A Diverse and Welcoming Support Community
When I recognized and accepted my sex-related addiction in March 2015 (2 1/2 years ago), I started looking for resources to help in my recovery. I knew that in addition to a good therapist, I would need at least one good group. For various reasons, the 12-step approach didn’t appeal to me, so I looked for alternatives, and ended up finding SMART Recovery.
From the website, I learned that SMART emphasizes personal choice and empowerment, and uses a rational thought-based approach toward recovery It’s backed by scientific research and updated as new research and discoveries are made. On the site I also found a lot of information about the organization, detailed information about the program (including “how-to” pages), and an amazing amount of reading material about addiction and recovery in general.
For a science-minded person like me, who’d always thought I was very logical and rational but was mystified and frustrated at how illogical, irrational, and powerless this addiction had made me, it seemed like a great fit. The only catch was that even though the site talked about addiction in general, the materials seemed to focus an awful lot on substance addiction (primarily drinking). Would I fit in?
More importantly, would I be welcome? At the time, I had a tremendous amount of shame – more than most people with addictions because mine was … you know … SEX!
I walked into that first meeting very tentatively, but resolved to stay. The facilitators recognized that I was new and made me feel very welcome, as did the people I sat next to. At the start of the meeting, there was a “check-in” – people saying their name, why they were there, and a little bit about what was going on with them at the time. My turn came, and I looked down at the table, with a knot in my gut, and said “Hi, I’m Rob. I’m a sex addict. This is my first meeting.” and talked a bit about how I’d come to be there …
From around the table came a chorus of “Welcomes” and “We’re glad you found us”s and so on. The facilitator said “Thank you for sharing – if it’s OK, we’d like to come back to you after check-in and hear more about your story.”
I’ve been going back to that meeting, 1 or 2 times per week, ever since.
I have learned that I am not an addict – I have an addiction.
I have learned to use numerous tools (thought/writing exercises) to help me motivate myself to change, to deal with challenging urges, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to live a balanced life. I use these tools every day, not only in relation to my addiction, but in other areas of my life.
I have learned to stop using self-defeating and self-limiting language and instead use language that reinforces my power of choice in my life.
I have learned to notice when I am thinking in irrational ways and how to challenge that thinking and turn it into rational thoughts.
I have learned how to safely be vulnerable.
I have learned how to get back up when I fall.
I have found a community of people who are genuine, honest, and caring, and I’ve made some very good friends.
I have stayed sober/clean/unusing/whatever term you want.
I’m not going to say that SMART Recovery did this for me or to me, because that’s not the case. I did this. But I did it in large part because of SMART Recovery, because of what I learned through SMART Recovery.
One final note. SMART Recovery meetings are facilitated by volunteers, not medical professionals. Many facilitators are people people like myself who have gone through recovery. I have such respect for this organization and gratitude for what it has helped me to do that this summer I decided to take the online training class to become a facilitator. I am proud to have done so and to be able to give something back to this incredible organization.
Hi my name is Anna. I got into cocaine and later heroin when I got into the club scene. My friends and I had a great time in our late teens and 20's. However things took a turn for the worse after I was not the cute young girl in the club anymore. I decided I did not want to be defined by drugs or the clubs. I have been living for Jesus ever since. Sharing my struggle and my glory which is revealed in him.