What Every Sex Addict Needs to Know About the 12-Steps

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Work the Steps!

You’ve made a decision to do whatever it takes to get and stay sexually sober. You have a therapist who understands sex addiction. You’re accountable for your behavior and you take responsibility for your fantasy. Your computers and phones have filtering software and you’ve removed any and all of the pornography from your home and office. You participate in a sex addiction therapy group and you go to regular “S” Anonymous meetings (SAA, SA, SLAA). You even have a sponsor.

So why haven’t you worked all the 12-Steps?

Failing to make the steps a priority leaves out the “cornerstone” of your sexual addiction recovery. Here are a few things you need to know about the 12-Steps.

  • You need to know that “working the 12-Steps” is among the top five things that sex addicts in long term recovery report are “most important” to their sexual sobriety.
  • You need to know that the number one “most important” item on that same list is a relationship with a “Higher Power.” That means God. Sex can’t be your higher power – it doesn’t work anymore. By the way, no one will preach to you.
  • You need to know that “surrender” is not “submission.” Surrender is not weakness. Surrender is strength and takes courage. You don’t submit or grovel to anyone. Take the third step and make a decision to surrender. Find out the difference.
  • You need to know that the 12-Steps shouldn’t take months or even weeks to work through. Spend an afternoon with your sponsor and complete the first three steps. Work the fourth and fifth steps the next day and steps six through eight that evening. Make your amends (step nine) and move into the steps of daily living (10, 11, and 12) in the following days.
  • You need to know that being “…fearless and thorough” doesn’t mean perfect. You get to do this work again and again and you get to live life according to these principles with intimacy and integrity.
  • You need to know that your experience will help others only when you have an experience. Do this work for yourself and your recovery and then carry the message in your group. Your group needs your recovery.

These are just a few of the things that you need to know about the 12-Steps in sex addiction recovery.

Have a great meeting!


Jeff Schultz, LPC, CSAT, is the owner and founder of the Sonoran Healing Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

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