View all:  Voices of Recovery

April 1

“We also tried to hide our addiction from ourselves—by working hard, being perfectionists, or perhaps being very religious.”

Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 6

I was a devout practitioner of my religion before I got into recovery. I went to religious schools, participated in religious services each week, prayed daily, and received a degree from a seminary. When I got into SAA, I thought this spirituality thing would be easy, and I could just transfer everything I had learned in my religion.

At first, in fact, I resisted the spirituality of the program, preferring my own version. Then a friend in the program crushed my defenses with one comment: “If your religious practices are so great, they would have worked on your addiction, and you wouldn’t need SAA now.” I had to admit he was right.

In truth, much of my religious practice was unhealthy. I was self-righteous, rigid, and intolerant of others who were not as devout. I tried to bargain with God when I prayed. I hid behind my faith instead of facing difficult situations. When it came to my addiction, I wanted God to fix my problems without my having to lift a finger.

Spirituality does not require religion. I have needed many passes through the Steps, learning to let my Higher Power rid me of my rigid opinions and expectations. As I have worked the spiritual program of SAA, my religious life has slowly changed and deepened.

This program makes every dimension of my life healthier.