One of the most important recovery tools I have is the phone. It’s so important that when I first did my three circles, leaving the house without my cell phone was in my middle circle along with other behaviors that were potentially dangerous to my recovery and continued sobriety.
You’d think that it’d be a fairly easy thing to pick up the phone and and ask for help when you need it, but like all recovery tools, unless you plan ahead and practice, it’ll stay in the tool-box and you won’t use it when you need to.
For us atheists that practice is extremely important because having someone suggest getting on your knees and praying is NOT helpful. Through practice calls you can find people you can connect with. If you can’t, email me. I’ll share my phone number and help you find other atheists in recovery.
And that’s all this is about, the phone is a tool that helps us make a connection. We know that people who have strong social ties are mentally healthier than people who are isolated. When you reach out and touch someone you’ll be more connected and less likely to act out. Why? Because the act of calling lessens the craving. You’re satisfying your true need, which I guarantee is not sexual.
Assuming you have a phone, you need someone to call. It’s unlikely you’re going to feel comfortable calling your mom and telling her you’re driving past your favorite strip club and desperately want to go in for a quick lap-dance before you head home to the wife and kids. Calling your wife and just telling her you love her just makes you feel more guilty. And horny.
A fellow addict is the best person to call because we really do understand how you can love your wife, want a lap dance, not want a lap dance, and hate yourself all at the same time. Every 12-step meeting I’ve ever been to maintains a phone list of names and numbers of people who are willing and able to take calls from addicts in trouble. Ask for the list.
If you live in an area without a meeting, you can contact the international service numbers and request a phone list be mailed or emailed to you. The links below will take you to the contact page of each fellowship where you can ask for a phone list. If you’re female, tell them since most fellowships maintain separate phone lists just for their female members.
- Sex Addicts Anonymous – SAA
- Sexual Recovery Anonymous – SRA
- Sexaholics Anonymous – SA
- Sexual Compulsives Anonymous – SCA
After you have some phone numbers, start calling. If you wait until you have to call, you won’t. Yes, you will feel stupid. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, it’s weird to call a complete stranger. Yes, yes, yes. Do it anyway.
If you’re really stuck, you can say that you were reading some sex addict’s blog and they said to practice calling other addicts in recovery.
I can’t tell you how many times I would be have that sinking, excited feeling, thinking I need sex, I’ll stop this time, what if I can’t stop this time, it’s not that bad, there’s nothing wrong with it, what the hell am I doing, shit, shit, it’s not cheating, it is cheating, am I going crazy, there’s nothing wrong with me, nobody’s getting hurt, sex is healthy, I’m so f’ing horny, those gd religious nuts are wacked, there’s nothing wrong with sex, why the hell am I goose-stepping to these stupid 12 steps, am I brainwashed, I don’t want to do this, I really do want to do this….
I had a phone and phone numbers, but it wasn’t until I practiced that everything came together. And let me tell you, these were not nice calls. Basically I called people and told them they were full of shit and their fucking program was the goddamn dumbest thing I’d ever heard of and that I was sick of their anti-sex bias and there really wasn’t any thing they could say that would make me not act out because I didn’t want to stay sober. Sobriety sucked!
Not one time did I make a phone call and go on to act out. Not once.
Here’s an important caveat: don’t leave messages unless you’ve been specifically told by the person you’re calling that it’s okay. I give out my cell phone number and I tell people that detailed messages are okay since I’m the only one who checks the voice mail. When I give my home phone number out, which is rare, I don’t want any SA messages other than a first name and a phone number left where my kids can hear.