Identify, Don’t Compare
When we first enter SAA, it can sometimes be tempting to compare our own behavior with that of others. When we concentrate on differences, imagining that their sexual conduct is much more (or much less) serious than ours, we make judgments that inadvertently reinforce our own denial. The subtle message may be that we aren’t as sick as they are and that perhaps our problem is not that big a deal. Sometimes it is the reverse, and we believe that we are the very worst—that no one could be as sick as we are. These sorts of comparisons are distractions from the fundamental reality that all sex addiction is potentially dangerous and destructive. For all of us, it is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, if we don’t stop acting out.
Many of us come into the fellowship feeling quite isolated. We feel bound by secrecy and shame. We fear that our case is unique and that we won’t fit in. This too is a form of focusing on differences and only serves to reinforce the experience of our separateness. Yes, it is true that our stories are not all the same, but if we are open, we find we can always relate to parts of someone’s experience. At the very least, we share in common a bond of powerlessness and unmanageability. By being willing to identify instead of compare, we not only break the bonds of our own isolation, but we help others. Together, we can support each other in our efforts to stay sober and to live in the solution.