Sexual Recovery Anonymous (SRA)

Sexual Recovery Anonymous (SRA)

What is Sexual Recovery Anonymous and when did it start?

The program of Sexual Recovery Anonymous began sometime in 1993 in an attempt to be one of the more “diverse” groups available for individuals who have the desire to stop compulsive sexual behavior. Although there are multiple groups addressing the issues associated with sexual compulsion addiction, Sexual Recovery Anonymous is a group that allows sexual relations between two individuals in a committed relationship.

The fellowship has no affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous, but has obtained permission from the organization to utilize the same 12-step, 12-tradition format, which has proven to be extremely effective for other 12-step groups. The primary purpose of the fellowship is to stay sexually sober and help others achieve sobriety as well. In Sexual Recovery Anonymous, sexual sobriety is defined as the “release from all compulsive and destructive sexual behaviors, including but not limited to, freedom from masturbation and sex outside of a mutually committed relationship.”

The program does have its own literature including “Came to Believe” and “Answers in the Heart,” but it also uses the “Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.” The literature and pamphlets for Sexual Recovery Anonymous can be accessed by new and existing members through the official website.

How does Sexual Recovery Anonymous work?

Sexual compulsion is a real addiction that is treated like any other addiction, such as alcoholism or drug abuse. It can cause real physical, mental, spiritual and emotional damage. Willpower alone is not enough to arrest the addiction and it will progressively worsen over time. Even when individuals have tried to “fix” their problems and control their behaviors, they found themselves struggling with the same problems once again after being unable to abstain for more than a short period of time.

The first step of the program requires members to admit their powerlessness over their sexual obsessions and that their lives had become unmanageable. Although many members experience despair, shame, and hopelessness before entering the program, seeing others recover from their addiction can bring hope to newcomers of the organization. While the fellowship does suggest to stop destructive sexual behaviors, many members begin to see more positive changes when they choose to be completely sexually abstinent for a period of time.

Once an individual has started attending meetings and reading the literature of the program, it is strongly recommended to obtain a sponsor. A sponsor is a member in the fellowship who has had longtime sexual sobriety and is currently working the 12 steps or has worked them in the past with a continued focus on steps 10-12. A sponsor can provide a safe place for members to share one-on-one conversations about issues that may be too difficult to share in meetings, but are still secrets that are keeping individuals sick from their addiction.

Sponsors are also able to help newcomers understand the program and let go of destructive behaviors to begin the recovery process. The relationship between a sponsee and sponsor benefits the both members, as it helps one begin the recovery process, but it is also a humbling reminder that the sponsor needs to continue working their program, as this addiction is still out there and active.

Why is Sexual Recovery Anonymous effective?

Before entering the program of Sexual Recovery Anonymous, many of its members had problems in different areas of their lives, including relationships, their careers, their family lives and more. After beginning meetings and working the steps, they began to see positive changes such as improved relationships, increased self-esteem, increased spiritual health and more.

For many members, before joining the fellowship, sex was no longer an activity they enjoyed. It caused feelings of pain, fear and emptiness. While every member is unique in the program, finding similarities in other members helped them realize that they were not alone in these feelings. The program gives newcomers a sense of hope after seeing others in recovery that they, too, can arrest their addiction and begin accepting their past, finding a sense of peace and living an open, honest and healthy lifestyle. As members begin to see these changes in action, they will start to experience serenity and healthier sexual behaviors.

FAQs about Sexual Recovery Anonymous

Here are the most common questions asked about Sexual Recovery Anonymous:

Is Sexual Recovery Anonymous for me?

It is not up to the members of the group to decide whether or not sexual compulsion is a problem for anyone. The disease of sexual compulsion is a self-diagnosed one. Anyone who is interested in the program is encouraged to honestly answer the questionnaire and decide for themselves if they should attend a meeting or not. The questionnaire can be found on the official website and is located here.

How much does the program cost?

There are no dues or fees for membership to Sexual Recovery Anonymous. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop sexually compulsive behavior. The group is self-supporting through their own contributions and does not accept outside donations of any kind. Members are encouraged to give what they can, when they can, but it is never a requirement to do so.

What are the 3 A’s of the program?

Although there are many tools of recovery available in the program, one of the most important methods that members can use to come to terms with their addiction are the three A’s.

  1. Awareness – Shattering the denial of a problem and becoming aware of the nature of this disease, along with their feelings. Listening in meetings, identifying with others’ experiences, and increasing the willingness to participate will allow awareness to increase.
  2. Acceptance – The willingness to admit feelings and experiences to themselves and others, allowing others to accept them as they are. From then on, members will begin to accept their own feelings and experiences without judgement, and eventually, accept themselves.
  3. Actions – Actions will begin to flow naturally once individuals begin to accept and know themselves. Instead of acting out on old behaviors, members will begin to find new ways to cope and take care of themselves.

How do I find SRA meetings?

Because Sexual Recovery Anonymous is not available worldwide, it is important to look at the meeting directory on the official website to find a meeting nearby. There are many meetings throughout the United States that still meet face-to-face. If individuals are having trouble finding local meetings, there are several ways to reach out to other groups and find a way to attend a phone meeting. All meetings can be located here.

What are the 12 steps of SRA?

The 12 steps of Sexual Recovery Anonymous follow the same format as other 12-step groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Existing members of the program are examples that after working these steps, they have been able to stop destructive sexual behaviors and start living healthier and happier lives.

1. We admitted we were powerless over our sexual obsessions—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 those still suffering, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

-sexualrecovery.org

What are the 12 Traditions of SRA?

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon SRA unity.

2. For our purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as God may be expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for SRA membership is a desire to stop compulsive sexual behavior.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or SRA as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose–to carry its message to those still suffering.

6. An SRA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the SRA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every SRA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. SRA should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. SRA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. SRA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SRA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV and films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

-sexualrecovery.org
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