middle Circle is dangerous, yet some members view it as an acceptable place to go.  After all, we don’t lose our abstinence time.  We can still collect those chips.  No real harm, right?

Wrong.  As I gained recovery, I observed that members who slipped – and thus did lose their abstinence time – often said their slip began in their Middle Circle, from which they slid down into the abyss.  From that, I learned two things:  (1) the Middle Circle is a slippery slope to be avoided, and (2) if I stay out of my Middle Circle, I’m a lot less likely to act out.

However, sometimes I can’t help going into my middle circle.  For example, euphoric recall about past acting out pops into my head.  I don’t invite it; it just happens.  Certainly this is not an Outer Circle occurrence, but neither is it Inner Circle.  So it’s in my Middle Circle.  This creates a dilemma:  I know the Middle Circle is dangerous and I’m better off if I stay away, but sometimes I can’t.  I have no control over what pops into my head.

Then about a year ago, I realized that my Middle Circle activities could be separated into two categories:  intentional and unintentional.  It’s unintentional if euphoric recall pops into my head, but it’s intentional if I keep dwelling on it.  It’s unintentional if I notice an attractive woman crossing my path; it’s intentional if my gaze keeps following and I objectify and fantasize about her.  It’s intentional if I’m having trouble going to sleep and I think about my past acting out activities or worse yet, use my tablet to search for titillating (but technically non-pornographic) images.

My unintentional Middle Circle events are unavoidable, but they are also the least harmful.  My intentional Middle Circle forays are the most harmful and far more likely to lead to my Inner Circle, but they are avoidable.  Once I grasped this, I decided to divide my Middle Circle into the unintentional (on the Outer Circle side of the Middle Circle) and the intentional (on the Inner Circle side).  Then I made a conscious decision not to go into my intentional Middle Circle.  Think of it as another layer of insulation.

Since that decision, I have grown used to telling myself  I don’t do that anymore.  If I argue with my wife and want to feel better, I tell myself that going into my Middle Circle to alleviate/avoid my stress is simply not an option.  I have to do something else, even if that means just feeling bad for awhile.  Interestingly, this often leads to doing something constructive, and then I feel better.  In the wife-arguing case, I might examine my side of the street for my part and make an amends if warranted.  I might take a contrary action and get her a Starbucks.  Or I might go running, or phone someone.  Anything is better than going intentionally into my Middle Circle.

The results have been nothing short of amazing.  I have never felt so strong in my recovery.  The temptations have diminished considerably.  I believe that if I continue diligently doing my recovery work, I can remain sober for the rest of my life.  That is such a wonderful thing to be able to write.  I am so grateful.

Have I been perfect about this?  No, but it has vastly improved.  Sometimes I’ll take a second or third quick glance, or think for a few moments about what just popped into my head instead of immediately dismissing it.  Then I gently remind myself that I don’t do this anymore, and resolve to keep improving.  That’s progress, not perfection, as we say.

When I told my sponsor about all of this, he pointed out that under certain conditions, it actually is safe to venture intentionally into the Middle Circle.  But these ventures must be worthwhile, not secret, and not decided unilaterally.  One example might be watching a movie by myself that could be triggering.  That’s in my Middle Circle.  Before deciding to watch, I can check in with my sponsor.  He will ask me why I want to see this movie.  I will need a good reason.  He will ask me why I’ll be alone, and I will need a good reason for that.  He might suggest that I not watch it unless I can find someone to accompany me.  He might ask me to call him just before and just after the movie (“bookending”).  He might suggest that if the movie is too triggering, to stop and call him.  He is a lifeline.  This is the only way I know in which it is safe to go intentionally into our Middle Circle.  We need outside opinions – remember, our best thinking got us into SAA – and we need a lifeline in case our excursion gets too rocky.

If you intentionally dabble in your Middle Circle, I suggest you “think twice” about it:  once for your intentional Middle Circle activities, and once for your unintentional ones.  Intentional Middle Circle activities are treacherously dangerous.  Partition them off and decide that you don’t do them anymore.  Say it to yourself often.  You may be imperfect, but be gentle with yourself and you will get better at it.  Once you are used to it, I am sure you will feel much better about your sobriety.  I have.

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Intergroup Project Updates

Spanish-Speaking Outreach

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

Internet Keyword Search Optimization

We are working toward directing certain Internet searches to our website, using key words and phrases to do so.  Examples are “massage parlor reviews” and “can’t stop watching porn.”  In addition, we are working on inserting key words into recovery stories to help addicts find our program.  Google has approved our search terms and key words, and we are making payment arrangements.

Craigslist

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

Retention of SAA Members

Anyone who has attended SAA groups for very long knows that some members are in for the long term, but too many others attend a few meetings and leave.  At the December 11 Intergroup meeting we discussed ways to help and encourage new members to keep coming back, and came up with the following suggestions:

►  After-meeting fellowships such as coffee or lunch.
►  Establish a group service position of Sponsorship Coordinator.
►  Encourage members to speak with newcomers before and after meetings, welcoming them and asking if they have any questions.
►  Volunteer your phone number or give them a phone list with your number checked.
►  Hold a special meeting for newcomers.
►  Offer to call the newcomer in a few days to ask how they’re doing.

We expect more to come in this area.  If you would like to contribute your ideas or experience, please attend our next Intergroup meeting on February 12, or you may submit them to ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com or to your group’s Intergroup representative.

 

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Announcements & Newsnotes

Soon:  A Big-Time Addiction Conference in Los Angeles!

On February 5-8, a substance abuse and addiction treatment conference will be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel on “The Evolution of Addiction Treatment.”  Although the conference is intended for professionals, SAA will have a table there, and past volunteers have said they were permitted to attend the workshops offered.  The Southern California Intergroup needs volunteers to hand out packets of SAA literature to conference attendees.

If you are interested in this cutting-edge conference, please go to http://theevolutionofaddictiontreatment.com/schedule.html to view the schedule of events.  To volunteer, contact Damon M. at 424-222-3533 or lacalsaa@gmail.com, or contact Carole D. at 562-841-4348 or carolemary@netzero.com.

A Suggestion for Sponsors

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

Intergroup Vacancies

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

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

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

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

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

If you are interested in any of these positions and want to learn more, please contact Ron R. at ocisaa.chair@gmail.com.  Or, you may attend the next monthly Intergroup meeting on February 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.  We also suggest if possible, that your group allocate a percentage of its donations to the Intergroup for its activities, which benefit all SAA groups in the region.

Thanks for Your Donations!

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

A Note to Event Promoters and Organizers: For those requesting announcements to run in our newsletter, please use the following format – and order – as much as possible:
Who: Are you a committee (of the Intergroup, for example), or an individual SAA meeting group, or another type of organization or individual?
What: Is this a workshop, breakfast, retreat, or another type of event?
Title: What is the name of your event?
When: Give the date and starting and ending times of your event.
Cost: What – if anything – is the suggested contribution, or is it a set fee, or is no one turned away for lack of funds?
Description: In a sentence, or several sentences, say what is unique or especially appealing about your event.
Where: Event address, along with any cross-street info or parking tips you think are important.
More Info: Whom to call for more information?  List a telephone number, email address, and/or website.
Please give us as much lead time as possible, and note that submissions are subject to editing for clarity and space.

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SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

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

Changes:

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

The Monday through Friday noon meetings at Mariners Church in Irvine have moved.  New location:
First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square; meet in the Albright Room past the restrooms.

All early morning meetings at the First Methodist Church in Costa Mesa have been canceled.

The Friday morning meeting at the Alano Club has been canceled.

The Monday and Friday Long Beach meetings are no longer at Kaiser Permanente, 3900 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach.  The new meeting times and locations are:
—Monday, 7:30-8:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM
Friday, 6:30-7:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM

 

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Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

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

Chair: Ron R., ocisaa.chair@gmail.com
Vice Chair: Vacant, ocisaa.vicechair@gmail.com
Digital Communications: Neal B., ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com (Assistant: Reza B., ocisaa.digicom2@gmail.com)
Inreach: Vacant, ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com
Outreach: Maurice B., ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature: Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer: Brian A. (Vice Treasurer: Vacant), ocisaa.treasurer@gmail.com
Secretary: Earl Q., ocisaa.secretary@gmail.com
Newsletter Editor:  Mike K., ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

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Website

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

December 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!

Coming Up in January:  Our Fifth Retreat!

The Orange County Intergroup is sponsoring its next one-day retreat on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St.  A member is donating a 40″ large screen high definition TV to be raffled off, as well as a mystery second prize!  The program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Typically, about three main topics are covered, two of which begin with a presentation by one member followed by breakout groups to discuss attendees’ responses to the information provided.  Often a panel discusses an issue of interest such as sponsorship, and then answers audience questions.  Other activities involve participation by everyone in attendance.  The strong fellowship in these retreats is palpable, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  They are equally beneficial for newcomers and old-timers.

These popular gatherings have attracted around 70 attendees and include breakfast and lunch.  Admission costs $25, payable via PayPal or by check.  You may also pay through your meeting’s Intergroup representative.  No-cost scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the admission fee.  Since we are catering lunch, we would appreciate your enrolling by January 18 if possible.  Please see the announcement on our website, www.ocisaa.org.

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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 1000-Pound Phone

We are told from Day One that it’s important to use the telephone in our recovery.  It helps us stay in touch with our sponsor and friends we’ve made in the program.  We use it to check in with members about issues we’re facing, drawing on their experience.  We bookend certain activities to make ourselves accountable.  It can serve as a lifeline when we’re tempted to act out.  Every SAA group we know of has a phone list, and at every meeting it’s announced that the members on the list have agreed to receive calls from other members.  Yet we know that too many members don’t make these calls.

The Intergroup’s recent survey revealed that the single hardest thing for SAA members to do is use the phone.  31% of the survey respondents cited using the telephone as one of the toughest things in their recovery.  What is in the minds of members that makes it so hard to make calls?  Here are several examples:

How do I begin?
I’m pretty new in the program.  I have an issue or a question, and it’s sensitive.  But do I really want to call someone I barely know – or maybe not know at all – to discuss such a personal issue?  I’m not used to doing anything like this.  It’s scary.  How do I even start such a conversation?

I don’t want to impose
Anyone I call is likely to be occupied, and I don’t want to bother them.  I don’t want to take time out of their busy day.  They’ll probably resent it, even if they don’t say so.  Besides, it’s too early to call anyone.  Or it’s too late to call anyone.  Or it’s Sunday.  Or Tuesday.  Or whatever.

I should be able to figure this out
I’m going to appear weak or stupid if I ask anyone about this.  They’ll probably think I’m an idiot.  I should be able to answer this on my own.

I want to do this right
I’m all confused over this.  I’m not sure how to put it.  Before I call anyone, I want to make sure I’ve got it all organized in my head so I’m easily understood.  I’d better think about it.  Maybe by tomorrow I’ll know what to say.

Macho man
I’m a guy, and guys don’t share their feelings.  I don’t want to be a wimp.

It’s not important
This will probably pass very quickly.  It’s too small to call someone about.

I’ll do it at the meeting
I don’t need to call anybody now.  I’ll just wait and share it at my next meeting.

Our reluctance to make phone calls probably stems from one or more of the above.  These preconceived notions must be discarded if we are to use this valuable tool effectively.  Here are some positive ideas about using the phone to replace the old negative ones:

I’m helping by calling
When I call someone on the list, I’m helping them in their recovery.  They want to be on the list!  It gives them a chance to feel needed and to share the experience, strength, and hope they’ve received.  They will welcome my call.  If it comes at a bad time, they’ll say so and call me back.  I can even leave a message if they don’t answer.  How great is that?

It’s OK just to jump in
I don’t have to be perfect at this.  Something’s bothering me, or I have a question.  It will never get answered if I don’t ask it.

I’ll improve with experience
I’m not sure what to say or how to say it, but that’s OK.  It happens with everyone.  As I use the phone more, I’ll get better and more comfortable with it.  These guys have been through it; they know where I’m coming from.

I don’t know everything, and that’s OK
I’m being unfairly hard on myself when I think that I shouldn’t need any help.  That’s part of my addiction.  Everyone on the planet needs help sometimes.

Real men share their feelings
It’s healthy for me to express my emotions and problems.  Maybe I wasn’t allowed to do this when I was young, but now I can.  It’s part of taking care of myself.

Everything is important
The problem I have may be trivial by some standards, but it bothers me, and that makes it important enough to call someone about it.  It’s the feelings I’m having.  Feelings are important, even if they involve a trivial situation.

I don’t have to wait
This is really bothering me.  It doesn’t have to languish until my next meeting.  Why torture myself unnecessarily?  I’ll call now.

It’s often said that our best thinking got us into SAA.  For many of us, negativity about using the telephone may fall into this category.  If you don’t use this tool now, we suggest you set aside your reasons for not doing so and look for reasons why it would be good for you.  Take the advice of many others who have sustained success in their recovery:  Use the phone!  It’s important!

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Intergroup Project Updates

Internet Keyword Search Optimization

We are working toward directing certain Internet searches to our website, using key words and phrases to do so.  Examples are “massage parlor reviews” and “can’t stop watching porn.”  In addition, we are working on inserting key words into recovery stories to help addicts find our program.  Google has approved our search terms and key words, and we are making payment arrangements.

Craigslist

As of December 11, we have received seven responses to ads we placed for SAA on the Orange County Craigslist website.  This is a promising area to keep a (healthy) eye on.

Retention of SAA Members

Anyone who has attended SAA groups for very long knows that some members are in for the long term, but too many others attend a few meetings and leave.  At the December 11 Intergroup meeting we discussed ways to help and encourage new members to keep coming back, and came up with the following suggestions:

►  After-meeting fellowships such as coffee or lunch.
►  Establish a group service position of Sponsorship Coordinator.
►  Encourage members to speak with newcomers before and after meetings, welcoming them and asking if they have any questions.
►  Volunteer your phone number or give them a phone list with your number checked.
►  Hold a special meeting for newcomers.
►  Offer to call the newcomer in a few days to ask how they’re doing.

We expect more to come in this area.  If you would like to contribute your ideas or experience, please attend our next Intergroup meeting on January 8, or you may submit them to ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com or to your group’s Intergroup representative.

 

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Announcements & Newsnotes

Intergroup Vacancies

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

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

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

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

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

If you are interested in any of these positions and want to learn more, please contact Ron R. at ocisaa.chair@gmail.com.  Or, you may attend the next monthly Intergroup meeting on January 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.  We also suggest if possible, that your group allocate a percentage of its donations to the Intergroup for its activities, which benefit all SAA groups in the region.

Thanks for Your Donations!

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

A Note to Event Promoters and Organizers: For those requesting announcements to run in our newsletter, please use the following format – and order – as much as possible:
Who: Are you a committee (of the Intergroup, for example), or an individual SAA meeting group, or another type of organization or individual?
What: Is this a workshop, breakfast, retreat, or another type of event?
Title: What is the name of your event?
When: Give the date and starting and ending times of your event.
Cost: What – if anything – is the suggested contribution, or is it a set fee, or is no one turned away for lack of funds?
Description: In a sentence, or several sentences, say what is unique or especially appealing about your event.
Where: Event address, along with any cross-street info or parking tips you think are important.
More Info: Whom to call for more information?  List a telephone number, email address, and/or website.
Please give us as much lead time as possible, and note that submissions are subject to editing for clarity and space.

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

SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

Thursday, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Closed, men only
707 E. Chapman, Orange 92866
Building is close to Orange Traffic Circle, white with green trim, no suite number; parking lot adjacent to building
Contact Chris B. (949) 278-3642

Friday, noon-1:00 p.m.
Closed, men only
St. Matthew’s Church
1111 W. Town & Country Rd., Unit 14, Orange 92868
In the Town & Country Business Center North (look for “Gondola Subs”), around the back
Contact Casey (323) 375-7322

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Closed, mixed
Book study/Check-in
First Southern Baptist Church, Dining Room
6801 Western Ave., Buena Park, CA 90621 (just north of Orangethorpe Ave.)
Contact Maurice B. (714) 683-8663/motrago@hotmail.com or Eli R. (714) 650-0132

Sunday, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed, mixed
United Methodist Church, Room 2
13000 San Antonio Dr., Norwalk, CA 90650
Contact Eli R. (714) 650-0132 or Gary H. (562) 882-0729, email eliminatorfundeck24@gmail.com

Changes:

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

The Monday through Friday noon meetings at Mariners Church in Irvine have moved.  New location:
First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square; meet in the Albright Room past the restrooms.

All early morning meetings at the First Methodist Church in Costa Mesa have been canceled.

The Friday morning meeting at the Alano Club has been canceled.

The Monday and Friday Long Beach meetings are no longer at Kaiser Permanente, 3900 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach.  The new meeting times and locations are:
—Monday, 7:30-8:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM
Friday, 6:30-7:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM

Two meetings have suspended operations until a new location is found:
Monday and Wednesday, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Men Only/Open/Book Study
Formerly held at 23151 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods
Call Scott, 949-547-3412 for updates

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

Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

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

Chair: Ron R., ocisaa.chair@gmail.com
Vice Chair: Vacant, ocisaa.vicechair@gmail.com
Digital Communications: Neal B., ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com (Assistant: Reza B., ocisaa.digicom2@gmail.com)
Inreach: Vacant, ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com
Outreach: Maurice B., ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature: Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer: Brian A. (Vice Treasurer: Vacant), ocisaa.treasurer@gmail.com
Secretary: Earl Q., ocisaa.secretary@gmail.com
Newsletter Editor:  Mike K., ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

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

Website

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

November 2014

carry-the-messageThe purpose of our Intergroup is to more effectively reach the sex addict in the Orange County area who still suffers.  We meet the second Thursday of each month from 7:00-8:15 p.m. in the Albright Room at the First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square.  All SAA members are welcome.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  We are still a young organization and need your ideas!

2014 Intergroup Survey Results

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

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

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

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

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

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My Share

Each month, we publish a personal but anonymous story of recovery.  Stories should be written in the first person (“I”); speak from your experience, strength, and hope; and be limited to approximately one typewritten page.  Please submit your story to ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com.  We may edit submissions for reasons of space, clarity, and appropriate language.  Here is this month’s story:

Disclosure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intergroup Project Updates

Our Next Retreat

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

Internet Keyword Search Optimization

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

Craigslist

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

Retention of SAA Members

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

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Announcements & Newsnotes

Intergroup Vacancies

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

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

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

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

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

For Residents of Newport Beach (and Those Who Like to Visit)

The SAA meetings in Newport Beach are looking to grow.  If you are in the market for a new meeting, you may want to consider attending one of these gatherings of fellow SAA members.  See the list of meetings on our website.

A Few Intergroup Representatives Still Needed

If your meeting still lacks an Intergroup rep, please tell your secretary that you need one.  For more information, contact us at ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com.  We highly recommend you find someone to fill this service position.  We also suggest if possible, that your group allocate a percentage of its donations to the Intergroup for its activities, which benefit all SAA groups in the region.

Thanks for Your Donations!

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

A Note to Event Promoters and Organizers: For those requesting announcements to run in our newsletter, please use the following format – and order – as much as possible:
Who: Are you a committee (of the Intergroup, for example), or an individual SAA meeting group, or another type of organization or individual?
What: Is this a workshop, breakfast, retreat, or another type of event?
Title: What is the name of your event?
When: Give the date and starting and ending times of your event.
Cost: What is the suggested contribution, or is it a set fee, or is no one turned away for lack of funds?
Description: In a sentence, or several sentences, say what is unique or especially appealing about your event.
Where: Event address, along with any cross-street info or parking tips you think are important.
More Info: Who to call for more information?  List a telephone number, email address, and/or website.
Please give us as much lead time as possible, and note that submissions are subject to editing for clarity and space.

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

SAA Meeting News

New Meetings:

Thursday, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Closed, men only
707 E. Chapman, Orange 92866
Building is close to Orange Traffic Circle, white with green trim, no suite number; parking lot adjacent to building
Contact Chris B. (949) 278-3642

Friday, noon-1:00 p.m.
Closed, men only
St. Matthew’s Church
1111 W. Town & Country Rd., Unit 14, Orange 92868
In the Town & Country Business Center North (look for “Gondola Subs”), around the back
Contact Casey (323) 375-7322

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Closed, mixed
Book study/Check-in
First Southern Baptist Church, Dining Room
6801 Western Ave., Buena Park, CA 90621 (just north of Orangethorpe Ave.)
Contact Maurice B. (714) 683-8663/motrago@hotmail.com or Eli R. (714) 650-0132

Sunday, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Closed, mixed
United Methodist Church, Room 2
13000 San Antonio Dr., Norwalk, CA 90650
Contact Eli R. (714) 650-0132 or Gary H. (562) 882-0729, email eliminatorfundeck24@gmail.com

Changes:

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

The Monday through Friday noon meetings at Mariners Church in Irvine have moved.  New location:
First Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, 420 W. 19th St., located at the end of the 55 Freeway across from Triangle Square; meet in the Albright Room past the restrooms.

All early morning meetings at the First Methodist Church in Costa Mesa have been canceled.

The Friday morning meeting at the Alano Club has been canceled.

The Monday and Friday Long Beach meetings are no longer at Kaiser Permanente, 3900 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach.  The new meeting times and locations are:
—Monday, 7:30-8:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM
Friday, 6:30-7:30 pm, Mixed/Closed/Step/Tradition/Topic
Unitarian Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach (just West of Bellflower Blvd.), in the Chalice Room
Contact Carole B., 562-841-4348, or e-mail CAROLEMARY@NETZERO.COM

Two meetings have suspended operations until a new location is found:
Monday and Wednesday, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Men Only/Open/Book Study
Formerly held at 23151 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods
Call Scott, 949-547-3412 for updates

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

Orange County Intergroup Officers and Committee Chairs

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

Chair: Ron R., ocisaa.chair@gmail.com
Vice Chair: Vacant, ocisaa.vicechair@gmail.com
Digital Communications: Neal B., ocisaa.digicom1@gmail.com (Assistant: Reza B., ocisaa.digicom2@gmail.com)
Inreach: Vacant, ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com
Outreach: Maurice B., ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature: Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer: Brian A. (Vice Treasurer: Vacant), ocisaa.treasurer@gmail.com
Secretary: Earl Q., ocisaa.secretary@gmail.com
Newsletter Editor:  Mike K., ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

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

Website

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

September 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!

See You in Oceanside!

Many of us are looking forward to the SAA weekend retreat to be held in Oceanside on October 3-5, 2014.  Members who have attended previous Oceanside retreats say they came home feeling totally rejuvenated.  Social activities, lectures, meetings, communal meals, and lots of fellowship in a serene Outer Circle setting – these retreats have it all.  For more information, call Cliff at 858-442-0192 or email him at noslenffilc@hotmail.com.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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:

Experience, Strength, and Hope

The title phrase is something we hear all the time in SAA.  When we hear things often, we sometimes let them flow through our consciousness without thinking about what they really mean.  The problem with that is, we hear these words frequently because they are important!  So let us take a few minutes to examine them and contemplate their meanings.

We gain experience as we progress through the SAA program, and we draw on our previous acting out experiences to help others.  We experience what life is like in the absence of acting out, and through experience we learn which tools of the program are most helpful to us.  Successfully recovering SAA members who experienced devastating consequences resulting from their addictions are great examples for newcomers, who can be demoralized to the point of hopelessness.  Seeing someone who suffered greatly in their addiction but is now living happily can inspire newcomers to follow their example.  That is not to wish anyone to suffer greatly just so they can help others, but it is interesting to know that the more serious consequences they experienced in their addiction, the more helpful they may be to others in the program, and it’s a way to feel better about themselves.

Working the SAA program gives us the strength to maintain a sober lifestyle – strength to resist acting out, and strength to live and accept life as it comes, warts and all.  Our strength increases as we maintain our abstinence, and it becomes much easier to resist acting out.  We can’t forget that we are addicts, however.  Overconfidence can easily result in a slip.  We know that we must continue to use the tools of recovery we received.  We can pass this knowledge on to others.

Recovery gives us back our hope, the hope we thought was gone forever.  “The Promises” lists a series of life areas that gradually improve as we progress through the program, from finances to relationships to increased awareness to being interested in helping others and most important of all, to serenity – feeling comfortable in our own skin, feeling good about ourselves.  We are no longer the hopeless shells of human beings that first entered the SAA meeting rooms.  Others see this and learn that they can regain their hope, too.

A common thread runs through these:  helping others.  When I first joined SAA, I was too distraught even to think of helping others.  I was the one who needed all the help I could get.  But over time, as I gained my own experience, strength, and hope, I realized I had been given a gift to pass on to others in their recovery.  This was a real turnaround.

Early on, I was told that I would experience a spiritual transformation as I worked the program.  I wondered how I would “do” a spiritual transformation or awakening, since Step 12 said I would have one, but I didn’t know how.   It was when I realized that I wanted to help others that I knew it had happened.  My spirit had changed, and the changes continue to mature as my recovery continues.  This happened as a result of the experience, strength, and hope that recovery has given me.  I am so grateful.

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

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 four vacant positions:  These are great opportunities to be of service, and they generally require little or no special expertise.

The Vice Chair works with the Chair to coordinate the Intergroup’s overall activities.  It’s estimated that 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.

The Digital Communications Assistant helps the Digital Communications Director maintain the website and provide other digicom services.  Depending on the workload, the amount of time needed can vary, but it is not excessive.  Attendance at the monthly Intergroup meeting is encouraged.

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

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

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

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

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

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: Vacant, ocisaa.digicom2@gmail.com)
Inreach: Vacant, ocisaa.inreach@gmail.com
Outreach: Maurice B., ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature: Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer: Brian A. (Vice Treasurer: Vacant), ocisaa.treasurer@gmail.com
Secretary: Earl Q., ocisaa.secretary@gmail.com
Newsletter Editor:  Mike K., ocisaa.newsletter@gmail.com
Parliamentarian: Mike K.

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

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.

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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

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

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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
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.

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.

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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:

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.

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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 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

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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
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.