View all:  Voices of Recovery

January 12

“Personal disclosure is easier for us when we can trust that our presence and what we share will be kept confidential.”

Tools of Recovery, page 4

At my first SAA meeting, I was terrified and suspicious. Anonymity assured me there would be none of the punishment and rejection that I associated with any discussion of sexuality. I listened to the stories of other sex addicts, and realized that the harshest judgment was my own. The group members would not rat me out or attempt to publicly embarrass me. I came to see my fears both as expressions of my own shame about my acting out behaviors, as well as of my grandiosity in thinking I was important enough for others to want to harm me.

Some of my fear of punishment was justified, both for my offender behavior, and as an artifact of the moralistic background of my formative years. I did not know what healthy sexuality was, and I am still learning. Anonymity provided me an emotionally safe environment to hear others and eventually ask my own questions. I was able to identify those with whom I could practice that rarest of gifts—trust. I was able to reach out for help.

The safety created by the spiritual foundation of anonymity was fundamental to my early recovery, enabling me to ask for help without the fear of punishment or rejection. It enabled me to begin discovering the ability to trust others—appropriate others—and to be open and honest in my recovery.

Anonymity provides the safety I need to practice trust and honesty.