FIRST A HISTORY LESSON:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) just celebrated its 87th BIRTHDAY Day ON JUNE 10TH 2022. That date marks the first meeting between Dr. Bob Smith an Akron, Ohio medical doctor and Bill Wilson a Ivy League educated, former Wall Street stockbroker from New York City.
Bill was on a failed business trip in Akron, recently sober for the millionth time finding himself in the lobby of his hotel fighting the sights and sounds emanating from the bar of men and women drinking experiencing conviviality, companionship and combined with his colorful imagination he was in a state of panic. His sobriety was a risk.
His all to numerous failed attempts at sobriety plus having been hospitalized several times led Bill to believe what he needed more than anything else was to talk to another alcoholic. With coins in his pocket from the lobby phone booth he started to call clergy asking if they knew of such a man. After several fruitless calls he reached a woman who answered the phone who told him of such a man, that man was Dr. Bob Smith.
They met at her kitchen table, drank coffee all night and shared their stories in a way neither had ever done before. Two drunks trying to stay sober talking to one another. That was the birth of AA, a simple program for complicated people. That was 1935. Today, an A.A. presence can be found in approximately 180 nations worldwide, with membership estimated at over two million.
Narcotics Anonymous, N.A., as it’s known today, was founded by the late Jimmy Kinnon and others, many of them “refugees” from A.A. who felt that particular program was too exclusively focused on a particular substance. On Sept. 14, 1953, A.A. — by this time with a governing board of trusted servants — granted N.A. permission to use the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, contingent upon the group not doing so under the A.A. banner. The group published its first piece of literature containing the N.A. version of the 12 Steps, called the “Little Brown Book,” in 1954.
Debtors Anonymous and Sex And Love Addicts Anonymous were both formed in 1976. Today, there are dozens of 12 Step groups for a myriad of addictions and life problems, all of them patterning their recovery after the 12 Steps originally conceived of by those early members of A.A.
The AA 1st Step reads as follows: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” Now take out the word alcohol, make it a blank line and it becomes applicable for most of life’s ills.
For those people venturing into the world of SLAA for the first time who are not alcoholics or who do not have any prior history with a 12-step program it is suggested that they read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous plus Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. This suggestion is written on Page 66 of the SLAA Basic Text. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that very few members of SLAA do take the time to read AA literature.
As stated in the SLAA Basic Text on Page 68 “The word “Powerless” summons up for us several related ideas. First it means that whatever power is usual involved in making sound and rational choices in our sexual and emotional behavior DID NOT RESIDE WITHIN US.”
That truth, whether they can admit that or not is at the essence of whether someone stays in SLAA or not. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Most people live by the mantra of “I’ll figure it out”. When it comes to drinking and driving most people do a pretty good job setting personal boundaries as they mature and experience life. I do not believe that everyone who gets a DUI is an alcoholic. For most people who get a DUI it really was just an error in judgement, and they are in no risk of getting a second and then there are people who get multiple DUI’s. The abilities to make sound and rational decisions when it comes to drinking and driving does not reside in them. This example is easy to see when it comes to drinking and driving, but what about sex and love addiction?
The SLAA text is so clear on this point that on page 70 it reads “Despite all the cultural and rational camouflage behind which our addiction could hide, it was impossible, short of suicide, to kill that innermost voice that whispered to us of life’s opportunities for growth and wholeness that we were letting slip by”. The AA Big Book describes it as a state of “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization”. The SLAA book goes on to say: “the guilt of prior deeds and passions or missed opportunities gave way to the deepest, most pervasive guilt of all: that of having left life unlived”…
The SLAA book goes on to say: “there was something extremely important and powerful in our sexual and emotional patterns which gave us some kind of payoff that we thought we needed”. Drug example: crack cocaine or pay the rent? F the rent I’m getting high! Bad sexual behavior or loose my family? Not much difference. They are both examples of powerlessness. One behavior might get you in jail while the other one might get you divorced and all addictive behaviors can lead to an alone premature death.
So let’s change the wording in the AA Big Book to see if it applies to sex and love addicts. Page 82: the alcoholic [sex and love addict] is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfishness and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.” What do you think?
Herbert Spencer [1820-1903] was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist famous for his hypothesis of social Darwinism. Spencer originated the expression “survival of the fittest”, had a quote that appears in the back of the AA Big Book, it reads: ‘there is a principle which is a bar against all information which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation”.
More shall be revealed in Part Two
If any of this strikes a cord or you just want to talk, like Dr. Bob and Bill W. I’m here. And remember Misery is optional