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.

December 2013

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!

 

In January:  Our 4th Biannual SAA Retreat!

The fourth biannual retreat sponsored by the Orange County Intergroup has been scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2014, once more at beautiful Mariners Church in Irvine, 5001 Newport Coast Drive, on the second floor of the Life Development Building.  The program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  These popular retreats have attracted around 70 attendees and include breakfast and lunch.  Admission costs $25, payable via PayPal or by check.  Since we are catering lunch, we would appreciate your signing up by January 20.  Please see the announcement on our website, www.ocisaa.org.

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

My Share

Each month, we publish a personal but anonymous story of recovery.  Stories should be written in the first person (“I”); speak from your experience, strength, and hope; and be limited to approximately one typewritten page.  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:

Physical Recovery and SAA:  Not So Different

I had major surgery almost two months ago.  I was supposed to be mostly recovered by now, but a setback delayed my recovery and made it more difficult.  Physical therapy has been lengthy and painful.  I was prescribed strong, habit-forming drugs to help with the pain.  The drugs fogged my brain, took away my appetite and gave me vivid nightmares.  I lost 20 pounds.  I’ve needed lots of help from my wife.  I became very negative and self-pitying about my recovery.

My wife told me not to be so negative.  She said I was making progress, and my negativity was counterproductive for me and hard on her.  My physical therapist also said not to be so negative.  Then we visited my doctor, who said the same thing.  My counselor suggested I make a gratitude list.  I had to admit to myself that, despite my own negative sense of reality, I might be wrong.  I had to accept the setback as part of life, and I had to start seeing the half-full glass instead of the half-empty one.

In consultation with my doctor, I decided to stop taking the addictive painkilling drugs since they seemed to be doing at least as much harm as good.  I substituted minimal over-the-counter painkillers.  In addition, I needed to decide either (1) to continue lamenting the setback, or (2) to celebrate the progress in my recovery, even though it was delayed and thus more difficult.  I chose the latter and began making a real effort to act more positively, keeping in mind especially how my negativity had affected my wife, who has provided so much care for me during this ordeal.

Within a couple of days, I began to feel better.  With the addictive drugs leaving my system, I felt more alert and my appetite improved.  The over-the-counter painkiller seemed to be as effective as the stronger ones had been.  That was something to be grateful for.  I knew that despite the setback, I really was making progress.

However, if I’m being honest, I must admit that I don’t feel positive all the time.  I can feel sorry for myself and afraid of what is still a long and painful path to full recovery.  I sometimes need to take a deep breath, talk with my Higher Power, adjust my attitude, think of my progress TODAY, review my gratitude list, and do my part in my recovery.  The rest is out of my control.

It’s easy to see the parallels between my recovery from the surgery and my recovery from sexual addiction.  I can accept who I am and my situation.  I can be grateful for what I have instead of grieving over my losses.  Although I have no control over the ultimate outcome, I can learn from others what I can do to cope with the situation today.  I can take constructive action and have faith that my Higher Power will guide me.

They say that when an SAA member goes through a hard time, the experience will improve his/her ability to help others in the program.  This has already been the case for me, and I’m grateful.  But I must admit, I’ll be even more grateful when my recovery is complete!

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

Announcements & Newsnotes

Fundraiser Brunch at Brian A’s

On Sunday, December 15, Brian A hosted a brunch at his home to raise funds for the next SAA International Convention to be held over the 2014 Memorial Day weekend.  This was no ordinary brunch:  It included homemade quiches, bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs, bagels and cream cheese, and Belgian waffles.  A total of 20 attendees from all over Southern California raised $500 for the cause.

Fundraiser BBQ at Doug C’s

On Saturday, November 16, Doug C hosted a barbecue at his home to raise funds for the SAA International Service Organization’s “Giving Thanks” campaign.  Twenty-five persons attended and contributed a total of $262.  Thanks to everyone who attended these fundraisers!

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:

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:  Thomas P., ocisaa.chair@gmail.com
Vice Chair:  Ron R., 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:  Steven C., 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.

September 2013

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 6:00-8:00 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.  At 6:00 p.m. we share snacks and fellowship, followed at 6:45 by the business meeting.  If you can’t make it, meeting minutes are published on our website.  All SAA members are welcome.  We are still a young organization and want your ideas!

Our Third Retreat:  A Good Day in Irvine

The Orange County Intergroup of SAA sponsored its third semiannual retreat on August 24 at beautiful Mariners Church in Irvine.  About 65 attendees enjoyed an entire day of learning, participating, and fellowship.  The morning speaker addressed turning our will and lives over to the care of our Higher Power, and the afternoon speaker talked about the 12th Step.  Each of these sessions included writing exercises and small breakout group discussions.  The afternoon also included a panel on sponsorship, followed by a question-and-answer period.  Breakfast and lunch were included.

The morning speaker described how the first three steps bring us to let go of our own will and turn it over to our Higher Power.  He noted that our Higher Power is always with us, unlike our sponsor or meetings.  We can always call on our Higher Power.  He suggested that we write notes about what’s bothering us, then put them in a box and let go of them, symbolizing turning them over to our Higher Power.

The afternoon speaker broke the 12th Step into three parts:  spiritual awakening, trying to carry the message, and practicing these principles in daily life.  He said we all come to a spiritual awakening at some point as we work the 12 Steps.  He explained some of the many ways of carrying the message, of doing service.  They can be simple, such as shaking hands and making newcomers feel welcome at meetings.  He listed ways we practice the steps in all aspects of our lives, not just our recovery.  And he suggested that we practice, not preach.

The sponsorship panelists told how they sponsor others in the program.  Their methods varied widely.  The audience learned there are many ways in which to sponsor, and that all of them can work.  The clear message was that sponsoring is an inexact science.  The panelists reassured audience members who questioned whether they were ready to sponsor, suggesting that their sponsors will tell them when they’re ready.

Our next retreat is scheduled for sometime in January 2014.  We hope to see you there!

Fun Through Fellowship Activity for September:  Bowers Museum

On Sunday, September 29, SAA members are invited to tour Bowers Museum.  The address is 2002 N. Main St.,  Santa Ana.  Join us for a fun, artistic outing at this world class museum.   We will meet at the entrance at 10 a.m., then visit both special exhibits titled “Jewels of the Connoisseur” and “Gods and Gifts:  Vatican Ethnological Collection.”  In addition, the museum has permanent exhibits on display.  Afterwards, please join us for an exquisite lunch at the award winning restaurant Tangata located on the museum premises.  If you want to spend more time after lunch, there will be a fascinating lecture titled “The Brain in Art.”

The museum entrance fee is approximately $15 for adults and $13 for senior citizens.  You may call 949-422-6654 for more information.  We hope to see you there for fellowship and fun!

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:

Letting Go:  Practical Applications in Everyday Life

Letting go can be a very powerful tool in our recovery.  It’s acknowledging our powerlessness over other people, places, and things, and is as fundamental as the First Step.  Yet our tendency as addicts is to try to control everything, which is just the opposite.

Among the most difficult yet important things to let go are our resentments; but if we hold onto them, we are unlikely to succeed in our recovery.  We analyze our resentments in the Fourth Step and work on letting them go.  That was very hard for me, even though in the Third Step I had become willing to turn my life and will over to the care of my Higher Power.  In my view, a little practice in letting go before that point would be well advised, so that when we do begin the Fourth Step, we are better prepared.  Everyday life gives us many opportunities to practice letting go.  Here, from personal experience, are some examples of letting go and should-have-let-go:

Some friends of ours invited my wife and me to go overseas with them on less than two weeks’ notice.  Everything was already in place:  where we would stay, our itinerary, flights, rental car.  My wife and I love to plan our trips in some detail, but we were couldn’t this time.  We fretted about it, but we decided just to intentionally let it go and tag along.  We had a great time!  We had no decisions to make, no pressure, didn’t even have to drive.  True, if we had made the trip alone we would have done some things differently, but by consciously letting that go, we enjoyed ourselves immensely and experienced the considerable benefits of not being in control.  And we were with our friends, for Pete’s sake!

Another time, we went kayaking with friends down a river with several gentle rapids.  Not being an experienced kayaker, I capsized at my first rapids.  I was embarrassed.  Later, I got hung up on rocks and had to be pulled free with a rope.  I constantly fell behind.  I wanted to look good, but because I looked bad – as most beginners would – I sulked privately.  Later I realized that I could have had a great kayak ride with my wife and two friends down a beautiful river.  If I had just let go and accepted that I was a beginner, that I was going to make mistakes and laugh about them, I would have enjoyed it.  Lesson learned.

When we first married, my wife had several idiosyncrasies that annoyed me.  One was THE GLOVE.  She draped a rubber glove over the fronts of our sinks for her convenience in cleaning.  I didn’t like it.  I was concerned that I’d accidentally knock them off or get yucked up with whatever was on them.  I told her so, in not-so-nice terms, and the fight was on.  THE GLOVE became a big issue.  Eventually I realized that I had no control over her intent to drape gloves over the sinks.  Then I realized it wasn’t that important, either.  I could let it go.  All I had to do was move the glove over to the side of the sink.  At this point in my recovery, I’m amazed that I put myself – and my wife – through so much resentment over such a small thing.

Like many of us, I want things to go the way I expect.  I resent it when my plans have to change.  My stepson was moving out and I thought it would be done in a day.  Instead it dragged on, with me being asked to help at times.  At the same time, my wife was redecorating a bedroom and calling on me to help.  Both got in the way of my agenda, which did not include anything urgent – just things I wanted to take care of.  Sometimes I dealt gracefully with the situation, sometimes not.  When I allowed resentment to fester, I felt angry and sorry for myself.  When I let it go, offering to be of service and responding cheerfully whenever I was asked to help, knowing that my agenda would be taken care of in good time, I felt good about myself and my relationships were better.

In reviewing these incidents, I noticed that in order to let them go, I had to make a conscious effort.  It didn’t happen naturally.  Unfortunately, my default position is that of wanting control.  I have gotten better with practice, though.  Over time, it has become easier to identify situations where I can and should let go; then I can make a conscious decision to do so.  I am invariably happier after I’ve let something go.  I hope to continue improving.

Announcements

New Meeting Room for the Orange County Intergroup

Beginning September 12, the Orange County Intergroup will meet 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.  As the old song goes, “See you in September!”

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:

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:  Thomas P., ocisaa.chair@gmail.com
Vice Chair:  Ron R., 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:  Steven C., ocisaa.outreach@gmail.com
Literature:  Ron C., ocisaa.literature@gmail.com
Treasurer:  Brian A. (Vice Treasurer:  Carol M.), ocisaa.treasurer@gmail.com
Secretary:  Vacant, ocisaa.secretary@gmail.com (Want to be of service?  Who will answer the call and write the notes?)
Parliamentarian:  Vacant (Are you interested?  Do you know a little about Robert’s Rules of Order?  Then volunteer!)

Website

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