Today, we’d like to address a question we received at the Q&A session at the last SAL Conference.
A friend in recovery asks:
“Is this program for those of us who have chosen divorce? I at times feel like I ‘failed’ as the spouse of an addict.”
This is a great question, and a vulnerable one. And the answer is a resounding YES! This program is for you! This program is for every person who is recovering from the effects upon them of another person’s sex addiction.
While the SAL model of recovery sees the ideal as individuals working their recovery separately with the goal toward eventually healing the marriage, our literature acknowledges that this ideal is not always attainable.
The “Keys to Our Recovery” explain the foundation of our program:
1. Sexual addiction is a true addiction.
2. The actions of the sex addict are not a result of something we did or did not do, and we do not have the power to control their behavior.
3. Out attempts to control or ignore the sexual addiction led to a decline in our emotional health and may have enabled the sex addict to continue to practice his or her disease.
4. When we first come to Twelve Step, we too, are spiritually and emotionally ill.
As we work toward full acceptance of these ideas, we begin to see our problems in a new light, and the awareness dawns that we do have choices concerning our own behavior. This is the beginning of our recovery. -Keys to S-Anon Recovery p 128
As we continue to progress in our recovery we will establish boundaries that will create a place of safety where we can detach from a spouse who is caught in addict behaviors or actions. Certainly, women who are actively working their own recovery must accept the possibility of divorce if their husband chooses to continue to pursue his addiction.
Whether we are divorced, have never been married, or are married, there is a place for us in our SAL fellowship. Each of our perspectives is unique and valuable. We each have strength, hope, and experience to offer as we learn and grow through our step work.
Recovery will bless us to be more capable of loving, healthy relationships now and in the future, whether this is with our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, or in a future romantic relationship.
If you feel isolated due to your marital status or life circumstance, we urge you to prayerfully reach out to others in your group. Pick up your phone. Make a phone call. I believe you will find that if you are willing to open up, you will find that there are many, many wome n who are willing and wanting to connect with you and whose experiences have been similar.
You are not alone. It Works When You Work It, and You are Worth It!