These are the essential documents to help you begin your recovery program.
Am I a sex and love addict?
Only you can tell if you are physically, mentally or emotionally addicted to sex and/or love. Going to several meetings will allow you to tell if you can identify with other sex and love addicts. Completing the Sex and Love Addiction: 40 Questions for Self-Diagnosis will help to evaluate sexual activities, romantic behaviour, emotional involvements and avoidance behaviour.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition oriented fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous.
The only qualification for SLAA membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction.
SLAA is supported entirely through the contributions of its membership and is free to all who need it.
To counter the destructive consequences of sex and love addiction, we draw on five major resources:
- Sobriety. Our willingness to daily stop acting out in our own personal bottom-line addictive behaviour.
- Sponsorship & Meetings & Calls. Our capacity to reach out for the supportive fellowship within SLAA.
- Steps. Our practice of the Twelve Step program of recovery to achieve sexual and emotional sobriety.
- Service. Our giving back to the SLAA community what we continue to freely receive.
- Spirituality. Our developing a relationship with a power greater than ourselves which can guide and sustain us in recovery.
As a fellowship SLAA has no opinion on outside issues and seeks no controversy.
SLAA is not affiliated with any other religious or secular organisations, movements or causes.
We are united in a common focus: dealing with our addictive sexual and emotional behaviour.
We find a common denominator in our obsessive and compulsive patterns, which goes beyond any personal differences of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We avoid drawing attention to SLAA from the public media.
We protect with special care the anonymity of every SLAA member.
We in SLAA believe that sex and love addiction is a progressive condition. Recovery is possible. Some find that like many illnesses, while it may never be completely cured, it can be arrested. It may take several forms — including (but not limited to) a compulsive need for sexual acting out, extreme dependency on one or more people, and/or a chronic preoccupation with romance, intrigue or fantasy.
Sex and love addiction may also take the form of a compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual or emotional nourishment. This avoidance of intimacy is known in SLAA as anorexia.
We have found that obsessive/compulsive patterns exist in which relationships or sexual activities have become increasingly destructive to career, family and sense of self-respect. Sex and love addiction leads to ever worsening consequences if it continues unchecked. In SLAA, we learn to accept the reality of having this addiction and surrender any notion that we can control it successfully on the basis of our unaided will.
Admitting personal powerlessness over this affliction, we cease our addictive behaviour and turn to guidance from a Power greater than ourselves, make restitution for harm done to others and reconstruct our lives physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is open to people of any race, age, sexual orientation or gender identity with a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction.
Members include those who suffer from a compulsive need for sex or pornography, and those with a desperate attachment to a person. All members share an obsessive or compulsive emotional and sexual pattern, in which relationships or activities have become increasingly destructive in all areas of life — career, family and sense of self.
SLAA first began in 1976 in Boston by a few people who had come to realise that sex, romantic intrigue and dependency were affecting their lives in the same way others had their chemical addictions. They found that the compulsion to continue with promiscuous sex or to return over and over to a destructive relationship could not be controlled by will power alone.
These self-diagnosed “sex and love” addicts are finding themselves capable of satisfying “partnership” relationships for the first time in their lives. More importantly, with or without a love partnership, these recoverers have found a new sense of freedom and dignity of self. Some feel that without the support and recovery facilitated through SLAA their dilemma of having to choose between acute loneliness and isolation from others on the one hand, and addictive relationships or activities on the other, would have set them up for committing suicide. Now we are not alone.
- We admitted we were powerless over sex and love addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sex and love addicts, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.
© 1985 The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.
Characteristics of this Addiction
- Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
- Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
- Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
- We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
- We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
- We sexualise stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
- We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
- We become immobilised or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
- We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
- We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
- To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
- We assign magical qualities to others. We idealise and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
© 2003 The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.
Signs of Recovery from addiction…
- We seek to develop a daily relationship with a Higher Power, knowing that we are not alone in our efforts to heal ourselves from our addiction.
- We are willing to be vulnerable because the capacity to trust has been restored to us by our faith in a Higher Power.
- We surrender, one day at a time, our whole life strategy of, and our obsession with, the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency.
- We learn to avoid situations that may put us at risk physically, morally, psychologically or spiritually.
- We learn to accept and love ourselves, to take responsibility for our own lives, and to take care of our own needs before involving ourselves with others.
- We become willing to ask for help, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and learning to trust and accept others.
- We allow ourselves to work through the pain of our low self-esteem and our fears of abandonment and responsibility.
We learn to feel comfortable in solitude.
- We begin to accept our imperfections and mistakes as part of being human, healing our shame and perfectionism while working on our character defects.
- We begin to substitute honesty for self-destructive ways of expressing emotions and feelings.
- We become honest in expressing who we are, developing true intimacy in our relationships with ourselves and others.
- We learn to value sex as a by-product of sharing, commitment, trust and cooperation in a partnership.
- We are restored to sanity, on a daily basis, by participating in the process of recovery.
© 1990 The Augustine Fellowship, SLAA, Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
If you have decided to follow the suggestions of this program, a new life will begin to unfold within you. Along with this new life are promises that will guide and sustain you. They are manifesting among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
- We will regain control of our lives.
- We will begin to feel dignity and respect for ourselves.
- The loneliness will subside and we will begin to enjoy being alone.
- We will no longer be plagued by an unceasing sense of longing.
- In the company of family and friends, we will be with them in body and mind.
- We will pursue interests and activities that we desire for ourselves.
- Love will be a committed, thoughtful decision rather than a feeling by which we are overwhelmed.
- We will Love and Accept ourselves.
- We will relate to others from a state of wholeness.
- We will extend ourselves to nurture our own spiritual growth and that of others.
- We will make peace with our past and make amends to those we have harmed.
- We will be thankful for what has been given us, what has been taken away and what has been left behind.
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon SLAA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as this Power may be expressed through our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for SLAA membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction. Any two or more persons gathered together for mutual aid in recovering from sex and love addiction may call themselves an SLAA group, provided that as a group they have no other affiliation.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or SLAA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the sex and love addict who still suffers.
- A SLAA group or SLAA as a whole ought never endorse, finance, or lend the SLAA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every SLAA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- SLAA should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centres may employ special workers.
- SLAA as such ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- SLAA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SLAA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, film, and other public media. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all fellow SLAA members.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
As we use the Twelve Steps of SLAA in our recovery, many of us experience higher levels of self-esteem, and receive unexpected blessings we would not have known how to ask for.
- We came to find intimacy with ourselves, intimacy with a Higher Power (God) and then intimacy with others.
- In domestic partnerships we discovered a whole new experience of sexuality as a non-addictive medium.
- In relationships with others we let go of self-serving power and prestige as driving motives.
- Careers that had been exploited mainly for material security, at the expense of self-fulfilment, no longer appealed to us.
- Our usefulness as channels for healing was a direct result of our experiences in sickness, as well as in recovery.
- We discovered that we could continue to affirm our recovery by working with other sex and love addicts.
- We discovered that the source of love, which was of a Higher Power (God), had begun to flow from within us.
Discover more about each of these core documents by clicking on the Program link below.