Musing About Meetings

Illustration by Nickelas Johnson

Jennifer Parks wrote an interesting article about sex addiction.

You can be pretty helpless and hopeless and still look okay when you’re a sex addict. I saw a guy this morning that used to go to s-meetings. He doesn’t go any more. That used to really worry me. What if one day I stopped going to meetings; stopped wanting to go to meetings? Would I slide back into the hellish existence that led me to treatment? There is a sort of experience based fear mongering that goes on in recovery and while I certainly don’t want to make the same mistakes other addicts have made, I can’t help but think that my situation is different because of the whole bad therapy thing. Besides, I’m really not going to very many meetings now. Gas prices are pretty high and it’s a long drive. Plus the meeting is in the evening, and I generally don’t get home until after eleven. I wish there was something closer.

This guy and I tried to get a local meeting started but (obviously) we needed to have a third person. Trust me, there’s no shortage of sex addicts in my area. In fact, my husband runs into them regularly in his line of work but starting a meeting in a small town is tough. Everyone is afraid to meet someone they know. The guy I saw this morning nearly had a coronary when he saw me! But we sex addicts take our anonymity very seriously. He is an acquaintance of my husband’s and although my husband (and the whole town) knows that he’s divorced and is living with his mistress, nobody knows that he once sought relief from his addiction. That’s because I respect his anonymity. And I have every reason to believe that he’s respected mine. We said hello, exchanged pleasantries about our children and then went on our separate ways.

But it’s got me thinking. With drug addiction or alcoholism, when a person stops showing up at meetings and you run into them at Walmart, they usually look like hell. The last time that happened, the person I saw was drunk and just reeked of liquor when he gave me a big sloppy hug. So I wonder if the guy I saw this morning is really doing okay. His eyes didn’t look dead or haunted and he didn’t blush or look ashamed, but then again, we only talked a minute or two and there were other people standing around. Maybe he’s doing well. He certainly looked well. A little heavier maybe, but that’s it. After all, stopping for anonymous sex in some bathroom somewhere doesn’t slur your speech. Neither does stopping at an adult bookstore and masturbating in the back room. (That wasn’t his thing, I’m just using that as an example.)

I really don’t like the idea of having to go to a meeting to stay sober like there’s some kind of heebie-jeebie magic that goes on. But it would be nice to have a group of friends that I can be honest with that I don’t have to drive so far to see. And I’d like to help other sex addicts. I’m in a unique position to be able to do that, having been there and done that myself. I really do understand when someone says they can’t stop. You don’t have to tell me that you’ve thought of suicide, I know.

I also know how scary it is to ask for help. But if you’re from my town and you call the hotline, along with meeting times and places, you’ll also get my contact information. Someday there will be a local s-meeting. I’m tempted to tag this post with the name of my town just to get things started but I’m not so impulsive now that I’m in recovery.



  1. I’ve never been good a making meetings, over a period of months or years. That may be part of the reason I’ve lost my sobriety more than once. I don’t see it like that though. As long as I did the things that worked for me, reading the Big Book, praying (to a God I’m not at all sure is even there, much less say interested in my well-being), and when the opportunity arose, doing 12-step work. When I packed the Book away, quit praying, and more or less got cured, I was on borrowed time. As long as the sailing was smooth, I was fine. In my experience, though, the sailing never stays especially smooth for too long. Seeing newcomers come in all tore up is generally good for what ails someone in recovery. I just never had the energy to do all the things a good member should do, like make a million meetings and put up with stupid, ungrateful pigeons. Unfortunately I seem to have gotten worse over the years. No bullshit. No crybabies. I can’t have it any other way. Maybe if and when I adjust to whatever the heck is wrong with me, in addition to being an alcoholic and a drug addict, I’ll have more patience with people. Maybe.

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