I find that I am either heading in the relapse direction or not heading in the relapse direction. There are no gray areas when I am craving something for my disease and I am looking outside of myself for porn – images, movies, anything to start the fantasy – to get a momentary sexual arousal or all the way to climax.
What are meetings for? Many newcomers to 12-step programs have the same question.
Meetings are where you can find support and the company of those who are working and starting to work the program of recovery.
There are different meetings, topic meetings, patterns meetings, literature meetings, but almost all of them follow the same opening formats.
Someone is selected to lead the meeting and there are participants in the opening readings. For most meetings, the following items are read at the opening of the meeting after the opening prayer, usually the Serenity Prayer: the PAA Welcome and Preamble, the 12 Steps, then the 12 Traditions. Some meetings read the Patterns of Pornography Addiction or portions to help newcomers identify with possible behaviors that they might think are unique to themselves.
During the meeting, there may be literature read, a topic chosen or a specific pattern being focused on followed by sharing by each of the members who choose to participate. No one is required to share, but we find that the addiction to pornography likes to keep secrets. Secrets can create the perfect situation for a relapse.
During the meeting, members listen quietly to the member reading or sharing. We avoid crosstalk since this might make the meeting feel unsafe for some members.
The meeting is also sometimes closed with the reading of The Promises followed by the Serenity Prayer. Some meetings use other prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer. Each meeting is autonomous as long as it does not affect other meetings or PAA as a whole and can use whatever prayer they feel appropriate through the group conscience process.
In Face-to-Face meetings, there is usually a basket passed around to cover the costs of the meeting space rental and is called the 7th Tradition. Money left over after expenses are paid is usually sent to PAA to cover other costs.
Some meetings allow time after the close of the meeting for newcomers to ask questions and get phone numbers of those who are available for sponsorship.
If you are new there are bound to be many questions. Some newcomers are looking for that instant fix, a miracle cure or answer for an addiction that took years before it became a problem. Fortunately, the miracle comes as you work the program of recovery.
It’s suggested that newcomers to PAA, especially if this is your first 12 step program, take the following actions to avoid relapse:
- Get in touch with other members on the Member’s Forum and in the meetings.
- Get phone numbers and dial them, don’t file them.
- Call when you are feeling tempted to use porn.
- Call to check in daily.
- Join the meetings we have and commit to joining them regularly.
- Be of service in/at the meetings – volunteer to read or lead.
- Ask questions at the end of the meeting if time allows or call one of the members with questions.
- Find someone who you are going to be accountable to, a sponsor, and call them daily.
- Do not be afraid of the temptation to use pornography as you may be more tempted in the beginning to relapse. Just don’t do it and do something else. Call someone, help someone, meditate, etc.
- We have found that one day at time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time is what it takes to get past the desire to view pornography.
- Use the Serenity Prayer or Third Step Prayer as often as necessary. It works.
- Use the 3rd Step Prayer or other prayers every morning.
- Start a DAILY Gratitude List and add to it daily. Share it with your sponsor.
- Refer to your gratitude list when you are feeling down and out.
As of this week, PAA has now grown to three confirmed countries, with the Czech Republic creating and building their own site.
Through the past two weeks, I have worked with my counterpart overseas to ensure that the message we have here remains the same in Czech; that our documents that have been created so far are available to members in their country.
When I started this in April 2008, I had no idea how many people would be contacting the info email address or how slowly or quickly we would grow. I sat in front of my computer praying that somewhere, somebody would write for help. It took almost a year before there was a “we” and not just me. Many have joined us on the conference call and some still phone in to maintain a connection to the recovery we have.
I am grateful to see our fellowship grow to Hawaii, Canada, Czech Republic and can see that there is much work to be done for our small fellowship.
We need literature to be written, from a “Big Book” to pamphlets and other material for the recovering PA.
We also need members to share their stories and other information, in a general way, for our blog.
Stay tuned for links to our Czech brothers and sisters in recovery from Porn Addiction.
“PornAddicts Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to become recovered from pornography addiction and to develop healthy relationships through a spiritual program” – Pornaddictsanonymous.org/PAAdocs.html
At PAA we do develop freedom from active addiction to pornography. (In all of it’s forms) That is our number one mission, to develop abstinence from porn viewing. However, we do have another mission in PAA that cannot be over looked. We are here to develop healthy relationships through a spiritual program.
Before coming to PAA my relationship with my partner was horrible. We verbally fought weekly (and sometimes daily) about my usage of pornography. I also had no concept of a Higher Power or even what that meant. I was spiritually bankrupt and that loss spilled out into my relationships.
I lied to my parents and stole hundreds of dollars from my father through elaborate ways. I lied to my partner as I said I was done with porn, but would later be found viewing once more. Unable to stop viewing and having my relationship torn through abuse and mistrust, I stumbled into the rooms of PAA.
I was hopeful about my recovery and went in headfirst. I now can proudly tell you that I love it. Also, my relationship is moving forward. I don’t escalate the conversation anymore and I have learned to keep my anger down to a rock bottom. I can only say this because through PAA I have been saved.
Free to Live: Being free from pornography today, I will celebrate my new spiritually based relationships. I will honor my partner with commitment. Being free to live I will gain more free time and watch the days build up into a city of inspiration for newcomers. I will be able to look the other way when confronted by porn because I like my spiritually enhanced life better than when I viewed porn years ago. I will count the days of freedom.
When the feelings of relapse are appearing, we need to ask for our higher power’s help in saying no.
Learning to define what is “normal” sexuality and accept ourselves for having natural feelings is part of the path of growth and recovery. Learning how to deal with our feelings of arousal in a healthy and mature way is part of growth and recovery.
We have now been up and running for over a year and a half.
The Member’s Forum at that early beginning was open for all to see.
After some serious concerns regarding anonymity and a host of other issues with spammers registering, logging in and posting ads and other illicit stuff, we took a group conscience and decided that the board would not be visible to “passers-by” and that registration would be required to post or view the topics.
While this might slow down some users who wish to post immediately, tradition one covers this topic. “1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon PAA unity.”
Our posts need to be for ourselves, and much like what is heard at face-to-face meetings, what is said here, stays here.
For a few days the registration was down after upgrading the board to the latest version. Thanks to our incredible hosting company, we were able to restore the board after it went down completely this evening.
So, why all the security? Why do you have to register to get the conference call number or to post? This is to protect our recovery process for each individual.
Even our conference call meetings need to be kept confidential in the spririt of the 12th tradition which states: “12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”
Our PAA symbol has five sides-
What do they represent?
It is a “WE” program.
With Unity, we get Service, which gives us the courage to seek the Truth, so that we can begin the Journey of Recovery towards the life of Freedom from PA.
Through the admission of powerlessness in the first step, “We admitted…”, we get Unity.
Together we do service by sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other, setting up meetings, sponsoring, helping others and other PA’s and other actions which support Unity. As we build on the previous foundations, we ask god for the courage to find our truth by going through the steps to recovery that leads to freedom from porn addiction.
Uncovering the falsehoods about some belief behind the triggers are our goal. We have a power greater than ourselves that we can turn to in our times of weakness, strength and need.
The shame and fear of being found out about our “secret” addiction is what perhaps keeps the cycle going and keeps us from healthy relationship with others – sexual or otherwise.
Behind that is a fear of rejection: not being able to please someone, and not being good enough. This also leads to placing more power on someone else’s opinion of ourselves over our own.