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.
Archive for November, 2013
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.