Once an addict always an addict?

If you’ve ever been to 12-step meetings for sex addiction, you’ve probably heard something like “keep coming back.” The idea is that if you stop going to meetings, you’re going to cut yourself off from the people you need to help you stay on track in your recovery.

The whole 12-step recovery movement is based on sharing what works. I’ve heard more than one addict sharing about what a mistake it was for them to allow their recovery to take a back seat to the other things that were going on in their lives.

Generally, this is described as a slippery slope with the addict slowly coming to see their priorities change. Where once they would have gone to any lengths to attend a meeting, now there are more important things to do.

I’m there.

And I’m worried.

I’ve never heard from the people who drift away from recovery and continue to do well so it’s hard to decide what’s best for me.

I’ve written about this before, in Musing About Meetings, but as always happens in recovery, I’ve changed, which is good! After all, that’s what recovery is all about: change. I’m less afraid of losing my sobriety now, less afraid that I will lose control of myself, less afraid in general. Of course, that’s pretty much exactly what the ones who stumble back into the rooms say, which worries me.

What I want to know is what the ones who quit going to meetings but go on and do well in their lives, never stumbling back through the doors of a 12-step meeting because they’re doing well and don’t need meetings.



  1. Hi
    I have two blog concerning my past and present experiences with addiction, recovery, bi-polar and add. these are true personal writing that are helping me find out who I am and may help other addict s in the process. My blog addresses are http://www.anaddictsinnerself.blogspot.com and http://www.dailymemoirstofindingmyinnerself.wordpress.com. I am looking for other blog authors to post comments and to subscribe to their blogs. Please let me know what you think.

  2. I’m a big time co-addict and it’s all I can do to drag myself to an SAnon meeting.Some of it is the distance but most times it’s because when I am down and out I tend to isolate myself which of course leads me to sleep alot,smoke, gamble and eat junk food too much.

    Lets face it, the meetings can be boring and repetitive with most of it consisting of readings that can be accessed in my books… but the woman I’ve meet, a big WOW. I do gain the experience, strength and hope that I’ve read so much about and that isn’t so accessable in a book. I am also enriched by the blogs I have read (Thank you very much 😉 Right now I need all the help I can get in learning to live a different and better life because what I’ve been doing isn’t working anymore and I want the next half of my life to be rewarding and filled with self love.

    These promises are my goal:
    • If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
    • We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
    • We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
    • We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
    • No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
    • That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
    • We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
    • Self-seeking will slip away.
    • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
    • Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
    • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
    • We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
    • Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
    • They are being fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
    • They will always materialize if we work for them.

  3. What I learned in another (not 12-step) program is that your life is not as much a result of what you know or believe or experience or achieve, but of what you do.

    And if you want to have something in life, a very effective way to do that is to put in place structures that support you taking the action necessary to have that thing.

    So with sobriety, I think it’s not about a specific program (although 12-step is there and it works) as much as being disciplined about maintaining structures in life that support actions consistent with sobriety.

  4. So true!

    I’ve seen some really inspiring members leave my fellowship recently, and it really pains me. I worry that they’re not gonna be okay.

    But recovery is our own choice. I don’t know if it’s possible without meetings, but I kinda doubt it. I’m posting on this topic myself…

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