SCA

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA)

What is SCA and when did it start?

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous is a 12-step recovery program that was created for individuals who want to stop engaging in compulsive sexual activity. It is not affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but it utilizes the same concept as any other 12 step and 12 tradition program. In the fellowship, sexual compulsion is viewed as an illness. It is a disease, just as alcoholism or drug addiction is, and will only continue to get progressively worse until it is arrested.

Although not much is known about the history of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, its founding is attributed to Los Angeles in 1973 and New York City in 1982. The program was originally founded for bisexual and gay men to address their issues with sexual compulsion, but as since then grown when it comes to men and women joining the group. While the program still primarily focuses on helping these sexual orientations, it is now open and welcoming to people of all sexual orientations. As long as they share the same desire to stop having compulsive sex, all individuals are welcome.

The fellowship has literature for its existing and new members. Some of the literature includes “Sexual Compulsives Anonymous: A Program of Recovery,” “Moving Through Withdrawal,” and more. The program also publishes its own newsletter, “The SCAnner,” which can be found online and encourages members to submit their stories of recovery or any other sort of contribution they feel comfortable with.

How does SCA work?

Because sexual compulsion is considered an illness, it can cause physical, emotional and spiritual problems. Just as a drug addict experiences a high when using, a sexually compulsive individual can experience a “high” as well when acting out these behaviors. Physical problems can include acting out unhealthy behaviors or winding up in legal trouble and spiritual problems include feeling disconnected from others.

In the program, the first step encourages members to admit they are powerless over their sexual compulsion and that their lives have become unmanageable. Once individuals realize and recognize that they have a problem, they are able to begin working the 12 steps and start the recovery process. Attending SCA meetings is the most important part of the program, but obtaining a sponsor is one of the best ways to thoroughly work and understand the steps.

A sponsor is a longtime member of the fellowship who has previously worked the steps or is actively doing so. These individuals can help members learn more about how the program works, how to abstain from sexually compulsive behaviors and can offer what tools of recovery worked for them. While sponsors are not doctors or therapists, they can do their best to guide members through the program, as they have been in their shoes once before. A sponsor can also help individuals create the framework for a sexual recovery plan, which is an important part of the process.

In Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, a sexual recovery plan is a guide developed by each individual to lay out healthy forms of sexual expression. It’s important for members to identify their own definition of sexual sobriety, since everyone is different when it comes to their degrees of sexual compulsion. Developing a sexual recovery plan that isn’t too demanding will help keep individuals out of legal trouble and engaging in healthy sexual practices.

Modeled after the recovery plan used in Overeaters Anonymous, the plan for sexual recovery focuses on three main categories: abstinence, high-risk behaviors and recovery. In the abstinence column, members are to write what behaviors they need to be free from completely with the help from a higher power. In the high-risk behaviors column, members can identify situations and feelings that will make them vulnerable to a relapse. The recovery column is last and it focuses on positive behaviors and feelings that will improve their wellbeing and meet their needs in healthy ways.

Why does SCA Work?

Because the disease of sexual compulsion will only get worse over time, it is something that cannot be addressed on willpower alone. While many members have found that they were able to find abstinence for short periods of time, eventually, they give into their cravings and succumb to their compulsion once again. In Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, individuals can build a strong support system and network and understand that they are never alone.

Before joining the fellowship, many members felt like there was nobody who understood what they were going through and felt like they had to isolate themselves with their own guilt and shame. Even though everyone has their own story in the program, each individual shares some characteristics that can help them realize that there are others like them who have recovered from this disease.

Common characteristics of sexually compulsive individuals can include:

  • Being drawn to people who are not available to you or who reject and abuse you
  • Compartmentalizing sex instead of intregrating it into your life as a healthy element
  • Using sex to feel validated due to lack of self esteem
  • Becoming addicted to people and being unable to recognize the difference between sex, love and affection
  • Even when receiving love from another person, it is never enough and you are unable to stop lusting after other people

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous gives its members the opportunity to free themselves from their obsession with sex and romance. Although many members once had a fear of other people, the fellowship provides them with the knowledge of identifying the differences between sex, love and affection. After members begin to work the steps of the program, they will be able to start loving themselves and become more relaxed instead of seeming desperate and needy to others. Once individuals obtain sexual sobriety, they will be able to find meaning in their lives, whether or not they are in a relationship and take responsibility for their lives and actions rather than seeing themselves as victims.

Frequently Asked Questions about SCA

Does SCA cost money?

There are no dues or fees for membership to the program of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop having compulsive sex. The group is self-supporting through their own contributions, so outside donations are never accepted. If a member is willing to give what they can, when they can, it can be done so during a meeting or through the purchase of literature on the website, but monetary donations are never required from any member.

Where can I find a SCA meeting?

Face-to-face meetings for Sexual Compulsives Anonymous are still available and can be found through the meeting directory on the official website. For members who are unable to find or attend a physical meeting, there are virtual Zoom meetings available, as well as telephone meetings. For individuals living outside the areas of the available Zoom meetings, there is a list of online intergroup meetings available as well. All meetings can be found here.

Is SCA religious?

The program of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous is not religious in any way, shape or form. Although members are asked to find a higher power greater than themselves, this concept is unique to each individual in the fellowship. The integration of a higher power helps members realize that they are not the higher power; they, alone, cannot free themselves from their addiction. Whatever concept of a higher power is found is accepted in the program and never receives judgement from anyone else.

What are the 12 steps of SCA?

With permission from Alcoholics Anonymous, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous has adapted the 12 steps to help its members recover from sexual compulsion.

1. We admitted we were powerless over sexual compulsion — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sexually compulsive people and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

-sca-recovery.org/WP/recovery-program/steps/
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