“Disagreements are a natural part of any healthy community.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 78
I’m only half kidding when I say I want to start a Twelve-Step fellowship called Conflict Avoiders Anonymous. Growing up, my brothers and I cowered in terror while my drunken father verbally abused my mother, often, it seemed, over something I had done. I grew up fearful of discord and without good conflict-management skills. Sometimes during disagreements, I would physically shake with fear. This fear seriously impaired my ability to be intimate, adding fuel to my sex addiction.
Conflict is part of any healthy relationship. I want healthy relationships, so I need to face my fear and learn healthy, mature ways to manage disagreements. In other words, I have to change. This change has been particularly difficult for me; however, I now have a program.
I admit powerlessness over my childhood and its effects on me, and recognize the need for a power greater than me to restore me to sanity. I decide to face this with the help of my Higher Power. I inventory conflicts and my fears around them and share this with my sponsor and program friends. I am rigorously honest here–scary in and of itself! I become ready for God to remove this fear, then ask God to lift it and to grant me wisdom. I seek outside help as necessary. I practice this in all my relationships, and I inventory and promptly admit it if it goes poorly.
Every time I face a fear and use these tools, I gain confidence and strength.
I may feel apprehensive, but I now have tools that work.